William (Mowbray) de Mowbray

William (Mowbray) de Mowbray (abt. 1173 - bef. 1224)

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Sir William "Baron of Thirsk" de Mowbray formerly Mowbray
Born about in Thirsk, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married before [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Axholme Castle, Lincolnshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 9 Nov 2011 | Last significant change: 10 Apr 2019
03:58: Liz (Noland) Shifflett edited the Biography for William (Mowbray) de Mowbray (abt.1173-bef.1224). (replaced {{FMG} & updated Cawley refs ) [Thank Liz for this]
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Magna Carta Surety Baron
William de Mowbray 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 (Mowbray) de Mowbray was a member of aristocracy in England.


The Magna Carta Project's foundational reference is Douglas Richardson's work - Magna Carta Ancestry and Royal Ancestry. The information in this section is from Richardson's Royal Ancestry.[1] Additional information about William de Mowbray in this profile is drawn from a variety of sources, as noted in the text.[2]
William de Mowbray, Knt., of Thirsk, Yorkshire, seigneur of Montbrai in Normandy, Constable of York Castle
Son and heir of Nele de Mowbray by his wife Mabel.
William married Avice, and they had two sons:
Sir William de Mowbray died shortly before March 25, 1224 and was buried at Newburgh Abbey.

Detailed Biographical Information

William de Mowbray (c. 1173-c. 1224) was "a landowner with Yorkshire estates centring on Thirsk and Lincolnshire lands in the Isle of Axholme."[3]

In the Histoire des Ducs de Normandie, he is described as being as small as a dwarf, but very generous and valiant.[4]

Mowbray was typical of those lords, particularly in northern England, who had suffered at the hands of John, felt a burning sense of grievance, and were longing for the opportunity to get their own back.[3]

Name, Lands, Titles

He is most often referred to as William de Mowbray.[1][5]

William de Mowbray, Lord of Axholme Castle[6]
Fourth Baron Montbray[citation needed]
Knight, Thirsk, Yorkshire[1]
Seigneur of Montbrai in Normandy[1]
Constable of York Castle[1]

1173 Birth and Parentage

He was born about 1173[7] in Thirsk[8]

He was the son of Nele de Mowbray & his wife Mabel,[5] who in turn was probably the daughter of William de Patri.[3]

On the other hand, WikiTree, without attribution, notes his parents as Nigel de Mowbray and Mabel de Clare[6]

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.[7]

A manuscript which recites the Mowbray ancestry names “Willielmum, Robertum, Philippum et Rogerum” as the four sons of “filius Rogeri de Molbray primogenitus…Nigellus de Molbray” & his wife, adding that William died “in insula de Haxeiholm” and was buried “apud Novum-Burgum”[1114].[5]

1194 Marriage

He is said to have married Avice, a daughter of William d'Aubigny, 3rd Earl of Arundel, of the elder branch of the d'Aubignys.[6]

He married Avice,[1] daughter of ---. Richardson does not show Avice as a daughter of William d'Aubeney.[9]

The primary source which confirms her marriage has not yet been identified. A manuscript record of the Mowbray family (many of the details in which relating to the early generations of the family are inconsistent with other sources) states that the wife of “Willihelmus…primogenitus et hæres Nigelli de Molbray” married “[filiam] comitis de Arundel…Agnetem” who was mother of his two sons[1118].[5] If this is correct, she would have been Agnes, daughter of William Earl of Arundel & his wife Matilda de Saint-Hilaire, but the identification of this person has not yet been corroborated from other sources.[5]

If he was in fact born in 1173, he would have been aged 21 in 1194, a good age for marriage. This would place the birth of his elder son at about 1195. There are no records for when his elder son Nele or Nigel was actually born. Nele assumed his father's lands when William died in 1224, so Nele had achieved majority by then, so was born no later than 1203.


William and his wife had two sons.[5][1] Neither Richardson nor Cawley names any daughters, although there is circumstantial evidence of a daughter (see below).

  1. Nele or Nigel de Mowbray's estimated birth year is 1195. The elder son, Nele (or Nigel)[1] succeeded his father William him. He died childless in Nantes in 1230 and was buried in Neufbourg. "Nigel de Mowbray" made a fine for "having seisin of all lands…of which William de Mowbray his father, whose heir he is, was seised on the day he died", dated 25 Mar 1224[1119]. A manuscript which recites the Mowbray ancestry names “Nigellum et Rogerum” as sons of “Willielmus de Molbray”, adding the Nele died “apud Nauntys” childless and was buried “apud Novum-Burgum”[1120]. The Annals of Dunstable record that “Nigellus de Mubray” died in 1230[1121]. m as her first husband, MATILDA de Camville, daughter of ROGER de Camville & his wife --- (-before 6 Oct 1240).[5]
  2. Roger (Mowbray) de Mowbray, Knt.,[1] is currently shown born 1220 which is consistent with the statement that he did not come of age until 1241. Roger died November 1266 and was buried in Pontefract, Friars Church.[5]


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.[6]

As Nigel left no issue by his wife Mathilda or Maud, daughter of Roger de Camvile, he was succeeded as sixth baron 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.[7]

Disputed Children

In the past, WikiTree profiles for three daughters have been linked, but have not been verified as daughters by credible source and it is possible that two never existed. The two no longer linked as children:

Remaining attached is
See the comments on Maud's profile discussing evidence supporting the conjecture that William de Mowbray, surety baron, had a daughter by his wife Avice who married John Hansard, including "...a 1233 Fine Roll where Hansard's wife Maud is co-heir of lands in Melton from her uncle Robert Mowbray, and a charter in which William is shown with a younger brother, Robert."[10]

