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Charlton Marshall Village HistorySun, 21st July 2019

Charlton Marshall Village History

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How did it begin Part 1

This is the first of an occasional series of short pieces which will tell bits of the story of Charlton Marshall. I'm going to start with the name.

'Charlton' means farmstead (or settlement) of the free peasants and is quite a common village name in England. It is made up of two Old English words, ceorle (free peasant) and tun (settlement) which later became our word 'town'.

'Marshall' was added in the 13th century when the manorial lands here were owned by the Marshalls who were Earls of Pembroke. They also owned Sturminster Marshall. William Marshal (sic) (1147-1219), Earl of Pembroke, described by one writer as 'the David Beckham of his day', was recently the subject of a very interesting BBC2 programme "The Greatest Knight".

William was the younger son of a minor nobleman; as such he had no inheritance of land but through his bravery and skill he became one of the most powerful men in England (possibly in Europe). At the age of 43 his marriage to 17 year old Isabel de Clare brought him considerable land and wealth, and subsequently the Earldom of Pembroke. I do not know how or when he acquired his lands in Dorset; probably they were already held by the Earldom of Pembroke.

William was one of the signatories of Magna Carta in 1215 and after the death of King John the following year, he became, at age 70, Regent for the 9 year old King Henry III. During his time as Regent, Magna Carta was re-issued under his seal.

William's effigy is behind the throne in the House of Lords and he is buried in the Temple Church in London where his grave can still be seen.

Marshal was originally a job title, keeper of the horses, which developed into head of household security, but from William's time onwards it became a family name.

My book "Charlton Marshall – Aspects of our Story" is out of print but is available from the Library. Mark Churchill.

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