1211 Death of Matilda de Braose

In 1208 King John had ordered all the clergy blinded and confiscated all church property. In a rare moment of retrospection, John became concerned that the pope might not see the merit of this scheme and might excommunicate him. To ensure the loyalty of his nobles, John ordered them all to provide him with hostages.

Matilda de Braose answered the kings messengers that she would not give her sons as hostage to the king, reasonably pointing out that the king had a habit of murdering people, including his own nephew, Arthur. The king, enraged that a woman should have made such a reply immediately confiscated all the de Braose property, including Bramber and Knepp castles and ordered the family captured.

Forewarned, the family fled to Ireland, but John sent forces to Ireland in pursuit of William de Braose and other barons. After a siege at Meath and pursuit to Scotland, Matilda de Braose and her son William were captured by Johns forces. They were returned to England in chains and imprisoned in Windsor castle where John starved them to death in 1211. William de Braose the elder had escaped to Corbeil, France where he died in exile in 1212.

John was eventually forced to return all the church property and submit to the authority of the pope. This charter was witnessed by a number of barons including William de Warenne, lord of Lewes castle.


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