1193 Career under Richard I

There was much in William’s background and personal circumstances that can be seen, with hindsight, as pointing the way to his involvement in the rebellion against King John. His forebear, Roger de Mowbray, had taken part in the great uprising against Henry II in 1173-4, which had convulsed the whole Angevin world.[3]

He himself had become entangled in financial dealings with King John which were to cost him dearly. His problems lay in his family’s early rise to power, specifically in their acquisition from Henry I a century before of the lands of Robert de Stuteville, a supporter of Henry’s brother Robert Curthose in his failed bid for the English crown, and who had forfeited his property to Henry.[3]

"He appears to have been in the company of King Richard I on his return from Palestine, and witnessed a charter of the king at Spiers in Germany 20 Nov 1193, where Richard spent his second Christmas in captivity. "[1]

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.[7] William was later a witness to Richard's treaty with Baldwin of Flanders in 1197.[8]

1199 Career under King John

Upon the death of King Richard, William de Mowbray swore fealty to King John.[1]

"In 1200 his enemy Robert’s descendant, William, reactivated his family’s claim against the Mowbrays, and in that year William offered the sum of 2000 marks (over £1300) to John to secure a judgement in the matter. When the case was brought before the king’s justices, however, it ended in a compromise, and one highly favourable to Stuteville. William was nonetheless still under obligation to pay and, like others before him, had little alternative but to borrow from the Jews. William had gambled everything on the favourable outcome of a risky legal action and had failed. It is clear that, when he embarked on rebellion against John, he had nothing to lose."[3]

1215 Magna Carta

William "joined the confederacy of the barons against the king at Stamford in Easter week, 1215. He was one of the twenty-five barons elected to guarantee the observance of Magna Carta, signed by King John 15 June 1215."[1]

"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".[7][11]

1217 Battle of Lincoln

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.[7]

"Mowbray was taken prisoner at the battle of Lincoln in May 1217. He had to surrender the Surrey manor of Banstead, that formed his mother’s marriage portion to Hubert de Burgh as the price of redemption. His family never succeeded in recovering it."[3]

1224 Death

William died at Axholme[5] "shortly before 25 March 1224 and was buried in Newburgh Abbey."[1] He was buried at Neufbourg.[5]


Mowbray founded the chapel of St Nicholas at Thirsk, and was a benefactor of his father’s foundation, Newburgh priory, where, on his death at Axholme around 1224, he was buried.[3]

William de 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.[8][7]

“Willielmus de Molbrai” confirmed donations to Newburgh Abbey by “Rogeri de Molbray avi mei et Nigelli de Molbray patris mei” by undated charter, witnessed by “Roberto de Mubray patruo meo, Philippo de Mubray fratre meo, Roberto de Mubray fratre meo…”[1116].[5]

Research Notes

Caution: William de Mowbray-135 has a different father and son and appears to be a member of a different family. Do not attempt a merge without further research.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Royal Ancestry, Volume IV, pp. 178-180, MOWBRAY (#Douglas_Richardson)
  2. Special thanks to Jackson Day for his work in melding the information about William de Mowbray into a comprehensive whole.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Professor Nigel Saul, Royal Holloway, University of London. William de Mowbray. (William de Mowbray, Magna Carta 800th biographies; accessed April 4, 2016)
  4. 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. Cited by Wikipedia: William de Mowbray (accessed April 5, 2016) and Professor Nigel Saul (#Saul).
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Charles Cawley. William Mowbray, entry in "Medieval Lands" database (accessed April 5, 2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Wikipedia: William de Mowbray
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 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.) Cited by Wikipedia: William de Mowbray (accessed April 5, 2016).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Magna Carta Ancestry (#Richardson), cited by Wikipedia: William de Mowbray (accessed April 5, 2016).
  9. Royal Ancestry, Volume II, p. 252 (#Richardson)
  10. John Ravilious; Mowbray Ancestry of Camoys and Hansard: a Conjecture; 19 Jun 2007; URL: archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/gen-medieval/2007-06/1182272899
  11. Browning, Charles H. (1898). The Magna Charta Barons and Their American Descendants. p.F 114. ISBN 0806300558. LCCN 73077634. reprinted 1969. Cited by Wikipedia: William de Mowbray (accessed April 5, 2016).
  • Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013)
  • Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol III, p 198
See also:
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Schuerman, J. (2006, August). Magna Carta Surety, XXVI (2).
  • thepeerage.com
MEDIEVAL LANDS: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families by Charles Cawley © Foundation for Medieval Genealogy & Charles Cawley 2000-2018.


This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted by January 2014. Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile; from that list, click WikiTree IDs other than Mowbray-151 to see changes to those profiles prior to being merged.

Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, Sir William de Mowbray's profile is managed by the Magna Carta Project. See Mowbray-151 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.

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On 27 Jun 2018 at 19:15 GMT Bill Grunwald Sr wrote:


This is another interesting WEB Site about York Castle.

On 27 Jun 2018 at 18:47 GMT Bill Grunwald Sr wrote:

Found an interesting WEB Site about the Thirsk Castle.


On 18 May 2018 at 06:39 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Hi! The Magna Carta project is working toward having a project member as "Surety Specialist" for each surety baron, to aid collaboration and to help watch over the profile. (See details about the role of Surety Specialists here, the "long answer" on the project's Glossary page.)
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On 6 Jan 2018 at 03:35 GMT Andrea (Stawski) Pack wrote:

Liz I found a book that mentions Wm de Mowbray and being a lineage of him is John Lewis-241 Page 508

On 1 Mar 2017 at 19:49 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

I agree with Chet Snow's reply to the same Comment as below from Chase Ashely on Robert De_Vere, which ends with:
"Respected genealogist Richardson does not so why should we?"

On 28 Feb 2017 at 23:56 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

William is 38 degrees from Graham Chapman, 31 degrees from Janet Wild and 12 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.