William de Mowbray

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William de Mowbray
6th Baron of Thirsk
4th Baron Mowbray
PredecessorNigel de Mowbray II, 5th Baron of Thirsk
SuccessorRoger de Mowbray II, 7th Baron of Thirsk
Titles and styles
6th Baron of Thirsk
4th Baron Mowbray
Thirsk Castle, Thirsk, Yorkshire, Kingdom of England
Isle of Axholme, Epworth, Lincolnshire, Kingdom of England
BuriedNewburgh Priory
Nigel de Mowbrey III
Roger de Mowbrey II
FatherNigel de Mowbray II, 5th Baron Thirsk
MotherMabel de Clare

William de Mowbray, 6th Baron of Thirsk, 4th Baron Mowbray (c. 1173c. 1224) was a Norman Lord and English noble who was one of the twenty five executors of the Magna Carta. He was described as being as small as a dwarf but very generous and valiant.[1]

Family and early life[edit]

William was the eldest of the one daughter and three or four sons of Nigel de Mowbray, by Mabel, thought to be daughter of William de Patri, and grandson of Roger de Mowbray.[2]

Career under Richard I[edit]

Mowbray appears to have been in the company of Richard I in Speyer, Germany, on 20 November 1193 during Richard's period of captivity on his return from Palestine.[3][self-published source?] In 1194 he had livery of his lands, paying a relief of £100. He was immediately called upon to pay a sum nearly as large as his share of the scutage levied towards Richard's ransom, for the payment of which he was one of the hostages.[4] William was later a witness to Richard's treaty with Baldwin of Flanders in 1197.[3][self-published source?]

Career under John[edit]

In 1215 Mowbray was prominent with other north-country barons in opposing King John. He was appointed one of the twenty-five executors of the Magna Carta, and as such was specially named among those excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. His youngest brother, Roger, has sometimes been reckoned as one of the twenty-five, apparently by confusion with, or as a substitute for, Roger de Mumbezon. Roger died without heirs about 1218, and William received his lands.[4][5]

Career under Henry III[edit]

In the First Barons' War, Mowbray supported Louis. Mowbray was taken prisoner in the Battle of Lincoln (1217), and his estates bestowed upon William Marshal the younger; but he redeemed them by the surrender of the lordship of Bensted in Surrey to Hubert de Burgh, before the general restoration in September of that year.[4]

In January 1221, Mowbray assisted Hubert in driving his former co-executor, William of Aumâle, from his last stronghold at Bytham in Lincolnshire.[4]

Benefactor, marriage and succession[edit]

Mowbray founded the chapel of St. Nicholas, with a chantry, at Thirsk, and was a benefactor of his grandfather's foundations at Furness Abbey and Newburgh, where, on his death in Axholme about 1224, he was buried.[4][3][self-published source?]

Mowbray married Avice, a daughter of William d'Aubigny, 3rd Earl of Arundel, of the elder branch of the d'Aubignys. By her he had two sons, Nigel and Roger. The Progenies Moubraiorum makes Nigel predecease his father, and Nicolas and Courthope accept this date; but Dugdale adduces documentary evidence showing that he had livery of his lands in 1223, and did not die (at Nantes) until 1228. As Nigel left no issue by his wife Mathilda or Maud, daughter of Roger de Camvile, he was succeeded as sixth baron Mowbray by his brother Roger II, who only came of age in 1240, and died in 1266. This Roger's son, Roger III, was seventh baron (1266–1298) and father of John I de Mowbray, eighth baron.[4]

There has been some speculation that Mowbray was the inspiration for the character of Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Michel, Francique, ed. (1840). Histoire des Ducs de Normandie et des Rois d'Angleterre (in French). Paris. p. 145. Guillaumes de Moubray, qui estoit autresi petis comme uns nains; mais moult estoit larges et vaillans.
  2. ^ Tait, James; Thomas, Hugh M. "William de Mowbray". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19461. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2 ed.). p. 198. ISBN 978-0806317595.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tait 1894.
  5. ^ Browning, Charles H. (1898). The Magna Charta Barons and Their American Descendants. p. 114. ISBN 0806300558. LCCN 73077634. reprinted 1969


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainTait, James (1894). "Mowbray, William de". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

See also[edit]