Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

William Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

William Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

Male Abt 1176 - 1226  (~ 50 years)

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  • Name William Longespee 
    Suffix 3rd Earl of Salisbury 
    Born Abt 1176 
    Gender Male 
    History William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c. 1176 – 7 March 1226) (\"Long Sword\", Latinised to de Longa Spatha) was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, primarily remembered for his command of the English forces at the Battle of Damme and for remaining loyal to his half-brother, King John. His nickname \"Longespée\" is generally taken as a reference to his great size and the outsize weapons he wielded.
    Early life[edit]
    He was an illegitimate son of Henry II, King of England. His mother was unknown for many years until the discovery of a charter William made that mentions \"Comitissa Ida, mater mea\" (Countess Ida, my mother).[1][2] This referred to Ida de Tosny, a member of the prominent Tosny (or Toesny) family, who had married Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk[3] in 1181.

    King Henry acknowledged William as his son and gave him the honour of Appleby, Lincolnshire, in 1188. Eight years later, his half brother King Richard I married him to a great heiress, Ela of Salisbury, 3rd Countess of Salisbury.

    During the reign of King John, Salisbury was at court on several important ceremonial occasions and held various offices: sheriff of Wiltshire; lieutenant of Gascony; constable of Dover; and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports; and later warden of the Welsh Marches. He was appointed sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire about 1213.

    Military career[edit]
    He was a commander in the king\'s Welsh and Irish expeditions of 1210–1212 and was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, jointly with John de Gray, Bishop of Norwich, when the king left for England in 1210.[4] The king also granted him the honour of Eye in Suffolk.

    In 1213, Salisbury led a large fleet to Flanders, where he seized or destroyed a good part of a French invasion fleet anchored at or near Damme. This ended the invasion threat but not the conflicts between England and France. In 1214, Salisbury was sent to help Otto IV of Germany, an English ally, who was invading France. Salisbury commanded the right wing of the army at their disastrous defeat in that year at the Battle of Bouvines, where he was captured.

    By the time he returned to England, revolt was brewing amongst the barons. Salisbury was one of the few who remained loyal to John. In the civil war that took place the year after the signing of the Magna Carta, Salisbury was one of the leaders of the king\'s army in the south. He was made High Sheriff of Wiltshire again, this time for life. After raising the siege of Lincoln with William Marshall he was also appointed High Sheriff of Lincolnshire (in addition to his current post as High Sheriff of Somerset) and governor of Lincoln castle. However, after the French prince Louis (later Louis VIII) landed as an ally of the rebels, Salisbury went over to his side. Presumably, he thought John\'s cause was lost.


    Tomb of William Longespée in Salisbury Cathedral
    After John\'s death and the departure of Louis, Salisbury, along with many other barons, joined the cause of John\'s young son, now Henry III of England. He held an influential place in the government during the king\'s minority and fought in Gascony to help secure the remaining part of the English continental possessions. He was appointed High Sheriff of Devon in 1217 and High Sheriff of Staffordshire and Shropshire in 1224. Salisbury\'s ship was nearly lost in a storm while returning to England in 1225, and he spent some months in refuge at a monastery on the French island of Ré.

    Death[edit]
    He died not long after his return to England at Salisbury Castle. Roger of Wendover alleged that he was poisoned by Hubert de Burgh. He was buried at Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

    William Longespée\'s tomb was opened in 1791. Bizarrely, the well-preserved corpse of a rat which carried traces of arsenic, was found inside his skull.[5] The rat is now on display in a case at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.[5]

    Likeness[edit]
    A terracotta statue of Longespée, dating from 1756, is located in the Great Hall of Lacock Abbey in Lacock, Wiltshire, England. A likeness of his wife Ela is also on display, while several other statues are believed to show their children.

    Family[edit]
    By his wife Ela, Countess of Salisbury, he had four sons and six daughters:[6]

    William II Longespée (1212?–1250), who was sometimes called Earl of Salisbury but never legally bore the title because he died before his mother, Countess Ela, who held the earldom until her death in 1261.
    Richard, a canon of Salisbury.
    Stephen (d. 1260), who was seneschal of Gascony and married Emeline de Ridelsford, widow of Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster. Their two daughters were Eleanor Longspee, who married Sir Roger La Zouche and Emeline Longspee, who married Sir Maurice FitzMaurice, Justiciar of Ireland.
    Nicholas (d. 1297), bishop of Salisbury.
    Isabella Longespée, who married Sir William de Vesci.
    Ela Longespée, who first married Thomas de Beaumont, 6th Earl of Warwick, and then married Philip Basset. No issue.[7]
    Ida Longespée, married firstly Ralph who was son of Ralph de Somery, Baron of Dudley, and Margaret, daughter of John Marshal;[7] she married secondly William de Beauchamp, Baron of Bedford, by whom she had six children, including Maud de Beauchamp, wife of Roger de Mowbray.[8]
    Ida II de Longespée (she is alternatively listed as William and Ela\'s granddaughter: see notes below), married Sir Walter FitzRobert, son of Robert Fitzwalter, by whom she had issue including Ela FitzWalter, wife of William de Odyngsells. Ela\'s and Williams\'s grandsons include William de Clinton and John de Grey.[7]
    Mary Longespée, married. No issue.[7]
    Pernel Longespée.  [1
    Died 7 Mar 1226  Salisbury Castle Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I2345  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 23 Mar 2018 

    Father Henri II (Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress) of England, Plantagenet, King of England 1154-1189,   b. 5 Mar 1133, Le Mand, Pays-De-Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jul 1189, Chinon, Pays De Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Mother Ida de Tosny 
    Family ID F1544  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ela FitzPatrick, Countess of Salisbury,   b. Amesbury, Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Aug 1261 
    Married 1198 
    Children 
    +1. William Longespee, de Jure Earl of Salisbury,   b. Abt 1207,   d. 7 Feb 1250, Mansorah Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 43 years)
    Last Modified 22 Mar 2018 
    Family ID F1496  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    William Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury
    William Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

  • Sources 
    1. [S12] Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Longespée,_3rd_Earl_of_Salisbury.