January 15th Isabel, Countess of Cornwall (Death)  

Married on her 17th birthday to Gilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford and 5th Earl of Gloucester, who was 20 years her senior, Isabel Marshall (1200 – 1240) was widowed when Gilbert died on his return from Brittany (25th October 1230).

Isabel married, secondly, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall and the second son of King John.  They had four children, three of whom died in infancy whilst the son who survived to adulthood, Henry of Almain (1235 –  1271), was murdered by his cousins, Guy and Simon de Montfort. Isabel developed liver failure during childbirth and died on this day in AD 1240.

Richard was given ownership of most of Cornwall by his brother, King Henry III, as a birthday present and was appointed High Sheriff of Cornwall, the revenues from which made him one of the richest men in the country.  It has been suggested that Richard built Tintagel Castle in an earlier style to link himself and his reputation with King Arthur. It is certainly true that Richard swapped the Manor of Winnianton (on the Lizard Peninsula) for Tintagel.  The lands of Winnianton Manor extended across the Lizard from Gunwalloe to Helford and included Merthen Manor which has been owned by the Vyvyan family (13th January) since 1629. The manor is now only remembered by the name of Winnianton Farm situated just north of Gunwalloe Cove.





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