William Marshal 11461219

William Marshal was born c. 1146, the son of John Marshal - a middle-class knight and tender of the king's horses. Squired to another knight at age 12, he was himself knighted just before battle at age 20. William fought ably in his first battle. He went on to fight in dozens of tournaments and melees, and was more often than not victorious.

William served under four English kings, including Henry II and Richard I. He once put down a rebellion by Richard while in the service of Henry, but Richard so admired William's valor and loyalty that he granted him lands and a command upon becoming king. William also went on a crusade to the Holy Lands, where he fought for five years.

William was a paragon of knighthood: humble, well-spoken, honorable, and a noted leader of men. He was loyal to his king, brave, and dedicated. He was also a terrifically skilled fighter, a loyal companion in battle (and in the taverns afterward!), and fond of jousts. Like most Western martial artists, he claimed no particular school or master. He was skilled with knightly weapons (sword, lance, and mace), an expert horseman, and - based on what's known of his time period - almost certainly an adept wrestler, capable of handling himself unarmed as well as armed.

William's fearsome combat skills apparently waned little with age. He fought in battles and tournaments, and put down rebellions against his lord, right up until his death. At age 73, he led a charge against rebelling knights. He took three dents to his helm and personally fought the rebel commanders hand-to-hand. He died not in battle but of natural causes.

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