Maud le Vavasour, Baroness Butler

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Maud le Vavasour
TitleBaroness Butler
Spouse(s)Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler
Fulk FitzWarin
ChildrenTheobald le Botiller
Maud le Botiller
Beatrice le Botiller
Sir Fulk FitzWarin
Hawise FitzWarin
Parent(s)Robert le Vavasour
A daughter of Adam fitz Peter

Maud le Vavasour, Baroness Butler (c. June 24, 1176 – 1225) was an Anglo-Norman heiress and the wife of Fulk FitzWarin,[1] a medieval landed gentleman who was forced to become an outlaw in the early 13th century. Part of the legend of Robin Hood might be based on him.

By her first marriage to Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler, Maud was the ancestress of the Butler Earls of Ormond.

The legend of Robin Hood and Maid Marian is allegedly based on Fulk FitzWarin and Maud le Vavasour


Maud le Vavasour was the daughter of Robert le Vavasour, deputy sheriff of Lancashire (1150–1227), and his first wife, an unnamed daughter of Adam de Birkin.[2] She had a half-brother, Sir John le Vavasour who married Alice Cockfield, by whom he had issue. Maud's paternal grandfather was William le Vavasour, Lord of Hazlewood, and Justiciar of England. Her maternal grandfather was Adam fitz Peter of Birkin.

Maud was heiress to properties in Edlington, Yorkshire and Narborough in Leicestershire.

King John of England with whom Maud's husband Fulk FitzWarin quarrelled

She is a matrilineal ancestor of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England and second wife to King Henry VIII of England.

Marriages and issue[edit]

In or shortly before 1200, Maud married her first husband Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler (died February 1206), son of Hervey Walter and Maud de Valoignes, and went to live in Ireland. His brother Hubert Walter was Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1185, Theobald had been granted land by Prince John, who was then Lord of Ireland. He was appointed Butler of Ireland in 1192,[3] and High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1194.

Theobald and Maud had three children:

  • a female (dead by 1240), married as his first wife Sir Gerald de Prendergast by whom she had issue, including Marie de Prendergast, who in her turn married Sir John de Cogan and had issue. We know about her only because a later inquisition claimed that Gerald married a "sister of Theobald pincerna", no name is given to her, and no dates.
  • Theobald le Botiller, chief Butler of Ireland (by 1199 - 19 July 1230), who married firstly Joan du Marais, daughter of Geoffrey du Marais and Eva de Bermingham, and had a son Theobald le Botiller (1224–1248), who married Margery de Burgh, daughter of Richard Mor de Burgh, Lord of Connacht, and Egidia de Lacy (daughter of Walter de Lacy and Margaret de Braose), and from whom descended the Earls of Ormond. Theobald le Botiller, chief Butler of Ireland married secondly, after 4 September 1225, Rohese de Verdon (1205- 10 February 1247), daughter of Nicholas de Verdon and Joan de Lacy, by whom he had a son and daughter: John le Botiller de Verdon, Lord of Westmeath (1226–1274), who married Margery de Lacy (1229- after 10 June 1276), by whom he had issue, and Maud le Botiller de Verdon, who upon her marriage to John Fitzalan became the 6th Countess of Arundel, and from whom descended the Fitzalan Earls of Arundel.

Following the death of Theobald in early February 1206, Maud returned to England into the custody of her father, who, having bought the right of marrying her at the price of 1200 marks and two palfreys, gave her in marriage by October 1207, to Fulk FitzWarin.[4] Fulk was the son of Fulk FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan, who subsequent to a violent quarrel with King John of England, was deprived of his lands and property by the vengeful king. Fulk then sought refuge in the woods and became an outlaw, with Maud having accompanied him. The legendary figures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian are said to be based on Fulk and Maud.[5] Maud died in 1226 and Fulke III married again to Clarice D'Auberville.

By FitzWarin, Maud had two sons and three daughters:

  • Fulk IV
  • Fulk Glas
  • Hawise, wife of William Pantulf
  • Joanna
  • Mabel

In fiction[edit]

Maud is the main protagonist in Elizabeth Chadwick's Lords of The White Castle, which relates in fictional form, her life and adventures as the wife of Fulk FitzWarin.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Robert W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire. Vol. VII (London: 1858) pp. 73-74
  3. ^ Charles CawleyMedieval Lands, Earls of Ormond
  4. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Butler
  5. ^ Fouke le Fitz Waryn, edited by Stephen Knight, Thomas H. Ohlgren. Originally published in Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997.