The first rebellion

Richard, earl of Cornwall
Richard, earl of Cornwall

By this time Richard, the earl of Cornwall, had also married into the Marshal clan. William’s sister Isabella was the widow of the earl of Gloucester, another powerful family. By marrying Isabella, Richard became stepfather to her 10-year-old son, Richard de Clare, later one of the leaders of the reform movement. Henry had objected to that marriage on the grounds that he had a better match for his brother. The new leader of the Marshals, another Richard, was inclined to think the objections came from the king’s foreign advisers, who were steadily encroaching on the authority of the magnates. Taking up arms, Richard Marshal was killed in an ambush, which forced Henry to finally purge his court of the aliens. One alien who survived the struggle was Simon, in part because he came from an entirely different background than the others, who were mostly churchmen from the province of Poitou. It also helped that Henry had finally settled on a bride for himself, and marriage into her family would result in a fresh batch of aliens swarming to England.

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