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The Rest of the Story: The Ancestors of Sarah May Paddock Otstott
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Maud DE ST VALERY, LADY OF HAIE's parents: Bernard DE ST VALÉRY ( - ) and Matilda ( - )

Maud DE ST VALERY, LADY OF HAIE (1155?-1210)

      Corfe Castle where Maud de Braose and her son William were starved to death in the dungeon.    
Sex: Female
Father: Bernard DE ST VALÉRY ( - )
Mother: Matilda ( - )

Individual Events and Attributes

Birth 1155 (app)
murdered 1210 (age 54-55)
Occupation Lady of Haie
Death 1210 (age 54-55) dungeon of Corfe Castle, Dorset, England

Additional Information

murdered by King John who had her walled up alive in her castle walls with her young son William. This act initiated the gathering of the barons which became the Magna Carta in 1215.
Death Cause: starvation


Spouse William DE BRAOSE (BRIOUZE) (1175-1211)
Children William DE BRIWERE (1145?-1226?)
Reynold DE BRAOSE ( -to1228)
Margaret (Margary) DE BRAOSE ( -1200)
Marriage 1166 (app) (age 10-11)

Individual Note

Maud de Braose, Lady of Bramber (c. 1155–1210) was the wife of William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, a powerful Marcher baron and court favourite of King John of England. She would later incur the wrath and enmity of the King who caused her to be starved to death in the dungeon of Corfe Castle along with her eldest son.


She features in many Welsh myths and legends; and is also known to history as Matilda de Braose, Moll Wallbee, and Lady of La Haie.[1]


Family and marriage

She was born Maud de St. Valéry in France in about 1155, the child of Bernard de St. Valéry[2][3] of Hinton Waldrist in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire)[4] and his first wife, Matilda. Her paternal grandfather was Reginald de St. Valéry (died c.1162).


She had many siblings and half-siblings, including Thomas de St. Valery (died 1219), who was a son of Bernard by his second wife Eleanor de Domnart. Thomas married Adele de Ponthieu, by whom he had a daughter, Annora, who in her turn married Robert III, Count of Dreux, by whom she had issue. Thomas fought on the French side, at the Battle of Bouvines on 27 July 1214.[5]


Sometime around 1166, Maud married William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, son of William de Braose, 3rd Lord of Bramber and Bertha of Hereford de Pitres. He also held the lordships of Gower, Hay, Brecon, Radnor, Builth, Abergavenny, Kington, Painscastle, Skenfrith, Grosmont, White Castle and Briouze in Normandy. When King John of England ascended the throne in 1199, he became a court favourite and was also awarded the lordship of Limerick, Ireland. Maud had a marriage portion, Tetbury from her father's estate.


Maud supported her husband's military ambitions and he put her in charge of Hay Castle and surrounding territory. She is often referred to in history as the Lady of Hay. In 1198, Maud defended Painscastle in Elfael against a massive Welsh attack led by Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys. She successfully held off Gwenwynwyn's forces for three weeks until English reinforcements arrived. Over three thousand Welsh were killed. Painscastle was known as Matilda's Castle by the locals.[6]


Maud and William are reputed to have had 16 children.[7] The best documented of these are listed below.


William de Braose (1175 – 1210). Starved to death with his mother in Corfe Castle. He married Maud de Clare, daughter of Richard de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford and Amice FitzRobert de Meullant of Gloucester, by whom he had issue, including John de Braose.

Giles de Braose, Bishop of Hereford (1180 – 11 November 1215)

Reginald de Braose (1178 –9 June 1228), he married firstly, Grecia de Briwere, daughter of William de Briwere and Beatrice de Vaux, and secondly, after 1222, Gwladus Ddu, daughter of Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. He had issue by his first wife, including William de Braose, who married Eva Marshal, and Matilda de Braose, who married Rhys Mechyll.

Matilda de Braose (1172 – 29 December 1210), married Gruffydd ap Rhys II, by whom she had two sons, Rhys and Owain.

Margaret de Braose (1177 – after 1255), married Walter de Lacy, 6th Baron Lacy of Trim Castle, Sheriff of Hereford, son of Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath and Rohese of Monmouth, by whom she had issue, including Gilbert de Lacy, Pernel de Lacy, and Egidia de Lacy. Margaret was buried at Priory Church in Holme Lacy.

