Warden of the Isles (1207)1212 - 1224, 1232 - 1234
Philippe d’Aubigné was the first Warden of the Channel Islands. He was first appointed in Guernsey in 1207 but did not have responsibility for Jersey until 1212.
His name is sometimes shown as ‘de Albini’ or d’Aubigny. Surnames did not properly exist in those times and have often been retrospectively applied by historians and genealogists, with the best of intentions, to show the relationship between people. Most important documents in this era in England were written in Latin and French or English names were often ‘latinised’, so that d’Aubigné and d’Aubigny are frequently both shown as de Albini.
They are, however, two very distinct families, both originating in France very close to the Channel Islands. St Aubin d’Aubigné in Ile-et-Vilaine, Brittany and St Martin d’Aubigny, in Manche, Normandy, are more or less equidistant from Mont St Michel. The two names are frequently confused, even by such august reference works as the Dictionary of National Biography, which, in a single sentence, manages to refer to Philippe as ‘a member of the junior branch of the family d’Aubigny , native to St Aubin d’Aubigné’.
Both families arrived in England with Norman the Conqueror and were amply rewarded for their loyalty, the d’Aubignés with Belvoir Castle and the d’Aubignys with Arundel Castle.
A Philippe d’Aubigné is recorded as having been Warden of the Isles on three occasions, from 1207-1220, 1220-1223 and 1232-1234. It is not entirely clear from historical records which Philippe served when, but most historians accept that it was the first Philippe's nephew, also Philippe who served from 1220-1223. It could have been either of them who served from 1232 to 1234.
What is known is that the first Philippe died in Jerusalem in 1236 while on a crusade and was buried there. So ended the amazing life and illustrious career of a man who served as Constable of Ludlow in 1207, before being appointed Warden of the Channel Islands. In 1213 he was appointed a marshal of the king’s expeditionary force to France and served in the Poitou campaign the following year.
He was in the king’s party at the signing of the Magna Carta and was Constable of Bristol in 1215 and led the royalist forces in Kent and Sussex two years later, before fighting in the Battle of Lincoln and commanding one of the king’s ships in a naval battle off Sandwich.
He was tutor to the future Henry III and was sent as an ambassador to France in 1220, before joining the fifth crusade in 1221 just in time to see the army’s collapse at Damietta. On his return he was again sent as an ambassador to the French Court and he spent much of the next decade of his life either as an emissary or participating in English military expeditions to France. In 1235 he set out on another crusade, from which he was not to return.
How much time he had actually spent in the Channel Islands during his periods as Warden is unknown, but it seems that the appointment, which is believed to have been well rewarded financially, was more than a sinecure, because of the need to replace Philippe while he was off fighting crusades and exercising his skills of diplomacy in France.
It would appear that he delegated much of his Channel Island responsibilities to his younger brother Oliver, whose daughter Marguerite married Philippe de Carteret, the Seigneur of St Ouen.
- Marguerite d'Aubignés ancestors This descendancy from Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy shows the connection between the d'Aubigné and d'Aubigny families with the marriages of Sir Roger Bigod's daughters Margaret (Maud) to William d'Aubigny and Cecily to William d'Aubigné. These marriages have been regularly confused by genealogists and the two Williams are often shown to be the same person, leading to enormous confusion on Websites about the ancestry of Oliver and Philippe d'Aubigné.
Four Jerripedia articles on the Aubigné ancestry