Fulk FitzWarin was born circa 1160 in England to Fulk FitzWarin (-1197) and Hawise de Dinan (-1226) and died 1258 England of unspecified causes. He married Maud le Vavasour (1176-1226) 1207 JL in England.

Fulk FitzWarin III, (also called Fulke or Fouke FitzWaryn, FitzWarren, Fitz Warine, etc.) (c. 1160–1258) was an English nobleman, turned outlaw for a time over a dispute with King John as to his familial right to the castle of Whittington Castle in Shropshire. The historical Fulk, or Fulk III FitzWarin, was a Marcher Lord who rebelled against King John from 1200 to 1203.


The Patriarch's name is disputed, the Romance gives the name of Warin de Metz. It is generally believed that the head of the Warin family came to England during the reign of William the Conqueror, but neither the father nor his sons held any land in chief during that time. Their lands were from later kings.

Fulk I was rewarded for his support of Empress Matilda when her son Henry II conferred to him both Alveston in 1153 and the manor of Whadborough in Leicestershire in 1149. Fulk II had control of those properties after the death of his father in 1171.

Land dispute

Fulk II married a wealthy heiress named Hawise de Dinan, daughter and co-heiress of Josce de Dinan, the holder of Ludlow Castle for the Empress Matilda during the civil war between the latter and King Stephen. Fulke II was a knight who was part of the Shropshire Marches. He married Hawise before 1178 and throughout his lifetime had numerous problems receiving patrimony and land claims. These land disputes included property his father owned in chief and that which he had held for the Peverel family.

Other lawsuits included the castle of Whittingham held by the Pervels during the reign of Stephen. Although he actually won the right to Whittington in or about 1195, he was never given seisin (title and occupancy) and it remained in Welsh hands at the time of his death.

Whittington Castle lies on the English side of Offa's Dyke, which, in early history, was the Norman boundary between England and Wales. The site was fortified as a castle for William Peverel, in 1138, in support of Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I against King Stephen, grandson of William I, and claimant to the throne during the time known as The Anarchy. In the late 1140s, the lordship of Whittington, like Oswestry and Overton ceased to be part of England and became part of the Kingdom of Powys and a Welsh Marcher Lordship. In 1165 Henry II conferred the castle of Whittington on Roger de Powis, a Welsh leader, to whom he gave funds for its repair in about 1173. Roger de Powis was followed by his son Meurig (or Maurice), who was followed by his son Werennoc. A rival claim was made by Fulk III FitzWarin.


Fulk III was the son of Fulk II FitzWarin (died 1197) by Hawise le Dinan and the subject of the fictional Romance described below.

Fulk III continued the claim to Whittingham made by his father. After his father's death in 1197 Fulk III paid a fine of £100 for his inheritance of the castle. Maurice of Powis, the son the Welsh nobleman Roger of Powis, offered half that amount, nevertheless on 11 April 1200, Maurice's offer was confirmed by King John and again, after Maurice's death in August, the King granted it to Maurices' heirs.

It is unknown why King John took these actions but by April 1201 Fulk was in open rebellion with the King. He was accompanied by approximately fifty-two followers including his brothers William, Phillip and John, cousins, and by the family's tenants and allies in the Marches.

Fulk's rebellion is not detailed by chroniclers but it must have been considerable because in the spring of 1201, while John went into Normandy and Poitou to suppress a revolt of the Lusignans,[12] he ordered Hubert de Burgh with 100 knights to counter the rebellion of Fulk and William Marsh. Marsh was a Somersetshire knight who was raiding off the coast of Devon.

In July 1202, Fulk and his men are reported to have taken refuge in Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire. Another man, Gilbert de Duure is mentioned in records as "...having been an outlaw associated with Fulk Fitz Warin." Another man, Eustace de Kivilly, was pardoned earlier that year by King John for "being associated with Fulk".

After years of being an outlaw, on 11 November 1203, he and over thirty men were pardoned including his brothers William, Phillip and John as well as his cousins. In October 1204 Fulk received Whittington on payment of a fine of 200 marks. Fulk was given Whittington in "right and inheritance". The castle then descended in the FitzWarin family, all called Fulk, until the death of Fulk XI in 1420.

