William (Forz) de Forz

William (Forz) de Forz (abt. 1192 - 1241)

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William "Count of Aumale" de Forz formerly Forz aka de Fortibus
Born about in Poitou, France or Holderness, Yorkshire, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married before in Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in En Route to Jerusalem (Crusades)map
Profile last modified | Created 12 Apr 2014 | Last significant change: 9 Apr 2019
16:13: Liz (Noland) Shifflett edited the Biography for William (Forz) de Forz (abt.1192-1241). (removed Cawley citation but added a maintenance category & a note) [Thank Liz for this]
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
William de Forz was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Contents

Biography

"William de Forz (Fortibus) (1191x6–1241), holder of the Norman title of count of Aumale, was a mercurial personality whose apparent self-interestedness and frequent changes of allegiance raise questions, difficult to answer, about the balance of personal ambition and concern for the common good in the motivation of the medieval aristocracy.

"Forz was the son of the wealthy Aumale heiress, Countess Hawise, a much married lady, by her third husband, the Poitevin naval commander, William de Forz, who died in 1195. He came to England, probably from Poitou, in 1214, and in September or October of that year secured possession of the English lands of his mother’s inheritance on the condition that he married Aveline, daughter of Richard de Montfichet. In this way he was brought into contact with another lord to be chosen one of the Twenty-Five. William’s English lands consisted principally of the honours of Holderness and Skipton in Yorkshire, Cockermouth in Cumberland, and lands in Lincolnshire around Barrow-on-Humber in the north and Castle Bytham in the south.

"In the spring of 1215, perhaps as a result of his links with Mountfitchet, he joined the baronial opposition to King John and after the meeting at Runnymede was nominated to the Twenty Five. By August, however, he had changed sides, returning to the king’s allegiance, and he accompanied John on his punitive expedition to the north of England in December. He deserted John a second time in June 1216 but had returned to royal service by the autumn, after Henry III’s accession, and attested the reissue of Magna Carta in November.

"In the course of the civil war from 1215 William acquired many lands, some of which belonged to the Crown, which the Minority Government was keen to recover from him. He surrendered most of these properties in or before May 1220, but clung onto Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire, to which his family had an ancestral claim. At the end of 1220, apparently annoyed at being passed over for the appointment of seneschal of Poitou and Gascony, he rebelled against the Minority Government, suddenly left court to garrison Bytham, and then, faced with the ravaging of his lands, fled to the north of England, where he took refuge at Fountains. The Government treated him remarkably leniently, and he and his men were pardoned.

"In his later years Forz was employed on a range of diplomatic and military business for the king, treating with the Holy Roman Emperor at Antwerp in 1227 and accompanying Henry III on his expedition to Poitou in 1230. In the spring of 1241 he set out for Jerusalem, but died on the way. His wife, Aveline, was buried at Thornton Abbey, but his own burial place is unknown.

"At the village of Castle Bytham, north of Stamford, the enormous earthworks of the castle still tower over the streets to recall the most turbulent episode of this man’s enigmatic career."

Above text courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee


William de Forz (aka Fortibus), holder of the Norman title of Count of Aumale, was the son of the wealthy Aumale heiress, Hawise. William inherited his English and Normandy title and lands through his mother. His mother had been a royal ward, and was first married to William de Mandeville, earl of Essex; then to William’s father, also named William, who was a Poitevin naval commander who accompanied Richard I on crusade. The surname Forz (used on the seals of both father and son) was derived from one of two places named Fors in Poitou.

Nothing is known of William as a young man. After his mother's death in 1214 he came to England to discuss his inheritance with the king. In late 1214, King John gave back to William all the lands in England of his mother's inheritance, on the condition that William should marry Aveline, daughter of Richard de Montfichet of Stansted, Essex. William was first addressed as count of Aumale in royal charters of November 1214. His English lands consisted principally of the honours of Holderness and Skipton in the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire, Cockermouth in Cumberland, lands in Lincolnshire around Barrow-on-Humber in the north and Castle Bytham in the south, and a number of manors elsewhere.

William arrived in England amid the ferment of northern discontent leading to Magna Carta and civil war. He may have been influenced in his political choice by Robert de Ros (a leading northern baron), Richard de Montfichet (his brother-in-law), and Fulk d'Oyry (steward for the counts and countesses of Aumale for many years), all of whom opposed King John. William joined the rebel barons in time to become one of the committee of twenty-five executors of Magna Carta, to which he was the second witness in June 1215. By August, however, he had changed sides to King John, attesting charters and being granted rebel lands. He was also admitted, at the king's command, to Scarborough Castle. William accompanied King John in December 1215 on a punitive expedition to the north. As a result, William gained many lands in 1216, including the castles of Rockingham, Sauvey, and Bytham. Although William deserted John briefly in June 1216, he returned to royal service by the autumn. He sealed the reissue of Magna Carta in 1216 (and was to do so again in 1225). During 1217 he was sent a stream of royal orders concerning the confiscation and restoration of lands. He was present throughout the main events of the war between the king's party and Prince Louis.

Of the many lands which William had acquired in 1215-16 (some of which belonged to the Crown), the Minority Government was keen to recover from him. He gave up most of these properties by May 1220, but held onto Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire (on which his family had an ancestral claim). At the end of 1220, William rebelled against the Minority Government, left court to garrison Bytham, and then, faced with the ravaging of his lands, fled to the north of England, where he took refuge at Fountains. The Government treated him remarkably leniently and pardoned him and his men.

In later years William was employed on a range of diplomatic and military business for the king, treating with the Holy Roman Emperor at Antwerp in 1227 and accompanying Henry III on his expedition to Poitou in 1230.

