Fulk FitzWarin III walks through the door of my home and I seated him at the head of our family dinning room table. He is over 850 years old, grey of hair, sturdy, with a commanding presence, and he is my husband’s 1st cousin 25 x removed. What to serve someone from the late 1100’s. I’ve got just the thing. Legs of Lamb served with roasted potatoes, followed by homemade rye bread and cheese and washed down with red wine, but there will be no huge open fires, straw on the earthen or stone floor, glassless windows or uncomfortably straight backed chairs this evening!
Fulk III was the son of Fulk FitzWarin II who after his own fathers death was raised at court with the then Prince John. Fulk II and Prince John fought over a game, the outcome of which ensured that they were mortal enemies from that time on and John, upon becoming King, took out his hatred on Fulk III.
I’m just full of questions for this elderly man who is credited with starting the legend of Robin Hood, and the now fabled fall out with King John of England. Fulk III took the Lordship of Whittington which included the family home of Whittington Castle upon his father’s death in 1197, but he lost the Lordship in 1199 when King John granted it to Llewellyn ap Iorworth, Prince of Wales.
I want to hear all about Fulk III’s life in the forests of Shropshire during this time, his adventures as he robbed the Royal Wagon Trains as they passed through the forest, his life with Maude (upon whom the story of Maid Marion is based), and his reconciliation with the King after he gave away all of Fulk’s family inheritance – including Whittington Castle in Northern Shropshire.
I have read many articles about Fulk FitzWarin III who, over his lifetime, fell in and out of favour with his king. On two documented occasions Fulk III and his followers managed to capture King John and his men to try and secure peace between the families. King John sent his men into the forest to hunt out Fulk III and his followers a few times, but Fulk was never captured.
I guess there are two main areas that I would love to talk to Faulk III about:
Firstly I would like him to explain how he was able to overcome what would have been a natural resentment, or even hatred, for toward King John after he took Fulk’s inheritance, to later become one of his loyal supporters? I would love to know what was really going on in that mind. Did Faulk honestly forgive the King, or was it a matter of “appeasing” the King?
Secondly, I would love to understand what life in a castle during the middle ages was like; the battles and most definitely what treatments were available for injuries, the role of presiding over arguments between tenants and the metering out of punishments, what the daily weapons practice entailed and what was available to the family in the form of “the arts” – poetry and music.