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Henry Marshal Henry Marshal
(c.1146-1206)

Bishop of Exeter
Born: circa 1148
Died: 1st November 1206


Henry was a younger son of John Marshal and Sybil, daughter of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury. Unlike his warrior brother - William, Earl Marshal of England & Earl of Pembroke - Henry entered the Church and, by 1189, had became Dean of York. After an interepiscpum of nearly three years in the Diocese of Exeter -caused by the imprisonment of King Richard on his way back from the Holy Land - Henry was raised to be Bishop there in 1194. Whilst still Bishop elect, he joined the rebellious followers of John, Earl of Mortain, who were mobilising in favour of Prince John though, shortly after his consecration, he assisted the Archbishop of Canterbury in King Richard's second coronation in Winchester.

Henry was a deeply religious man and used his position and influence, not to mention his considerable wealth, to promote the Catholic Church. He recognised the gruelling schedule of daily and nightly services undertaken by his 24 vicars choral by obtaining for them the church of St. Swithun in Woodbury. He, further, filled Exeter Cathedral's coffers by insisting that every household in the diocese should, as in other sees, contribute at least a half-penny to its upkeep. He was therefore able to complete the Norman building begun by his predecessor, William Warelwast, including the dominant towers that we still see today.

Bishop Marshal held his Bishopric for about twelve years before his death on 26th October 1206, when he was buried under a fine grey marble altar-tomb on the north side of the quire of Exeter Cathedral.

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