The Arms of Hubert de Burgh.
Hubert de Burgh (c.1175-1243), a younger
son from a family of Norfolk gentry, entered the service
of King John in the 1190s. His reputation was made by
his obstinate defence of the castle of Chinon in 1205.
Appointed seneschal of Poitou in 1212 he held that province
against French attack. Recalled to England in he was
appointed Justiciar at the height of the Magna Carta
crisis and remained in that office, with overall responsibility
for the administration of England, until 1232.
He was one of the great Constables of Dover
. From his first appointment until he finally
vacated the office was a period of thirty years, 1202-1232,
but from 1203-1215 four other men filled the office
for short periods. During his first period of tenure
in 1203 he founded the Maison
in the town.
Hubert played a decisive part in the war against France of 1215-17.
He defended Dover Castle against Prince Louis of France, who invaded
England to help the barons in their fight against King John. In 1216,
the French laid siege to the Castle with a large army and great siege
engines that could hurl rocks against the walls. Hubert only had 150
men to defend the castle with. Part of the outer
of the castle was undermined by the French and collapsed.
But Hubert and his heroic defenders were able to plug the breach and
fight off the attackers. With the death of King John, and the accession
of his infant son Henry III, the French withdrew.
The French returned in August 1217
with a fleet of eighty great ships and many smaller
vessels. They were met, off the Goodwin Sands, by Hubert
with only forty ships at his command. But, unlike the
French he understood the difficult Channel currents.
He sank some of the French ships, ramming them with
the iron tipped bows of his galleys. With his own vessels
to windward of the remaining French ships he threw quicklime
to burn his enemy and the French commander was captured.
This defeat finally ended Louisís hopes of becoming
King of England.
From 1219 onwards Hubert was the most influential figure
in Henry IIIís minority government. In 1221 he married,
as his third wife, Margaret, sister of King Alexander
II of Scotland, and four years later was created Earl
of Kent. In 1232 his long-time rival for royal favour,
Peter des Roches, finally persuaded Henry to dismiss
and imprison him. He made a dramatic escape from prison
in 1233 and was reconciled to the king next year, but
never recovered his former influence. In Dover Hubert
de Burgh will be remembered as the heroic defender of
and the founder of the Maison