When William Marshal wrote his will in 1219 he had nothing to leave his beloved youngest son, Ansel or Anselm, who was about eight-years-old at the time. The earl envisaged that the boy, named after one of Marshal’s brothers, would have to carve a career for himself as he had done. He thought that the boy would work his way up to becoming a household knight and perhaps make a good marriage – he was a Marshal after all, even if not a wealthy one. In the end John d’Earley who I have posted about before protested that the earl was offering his son a bad deal. The earl left his son £140 p.a. in rents from lands in Leinster.
The boy was looked after by his elder brothers – he turns up signing charters for his second eldest brother Gilbert Marshal and then for his brother Walter. They provided him with lands so that he could marry Matilda de Bohun, the daughter of the Earl of Hereford. The de Bohun family and William Marshal II had close ties. Matilda’s age at marriage is unknown but it is almost certain that she was still a child.
All four of his brothers became Earl of Pembroke in their turn. On 27 November 1245 Walter, the brother closest to him in age died and the earldom was delivered to Ansel. But although Henry III recognised Ansel’s rights it was necessary for him to appear before the king so that he could pay the necessary homage and to pay the fines associated with license to enter his estates. Unfortunately it seems that Ansel, who was at Chepstow, was too ill to do that because he never went to court and died on 23 December 1245, just eleven days after his brother, the last of William Marshal’s sons. He was buried at Tintern Abbey.
Ansel’s failure to fulfil his feudal obligations meant that he was technically not the earl so his widow Matilda was not permitted the dower rights of a countess instead she received £60 p.a. from Ansel’s Leinster estates. Maud remarried – given her age and who she was it was almost inevitable another husband would be found for her but she continued to be known as Maud Marshal for the rest of her life which was a short one. She died in 1252 at Groby leaving her husband Roger de Quincy 2nd Earl of Winchester to marry Helen, the daughter of William Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby soon afterwards.
And for those of you who like a mystery – were William Marshal’s sons murdered? https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/blog/the-marshal-curse-were-the-children-of-william-marshal-murdered/
Acts and Letters of the Marshal Family 1156-1248: Earls of Pembroke and Marshals of England, ed. David Crouch, Camden Society 5th series, 47 (Cambridge: CUP, 2015) p.36