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1st Earl of Salisbury (1198-1226)
Born? Died 1226

William Longsword (or Longespee), was an illegitimate son of Henry II. In 1198 he received from King Richard I the hand of Isabella, or Ela (d. 1261), daughter and heiress of William, Earl of Salisbury, and was granted this title with the lands of the earldom. He held many high offices under John, and commanded a section of the English forces at Bouvines (1214), when he was made a prisoner. He remained faithful to the royal house except for a few months in 1216, when John's cause seemed hopelessly lost. He was also a supporter of Hubert de Burgh.

In 1225 he went on an expedition to Gascony, being wrecked on the Isle of Re on the return voyage. The hardships of this adventure undermined his health, and he died at Salisbury on the 7th of March 1226, and was buried in the cathedral there.

The eldest of Longsword's four sons, William (1212-1250) did not receive his father's earldom, although he is often called Earl of Salisbury. In 1247 he led the English crusaders to join the French at Damietta and was killed in battle with the Saracens in February 1250.

Being the entry for SALISBURY, WILLIAM LONGSWORD (or LONGESPEE), EARL OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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