Effigy of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke

Effigy of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke is in Monumental Effigies of Great Britain.

THIS nobleman derived his surname from his ancestors exercising the offices of Marshal in the King's court. He was the son of John Mareschal, who performed that service for King Henry the Second. He had an elder brother John, who on their fathers death was confirmed by the same King in that honourable post. This John dying in the reign of Richard the First, William became his heir. Richard gave him his ward Isabella, daughter of Richard de Clare (surnamed Strongbow), the Conqueror of Ireland, Earl of Striguil and Pembroke, in marriage, and with it the Earldom above mentioned. He distinguished himself by his adherence to King John in his adversity, and on his death became guardian to his son, Henry the Third. He speedily marched against the French Prince Lewis, the pretender to the Crown, raised the siege of Lincoln, routed his marauding forces, straitly beleaguered London, and soon compelled Lewis to forego his pretensions, and to evacuate the kingdom. He died in 1219, at his manor of Caversham, near Reading, in Berkshire. His body was conveyed to Reading, where it was received in solemn procession by the monks of the Abbey, and placed in the choir of their Church while a mass was said for his soul; thence to St. Peters, Westminster, where it underwent the same ceremony; and from thence to the Church of the New Temple [Map], where it was buried, on Ascension day. Matthew Paris assigns to him the following epitaph, which styles him a Saturn, as a severe castigator of the Irish; an Apollo, as the glory and honour of England; a Mercury, as a diplomatist in Normandy; and a Mars, as a warlike and invincible knight against the Frencha:

Sum quern Saturnum sibi sensit Hybernia, Solem

Anglia, Mercurium Normannia, Gallia Martem.

The costume of this figure very well accords with the period of William Mareschal the elder's decease. He wears a hauberk of chain-mail, long surcoat, and on his shield is a lion rampant. The Earls of Pembroke of this name bore, Party per pale Or and Vert, a lion rampant Gules, crowned and langued Azure.

Note a. Matt. Paris, edit. Watts, p. 304.