Annora de Braose (1190 – 1241), married Hugh de Mortimer

Loretta de Braose, married Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Leicester. She died without issue.

John de Braose (c.1180 – 1205), married Amabil de Limesi

Flandrina de Braose, Abbess of Godstow, (elected 1242, deposed 1248).


Enmity of King John

In 1208, William de Braose quarrelled with his friend and patron King John. The reason is not known but it is alleged that Maud made indiscreet comments regarding the murder of King John's nephew Arthur of Brittany. There was also a large sum of money (five thousand marks) de Braose owed the King. Whatever the reason, John demanded Maud's son William be sent to him as a hostage for her husband's loyalty. Maud refused, and stated loudly within earshot of the King's officers that "she would not deliver her children to a king who had murdered his own nephew."[8] Maud, upon realising her grave error, tried to make amends by sending Queen Isabella a herd of four hundred cattle, whose quality she had previously boasted of.[9] The King would not be mollified and quickly led troops to the Welsh border and seized all of the castles that belonged to William de Braose. Maud and her eldest son William fled to Ireland, where they found refuge at Trim Castle with the de Lacy's, the family of her daughter Margaret. In 1210, King John sent an expedition to Ireland. Maud and her son escaped but were apprehended on the Antrim coast while trying to sail for Scotland.[10][11] After being briefly held at Carrickfergus Castle,[12] they were dispatched to England.


Imprisonment at Corfe Castle

Maud and her son William were first imprisoned at Windsor Castle, but were shortly afterwards transferred to Corfe Castle in Dorset where they were placed inside the dungeon. Maud and William both starved to death.[12] Her husband died a year later in exile in France where he had gone disguised as a beggar to escape King John's wrath after the latter had declared him an outlaw, following his alliance with Llywelyn the Great, whom he had assisted in open rebellion against the King, an act which John regarded as treason. He was buried in the Abbey of St. Victor, Paris.


Maud's daughter Margaret de Lacy founded a religious house, the Hospital of St. John, in Aconbury, Herefordshire in her memory.[13] On 10 October 1216, eight days before his death, King John conceded three carucates of land in the royal forest of Aconbury to Margaret for the construction of the religious house. He sent the instructions to her husband Walter de Lacy, who held the post of Sheriff of Hereford, by letters patent.[14]


Maud de Braose features in many Welsh folklore myths and legends. There is one legend which says that Maud built the castle of Hay-on-Wye single handed in one night, carrying the stones in her apron.[15] She was also said to have been extremely tall and often donned armour while leading troops into battle.[16]


The legend about her building Hay Castle probably derives from the time she added the gateway arch to a tower which was built in the 1180s.[17]


In contemporary records, she was described as beautiful, very wise, doughty, and vigorous. She kept up the war against the Welsh and conquered much from them.[13]


The manner in which Maud and her son William met their deaths so outraged the English nobility that Magna Carta, which King John was forced to sign in 1215, contains clause 39; it reads:


"No man shall be taken, imprisoned, outlawed, banished or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land."



1 The Complete Peerage

2 Extract E:Histoire des Ducs de Normandie et des Rois d' Angleterre,ed. Francique Michel (Paris 1840)

3 Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, p.133

4 Ford, David Nash (2003). "Matilda De St. Valery, Lady Bergavenny (c.1153-1210)". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 16 June 2011.

5 Xenophon Group, Military History Database

6 The Barons de Braose, Blood Feuds, by Lynda Denyer (History of Family de Braose website)

7 F.M. Powicke, "Loretta, Countess of Leicester" (Published in 'Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait', 1933)

8 Costain, Thomas B. The Conquering Family, pp. 260-62

9 Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Untitled English Nobility A-C, Briouse

10 Costain, page 262

11 History of Family of De Braose website

12 a b Histoire des Ducs de Normandie et des Rois d'Angleterre, pp.112-5

13 a b Histoire des Ducs de Normandie et des Rois d' Angleterre

14 Cambridge Journals, Cambridge University Press, retrieved 26 October 2008

15 History of Family de Braose website

16 Costain, page260

17 Mike Salter, Hay Castle



Thomas B. Costain "The Conquering Family" Published by Doubleday and Company, Inc., 19623


1Weis, Frederick Lewis & Sheppard, Walter Lee, Jr, "Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700: Lineages from Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and other Historical Individuals". p 168, 177-6; 168, 177A-6.
2"Genealogy Page of John Blythe Dodson". 393.