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Fulk III FitzWarin (c. 1160–1258) (alias Fulke, Fouke, FitzWaryn, FitzWarren, Fitz Warine, etc., Latinised to Fulco Filius Warini, "Fulk son of Warin") was a powerful marcher lord seated at Whittington Castle in Shropshire in England on the border with Wales, and also at Alveston in Gloucestershire. He rebelled against King John (1199-1216) from 1200 to 1203, mainly over a dispute concerning his familial right to Whittington Castle, and was declared an outlaw. He was the subject of the famous mediaeval legend or "ancestral romance" entitled Fouke le Fitz Waryn, which relates the story of his life as an outlaw and his struggle to regain his patrimony from the king. He founded, between 1221 and 1226, Alberbury Priory in Shropshire which he granted to the Augustinian canons of Lilleshall but later transferred to the Order of Grandmont. His grandson was Fulk V FitzWarin, 1st Baron FitzWarin (1251-1315).
Fulk III was the son of Fulk II FitzWarin (died 1197) by his wife Hawise le Dinan, a daughter and co-heiress of Josce de Dinan. Fulk II was a marcher lord of Shropshire, the son and heir of Fulk I FitzWarin (d.1170/1) of Whittington and Alveston, who himself was the son of (i.e. in Norman French Fitz, in modern French fils de) the family's earliest known ancestor, thus deemed the family patriarch, "Warin of Metz", from Lorraine.
Warin of Metz the patriarch is however a "shadowy or mythical figure", about whom little is certain. The later mediaeval romance Fouke le Fitz Waryn gives his name as "Warin de Metz". Whatever his true place of origin it is however generally believed that the head of the Warin family came to England during the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-1087). Neither the father nor his sons were during that reign tenants-in-chief, that is to say important vassals or feudal barons, rather their grants of lands were obtained from later kings.
Fulk I (d.1170/1) was rewarded by King Henry II (1154-1189) for his support of his mother Empress Matilda in her civil war with King Stephen (1135-1154) and conferred to him in 1153 the royal manor of Alveston in Gloucestershire and in 1149 the manor of Whadborough in Leicestershire. Fulk II held those properties after the death of his father in 1171.
At some time before 1178 Fulk II (d.1197) married Hawise de Dinan, a wealthy heiress, a daughter and co-heiress of Josce de Dinan, who held Ludlow Castle in the Welsh marches for the Empress Matilda during the civil war between herself and King Stephen. Throughout his lifetime he encountered numerous problems in receiving his patrimony and his other claims to land. These land disputes included estates his father held in-chief from the crown and others which he had held from the Peverel family as overlords.
Other lawsuits concerned Whittington Castle held by the Peverels during the reign of King Stephen. Although he won the right to Whittington in or about 1195, he never received formal legal seisin and it remained in Welsh hands at the time of his death in 1197.
Whittington Castle lies on the English side of Offa's Dyke, which during the Norman era and before was the border between England and Wales. The site was fortified as a castle by William Peverel in 1138, in support of Empress Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I (1100-1135), in her struggle (known as The Anarchy) for the throne against King Stephen (1135-1154), grandson of William the Conqueror. In the late 1140s the lordship of Whittington, like Oswestry and Overton ceased to be part of England and became part of the Kingdom of Powys and a Welsh marcher lordship. In 1165 Henry II granted the castle of Whittington on Roger de Powis, a Welsh leader, to whom he gave funds for its repair in about 1173. Roger de Powis was followed by his son Meurig (or Maurice), who was followed by his son Werennoc. A rival claim was made by Fulk III FitzWarin (c. 1160–1258).
Fulk III continued the claim to Whittington made by his father. After his father's death in 1197 Fulk III offered relief of £100 for the inheritance of Whittington. However Maurice of Powis (d.1200), the son of Roger of Powis, who had offered half that amount, on 11 April 1200 was granted Whittington by King John. Again, after Maurice's death in August 1200, King John granted it to Maurice's heirs.
It is not known why King John refused to recognise Fulk's claim to Whittington as his rightful inheritance but by April 1201 Fulk was in open rebellion against the King. He was accompanied by approximately fifty-two followers including his brothers William, Phillip and John, his cousins, and by the family's many tenants and allies in the Marches. 
