William Malet (Magna Carta baron)

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Arms of William Malet, Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, adopted at the start of the age of heraldry (circa 1200-1215): Azure, three escallops or[citation needed]

William Malet (fl. born before 1175–1215), feudal baron of Curry Mallet in Somerset, was one of the guarantors of Magna Carta. He served as Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset in 1209. The precise nature of his relationship to an earlier William Malet is unknown.


Amongst the manors comprising his feudal barony were his caput of Curry Mallet, where stood his castle, and Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

Marriages and progeny[edit]

He married twice but left no male progeny, only three daughters and co-heiresses. He married as follows:

First wife (name unknown)[edit]

By his first wife, whose name is unknown, Malet had a daughter.

  • Mabel Malet, wife of Hugh de Vivonia, Sheriff of Somerset, whose son and heir was:
    • William de Vivonia (alias de Forz). Concerning his new adopted surname, during the next half-century there were three generations of barons with the same name, beginning with William de Forz (died 1195). Both William Malet and William de Forz were barons named in Magna Carta (1216). Some have suggested a relationship between the families.[1] Their coats of arms each appear in the same roll of arms of Henry III.[1] He married, as his second wife, Maud de Ferrers, daughter of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby by his wife Sybil Marshall.
      • Joan de Forz was the daughter of William de Forz and Maud de Ferrers. She married, as her second husband, Reginald Fitz Piers (son of Peter FitzHerbert), as his second wife.[2]
        • Reginald FitzReginald was the son of Reginald FitzPiers and Joan de Forz. He married Joan Martel, daughter of Robert Martel.
          • Herbert FitzReginald was son of Reginald FitzReginald and Joan Martel. He married Lucy Peverell, daughter of Andrew Peverell.
            • Reginald FitzHerbert was son of Herbert FitzReginald and Lucy Peverell. He married a certain Joan.
              • Edmund FitzHerbert was son of Reginald FitzHerbert and Joan. He married a cetain Joan.
              • Alice FitzHerbert was the sister of Edmund FitzHerbert and daughter of Reginald FitzHerbert and Joan. She married Thomas West.[3]

Second wife, Alice Basset[edit]

By his second wife, Alice Basset, who was a daughter of Thomas Basset, Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, William Malet had a daughter:[6]


He died without male progeny when his three daughters became his co-heiresses:[8]

  • Bertha Malet (d.pre-1221), who inherited 1/3 of her father's estates and died unmarried.
  • Helewise Malet, who inherited 1/3 (later increased to a moiety of 1/2) of her father's estates and who at some time before 23 March 1217 married Hugh I Poyntz (d.1220). She married secondly Robert de Mucegros (d.1254) of Brewham, Somerset.
  • Mabel Malet, who inherited 1/3 (later increased to a moiety of 1/2) of her father's estates. She married firstly Nicholas Avenel and secondly, before November 1223, Hugh de Vivonia (d.1249) (alias de Forz) of Chewton, Somerset.


  1. ^ a b Royal Archaeological Institute (1861) The Archaeological Journal, Vol 18 pg 57 (via Google)
  2. ^ Weis, F.L., Sheppard, W.L., Faris, D. (1992) Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists ... Genealogical Publishing Co. (via Google)
  3. ^ Burke, J. (1838) A Genealogical and Heraldic History of ... Colburn (via Google)
  4. ^ Collinson, J., Rack, E. (1791) The history and antiquities of the county of Somerset (via Google)
  5. ^ Richardson, Douglas (2011) Magna Carta Ancestry:A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition (via Google)
  6. ^ Dillon, C. R. (2002) Royals and Nobles: .. iUniverse (via Google)
  7. ^ The Complete Peerage, volume V chart between pp. 320-321
  8. ^ Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, pp.38-9, Curry Malet
  • Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to American Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Lines 189-1, 234A-29
  • Hollister, C. Warren (1973). "Henry I and Robert Malet". Viator. 4: 115–32. 
  • Hurt, Cyril. "William Malet and His Family". Anglo-Norman Studies XIX. 
  • Lewis, C. P. (1989). "The King and Eye: A Study in Anglo-Norman Politics". English Historical Review. 104 (CCCCXII): 569–87. doi:10.1093/ehr/CIV.CCCCXII.569.