William Malet

Click here for William Malet’s chief manor at Curry Mallet, Somerset

Small William Malet arms  William Malet (c. 1175-1215) was one of the sizeable group of rebel barons who were heavily indebted to King John, making the revolt of 1215 in some sense a debtors’ revolt. William, the lord of Curry Mallet in Somerset, was the descendant of Robert Malet (d. before 1156), first holder of the barony, and the son of Gilbert Malet, who died in 1194. In 1196 he paid Richard the Lionheart a fine and relief of £150 to enter into his inheritance.

William’s early career, characteristically for someone of his background and upbringing, had been in royal service. He had accompanied Richard the Lionheart on crusade from 1190 and he had taken part in the siege of Acre in 1191. He was appointed sheriff of Somerset and Dorset by King John in 1209 after the two counties had petitioned to have someone local as their sheriff instead of the courtier William Brewer, and he served in the office until 1212. By this latter year he was running into financial difficulties, although the cause of his problems is not clear, and by 1214 he was owing the king as much as 2000 marks (about £1333). In 1214 he entered into an agreement to serve with the king in Poitou with ten knights and twenty other soldiers in return for the cancellation of his debt. CurryMalet2In 1215 he went over to the barons, joining the confederacy at their muster at Stamford in Easter week, and in June was appointed to the Twenty Five.

Malet appears to have died only months afterwards in December 1215, for by that time his estates were in the possession of his son-in-law, Hugh de Vivonia. He left three daughters between whom his estates were divided: Mabel, who married first Nicholas Avenel and then Hugh de Vivonia (d. 1249) of Chewton (Somerset); Helewise, who married first Hugh Pointz (d. 1220), an associate of Malet in the rebellion, and second Robert de Mucegros (d. 1254), a future servant of Henry III; and Bertha, who died unmarried before 1221.

Text courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee, the arms were drawn and painted by Mr Ron Lovell and are reproduced courtesy of the Suffolk Heraldry Society


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Bull October 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Primrose Mallet-Harris of Mallet Court Nurseries, Curry Mallet, as well as myself, are 2nd Cousins, 22 times removed of Sir William Malet, Baron of Curry Mallet, High Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset and a surety of the Magna Carta. Will there be any recognition given to descendants/relatives of Sir William Malet at the 800th anniversary celebrations? If so, when will this be?

Congratulations on a very informative website!

Barbara Bull.


Marjorie Hookham January 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

Dear Mr and Mrs Bull,

Apologies for the delay in replying to your email. We are delighted to hear of your interest in the anniversary celebrations in 2015 and that you will probably be visiting Curry Mallet.

As I am sure you know, Curry Mallet is a very small village and the majority of our projects and events are centred on our excellent primary school (currently 64 pupils). The Magna Carta will be incorporated into their curriculum for the next two academic terms and they are involved in several projects, culminating in an open weekend at the school on 13th/14th June. Prior to that they will be participating in a field art event and, post anniversary, singing in a Magna Cantata at Salisbury Cathedral. The funding we have been successful in raising comes with restrictions and conditions emphasising a focus on education.

Over the June weekend there will be a medieval themed day on the Sunday when the children will perform a pageant in the field next to the Church, followed by a community picnic. This will follow a Church service, during which a banner designed and made by ladies in the village will be dedicated.

It will of course be a pleasure to welcome you to the village to enjoy the results of the hard work of the children, school staff and the community.

Kind regards


Douglas Sysel January 25, 2015 at 3:51 am

I am related to no one of importance but my wife, Dr. Carol Mellen has magna charta relatives that were Sureties. Eleven great, great, great grandfathers, three uncles g.g.g. etc., one by marriage, three first cousins and seven second cousins. She actually has as many as our founding father, George Washington. We want to come to your island and hunt up her beginnings, however not during the 800th event and probably in August or next year. We have to hurry as father time is catching up with us (70’s). My wife is a Phd Clinical Psychologist and I am a veterinarian, both still working. If there is a reference that shows the home castles with or without maps, this would be very helpful information for me as I am the prime mover on this trip and have convinced my wife that it is probably the most important thing she will do in her life. I think she is finally starting to believe me and has agreed to this adventure even though it means leaving her disheartened clients behind for two week. Our goal is to visit as many home castles of her relatives as we can and any good reference would be helpful. There are a lot of them out there but one that has been particularly helpful was written in 1956 by a female author who I can’t name right now without going to my ‘favorites’ list and losing this rather lengthy communication. Thank you Douglas Sysel


Peter Sinclair February 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Hallo again Douglas! If you are making plans for August or 2016, then I suggest you contact me and I can send you a PDF of all our towns and villages’ events and activities, as well as contact emails. That should help!

Best wishes, Peter


Nick Sargeant March 30, 2015 at 12:23 am

Your most informative website was a delight to come across. Best wishes to Marjorie .. maybe catch you in the Bell this summer?


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