Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141 (Page 6)

Matilda born 1101, was her father Henry I's heiress as his sole surviving legitimate issue. The barons of England and Normandy, at Henry's insistence, swore to uphold her right to the throne, but when her father died and her cousin Stephen landed in England, most of them backed him instead. The civil war which ensued, lasted for many years before Stephen finally agreed to make Matilda's son Henry, his own heir.


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Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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William, Count of Flanders

I had previously told you, that in the spring of 1127, Louis the Fat, King of France, upon the death of Count Charles of Flanders, gave that county to his now-brother-in-law William, the son of the still imprisoned Robert count of Normandy brother of Henry I.  It doesn't come as much surprise that such a move was determined to reignite once again the animosity that existed between nephew and uncle.

"During Lent and Easter he [Henry I] was at Woodstock.  Where he was there he received this message : 'Charles, earl of Flanders, your dearest friend, has been treacherously assassinated by his nobles in a church at Bruges; and the King of Frances has bestowed the earldom of Flanders on your nephew and enemy, William....'  Upon hearing this the king was in great trouble, and held a council at London during the Rogation days..." ("Chronicle, 1126")

I had mentioned before how Henry retained Fulk's daughter, the widow of Henry's dead son William, in order to maintain the fiction that he had a hold on Maine.  He was holding her or at least her dowry in 1123, but it's not clear how much longer after this he held onto them.  However, he now saw a better path to achieve his goal and peace in that region.


Matilda Sent to Normandy

Matilda did not yet have any children of her own and so "after Pentecost" (Malmesbury), Henry sent her into Normandy and ordered her to betroth Prince Geoffrey of Anjou and Maine (the future Geoffrey V, Count of those regions).  The Laud Chronicle, under 1127 states, right after it tells about how Henry had obtained the baronial oaths : "He then sent her to Normandy, and with her went her brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, and Brian, son of count Alan Fergant..."  And Henry of Huntingdon gives us : "When the King went to Winchester at Whitsuntide, he sent his daughter to Normandy, to be married to the son of the Earl of Anjou..." ("Chronicle", Book VII p254)  (Whitsuntide is the week beginning on Pentecost.)


Second Marriage

The Laud Chronicle, under 1127 continues, that after Henry "sent" Matilda to Normandy, that he : "... married her to Geoffrey Martel, son of the count of Anjou.  This marriage, however, gave as much offense, or more, to the French as to the English, but the king arranged it in order to secure the friendship of the count of Anjou, and to secure assistance against William, his nephew."  Henry of Huntingdon gives us that : "... the king followed her in the month of August." ("Chronicle", Book VII p254)  Henry followed her, says Malmesbury "...for the purpose of uniting them in wedlock."

Giles citing Hardy states that the nuptials were celebrated in the presence of her father Sep 1127.  This is evidently however a misunderstanding of the sources cited above.  Peter Stewart, posting to gen-med 2 Oct 2010 : "By Henry's order (against the preference of the bridegroom's father) the wedding took place at Le Mans on Sunday 17 June 1128, a week after Pentecost - see 'Historia Gaufredi ducis' by Jean of Marmoutier."  Her DNB entry states the marriage was solemnized at Le Mans on 17 Jun 1128 by the Bishop of Avranches.  So, assuming that the nuptials were actually celebrated in his presence, but that Hardy assumed the year, Henry must have been in Normandy from at least August 1127 until June 1128.

"The same year, Hugh Paganus, master of the order of the Knights Templar of Jerusalem, visited England.  On his return he was accompanied by many nobles, among whom was Geoffrey, duke of Anjou, afterwards king of Jerusalem." [corrected to Fulk, count of Anjou] ("Chronicle" Book VII, p256)  Hugh had first visited Henry I in Normandy and Henry sent him to England, but Henry himself did not come.  Matilda's new father-in-law Fulk left soon after to become King of the Crusader nation of Jerusalem, while Matilda and Geoffrey sat as rulers in Anjou.

The Laud Chronicle, under 1128 states : "King Henry spent the whole year in Normandy on account of the strife that existed between himself and his nephew, the count of Flanders.  However, the count was wounded in a certain battle by a foot soldier, and retired with his wound into the monastery of St Bertin [at St Omer], and straightway became a monk there, but lived for only five days before he died and was buried there.  God have mercy on his soul! This happened on 27 July."

It was while Henry had made "a hostile incursion into France" and was encamped at Epernon, that making inquiries into the origins of the Franks, he is told about their Merovingian history. ("Chronicle", 1128)



Henry returned to England, Malmesbury says in his 28th year (which ended Aug 1128), but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records his return in 1129.  Now that William was dead, and the situation with Anjou, and Maine seemed resolved "King Henry returned with joy to England, leaving all things in tranquility in France, Flanders, Normandy, Brittany, Maine and Anjou." ("Chronicle [1129]", p257)  Almost upon arrival in England, Henry heard the news that Geoffrey, now count of Anjou, had repudiated his wife Matilda Jul 1129, and "driven her out of his dominion.  She had returned to the court in Rouen, Normandy. (DNB citing Simeon of Durham, a 1129)

"[1130]... At the Rogations he went to Canterbury... At the feast of St Michael he crossed over to Normandy.... The year following... After that, in the summer, he returned to England, bringing his daughter with him." ("Chronicle [1130]", p258)  The first part of this entry is perhaps from 1130, agreeing with the Laud Chronicle which states, under 1130 "In the autumn king Henry went oversea to Normandy". The feast of St Michael, otherwise called Michaelmas is the 29th of September.  Thus, the last part of this entry from the Chronicle, must be dated instead 1131, which would then agree with the below.

Since Matilda had been driven out of Anjou in Jul 1129, she must have spent some time in Normandy before coming, in the summer of 1131 to her father's court in England.  Although her DNB entry, probably based on Henry of Huntingdon, states that she returned "with her father", Malmesbury seems to state that they came separately. (Source)  The Laud Chronicle, under 1131, states that Henry "...came to England after the earlier St Peter's day [29 June] and before autumn."  The count of Anjou had demanded that Matilda be returned to him, so at a baronial meeting held at Northampton "on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin" [8 Sep 1131], it was decided that she should go.  Henry however took this opportunity to make the barons once again swear fealty to Matilda's right to the throne upon his death.  Matilda did then go to Anjou where she was "received with the pomp due to so great a princess." ("Chronicle [1131]", p258)


See Also

Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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