Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141

Matilda (or Maud) (born 1101, died 1169), Queen of England for several months in 1141

The dramatic life of Empress Matilda born 1101. She was her father Henry I's heiress as his sole surviving legitimate issue, the barons of England and Normandy, at Henry's insistence, swearing 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.


Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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Matilda, Princess of England, Queen of the Romans, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, Countess of Anjou, heiress to Normandy, Queen of England in 1141.  This article is written and copyright by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist 2008-10, and by Scholar's Edition - Scholar Level Biographies.



The original draft of this paper was written in 2008-2009 from a variety of sources, and fulfilled the overall task of laying out in a single paper, the entire life of Matilda from birth to death, which very few sources actually do.  Most accessible secondary sources are content to dwell on the time of the Civil War, which is not a biography, but rather a type of military history. Once that original biography task was completed however, I then saw the necessity of revisiting the primary sources to clarify, expand and include in-line citations for the basis of the many contradictions I had found.

I have complete the incorporation of the citations to:

I have begun the incorporation of the citations to:
  • The Laud Chronicle aka Peterborough Chronicle, as part of "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles".  The Laud Chronicle ends in 1154.  The entries until 1121, G.N. Garmonsway states were copied.  I assume by this he implies that ones from 1121 to 1131 were written in the year stated.  Then he states that the ones from 1132 to 1154 were "doubtless, [written]... after the accession of Henry II, when the disturbed days of Stephen's reign were over."
  • Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, whose seventh book published "soon after the death of Henry" (as Forester tells us), so probably in 1136, covers the period 1088-1135. Henry's eighth book, published 13 years later, brought his work up to 1148.  Sometime later, he brought his work up to 1154.  He probably died that year or soon after.

Once that is complete, the task that remains to be done is to incorporate the remaining primary sources from this period:
  • Robert de Thorigny, Monk and Prior of Bec  1128-1154.  Whose work ends in 1154.  (ed - Is this the same thing as the continuation to Sigebert's "Chronicon" mentioned in Orderic's note here?)
  • Ordericus Vitalis, a monk of S. Evroult, whose work ends in 1141
  • Eadmer, Benedictine of Canterbury, "Historia Novorum", which ends in 1122
  • Florence, Monk of Worcester, continued the chronicle of Marianus Scotus, from 1083 until 1118
  • John of Worcester, then continued Florence's work from 1118 until 1140 (see this claim by Orderic and the footnote by Forester on this identification)
  • The anonymous author of the Acts of Stephen (aka Gesta Stephani)
  • Richard, prior of the Augustines at Hexham covers 1135-1139
  • Simeon, precenter of S. Cuthbert's writes until 1130
  • John [of Hexham], successor of Simeon brings the work forward until 1154, but he writes at least ten if not fifty years after the events he describes
  • William, Canon of Newburgh, born in the first year of Stephen's reign, published five books of the history of his own time
  • Ailred (1109-1166), Abbot of Riveulx
I am not certain yet that I wish to include anything from the mostly spurious work which was at one time, falsely ascribed to Ingulph, Abbot of Croyland.  However I mention it here for completeness.  The source list above was compiled from Thomas Cobbe's "History of the Norman Kings of England" (1869) London: Longmans, Green and Co.  Within his monumental work, Cobbe refers to "Hardy Descr. Cat. E.H." and also "B.H.".  Although he does not state it, as far as I can tell, I take it these refer to "Descriptive Catalog  of Materials Relating to The History of Great Britain and Ireland", by Thomas Duffus Hardy (1862) London: Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts.  Google Books has Volume I, Part I and Part II of this work, but apparently nothing further.  I found Volume II at Gallica, which covers our period and more 1066 - 1200.

In addition to these, Stewart Baldwin mentions:

Peter Stewart, posting to gen-med 2 Oct 2010 cites:
  • 'Historia Gaufredi ducis' by Jean of Marmoutier

And I have included statements from the anonymous continuator of William of Jumieges.



Matilda ("Maud" aka Aethelic) at the death of her father, was the only surviving legitimate child of Henry I, King of England, by his first wife Eadgyth (aka Edith) of Scotland (d. 1118), daughter of Malcolm III (d. 1093) and St. Margaret (d. 1093). (DNB, "Matilda (1080-1118)")  Eadgyth had in childhood taken the veil (become a nun) and had apparently taken the baptismal name "Matilda" which is what both the Laud Chronicle (1100) and William of Malmesbury call her. (Source) She had left her convent to become Henry's wife in 1100, just after he became king, succeeding his dead brother William "Rufus".  When Stephen seized the throne in 1135, this point, that she "forsook her vows in order to marry", would be raised in order to try to show that Matilda their daughter was illegitimate.

Her DNB entry states dramatically that Matilda (Eadgyth) "went straight to Archbishop Anselm and told him her story"; however, William of Malmesbury only states that at the time (in 1100), the point was raised at a synod at Lambeth, but dismissed since "...Matilda, not having voluntarily become a nun, might marry according to the law of God."(Source)  William of Malmesbury further states that at this time witnesses swore that "...she had worn the veil of account of her suitors, but had never made her vow." (Source)  That is, she was trying to avoid being forcibly married, by her father or brothers, to men of little account.

Walter Map, writing in the 1180s speaks with disgust at the crowning of Henry I by Gerard, Bishop of Hereford while Henry's elder brother Robert was yet in Jerusalem, to where he had gone on the First Crusade. "In return Gerard was to receive the first archbishopric  that became vacant." ("Calixtus 2, 1119-1124", Mary Stroll, p98)

The Laud Chronicle states that Matilda and Henry married at Westminster on Martinmas 1100.  This is calculated as being 11 Nov 1100.  At this point, her brother Edgar was King of Scotland (until his death in 1107), and would be followed by his next brother Alexander, King of Scotland 1107-1124.  It is said that the people were happy for this union, as any issue of this marriage would be the "rightful" heirs to England, the marriage uniting the new lineage from William the Conqueror, with the older lineage from Edward.

Although Eadgyth "Matilda" was Henry's first wife, he had had at least one earlier mistress, by whom he had a son Robert (d. 1147) for whom he formed the Earldom of Gloucester (in 1119 so Giles citing 'Hardy', or in 1121/2 so CP citing 'Round'), and who will figure highly in the story we now unfold.  Malmesbury informs us that Henry had a great regard for Robert : "on account of his intrepid character and filial obedience."

Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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See Also

    On Knol

External Links

    For Matilda, Queen of England

    For her father Henry I

    For her mother Matilda of Scotland

    For her son Henry II

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