At approximately 1207 Fulk must have been highly regarded by many of the barons as evidenced by the men who provided surety for Fulk's fine to marry the heiress daughter of Robert le Vavasur. The suretors for the fine of 1,200 marks included the Pervels, Alan Basset and both William de Braois, a de Lacy, William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury,and the Earl of Hereford.

On 9 February 1214, when King John again set sail for Poitou, Fulk was among the barons who went with him. At that time he was thought to be a vassal of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Gloucester.

In 1215, Fulk was included with others as giving great trouble to the Sheriff of Shropshire. By 1216 his manor of Alveston was seized by the Crown and in the following year, all of his lands in Gloucestershire were also ordered seized. By 1218 Fulk made peace and his lands were ordered restored by the regents of Henry III.

By 1220, Fulk had regained some favour with Henry III as he was allowed to rebuild and defend Whittington but in 1223 it fell to Llywelyn the leader of Wales. He regained it the following year. His disputes with Llywelyn continued and more of Fulk's lands were seized.

By 1228 a truce seemed to have been reached between Fulk and Llywelyn with the intervention of the King.

Throughout these years, Fulk's relations with the King were changeable and seemed to be directly dependent on the situation with the Welsh and their leader. As a Marcher Lord, his protection of the Welsh border was vital to the King. He arbitrated some border disputes on behalf of the King and, though there were more personal disagreements with Henry, there were no more rebellions on the part of Fulk III.

Marriages and children

Fulk (III) FitzWarin's first wife, whom he probably married in 1207, was Maud le Vavasour, Baroness Butler, daughter and heiress of Robert le Vavasour and widow of the powerful Lancashire baron Theobald Walter. He secured pledges to marry her from his brother William and Mathilda's father, Robert le Vavasour, who held, of the honour of Skipton (Yorkshire). She died in 1226 and was buried at New Abby, Alberbury, Shropshire.

His children by Matilda (Maud) are as follows:

  • Fulk IV (−1264)
  • Fulk Glas
  • Hawise, wife of William Pantulf, a Marcher Lord
  • Joan
  • Eva
  • Mabel (−1297)

Fulk married secondly Clarice d'Auberville. There may have been other children but they are not reliably recorded.

Between 1221 and 1226 Fulk III founded Alberbury Priory which he granted to the Augustinian canons of Lilleshall but later transferred it to the Order of Grandmont.

Later years and death

Fulk III lived to a great age and some time before his death in 1258, he handed over control of much of his responsibilities to his son and heir Fulk IV. In 1252 he made his will and in it he stated his wish to be buried at his foundation of Alberbury Priory.

Romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn

After Foulk's death he was the subject of an "ancestral romance", Fouke le Fitz Waryn, which contains a highly embellished account of his life and family history.

The biography of Fulk III survives in a French prose "ancestral romance", extant in a miscellaneous manuscript containing English, French and Latin texts, which is based on a lost verse romance. A 16th-century summary of a Middle English version has also been preserved. The work is part of the Matter of England. According to the tale, as a young boy, Fulk was sent to the court of King Henry II, where he grew up with the future King John. John became his enemy after a childhood quarrel during a game of chess. As an adult, Fulk was stripped of his family's holdings, and took to the woods as an outlaw. The story may in fact also have confused aspects of the lives of two Fulk FitzWarins, Fulk I (d. 1171) and Fulk II (d. 1197), father and son. The romance of Fulk FitzWarin has been noted for its parallels to the Robin Hood legend.


Offspring of Fulk FitzWarin and Maud le Vavasour (1176-1226)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Fulk FitzWarin (-1264)
Hawise FitzWarin (-1253) 1207 England 1253 Wem, Shropshire, England William Pantulf (-c1230)
Joan FitzWarin
Eva FitzWarin
Mabel FitzWarin (-1297)


Offspring of Fulk FitzWarin (-1197) and Hawise de Dinan (-1226)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Fulk FitzWarin (c1160-1258) 1160 England 1258 England Maud le Vavasour (1176-1226)


Footnotes (including sources)