William (Hardell) de Hardell

William (Hardell) de Hardell (abt. 1175 - aft. 1215)

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William de Hardell formerly Hardell aka de Hardel, Hardel
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died after in London, Englandmap
Profile last modified 9 Apr 2019 | Created 12 Apr 2014
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
William de Hardell was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Very few records of this Magna Carta surety have been discovered. We only know that he was the Mayor of London at the time of the baronial uprising against King John in 1215, that he sympathized with this cause and was later elected as an enforcer of the Magna Carta.

"Just one member of the Twenty Five was represented in the list in an official capacity, and that was the Mayor of London, William Hardel. His inclusion affords proof of the key role which London had played in the rising that brought King John to the negotiating table in 1215. London was by far the largest and most important city in England by the early thirteenth century, a major centre of national and international trade, and the country’s social, political and economic capital in all but name. The moment when the Londoners opened their gates to the rebels, lending them their support and, perhaps more crucially, their money, constituted a turning point in the struggle between King John and his opponents, indicating to the king that he was in danger of losing his kingdom and that it was time to compromise. The Londoners’ reward for their backing of the rebellion came in clause 13 of the Charter, which said, albeit without much precision, that the city was to have all its ancient liberties and free customs both by land and by water. On 19 June, four days after the making of the Runnymede pact, the barons, realising that their control of London was their trump card, made a treaty with the king which used its return as a tool to secure his compliance with the new agreement. The treaty laid down that the barons were to continue to hold London, and the Archbishop of Canterbury the Tower, until 15 August, by which time the oaths to the Twenty Five were to be exacted throughout the realm and the king was to meet all claims against him to the restoration of rights and property. If all this was carried out by 15 August, then the capital and the Tower were to be restored to him. In the event, the conditions were not met, and city and fortress remained in the barons’ temporary guardianship.

"The mayor of London, with whom the barons began their negotiations in the spring of 1215, was one Serlo the Mercer. Later in the year Serlo was replaced by the new Mayor, William Hardel, who had served as sheriff in 1207-8, and who headed a vintner dynasty with holdings in Vintry and Bishopsgate Wards. On the baronial side the lead in the negotiations was probably taken by Robert FitzWalter, the self-styled ‘Marshal of the Army of God’, who was lord of Baynard’s Castle in the City, and therefore in some sense a Londoner himself. Serlo and William and their fellow merchants remained steadfast in their support for the rebel cause in the war to come. When Prince Louis landed in England in May 1216, he made the decision to head straight for London. Serlo and four other citizens, all office-holders, when approached, personally raised the sum of 1,000 marks (about £666), which they supplied for his use. On 2 or 3 June in St Paul’s churchyard the citizens, led by FitzWalter and Hardel, rendered homage to the French prince. In the wake of the settlement negotiated at Kingston in September the Londoners returned to the royalist allegiance.

"The Hardels themselves were at the peak of their prosperity in the early thirteenth century. By Edward I’s reign they were in decline, and the bulk of their property had been acquired by Gregory de Rokesle, a wealthy goldsmith and vintner. There was a high turnover in the elite in medieval London and great mercantile dynasties rarely flourished for long."

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

William de Hardell served as the Lord Mayor of London. He was appointed Sheriff of the City of London in 1207 and elected Mayor of London (a century later known as Lord Mayor of London) in 1215.[1]

He had no arms or quarterings. He was the first mayor to secure his elevation by popular election and the first also to introduce the trappings which would add so much to the dignity of the post, such as the ridings to Westminster. "A bluff and hearty man, he sat his roan charger with ease and pride, being fully conscious of the fact that he represented more real power than any landed baron there." (Ref: The Conquering Family: The Pageant of England, Volume 1, by Thomas B Costain, publ. 2012)

After the signing and sealing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215, William was appointed to be one of the Enforcers, sometimes called Sureties, of the Magna Carta. The list of enforcers does not appear on Magna Carta itself and the first surviving list of these was by Matthew Paris the chronicler of St Albans.

The Armorial Ensigns, which are commonly assigned to William de Hardell, are Vert, a fesse flory and counterflory, Or; but Richard, or Ralph Hardell, a Draper, who was Mayor for several successive years in the time of Henry III., is stated to have borne Or, a Bend between two Cottises, Sable. Armorial bearings for a Civil Officer of so early a period should be received with considerable caution.

There does not appear to be much information available to compile a biography of William, but he may be part of the same family as that William, who was Clerk of the Wardrobe in 1245-46, the 30th of Henry III.; Vide Madox's History of the Exchequer, Chap, xxii., pages 621, Note a, 622, Note k, Chap, xxiii. page 674, Note w, 690, Note d. The same authority also mentions Ralph Hardell, the Lord Mayor of London, who was summoned to the King's council at Merton, concerning a disputed Taillage of the City: vide Chap. xvii. page 491; see also Chap. xxii. page 606, Chap, xxiii. page 632.


  1. Wikipedia, [1]


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Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, William de Hardell 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 00:43, 27 January 2018 (EST)

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William de Hardell coat of arms
William de Hardell coat of arms

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