Welcome back to Hertford – A History Part 8!
Our famous Castle was finally ready in 1173 - in time for the rebellion by the king’s sons to come to a head. Fully occupied by a company of knights and men-at-arms, the Castle was ready for anything.
While Richard I was away fighting in France against Philip Augustus or crusading, the government was in the hands of William Longchamps, who also happened to be the governor of Hertford Castle.
When Richard died in 1199 power fell into the hands of his younger brother John who had thus taken it from Richard’s son Arthur. John then appointed Richard de Montfitchet who was Sheriff of Herts and Essex as governor of Hertford Castle. There was much opposition to this decision and a man named Robert Fitz Walter claimed the right to govern the castle. He claimed that his wife Gunnora was daughter of Robert de Valoignes and heiress of his brother Peter. Those two were sons of Roger and grandsons of the original governor of Hertford Castle – Peter de Valoignes. To prove this Robert Fitz Walter produced a charter to show his right and then garrisoned the Castle by force with his vassals.
John could not stand for this and overwhelmed him with power, but then after proving you can’t mess with the crown, he still appointed Robert Fitz Walter as governor of Hertford Castle who held the position for 10 years.
This wasn’t a great move because as John seriously oppressed the country with high taxes, Robert Fitz Walter became a leader of the growing opposition to the King.
Find out what happens next in part 9 of Hertford – A History.
Read the whole account in Cyril Heaths excellent read – The Book Of Hertford.
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