Shropshire History

FitzWarin Family


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The early history of Whittington Castle and the Norman families connected to it is very complicated. It should be borne in mind that not all Normans came over with the Invasion and many settled in England before then. King Edward the Confessor especially encouraged this. Different sources quote different dates and family trees but the timeline below is an attempt to collate the most accurate details. The most useful sources used are Geni and Ancient Wales Studies.


870 - Ynyr, Welsh Lord of Chirk, Whittington, Oswestry, Maelor Cymraeg and Maelor Saesnaeg built a wooden castle at Whittington.  


1032 – Maude de Ingelrica was born in London to a Norman family living in England and became the mistress of William the Conqueror.


1040 - Maud bore William the Conqueror an illegitimate son, also called William, in France. 


1042 - Warin de Metz was born in France as the son of Fulk Li Fitz Warin.


1055 – The Welsh Tudur clan held Whittington and Tudur Trevor ap Rhys was born there. He married Sioned verch Rhiwallon and they had a son Gronwy ap Tudur (1090 Whittington).


1060s – A Norman knight called Ranulph de Peverel was promised land by William the Conqueror in exchange for marrying Maude de Ingelrica. This gave William’s illegitimate son a family name and he became known as William “the Elder” Peverel. Ranulph and Maud also had three legitimate children, ie Robert (1065 France), Hamon (1067 England) and Emma (1069 England). One of the estates given to Ranulph was Brunne in Cambridgeshire (now called Bourn).


1062 -  William “The Elder” Peverel married Oddona of Avranches and they had a son Payne (1062 France).


1066 - William “The Elder” Peverel was at the Battle of Hastings with his natural father who, when he became King, granted him a number of English estates including Nottingham Castle. After his first wife died, he married Adelina of Lancaster and they had three more children, ie Adelise (1073 Nottingham), Maud (1078 Nottingham) and William “The Younger” (1080 Nottingham). After that wife died he married Adeliza de Ferrers and had a daughter Albereda (1100 Nottingham).


1060s - Payne Peverel inherited part of his father’s lands and became feudal lord of Brunne. He married the daughter of Warin de Metz and they had a son William III (1080 Nottingham). Warin de Metz came to England during the reign of William the Conqueror but it is not known if he was at the Battle of Hastings (he would only have been 16 but might have been a squire for one of the knights). He held no lands and became a vassal of Payne Peverel.  He married Aimeria, daughter of Roger of Montgomery, and they had a son Warin “The Bald” de Metz (1079 France).


1071 - Roger of Montgomery was given most of Shropshire by King William including the White Laund.  He was created 1st Earl of Shrewsbury 3 years later.


1086 – In the Domesday Book, Whittington was populated by 15 villagers. 


1097 - Payne Peverel was standard bearer on the First Crusade to Robert Curthose, William the Conqueror's eldest son. Following this, he was given the White Laund and an old timber castle at Whittington. The latter had been confiscated from the Tudur clan.


1099 - William III Peverel inherited the White Laund from his father. The “History of Fulk Fitz Warin” states “William Peverel conquered by the sword all the land of Morelas as far as the water of the Dee, Ellesmere, Maylour and Nanhoudwy.  This William made in the White Launde a tower, and called it White Tower; and the town which is about it is still called White Town, in English, Whittington.  In Ellesmere he made another tower, and on the water of Keyroc (Ceiriog) another.”  William III built four other castles at Bryn, Ellesmere, Overton and Geddington, as well as towns at Ellesmere and Keyroc (Ceiriog). He married and they had two children, ie Melette (1098 Whittington) and Maud (1100 Whittington).


1100 – Warin de Metz died in England.


1110s - Gronwy ap Tudur married and had two children, Roger ap Gronwy (1120 Whittington) and Jonas ap Gronwy (1122 Whittington). It seems that they were still living in the area despite having their title to the land confiscated.


1113 - William “The Elder” Peverel died at Nottingham.


