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Welsh History Review


Vol. 17, nos. 1-4 1994-95

The supporters of Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in the rebellion of 1233-1234

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Cornwall enjoyed the custody of much of the Marshal's property.178 While
Chester, Derby, Hereford and Oxford are not recorded as taking any part in
the war, they all received marks of the king's favour.179 This is surprising if
Wendover is correct in reporting that well into the summer of 1233 the earls
were acting as a united body, refusing to attend councils until Henry III
removed his alien councillors.180 Richard of Cornwall is said to have
favoured the Marshal's cause until the last minute,181 which no doubt
accounts for Richard Siward singling out his manors for destruction. J. C.
Holt maintained that what was new about the baronial rebellion against King
John was that the barons were fighting for a cause, the cause embodied in the
Great Charter,182 and not for an Empress Maud, a Henry of Anjou or a
Henry, the young king. Richard Marshal had a cause, that of the king's
natural counsellors, his English barons, who claimed to counsel the king as a
right as well as a duty. To this general cause was added the particular cause
of Gilbert Basset, who had been disseised without due process of law.
Perhaps the Marshal's support would have been stronger if others had
suffered in the same way. Another grievance, outlawry at the king's suit, only
became an issue after the rebellion had started.
No doubt there was widespread dislike and distrust of foreign-born
subjects of the king, anger at Peter des Roche's views on the king's right to
choose his counsellors, and resentment at the monopoly of offices enjoyed by
Peter de Rivaux. But the Marshal's failure in practice to muster effective
support among the barons strongly suggests that Wendover's account of a
united baronial opposition should be treated with caution. One other factor
may have been influential in restraining the barons from extreme courses.
The civil war of 1215-17 was still a recent memory, as were the difficult years
of recovery from it. A reluctance on the part of the barons to plunge into open
war against their young king, however ill advised he might be, is
178 Close R., 1231-34, p. 281.
179 Ibid., pp. 240, 261, 335, 468, 496.
180 Wendover, III, 48-49, 52.
181 Matthew Paris, Historia Anglorum, ed. F. Madden (Rolls Ser., 1866), II, 357.
182 Holt, Northerners, p. 1.
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