William Malet

William Malet (abt. 1173 - bef. 1219)

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Sir William "Lord of Curry Mallet, Somersetshire" Malet
Born about in Curry Mallet, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of — married about 1195 [location unknown]
Husband of — married about 1215 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, Englandmap
Profile last modified 12 Sep 2019 | Created 21 Feb 2011 | Last significant change: 12 Sep 2019
23:34: Liz (Noland) Shifflett edited the Biography for William Malet (abt.1173-bef.1219). (added maintenance categories and updated Magna Carta Project section) [Thank Liz for this]
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
William Malet was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Note: See Caution (below)



William Malet was a member of aristocracy in the British Isles.

"William Malet (c. 1175-1215) was one of the sizeable group of rebel barons who were heavily indebted to King John, making the revolt of 1215 in some sense a debtors’ revolt. [1]

Birth and Parentage

"William Malet was born in or before 1173 (of age in or before 1194)." [2] He died about 1216. [2]

William II Malet was adult by 1196 in the barony of Curry Malet, Somerset, [3]

William Malet or Mallet, flourished 1196-1215; baron of Curry Mallet and Shepton Mallet, Somerset, was the descendant in the fourth generation of Gilbert, brother of Robert, and the younger son of William Malet of Graville. [4]

William, the lord of Curry Mallet in Somerset, was the descendant of Robert Malet (d. before 1156), first holder of the barony, and the son of Gilbert Malet, who died in 1194. In 1196 he paid Richard the Lionheart a fine and relief of £150 to enter into his inheritance. [1]

William Malet, Magna Carta Baron was Sheriff of Somerset & Dorsetshire [5]

William Malet, Magna Carta Baron, Sheriff of Somerset & Dorsetshire was born circa 1175 at of Dullingham, Cambridgeshire, England. His parents were Gilbert Malet, Baron of Curry Malet b. c 1150, d. c 1194 and Alice Picot b. c 1154 [6]


Malet also had property in Lullingstone, Kent; Great Finborough, Suffolk; Woodmansterne, Surrey; and Curry-Mallet, Kilve, & Sutton Mallet, Somersetshire.


"William’s early career, characteristically for someone of his background and upbringing, had been in royal service. He had accompanied Richard the Lionheart on crusade from 1190 and he had taken part in the siege of Acre in 1191. [1]


He was in Normandy with King Richard in 1195; in the following year he paid a fine of 100_l_. for livery of his inheritance; in 1204 he paid to the king a hundred shillings for liberty to sue William Evermue for the lordship of Swinton; in 1211 he was appointed sheriff of Dorset and Somerset; and in 1214 he served King John with ten knights and twenty soldiers in Poitou. [4]

Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset

He was appointed sheriff of Somerset and Dorset by King John in 1209 after the two counties had petitioned to have someone local as their sheriff instead of the courtier William Brewer, and he served in the office until 1212. By this latter year he was running into financial difficulties, although the cause of his problems is not clear, and by 1214 he was owing the king as much as 2000 marks (about £1333). In 1214 he entered into an agreement to serve with the king in Poitou with ten knights and twenty other soldiers in return for the cancellation of his debt.

From 1210 to 1214 he was sheriff of counties Somerset and Dorset. [7]

"William, of Curry Malet and Shepton Mallet, Somerset; fl. 1195-1217; Sheriff of Dorset and Somerset 1211; one of the 25 magnates charged with seeing that the Magna Charta was complied with; married Alice, daughter and coheir of Thomas Basset, of Headington, Oxon, and died c1219." [8]

Magna Charta Surety

Magna Charta Surety 1215, d. c 1216. [3]

In 1215 he went over to the barons, joining the confederacy at their muster at Stamford in Easter week, and in June was appointed to the Twenty Five. [1]

When he joined the Barons against King John and became one of the Sureties his lands in four counties were confiscated and given to his son-in-law, Hugh de Vivonia, and to his father in law Thomas Basset, and Malet was excommunicated by the Pope in 1216. He was also fined two thousand marks, but this remained unpaid until after his death, and at that time one thousand marks were remitted, being found due to him for military service to King John in Poitou. [7]

In the following year Malet took a prominent part on the popular side in the struggle between the king and the barons. He joined the confederacy of the barons at Stamford in Easter week, 1215, and was one of the twenty-five barons subsequently elected to guarantee the observance of the Great Charter. For the part which he took in the events of that year he was personally excommunicated, together with thirty other barons, by the pope. [4]

First Marriage to Unknown Wife

William Malet's first wife's identity is still unknown.