1115 – William III Peverel asked his daughter Melette when she planned to marry. She said to him, “Verily, sir, there is not a knight that I would take in the whole land for riches or estate, but he must be courteous, comely, and debonair, and of his body the most valiant in all Christendom; and such will I have, and no other." He promised to discover such a husband and gave her the White Tower and White Laund so make her a more attractive proposition for suitors. She was thereafter named Melette of the White Tower. A tournament was arranged at Peverel Castle in Derbyshire and, whoever was judged by her to be the best knight in all the jousts, would marry her and take on her inheritance. Knights came from England, Scotland and France, even the son of the King of Scotland, Prince of Wales and the Dukes of Burgundy and Brittany. On the first day, a mysterious knight dressed in red won the jousts. On the second day he was clad in green and again won the jousts. Melette chose him as her suitor and he was revealed as Warin “The Bald” de Metz. They got married and Warin became Lord of Whittington, despite objections by Roger (now known as Sir Roger de Powys) and Jonas ap Gronwy who maintained that they had a better claim to the title.


1116 – Fulk FitzWarin I was born at Bramley to Warin “The Bald” and Melette de Metz. He married his cousin Eva FitzWarin and had seven children, ie Warin FitzWarin (1130 Whittington), Fulk FitzWarin II (1138 Whittington), Warin FitzWarin de Burwarsleigh (1142 Whittington), Emmeline FitzWarin (1145 Whittington), Ralph FitzWarin (1148 Whittington), Richard FitzWarin (1150 Whittington) and William FitzWarin (1155 Whittington).


1133 – Payne Peverel died in Jerusalem and his widow married Gronwy ap Tudur.


1138 - Whittington Castle was held in support of Empress Matilda (daughter of King Henry I) in her struggle for the throne against King Stephen (grandson of William the Conqueror).


1147 - William III Peverel died while on crusade in Jerusalem in 1147.


1155 – William “The Younger” Peverel died in London.


1155 – Warin “The Bald” de Metz died at Bramley in Shropshire. The lordship of Whittington was not passed on to Fulk de Fitz I as expected but retained as a crown property.


1156 - Owen Gwynedd, who ruled over North Wales from 1137-1169, obtained agreement from King Henry II that the lordships of Whittington, Oswestry and Overton should cease to be part of England and become part of the Kingdom of Powys. Owen Gwynedd gave the lordship of Whittington to Sir Roger de Powys and his brother Jonas. Fulk de Fitz I, as compensation for losing Whittington, was given the lordships of Alceston in Gloucestershire and Whadborough in Leicestershire.


1170 – Fulk FitzWarin I died at Alveston in Gloucestershire. The oldest son Warin FitzWarin had already died so the lordship of Whittington was claimed by Fulk FitzWarin II but not granted. The latter married Hawise de Dinan and they had nine children, ie Fulk FitzWarin III (1160), Philip FitzWarin (1165), Eva (1180), Janet (1185), John (1185), Alan (1187), Warin (1190), William (1194) and Ivo (1196). All were born at Whittington except Eva at Stanway in Gloucestershire, suggesting that they were still living in Whittington despite not having the lordship.


1195 - On the accession of King Richard I, Fulk FitzWarin II finally obtained the lordship of Whittington upon payment of forty marks. However, he was unable to remove the Welsh sitting tenants from the castle.


1197 - Fulk FitzWarin II died at Thornbury in Gloucestershire and the lordship was inherited by Fulk FitzWarin III. He married Maud le Vavasour and they had five children at Whittington, ie Fulk FitzWarin IV (1180), Fulk Glas (1182), Joan FitzWarin (1200), Hawise FitzWarin (1207) and Eva FitzWarin (1215). When his first wife died, Fulk married Clarice de Auberville and they had a daughter Mabel FitzWarin (1217).


1199 – On the accession of King John, the Fulk FitzWarin III lost the lordship of Whittington again. King John had been an enemy of Fulk FitzWarin ever since a childhood argument and granted it to Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, Prince of Wales.


1200 – Despite Fulk FitzWarin III offering one hundred marks for the lordship, Llewellyn gave it Meuric de Powys (son of Roger de Powys) for half that amount. It is believed that pressure was applied by King John for this to be done.


1201 - Fulk FitzWarin III raised a rebellion against King John and was accompanied by about fifty followers, including his brothers William, Phillip and John, cousins and family tenants and allies in the Marches. In Spring of that year, while King John travelled to France to suppress another revolt, he ordered Hubert de Burgh and a number of knights to crush Fulk’s rebellion.


1202 – The rebels took refuge in Stanley Abbey in Wiltshire and, the following year, Fulk and his followers were pardoned by King John.


