Autumn – Stanza 21

begins the life of Isabel, an heiress, good and fair and wise
wedded at age seventeen, King Henry’s ward, arranged
to William, a knight’s templar with no land to call his own
a power couple of their time, who made Old Ross their home
reviving castle Kilkenny, on River Nore, three towers


For Jane Dougherty’s August Stanza Challenge.

From Wikipedia, more on my 28th Great Grandparents Isabel and William:

Isabel was described as having been “the good, the fair, the wise, the courteous lady of high degree”. She allegedly spoke French, Irish and Latin. After her brother Gilbert’s death, Isabel became one of the wealthiest heiresses in the kingdom, owning besides the titles of Pembroke and Striguil, much land in Wales and Ireland.She inherited the numerous castles on the inlet of Milford Haven, guarding the South Channel, including Pembroke Castle. She was a legal ward of King Henry II, who carefully watched over her inheritance.

The new King Richard I arranged her marriage in August 1189 to William Marshal, regarded by many as the greatest knight and soldier in the realm. Henry II had promised Marshal he would be given Isabel as his bride, and his son and successor Richard upheld the promise one month after his accession to the throne. At the time of her marriage, Isabel was residing in the Tower of London in the protective custody of the Justiciar of England, Ranulf de Glanville. Following the wedding, which was celebrated in London “with due pomp and ceremony”, they spent their honeymoon at Stoke d’Abernon in Surrey which belonged to Enguerrand d’Abernon.

Marriage to Isabel elevated William Marshal from the status as a landless knight into one of the richest men in the kingdom. He would serve as Lord Marshal of England, four kings in all: Henry II, Richard I, John, and Henry III. Although Marshal did not become the jure uxoris 1st Earl of Pembroke, Earl of Striguil until 1199, he nevertheless assumed overlordship of Leinster in Ireland, Pembroke Castle, Chepstow Castle, as well as Isabel’s other castles in Wales such as the keep of Haverford, Tenby, Lewhaden, Narberth, Stackpole.

Shortly after their marriage, Marshal and Isabel arrived in Ireland, at Old Ross, a settlement located in the territory which belonged to her grandfather, Dermot MacMurrough. A motte was hastily constructed, a medieval borough quickly grew around it, and afterwards the Marshals founded the port town by the river which subsequently became known as New Ross. The Chronicles of Ross, which are housed in the British Museum, described Isabel and Marshal’s arrival in Ireland and records that Isabella set about building a lovely city on the banks of the Barrow.

In 1192, Isabel and her husband assumed the task of managing their vast lands; starting with the rebuilding of Kilkenny Castle and the town, both of which had been damaged by the O’Brien clan in 1173. Later they commissioned the construction of several abbeys in the vicinity.

The marriage was happy, despite the vast difference in age between them. William Marshal and Isabel produced a total of five sons and five daughters.

5 responses to “Autumn – Stanza 21

%d bloggers like this: