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WURTS MAGNA CHARTA provided a brief accounting of the feudal headquarters of some of the Magna Charta Barons. Some of the castles have been badly damaged. Some have disappeared entirely. Often we can learn of them through Medieval and Renaissance accounts, and some of them require the discerning eye of the archeologist. Others await the evidence brought out with a shovel and pick, by the trained archeological historian.
A portion of the information concerning Surety Baron GEOFFREY de MANDEVILLE is as follows:
GEOFFREY de MANDEVILLE, the Surety, upon paying King John 20,000 marks, obtained a license in 1214 to marry Avisa or Isabella, daughter of William, Count of Meullent, who had first been King John's wife, but who was repudiated in 1200 because of consanguinity, since both the King and Queen were great grandchildren of King Henry I. Geoffrey died two years after their marriage, and Avisa was promised to Hubert de Burgh, but the marriage never took place, and she died without issue. In right of his wife Geoffrey de Mandeville became Earl of Gloucester, and was placed in full possession of all the liberties belonging to this Earldom and to the lordship of Glamorgan in Wales. He was one of the wealthiest of the Barons opposed to King John. He was excommunicated for adhering to the Barons' party. His life was short. He was mortally wounded in a tournament in London in February 1216, and died 23 February, without issue. He was interred in the Priory of the Holy Trinity in the suburbs of the City.
He was succeeded by his brother William de Mandeville, who also took the part of the Barons and maintained it, even after the death of King John, for he had assisted Louis of France in the siege of Berkamstead Castle, which was occupied by the King's forces. William died without issue 8 January 1227, when the Earldom of Essex devolved upon his sister, Maud Bohun, Countess of Hereford, while the lands which he inherited passed to his half brother, John FitzGeoffrey, whose wife was Isabel Bigod, widow of Gilbert de Lacie and daughter of Hugh Bigod, the Surety.
Geoffrey de Mandeville's Castle at Gloucester is nothing but a city jail, yet once it was a Saxon Castle and later a Norman stronghold.
Appreciation is expressed to Reed M. W. Wurts, one of the Heralds of the Society for furnishing the Barons Shield on this page.