Whoever she was, she evidently was the mother of his son, William, and his three daughters. Alice Basset wasn't the mother of William Malet's three daughters.

Dr David Faris found that William Malet's daughters weren't heirs to Alice Basset's sister's estates, whereas her three daughters by her second Biset marriage were. This can only mean that Alice Basset was not the mother of William Malet's daughters.

William Malet had a previously unknown son born much earlier than the Basset marriage, which son witnessed his grandfather, Gilbert Malet's charter. So, it is quite clear now that William Malet must have had an earlier unidentified wife before he married Alice Basset. [9]

"William Malet had property in various places which might have served as his first wife's maritagium. One such holding was the manor of Finebergh, Suffolk, which later passed in marriage among his descendants to the Lords Lisle, of Rougemont. I haven't yet established how William Malet got that property. Since so many of the Magna Carta sureties were related to the Clare family, that might be a good direction in which to look for William Malet's first wife.

Second Marriage to Alice Basset

Alice Basset b. c 1184, d. c 1263

He married Alice Basset, daughter of Thomas Basset, Lord Headington and Philippa Malbank, circa 1204 at of Headington, Oxfordshire, England; No issue.

Malet married Alicia, the daughter of Thomas Basset, and his possessions passed to his two daughters, Mabel and Helewise, who became respectively the ancestresses of the families of Beauchamp and Poyntz. [4]

"Sir William Malet, Magna Charta Surety 1215, d. c 1216, of Curry Malet, sheriff of Somerset and Devon; m. Alice (or Aliva) Basset, daughter of Thomas Basset, who was named in the Magna Charta 1215." [10]


He died about 1217, aftehaving married Mabel, called also Alice, daughter of Thomas Basset of Headington. She survived him and was married, second, to John Biset. [7]

"Malet appears to have died only months afterwards in December 1215, for by that time his estates were in the possession of his son-in-law, Hugh de Vivonia.[1]

He appears to have died shortly afterwards, for early in the reign of Henry III his estates are found in possession of his two sons-in-law, Hugh de Vivonia and Robert Mucegros, who are ordered to pay into the treasury a fine which Malet had incurred. [4]

William Malet, Magna Carta Baron, Sheriff of Somerset & Dorsetshire died circa 1216. [11]

Issue by William Malet and unknown first wife

The Surety had two sons who died during their father's lifetime.[7]and left three daughters between whom his estates were divided: [1]

If William was adult by 1196, it may be assumed that his first marriage took place about then, and his children were born after 1196, and before his marriage to Alice Basset. The date of her marriage, in turn had to be before his death in 1217, but not very much before, because she subsequently demonstrated her ability to bear children, but did not from her marriage to William.

  1. Hugh, born, say, 1197, whose descendants did not survive;
  2. William, born, say, 1199, who d.s.p.;
  3. Mabel, born about 1200, who married first Nicholas Avenel and then Hugh de Vivonia (d. 1249) of Chewton (Somerset); [1] Mabel, wife of Nicholas Avenel, & of Sir Hugh de Vivonne; died by 16 Oct 1249. [12] Her estimated birthdate is also calculated from facts in her life.
  4. Hawise or Helewise, born, say, 1204, who married first Hugh Pointz (d. 1220), an associate of Malet in the rebellion, and second Robert de Mucegros (d. 1254), a future servant of Henry III;[1] Hawise Malet who was married, first, to Hugh de Poyntz, who died 4 April 1220 and their son 41 Nicholas de Poyntz died in 1272. Hawise's second husband was Robert de Muscegros, of Berwain and Norton. He died 29 January 1253/4." [7]Hawise, wife of Sir Hugh Poyntz, & of Sir Robert de Muscegros; [13]Hawise Malet died after 4 May 1287 [14]
  5. Bertha, born, say, 1206, who died unmarried before 1221." [15]

Subsequent Marriage of widow Alice

William Malet was survived by his apparently second wife Alice, d. c 1263, daughter and coheir of Thomas Basset, d. 1220, lord of Headington, Oxford and Colynton and Whitford, co. Devon, by wife Philippa Malbank. [3]

Alice's maritagium, the manor of Deddington, co. Oxford. [3]