In the spring of 1241, William set out for Jerusalem. After being unable to eat for eight days, he died on the voyage, at the end of March 1241. His place of burial is unknown.

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Neither William de Forz (b: ca. 1192-1241) nor his father ever lived in the Norman County of "Aumale" (translated in English, Aumale = Albemarle) although the family held the title of "Comte d'Aumale" = Earl of Albemarle, in English.

By 1194 all of the previously-English Normandy lands had been retaken by the French monarchy and no longer were English. Poitou and Aquitaine continued in English hands for another 200+ years...

As William's father was from Fors in Poitou (a former French province consisting of the Charentes and Vienne areas sometimes counted as being in Aquitaine, sometimes not), and as some biographies indicate that he traveled to England from Poitou at about 21 years old to claim his English-lands birthright from the English King, in 1214, this would lead one to believe he was most-likely born in "Poitou, France".

Some genealogies, however, state he was born in Holderness, East Riding, Yorkshire, where his parents apparently also had a castle and he was later also known as "Lord of Holderness" - but that is a lesser title than Earl of Albemarle (Comte d'Aumale)....

Therefore the Birth place field here lists both "Poitou, France" and "Holderness, Yorkshire, England" and is marked as "Uncertain" until a more-definitive source gives an answer (Do not hold your breath as even the "Dictionary of English Biography" cannot say where he was born).

It is a 99% bet that William de Forz was NOT born in "Aumale, Normandie, France" as that area was subject to the King of France by his time, not the English king, and William de Forz always was in allegiance to the King of England.[1]

Research Notes

A great deal of information about William's ancestors and descendants is available at Patrick Delaforce and Ken Baldry's Delaforce Family History, Chapter 38.

Sources

  1. Added by Chet Snow, April 6, 2017.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. I, p. 355.
  • Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 455-456.
  • Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. II, p. 189-190.

Acknowledgements

This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted by January 2014. Descriptions of imported gedcoms for this profile are under the Changes tab.

Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, William de Forz is managed by the Magna Carta Project, even though he is one of the eight barons with no traced ongoing line of descendants. ~ Noland-165 00:45, 27 January 2018 (EST)
  • Needs Source Check - full citations needed for Richardson; links to WikiTree source pages should be added also (for Cokayne & Richardson). Also, Cawley citation was removed because it didn't cite a specific entry, but maybe that needs to be researched (the source list is a bit vague; Cawley's database may have been used as a source, in which case is should be listed - see Space:Medieval Lands for links/citation formats).~ Noland-165 16:13, 9 April 2019 (UTC)


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Images: 4
Skipton Castle gatehouse, North Yorkshire, England
Skipton Castle gatehouse, North Yorkshire, England

Magna Carta template
Magna Carta template

William de Forz coat of arms
William de Forz coat of arms

Le Comte d'Aubemarle
Le Comte d'Aubemarle

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On 18 Mar 2019 at 17:51 GMT Anonymous (Holland) Carroll wrote:

Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume IV, page 383 PLAIZ 5.

Richard De Montfitchet, married Milicent ____. They had one son, Richard, and three daughters, Philippe, Aveline (wife of William de Forz, Count of Aumale), and Margaret (or Margery).

Thank you!

On 30 Sep 2017 at 04:31 GMT RJ Horace wrote:

Clay, JW: Extinct Northern Peerages, page 2.

On 13 Apr 2017 at 01:39 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Are the two addresses referenced in your Comment, Liz, the following:

Poitou, France or Holderness, Yorkshire, England?

If so, they are about 700 miles apart.

I have no quarrel with Chet's posted description of William's birthplace, because, as he said, the parents appear to have lived in both places. Where William was born may be uncertain, unless we find more definitive documentation.

On 13 Apr 2017 at 01:01 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

I received the following comment and thought I would pass it on:

I don't know the genealogical implications but I know geography. The two Addresses you gave for William de Forz. are 220 miles apart. Pretty much like asking is someone from Washington. DC or New York, NY

On 6 Apr 2017 at 22:17 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

From the bio text by Prof. Nigel Saul on this page:
"Forz was the son of the wealthy Aumale heiress, Countess Hawise, ...by her third husband, William de Forz, (died 1195).
"He came to England, probably from Poitou, in 1214, and in September or October of that year secured possession of the English lands of his mother’s inheritance on the condition that he married Aveline, daughter of Richard de Montfichet. William was first addressed as count of Aumale in royal charters of November 1214."

Wikipedia: The Earldom of Albemarle which he inherited from his mother included (his English lands)...also included the county of Aumale, ...lost to the French in 1204, along with the rest of Normandy."

Neither born nor ruled, in Aumale.

Poitou, once its own county in France, is no longer a county, but if we go by the name during the life of the person in the profile, then it is Poitou.

I think the birthplace should read "Fors, Poitou, France".

On 6 Apr 2017 at 16:22 GMT Jack Day wrote:

If it's in the data field, it needs an inline source in the bio!

On 6 Apr 2017 at 16:19 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

birth location changed from "Poitou, Normandy, Franc" to "Aumale Normandie, Frane"

Is that right? Does it need a source? (Was there a source for Poitou?)

and "Frane"?

On 12 Apr 2014 at 03:26 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Thank you Darlene for this amazing biography of William de Forz.

He was certainly an example of the way some of the barons changed sides!



William is 26 degrees from Amy Gilpin, 21 degrees from Joshua Slocum and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Magna Carta | Surety Barons | Magna Carta Project Needs Source Check | Early Barony of Skipton