Bastard child of King Henry II.
WILLIAM L0NGESPEE, natural son of Henry II Plantagenet, King of England, was born at Woodstock Manor, probably in 1176, died at Salisbury Castle, 7 March 1225/6, and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral. He married in 1198 ELA D'EVEREUX, Countess of Salisbury, who died at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, 24 Aug. 1261. King Richard I gave Ela, who was born about 1191, to his bastard brother with the Earldom of Salisbury. It has been suggested that his mother may have been Alix de Porhoët. The legend that his mother was the Fair Rosamond has been discussed in the Dictionary of National Biography. Burke's Peerage (1999) mentioned an obscure person named Hikenai orYkenai as possibly his mother, but states his mother may have been someone else altogether [2:2531].
He was with Richard I in Normandy in 1196-1198 and was present at the Coronation of King John on 27 May 1199. He served as Sheriff of Wiltshire from Midsummer 1199 to 1202, 1203-1207 and from 1213 until he died. In 1202 he went on a diplomatic mission to France; in 1203 he was keeper of the castle at Avranches, and in 1204 he and the Earl Marshal escorted Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth of Wales to King John at Worcester. In 1205 he was keeper of the castle and the honour of Eye; that year he led a small band of knights to Rochelle, these being the only men to go overseas of the great force assembled by King John in an attempt to recover his lands on the Continent.
In 1206 he escorted King William the Lion of Scotland to meet King John at York in November. He was given direction of the monks and clergy of the diocese of Ely when King John anticipated the Papal Interdict in 1208. In 1209 he headed an Embassy to Germany on behalf of the King's nephew, Otto. In Dec. he was appointed Keeper of the March of Wales, and in 1210 he attended John on his expedition to Ireland. From May 1212 to March 1215/6 he was Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and when invasion from France was threatened he was Keeper of Dover Castle. In Aug. 1212 he was supervisor of the keeper of the Archbishopric of Canterbury. He was one of the four Earls at Dover, in May 1213, who swore that John would observe the terms laid down by the Pope to satisfy the bishops; he also witnessed John's declaration of homage to the Papal see. At the time he was also organizing an expedition to help the Count of Flanders against France, and in 1214 he led the forces which recovered almost all of Flanders for the Count. However, on 27 July he and the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne were captured at the battle of Bouvines. His release was negotiated in exchange for Robert, son of Count Robert of Dreux, and he was in England in May 1215, when he was one of three earls to examine the royal castles and he was a messenger from the king to the city of London. He joined the king at Runnymead in June, and later in the year, with Falkes de Breaute, he led a punitive expedition against the eastern counties.
He remained loyal to King John but surrendered Salisbury Castle to Prince Louis when he entered Winchester in June 1216, regaining his allegiance to the king in March 1216/7. He served as Sheriff of Somerset and Devonshire briefly in 1217, and at Whitsuntide marched with the Earl Marshal to the relief of Lincoln. He was with Hubert de Burgh for the victory over the French fleet at Thanet, and was among the guarantors of the truce with France in March 12 19/20. In 1220 he and the Countess laid the fourth and fifth stones at the founding of the new cathedral at New Sarum. He was with King Henry III in the successful expedition against Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth of Wales in Oct. 1223, and in 1224 he was keeper of the castles of Bridgnoith and Shrewsbury. At that time he was also Sheriff of Shropshire and Staffordshire. In 1225 he went with the young Earl of Cornwall as supervisory commander of a successful expedition to Cascony.
While his widow was required to surrender Salisbuiy Castle on 23 March 1225/6 she was granted the county of Wiltshire at the king's pleasure. In 1229 she founded Lacock Abbey; taking the veil there in 1238, she was Abbess from 1240 to 1257, and was buried there.
For conclusive evidence that William Longespee was the son of countess Ida Bigod, see V.C.M. London Cartulary of Bradenstoke Priory (Wiltshire Rec. Soc. 35) (1979):143, 188, which includes charters in which William Longespee specifically names his mother, Countess Ida. Furthermore, among the prisoners captured at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214 was one Ralph bigod, who a contemporary French record refers to as ‘brother’ of William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury . As for Countess Ida’s parentage, W. C. Fowler ststed in 1856 that Earl Roger Bigod had two wives, Ida de Thouy and Isabella de Warren . If Fowler correctly identified Countess Ida’s maiden name as Tony, it seems likely that Ida was a daughter of Ralph V de Tony(died 1162), of Flamstead, Hertfordshire, by his wife, margaret(b. 1125, living 1185), daughter of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester. For evidence which supports Ida’s identity as a Tony, several facts may be noted. First, Countess Ida and her husband, Roger Bigod, are known to have named children, Ralph and Margaret, presumably in honor of Ida’s parents, Ralph and Margaret de Tony . Countess Ida was herself evidently named in honor of Ralph V de Tony’s mother, Ida of Hainault. Next, William Longespee and hisdescendants had a long standing association with the family of Roger de Akeny, of Garsington, Oxfordshire, which Roger was a younger brotherof Ralph V de Tony(died 1162) . Lastly, William Longespee and his step-father, Roger Bigod, both had associations with William the Lion, King of Scotland, which connection can be readily explained by virtue of King William’s wife, Ermengards, being sister to Constance de Beaumont, wife of Countess Ida’s presumed brother, Roger Vl de Tony. William the Lion was likewise near related to both of Countess Ida’s parents, her father by a shared descent from Countess Judith, niece of William the Conqueror, and her mother by a shared descent from Isabel de Vermandois, Countess of Surrey. William Longespee and Roger Bigod were both present with other English relations of William the Lion at an important gathering at Lincoln in 1200, when William the Lion paid homage to King John of England. Thus, Naming patterns, familial and political associations give strong evidence that William Longespee’s mother, Countess Ida, was a Tony. Conclusive evidence of her parentage, however, is still lacking}.
Plantagenet Ancestry, Douglas Richardson 2004