1204 – Meuric de Powys died and his son Wrenoc de Powys was given the lordship of Whittington by King John on payment of one hundred marks. Later in the year, Fulk FitzWarin III regained the lordship of Whittington again upon payment of 200 marks.


1219 – Fulk FitzWarin III obtained permission for a market at Whittington on each Wednesday and for a fair there to last two days at the feast of St Luke in October. Payment for this was to be a horse.


1220 – Fulk FitzWarin III was given a license to fortify Whittington Castle.


1223 – The castle was captured by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales.


1224 – The castle was recaptured by Fulk FitzWarin III but disputes with Llywelyn continued and more of Fulk's lands were seized.


1228 – A truce was agreed between Fulk FitzWarin III and Llywelyn, following intervention of the king.


1258 – Fulk FizWarin III died at Whittington and the lordship was inherited by Fulk FitzWarin IV. The latter married Constance de Tosny and they had five children, ie Mabel FitzWarin (1247 Whittington), Fulk Fitzwarin V (1249 Whittington), William FitzWarin (1251 Upton Magna), Joan FitzWarin (1253 Whittington), and Hawise FitzWarin (1255 Whittington).


1264 - Fulk FitzWarin IV drowned in the River Ouse while fleeing from the Battle of Lewes. King Henry III was captured at this battle by Simon de Montford and forced to give several lordships, including Whittington, to Llewelyn ap Griffith, Prince of Wales.


1265 – King Henry III was released after the Battle of Evesham and gave the lordship of Whittington back to Fulk FitzWarin V. However, Llewelyn refused to move out until he had agreed with the king that he should “receive from Whittington the services he claimed to have been accustomably due and paid to his ancestors, but that the king should appoint a constable and soldiers for the defence of the castle”. Thus Fulk FitzWarin V thus regained Whittington. He married Margaret ferch Gruffudd ab Gwenwynwyn and they had four children at Whittington, ie Hawise FitzWarin (1276), Fulk FitzWarin VI (1277), Alice FitzWarin (1279) and William FitzWarin (1316).


1295 – Fulk FitzWarin V was created 1st Baron FitzWarin. All the male heirs were to be given the first name Fulk and the barony, with the castle and lordship of Whittington, descended from father to son.


1420 – The 7th Baron FitzWarin died with no male heir. His sister Elizabeth FitzWarin became 8th Baroness FitzWarin and married Richard Hankeford.


1427 – The 8th Baroness FitzWarin died and was succeeded by her sister Thomasine Hankeford as 9th Baroness FitzWarin. She married Sir William Bourchier who was deemed as Lord FitzWarin in her right and thus 9th Baron FitzWarin.


1536 - John Bourchier, 11th Baron FitzWarin was created 1st Earl of Bath.


1545 - John Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Bath exchanged the lordship and castle with Henry VIII for some former monastic estates nearer the main family home in Devon. A detailed survey of the castle was made at the time of the exchange and it was described as in decay. The castle itself was probably never inhabited again and passed through various hands to William Albany, a London merchant tailor, and his descendants. William's grandson, Francis Albany, fell into debt and sold his wood in Babbinswood to Arthur Kynaston of Shrewsbury, who built a forge at Fernhill using stone from the castle.


1632 - The Castle Gatehouse was let and the tenant was allowed to take freestone out of the castle.


1636 - Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath and 14th Baron FitzWarin died with no male heir. The titles thus became extinct.


1642 - By the time of the English civil war, Whittington Castle was no longer defensible and therefore played no part in that war.


1673 -  The gatehouse was let as a romantic dwelling to Thomas Lloyd, a London merchant, probably retired.


1750 – Albany’s descendants became the Lloyd family of Aston near Oswestry, who still own the castle.


1760 - One of the towers fell into the moat.


1776 – The ruins of the fallen tower and other parts of the castle were used to make the new turnpike road to Ellesmere.


1808 - William Lloyd restored the gatehouse and leased it as a farmhouse. It continued to be occupied until the 1990s.


1998 – The Whittington Castle Preservation Trust was formed as a community project.


2002 - A 99-year lease was obtained by the Whittington Castle Preservation Trust, who recently completed a £1.5 million renovation project. Every year the Historia Normannis historical re-enactment group gathers at the castle to re-enact battles that would have happened in the area.