Burgh, Hubert de

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Burgh, Hubert de (c.1175–1243). A younger son from a family of Norfolk gentry, he rose to govern Plantagenet England and marry a sister of a king of Scotland. Hubert entered John's service in the 1190s. His reputation was made by his obstinate defence of the castle of Chinon in Anjou against Philip Augustus in 1205. Appointed seneschal of Poitou in 1212 he held that province against French attack. Recalled to England he was appointed justiciar at the height of the Magna Carta crisis and remained in that office, with overall responsibility for the administration of England, until 1232. He played a decisive part in the war of 1215–17, first successfully resisting Prince Louis of France's long siege of Dover castle (1216–17), and then commanding the victorious English fleet at the August 1217 battle of Sandwich (or Dover) which finally ended Louis's hopes of becoming king of England. From 1219 onwards Hubert was the most influential figure in Henry III's minority government, successfully presenting himself as a moderate and patriotic Englishman opposed to the arbitrary excesses of foreigners such as Fawkes de Breauté and Peter des Roches. In 1221 he married, as his third wife, Margaret, sister of Alexander II of Scotland, and four years later was created earl of Kent. In 1232 his lifelong rival for royal favour, Peter des Roches, finally persuaded Henry to dismiss and imprison him. He made a dramatic escape from prison in 1233 and was reconciled to the king next year, but never recovered his former influence.

John Gillingham

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Hubert de Burgh

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