The next year de Burgh was appointed Constable of Dover Castle, and also given charge of Falaise, in Normandy. He is cited as having been appointed a Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports by 1215, and although the co-joint position of this office to that of the constableship of Dover Castle was not fully established until after the Baron's War, a rather long period seems to have elasped between the two appointments. (White and Black books of the Cinque Ports Vol XIX 1966)
There are several accounts of de Burgh's actions as jailor, including complicity in Arthur's death and an account that the king ordered de Burgh to blind Arthur, but that de Burgh refused. This account was used by Shakespeare in his play King John. The truth of these accounts has not been verified, however.
During the year he was trapped in Chinon, and the two following years when he was a prisoner of the French, de Burgh lost most of his estates and posts. The reasons are much debated. After his return to England in 1207, he acquired new and different lands and offices. These included the castles of Lafford and Sleaford, and the shrievalty of Lincolnshire. Probably, however, de Burgh spent most of his time in the English holdings in France, where he was seneschal of Poitou.
De Burgh played a prominent role in the defence of England from the invasion of Louis of France, the son of Philippe II who later became Louis VIII. Louis' first objective was to take Dover Castle, which was in de Burgh's charge. The castle withstood a lengthy siege in the summer and fall of 1216, and Louis withdrew. The next summer Louis could not continue without reinforcements from France. De Burgh gathered a small fleet which defeated a larger French force at the Battle of Dover and Battle of Sandwich, and ultimately led to the complete withdrawal of the French from England.
When Henry III came of age in 1227 de Burgh was made lord of Montgomery Castle in the Welsh Marches and Earl of Kent. He remained one of the most influential people at court. On April 27, 1228 he was named Justiciar for life. But in 1232 the plottings of his enemies finally succeeded and he was removed from office and soon was in prison. He escaped from Devizes Castle and joined the rebellion of Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke in 1233. In 1234, Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury effected a reconciliation. He officially resigned the Justiciarship about May 28, 1234, but had not exercised the power of the office after September 1232 . His judgment was reversed by William Raleigh also known as William de Raley in 1234, which for a time, restored his earlship. He again faced forfeiture in 1239, but retained some standing by granting several castles to the king, including the Trilateral in Wales.
Before all these marriages he had a marriage contract with Joan, daughter of William de Reviers, 5th Earl of Devon, but that engagement was broken off in 1200.
A 20th century descendant is Chris de Burgh.
Dover Castle's ancient keepers: an antiquarian manuscript at Knole: a newly discovered manuscript at Knole is a compilation about Dover Castle ranging from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Caroline Shenton traces the history of this unusual book, including its use by the 17th-century antiquary Edward Dering in enhancing his lineage.
Apr 01, 2006; when news reached the National Trust's Libraries Curator in autumn 2005 that a manuscript called 'The Treaty of Dover' was in...