Braose, William de

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Braose, William de (d. 1211). King John's treatment of William is the most notorious example of his capricious approach towards his subjects. William, a major Welsh marcher lord, and lord of Limerick (Ireland), supported John's disputed claim to the throne in 1199 and served the king well in the early years of the reign. But his capture of John's nephew and dynastic rival Arthur of Brittany, at Mirebeau (Poitou) in 1201, proved his downfall, for he was one of the few who knew that Arthur had been murdered. There is no evidence that William sought to use this knowledge against John, but John became increasingly concerned about his loyalty. From 1205, he determined to destroy him after Matilda, William's wife, blabbed something about Arthur's fate when John, typically, demanded their sons as hostages. John ruthlessly hounded the family. Matilda and her sons disappeared, and William died in exile in France in 1211.

S. D. Lloyd