Also known as ‘Marshal of the Army of God and the Holy Church’.
Born: unknown Died: 9 December 1235 (age unknown) Title: Lord of Dunmow in Essex and Baynard’s Castle in London Spouse I: Gunnora de Vologne, married sometime before 1198, died sometime after 1207 Spouse II: Rohese, married sometime after 1207
Did you know that Robert rebelled against King John not once, but twice?
In 1212, Robert Fitzwalter was found guilty of plotting to kill King John, outlawed and exiled to France. Then, once again, on 5 May 1215, Robert was named as the leader of a group of rebel barons who renounced their allegiance to John.
Robert Fitzwalter was one of the most powerful men in England, and could call upon some 100 knights to serve under his banner in times of war.
When the civil war against King John was going badly for the rebels, Robert Fitzwalter travelled to France in 1216, and offered the English throne to Prince Louis, son of the French king.
Following his death in 1235, Matthew Paris, who was rumoured to be no great admirer of Fitzwalter, wrote a generous obituary. He said Fitzwalter could ‘match any earl in England: valiant in arms, spirited and illustrious... generous, surrounded by a multitude of powerful blood relatives and strengthened by numerous relatives in marriage’.
Test your understanding
What have the barons reminded the King of?
Not quite, I'm afraid. Why don't you interview Robert Fitzwalter again, and ask him why he has forced King John to accept Magna Carta?
Absolutely! Well done. The barons have reminded the King of some ancient rights that have been lost during the reigns of his father Henry II and his brother Richard. These were rights listed in the Coronation Charter which bound the king to certain laws about his treatment of his barons.
Will Magna Carta bring peace and freedom?
Is Magna Carta simply a collection of complaints and grumbles by the barons which will only have benefits for them?
Is Magna Carta more than this? Is it an important statement of key principles about how the king can rule and will have benefits for everyone in England?
Will this document be long lasting and bring about peace and freedom, or will King John will find a way out of it?
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