Braose (Briouze, Briouse), William de (d. 1211), lord of Braose in Normandy and Bramber and Brecon in Wales, was son of William de Braose and Bertha, daughter of William de Hereford. He succeeded his father in 1180 and by that time had already acquired a reputation as a ruthless warlord in the Welsh marches where much of his early career was spent. He loyally served Richard I, accompanying him on a number of campaigns in France, and was sheriff of Herefordshire 1192–9. After the king's death (1199) he was one of the most vocal supporters of John's accession to the throne and quickly became a royal favourite. While in Normandy with the king in 1200 he was granted that all the lands that he might conquer in Wales would be considered as an addition to his barony of Radnor.
In January 1201 he was endowed with the kingdom of Limerick, excluding the city, for 5,000 marks; this lordship had previously been granted to his uncle Philip de Braose by Henry II in 1177, but had lapsed. The grant proved contentious and caused friction with magnates already holding lands in the south-west; a quarrel with William de Burgh (qv) was quickly patched up, but war broke out with Philip of Worcester, who, after pressure had been applied by John, was eventually forced to back down. In January 1203 de Braose received the custody of Limerick city, which had recently been confiscated from William de Burgh, though in November 1204 this was revoked after complaints by the justiciar, Meiler fitz Henry (qv), that he could not maintain the peace in Connacht and Munster unless he held the city for the crown. By August 1205 it had been returned once more to William, who was now to be deferred to by fitz Henry in all military matters concerning the lordship. However, the relationship between the justiciar and de Braose degenerated; in February 1207 William complained that all of his lands and chattels had been confiscated by fitz Henry (the reason is not stated, though his mounting debts had been noted by the Irish exchequer in February 1207). While his lands were restored by John, custody of Limerick city was again to remain in royal hands.
His relationship with the crown also deteriorated sharply, though there are two quite conflicting accounts given of the quarrel. Officially, John maintained that the estrangement occurred over de Braose's enormous debt for the lordship of Limerick; an agreement (whereby William mortgaged his English lands and surrendered three of his Welsh castles to the king till the debt was paid) was quickly broken when de Braose and his sons attacked the castles and refused to give up hostages to the king. According to the account of Roger of Wendover, after England was placed under interdict in 1208 John was worried that this might be used to foment unrest against his rule and so demanded hostages from many of his leading barons. When Maud de St Valery, de Braose's wife, refused to surrender her sons to the king's officials, she stated that she feared they might be murdered by John, just as the king's nephew, Arthur of Brittany, had been murdered when in royal custody in 1203. On hearing of the slander, John immediately ordered the arrest of de Braose and his family, who barely evaded capture and fled to Ireland. Certainly Maud's mention of the politically sensitive matter of Arthur's death was not wise, as her husband was known to be one of the few men who probably knew what had really happened to him.
On his arrival in Ireland early in 1209 de Braose was sheltered by William Marshal (qv), lord of Leinster and earl of Pembroke, in exile in Ireland, and he also received support from Walter de Lacy (qv), lord of Meath, William's son-in-law, and Walter's brother, Hugh de Lacy (qv), earl of Ulster. The combination of so many of the king's recalcitrant opponents in Ireland, and the refusal of Marshal and the de Lacys to hand de Braose over to the justiciar, led to preparations for a royal expedition. De Braose, fearing the worst, travelled to Wales in June 1210 in an attempt to come to terms with the king, and left his wife and children under the protection of Hugh de Lacy. Through intermediaries, he attempted to negotiate with John, and offered to pay a fine of 40,000 marks and to quit claim to the king of all of his lands in England, Wales, and Ireland; when this failed, he attempted some desultory raids in a bid to distract the king.
John, on arriving in Ireland, secured the submission of Marshal, confiscated Meath, and marched against Hugh de Lacy and de Braose's wife in Ulster. After the fall of Carrickfergus, Maud and her children attempted to flee to Scotland, but she was captured along with her eldest son, William. She was hauled before the king at Bristol in September 1210, and in a desperate bid for clemency she agreed to pay John an extra 10,000 marks on top of the 40,000 her husband had already offered. Such terms could never be met, however, and after failure to pay the first instalment William was declared an outlaw. Frustrated and powerless, he fled England in disguise and went into exile in France, where he died at Corbeuil on 9 August 1211 and was buried at the abbey of St Victor in Paris the following day. His wife and his son William were imprisoned in Windsor castle, where they were supposedly starved to death by a vengeful king.
In addition to William, de Braose and Maud had two other sons: Giles, bishop of Hereford since 1200, who went into exile in 1208 but returned in 1214 and paid a fine of £6,000 for the restoration of his father's lands in October 1215 (though he died 13 November 1215); and Reginald (d. 1227/8?) who received the de Braose inheritance in May 1216. Their daughter, Margaret, who married Walter de Lacy, received a licence to found in Ireland a religious house for the souls of her mother and brother William in October 1216.