Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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FITZ ALAN , lords of Oswestry and Clun, and later earls of Arundel .

The Fitz Alan family was settled at Oswestry in the early years of the 12th cent. , but their position was challenged by Maredudd the son of Bleddyn . During the reign of Stephen ( 1135-54 ) WILLIAM FITZ ALAN I ( c. 1105 - 1160 ) aided Matilda , and when he was forced to flee, Madog ap Maredudd took control of Oswestry which he lost sometime before his death (and that of William ) in 1160 . William served against the Welsh in 1157 and his son, WILLIAM FITZ ALAN II (d. 1210 ), entertained Giraldus Cambrensis and archbishop Baldwin in Oswestry castle in 1188 . The lordship of Clun passed to William , about the year 1200 , as a result of his marriage with Isabel , daughter and heiress of Ingram de Say , while in 1202 he supported Giraldus Cambrensis in his efforts to obtain the see of S. Davids . King John attacked and burned Oswestry in 1216 , as JOHN FITZ ALAN I (d. 1241 ), one of his opponents, was friendly with Llywelyn the Great till 1217 . John was one of the Crown representatives in a dispute between Henry III and Llywelyn the Great in 1226 , while in the same year he mediated in a dispute between William Pantulf , lord of Wem , Salop , and Madog ap Gruffydd . During the conflict between Henry III , the earl marshal , and Llywelyn the Great in 1233-4 , John supported the Crown and Oswestry was attacked by the Welsh . The marriage between JOHN FITZ ALAN II ( 1223 - 1267 ) and Isabel , one of the co-heirs of Hugh d'Aubigny , earl of Arundel , brought the honour of Arundel and the title of earl to the Fitz Alan family in 1243 . Gwenwynwyn sought the aid of the lord of Oswestry against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1257 and John Fitz Alan was one of the English force which was defeated at Cymerau, Carms. , by the Welsh in the same year. The following year John Fitz Alan was one of the English commanders in the Marches , in 1260 he was summoned for service against the Welsh , whilst in 1278-82 his sons were active attacking the lands of Llywelyn the son of Gruffydd ap Madog . When the castle of Bere , near Towyn (Mer.) , was besieged in 1294 , by Madog ap Llywelyn , RICHARD FITZ ALAN I ( 1267 - 1302 ) was in command of the force sent to bring relief and he was active in the other campaigns against the Welsh [see Morris , Welsh Wars of Edward I (index) ]. During the latter years of the reign of Edward II , EDMUND ( 1285 - 1326 ), son of Richard I , was justice of Wales ( 1322 ), custodian of the Welsh Marches , captain of the array in Wales , and constable of Montgomery , while his son RICHARD II ( 1307? - 1376 ), was governor of Caernarvon castle , and life sheriff of the shire , justice of North Wales , and one of the most trusted supporters of Edward , the Black Prince , in Wales . At the start of the 15th cent. THOMAS FITZ ALAN ( 1381 - 1415 ), was one of a commission appointed to defend the Marches after the battle of Shrewsbury , 1403 , while in the following year he was placed in command of the campaign in North Wales against Owain Glyn Dwr [see Lloyd , Owen Glendower (index)].

Sources:

  • The Complete Peerage , 1910–40 , i, v, 1910 , 1926 ;
  • J. Goronwy Edwards , Calendar of Ancient Correspondence concerning Wales , 1935 , Littere Wallie , 1940 ;
  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest (index);
  • D.C. Roberts , ‘Some Aspects of the History of the Lordship of Oswestry’ (thesis in N.L.W.).

Author:

Ivor John Sanders, M.A., (1911-91), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959