William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146-1219) was an Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman, he served four English kings, Henry II (whose eldest son, Henry, predeceased him), Richard I, John and Henry III. His eldest son commissioned a record of his father’s life: “L’ Historie de Guillaume le Maréchal“. He was sent to Normandy to train as a knight in 1159. Knighted in 1166, he spent his younger years as a knight errant and was reportedly unbeaten in the tiltyard. When Young Henry died in 1183 Marshal travelled to the Holy Land to take Young Henry’s cross to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Until Henry II’s death in 1188, William Marshal served as his knight, his counsellor, and his ambassador. On Henry II’s death Richard I recognized Marshal as a brother and equal in chivalry. Fulfilling the promise made by his father, Richard gave Marshal the heiress Isabel de Clare and all her lands in marriage in 1189. Thus, he became Earl of Pembroke through marriage to the 17-year-old daughter of the immensely powerful Richard de Clare (‘Strongbow‘). This was the second creation of the Pembroke Earldom. Marshal was included in the Regency of the Kingdom when Richard I departed on the 3rd Crusade in 1190. He supported King John’s ascent to the throne in 1199. In 1216, he was appointed protector for the nine-year-old Henry III, and regent of the kingdom.
A more detailed history of the Knight and his armorial detail is decribed below.