Fulk's rebellion is not related in detail by chroniclers but was clearly considerable as in the spring of 1201, while King John crossed into Normandy and Poitou to suppress a revolt by the Lusignans, he ordered Hubert de Burgh, with 100 knights, to counter the rebellion of Fulk and William Marsh, a Somersetshire knight who was raiding shipping off the coast of Devon.
In July 1202 Fulk and his men are reported to have taken refuge in Stanley Abbey in Wiltshire. Another man, Gilbert de Duure, is mentioned in records as "...having been an outlaw associated with Fulk Fitz Warin". Yet another, Eustace de Kivilly, was pardoned earlier in 1202 by King John for "being associated with Fulk".
After many years of being an outlaw, on 11 November 1203 Fulk was pardoned together with over thirty of his followers, including his brothers William, Phillip and John and his cousins. In October 1204, on payment of a fine of 200 marks, Fulk at last received "right and inheritance" in Whittington. Whittington Castle thereafter descended in the FitzWarin family, all subsequent holders bearing the first-name Fulk, until the death of Fulk XI FitzWarin, 7th Baron FitzWarin (1405-1420) in 1420.
In 1207 Fulk III was clearly highly regarded by many of the king's barons as evidenced by the identity of men known to have provided surety for Fulk's fine of 1,200 marks to marry the heiress daughter of Robert le Vavasur. The suretors included the Peverels, Alan Basset, William de Braose (d.1230), a de Lacy, William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury and Henry de Bohun, 1st Earl of Hereford.
On 9 February 1214, when King John again set sail for Poitou, Fulk was among the barons who accompanied him. He is believed then to have been a vassal of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Gloucester.
In 1215 Fulk was one of many giving great trouble to the Sheriff of Shropshire. Before 1216 and the accession of the infant King Henry III (1216-1272), John's son, Fulk's manor of Alveston had been seized by the crown and in the following year 1217 all of his other lands in Gloucestershire were likewise seized. By 1218 however Fulk had made peace and his lands were ordered restored by the regents of Henry III.
By 1220 Fulk had regained some favour with the young King Henry III and had been allowed to rebuild and fortify Whittington. In 1223 however it fell to Llywelyn the Great, prince of Wales. Fulk regained it the following year although his disputes with Llywelyn continued and more of Fulk's lands were seized.
By 1228 a truce seems to have been reached between Fulk and Llywelyn following the intervention of the king.
Throughout these years Fulk's relations with the King were changeable and seemed to be directly dependent on the state of affairs in Wales. As a marcher lord Fulk's role as a protector of the English border against the Welsh was vital to the English King. He arbitrated several border disputes on behalf of the King and although there were more personal disagreements, there were no more rebellions on the part of Fulk III.
Fulk III FitzWarin married twice:
Fulk III lived to a great age and at some time before his death in 1258, he handed over control of much of his responsibilities to his son and heir Fulk IV. In 1252 he made his will in which he stated his wish to be buried at the priory he founded, Alberbury Priory.
After Foulk's death he became the subject the famous "ancestral romance" known as Fouke le Fitz Waryn, which contains a highly embellished account of his life and family history.
The biography of Fulk III survives in a French prose "ancestral romance", extant in a manuscript containing English, French and Latin texts, which is based on a lost verse romance. A 16th-century summary of a Middle English version has also been preserved. The work is part of the Matter of England. The outline of the work is as follows. As a young boy, Fulk was sent to the court of King Henry II (1154-1189), where he grew up with the king's younger son, the future King John (1199-1216). John became his enemy after a childhood quarrel during a game of chess. As an adult, King John retained his animosity toward Fulk whom he stripped of his ancestral holdings. Fulk thereupon took to the woods as an outlaw and lived a life of adventure. The story may in fact have confused aspects of the lives of two FitzWarins, Fulk I (d. 1171) and Fulk II (d. 1197), father and son. The romance of Fulk FitzWarin is noted for its parallels to the legend of Robin Hood.