She m. (2) by 1223 John Bisset (or Biset), d. 1241, by whom 3 daughters: Margaret, Ela & Isabel. According to VCH Oxford V 160, Alice Basset's three Bisset (Biset) children were coheirs of Alice's sister Philippa Basset, but not the Malet children; so they must have been children of an earlier wife.)[3]


Monuments of this branch of the family still exist in the churches of Curry Mallet and Shepton Mallet." [4]

Research Notes

Caution: It is interesting to note that there were five contemporary relatives named William Malet, and they all held lands in England or in Jersey. [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Text courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee
  2. 2.0 2.1 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families Vol 4, page 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Ancestral Roots, line 234a-28, cited by Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families Vol 4, page 2 -3
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Stubbs's Select Charters, p. 306, and Constitutional History, i. 541-2; Rymer's Fœdera, i. 211-12, ed. 1704; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 111; A. Malet's Notices of the Malet Family, and in particular the private manuscripts in the possession of Sir Henry Malet.] C. E. M. [Ref: DNB, Editor, Sidney Lee, MacMillan Co, London & Smith, Elder & Co., NY, 1908, vol. xii, pp. 865-6
  5. Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition (2011), Vol. III, p. 96-98.
  6. Richardson, Magna Carta, p. 96-97
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Ref: John S. Wurts, _Magna Carta: The Pedigrees of the Barons_, pp. 96-7
  8. Burke's Peerage
  9. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families Vol 4, page 2 -3
  10. Magna Charta Sureties
  11. Richardson, Magna Carta, III:96-97, and Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:2-3
  12. Richardson, Magna Carta, III:96-97, and Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:2-3
  13. Richardson, Magna Carta, III:96-97, and Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:2-3
  14. Richardson, Magna Carta, III:96-97, 218 and Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:2-3
  15. Richardson, Magna Carta, III:96-97, and Richardson, Royal Ancestry, IV:2-3
See also:


Magna Carta Project

William Malet is a Magna Carta surety baron and has the Magna Carta Project as a manager.
See Malet-18 Descendants for profiles of his descendants that have been improved and categorized by the Magna Carta Project and are in a project-approved trail to a Gateway Ancestor. See this index for links to other surety barons and category pages for their descendants. See the project's Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails.
  • Needs Re-review/Source Check: Information is good, but re-review/source check is needed because Professor Nigel's article was dismantled and other sources interspersed but quotation marks were (apparently) not changed. I did some editing, but quoted matter needs to be checked. It might be easier to re-assemble the Professor's article (which was published with his permission). ~ Noland-165 19:26, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

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William Malet coat of arms
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On 12 Sep 2019 at 04:25 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

On 4 Mar 2019 at 14:57 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

I also don't think "Sir" was commonly a part of names, honorific or otherwise, in this period. If it is part of his name then surely there will be a source somewhere to show this?

On 1 Mar 2017 at 07:24 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Well, Chase - you have been busy. It is a challenge to keep up with you :)

William Malet is written WILLIAM MALET by Richardson in Royal Ancestry, Vol Iv, page 3, without the honorific "SIR".

Regardless that there may be more to it than can be covered here, and this era produces conflicting opinions among experts, it is my opinion WikiTree should continue to use "SIR" unless a question in G2G produces changes in the guidelines.

On 28 Feb 2017 at 23:54 GMT Chase Ashley wrote:

Unless an original record can be produced that shows he was called "Sir", it should be deleted as a prefix since "Sir" supposedly wasn't used as an honorific in England until 1297 and, in any event, was for lesser mortal like knights and baronets. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir

On 13 Mar 2015 at 22:42 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Thank you very much Jack! It looks better and reads more coherently.

On 13 Mar 2015 at 21:46 GMT Jack Day wrote:

April, I thought I would integrate the blocks of narrative into one integrated biography and that would make it easier to clarify the issue of maternity and children that you raised.

On 25 Jan 2015 at 05:19 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

William Malet married as his first wife, Unknown, the mother of his children. With his second wife, Alice Baset, "they had no issue". See Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families Vol 4, page 2

On 11 Nov 2014 at 17:11 GMT Renee Malloy Esq wrote:

Gateway Ancestor to America is Samuel Stratton-20

William is 28 degrees from Tanya Lowry, 22 degrees from Charles Tiffany and 12 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.