John de Plessis, 7th Earl of Warwick

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John de Plessis, 7th Earl of Warwick (also Jean du Plessis ) († February 25, 1263 ) was an English magnate from France .

Uncertain origin

The origin of John de Plessis is uncertain. Presumably he was born in France, according to the chronicler Matthew Paris he came from Normandy , but this cannot be proven. In 1223 he was first employed as a knight in the service of King Henry III. mentioned. From 1224 he administered together with Hugh de Plessis , Drew de Barentin and Nicholas de Bolleville , who like him were knights of the royal household, the estate of Chalgrove in Oxfordshire . Hugh de Plessis was certainly related to John de Plessis, possibly even his father or older brother. Drew de Barentin may have come from Barentin and Nicholas de Bolleville from Bolleville , like places in the Pays de Caux north of Rouen .

Service as knight of the royal household

John de Plessis took part in numerous campaigns, including 1223 and 1228 to Wales and 1230 to France . From 1233 he is regularly mentioned as a witness in royal documents, possibly he was a protégé of Peter des Roches , who was also from France and the chief minister of the government. However, when des Roches was overthrown in 1234, Plessis did not fall from grace, but was made Constable of Devizes Castle and Keeper of the Royal Forest of Chippenham in 1234 . He retained these two offices until his death. Plessis also attested to numerous royal documents, and between 1238 and 1240 he assumed a leading role in collecting royal taxes. Briefly he was 1239 Sheriff of Oxfordshire. In 1242 he took part in the king's campaign in Gascony , where he negotiated with Count Raimond of Toulouse in Bordeaux in August .

Ascent to the Earl of Warwick

The king rewarded Plessis for his services with the transfer of numerous guardianships and with the administration of fallen fiefdoms. Among the estates he managed were those of Hugh of Sandford in Berkshire. After initially becoming engaged to Hugh's widow Joan, Plessis married their daughter, Christina, in 1234, who was her father's heir. Christina had died before December 1242, because at that time the king promised him during the Saintonge War in Bordeaux that he would marry the widowed Margaret de Beaumont , sister and heir to the deceased of Thomas de Beaumont, 6th Earl of Warwick . The marriage took place before September 14, 1243. Although the Earldom of Warwick had been reduced by the widowing of two widows of the previous Earls, Plessis was now lord of Warwick Castle and properties with nearly 50 Knight's fees . With his second marriage he had made an extraordinary rise from simple, foreign knight to magnate.

However, his bride had been forced to marry by the king against her will. As a rich widow, she may have tried to find a new husband herself after her husband's death. Therefore, Plessi's position was not yet secured. It was not until 1245 that he received his due third of the tax revenue from Warwickshire , and even later, in August 1247, he was officially confirmed as Earl of Warwick . In the meantime, he made an agreement with his wife's family that in the event of Margeret's death he would retain a lifelong right to use Warwick and other properties. In fact, Margeret died in 1253. Plessis could now keep her possessions according to the agreement with her family, but he should now have renounced the title Earl of Warwick. With the approval of the king he was allowed to continue to use the title, however, with the support of the king, he was now his own master of Hook Norton in Oxfordshire , a rule that his wife had inherited from her mother and therefore did not belong to the Beaumont family. He even got the right to pass Hook Norton on to his son from his first marriage. This regulation clearly contradicted the valid inheritance law and embittered numerous other barons and magnates who had already resented the king's forced marriage of Margeret.

Another service for the king

In 1244, Plessis became Constable of the Tower , and in 1251 he became a judge for London. In 1250 he probably made a pilgrimage to the tomb of the canonized Archbishop Edmund Rich in Pontigny in France. In 1252 he took a crusade vow, but never went on a crusade. From 1253 to 1254 he accompanied the king on his expedition to Gascony, where he had to put down an uprising. In September 1254 he wanted to travel back from southwest France, together with William Mauduit , a cousin of his wife, and Gilbert of Seagrave overland through France to England. The French King Louis IX. assured them safe passage, but in Pons in Poitou they were captured by the citizens in an ambush. Seagrave died in captivity, and Plessis and Mauduit were not released until 1255 after paying a ransom. Shortly after his release, Plessis had to give up his office as Constable of the Tower in June 1255, but remained Constable of Devizes. Still in the favor of the king, he was involved in the negotiations on the planned campaign to Sicily in November 1255 . In March 1258 he was to take part in the king's planned campaign to Wales.

When there was a rebellion against the king by large parts of the nobility in April 1258, Plessis was nominated by both the barons and the king as a member of the 24-member committee that was supposed to work out a reform program for the government, the so-called Provisions of Oxford . Plessis, however, sympathized with the aristocratic opposition and sealed it with letters against the Lusignans , the hated half-brothers of the king who came from France. In June 1258, Plessis was re-elected as Constable of Devizes. In 1259 he was a member of the Regency Council, which led the government during the absence of the king who had traveled to France. He was also involved in the negotiations between Henry III. and the French King Louis IX. involved, which led to the Treaty of Paris . His office as a judge in western England, which was transferred to him in 1260, he probably did not take. He was called to parliament that the king wanted to hold Easter 1260, as well as to the planned campaign to Wales in August. In 1261 he continued to side with the king, who appointed him sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire. In October 1261 he again took part in the king's parliament. In 1261 he paid a fee of 400 marks to the Crown to get back the Kidlington estate that he claimed as part of Hook Norton. In September 1262 he authorized the citizens of Warwick , the market law .

Plessis was buried in the Augustinian priory of Missenden in Buckinghamshire , to which he bequeathed a small donation of land. Hugh de Plessis , his son from his first marriage, became his heir , while the Earl of Warwick's possessions and title went to William Mauduit.

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predecessor Office successor
Margaret de Beaumont Earl of Warwick
(de iure uxoris)
William Mauduit