Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Pembroke Castle
I’ve just come across this in medieval writings on Secular Women.  It shows what an extraordinary woman Isabelle de Clare, wife of William Marshal was.  Within a few weeks of William’s death, she was in Normandy seeing to affairs there in order to pave a clear way for the inheritance of her sons.  I did not realise this at the time I was writing The Scarlet Lion, although it would probably only have changed the ending by a couple of sentences.

I, Isabelle, Countess of Pembroke, one-time wife of Lord William Marshal, announce to all present to scrutinise these writings, namely that I have an agreement with the lord King. The lord King (Philip Augustus) has given to me and to my sons our land in Normandy, which my Lord William marshal had been seised with on the day he died, save for his rights and services.  Let it be known  that the lord King has given permission to my sons, William and Richard, to enter and leave France, as they wish, with five knights and their followers in such a manner that they as well as the knights swear to the lord King that they will not harm him or his kingdom through themselves or through others, and that if they know anyone who would, they will let the lord King know as soon as possible.  Also they who guard my fortresses at Longueville and elsewhere in Normandy should swear to the lord King that they themselves – or by their order – will return them to him by great or small force.  I pledge my land in Normandy to my lord the King as surety for firmly keeping these agreements.  In order that this may be a firm and stable agreement I confirm the present letters with the authority of my seal.  Enacted near Pont de L’Arche in the month of July in the year 1219.

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