WILLIAM FITZ OSBERT (d. 1196), was a Londoner of good position who had served in the Third Crusade, and on his return took up the cause of the poorer citizens against the magnates who monopolized the government of London and assessed the taxes, as he alleged, with gross partiality. It is affirmed that he entered on this course of action through a quarrel with his elder brother who had refused him money. But this appears to be mere scandal; the chronicler Roger of Hoveden gives Fitz Osbert a high character, and he was implicitly trusted by the poorer citizens. He attempted to procure redress for them from the king; but the city magistrates persuaded the justiciar Hubert Walter that Fitz Osbert and his followers meditated plundering the houses of the rich. Troops were sent to seize the demagogue. He was smoked out of the sanctuary of St Mary le Bow, in which he had taken refuge, and summarily dragged to execution at Tyburn.
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