Hubert de Burgh

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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 (hyōō´bərt də bûrg, bûr´ə), d. 1243, chief justiciar of England under kings John and Henry III. Having served as a royal minister and commander in France, he was appointed justiciar by John in 1215. He continued in this position after John's death (1216) and in 1217 took part in the defeat of the French fleet at Sandwich that led to the withdrawal of Prince Louis (later Louis VII of France) from England. Thereafter the justiciar rapidly became the most powerful man in the government of the young Henry III. His administration temporarily strengthened the position of the crown against the unruly barons, but his own territorial acquisitions made him many enemies. After 1227, when Henry was declared of age, relations between Hubert and the king deteriorated. Hubert tried to prevent the king's disastrous expedition to France (1230); he also apparently approved the widespread English movement to resist the drain of money to the papacy. In the meantime the justiciar's long-time rival Peter des Roches intrigued against him, and finally in 1232 Hubert was deprived of office on charges of disloyalty to the crown. He was imprisoned but eventually became reconciled with Henry and successfully withstood a revival of the old charges in 1239.