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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

6. Queen Mathilde who married William the Conqueror

Our Great Grandmother, Queen of England, Matilda of Flanders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders  1031 to 2 November 1083

She bore William nine children, including two kings, William II and Henry I.

25 December 1066 – 2 November 1083
11 May 1068

c. 1031
2 November 1083 (aged c. 51)


William the Conqueror lent the town his favour in the 11th century and commissioned many of the city's most famous sites including the Abbey aux Hommes and the Abbey aux Dames, where his wife Mathilde is buried. Caen was rebuilt after the War,


Marriage                                                This is quite interesting!

Matilda, or Maud, was the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and Adèle of Franceherself daughter of Robert II of France.

 According to legend, when Duke William II of Normandy (later known as William the Conqueror) sent his representative to ask for Matilda's hand in marriage, she told the representative that she was far too high-born to consider marrying a bastard.]

After hearing this response, William rode from Normandy to Bruges, found Matilda on her way to church, dragged her off her horse by her long braids, threw her down in the street in front of her flabbergasted attendants and rode off. Another version of the story states that William rode to Matilda's father's house in Lille, threw her to the ground in her room (again, by her braids), and hit her (or violently battered her) before leaving. Naturally, Baldwin took offense at this but, before they could draw swords

Matilda settled the matter by refusing to marry anyone but William; even a papal ban by Pope Leo IX at the Council of Reims on the grounds of consanguinity did not dissuade her. William and Matilda were married after a delay in c.1051-2.

 A papal dispensation was finally awarded in 1059 by Pope Nicholas II.[5] Lanfranc, at the time prior of Bec Abbey, negotiated the arrangement in Rome and came only after William and Matilda agreed to found two churches as penance,

There were rumors that Matilda had been in love with the English ambassador to Flanders, a Saxon named Brihtric, who declined her advances. Whatever the truth of the matter, years later when she was acting as Regent for William in England, she used her authority to confiscate Brihtric's lands and throw him into prison, where he died.

Duchess of Normandy   

When William was preparing to invade England, Matilda outfitted a ship, the Mora, out of her own money and gave it to him. This indicated that she must have owned rich lands in Normandy to be able to do so. Additionally, William entrusted Normandy to his wife during his absence. Matilda successfully guided the duchy through this period in the name of her fourteen-year-old son; no major uprisings or unrest occurred.

Even after William conquered England and became its king, it took her more than a year to visit her new kingdom. Even after she had been crowned queen, she would spend most of her time in Normandy, governing the duchy, supporting her brother's interests in Flanders, and sponsoring ecclesiastic houses there. She only had one of her children in England; Henry was born in Yorkshire when Matilda accompanied her husband in the Harrying of the North.

Matilda was crowned queen on May 11, 1068 in Westminster during the feast of Pentecost, in a ceremony presided over by the archbishop of York. Three new phrases were incorporated to cement the importance of English consorts, stating that the Queen was divinely placed by God, shares in royal power, and blesses her people by her power and virtue.

For many years it was thought that she had some involvement in the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry (commonly called La Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde in French), but historians no longer believe that; it seems to have been commissioned by William's half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and made by English artists in Kent.

Matilda bore William nine or ten children. William was believed to have been faithful to her and never produced a child outside of their marriage. Despite her royal duties, Matilda was deeply invested in her children's well-being.

 All were known for being remarkably educated. Her daughters were educated and taught to read Latin at Sainte-Trinité in Caen founded by Matilda and William in response to the recognition of their marriage. For her sons, she secured Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury of whom she was an ardent supporter. Both she and William approved of the Archbishop's desire to revitalize the Church.

She stood as godmother for Matilda of Scotland, who would become Queen of England after marrying Matilda's son Henry I. During the christening, the baby pulled Queen Matilda's headdress down on top of herself, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen some day as well.

Matilda fell ill during the summer of 1083 and passed away in November 1083. Her husband was present for her final confession.Without her presence, a distraught William became increasingly tyrannical until his death four years later in 1087.

Contrary to the belief that she was buried at St. Stephen's, also called l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen, Normandy, where William was eventually buried, she is entombed at l'Abbaye aux Dames, which is the Sainte-Trinité church, also in Caen. 
Of particular interest is the 11th century slab, a sleek black stone decorated with her epitaph, marking her grave at the rear of the church.

It is of special note since the grave marker for William was replaced as recently as the beginning of the 19th century.


Reputed to be 4'2" (127 cm) tall, Matilda was England's smallest queen, according to the Guinness Book of Records. However, in 1819 and 1959, Matilda's incomplete skeleton was examined in France, and her bones were measured to determine her height. The 1819 estimate was under five feet, while the 1959 estimate was 5' (152 cm) tall. A reputed height of 4' 2" (127 cm) appeared at some point after 1959 in the non-scientific literature, misrepresenting the 1959 measurement.

Family and children

Matilda and William had four sons and at least five daughters. The birth order of the boys is clear, but no source gives the relative order of birth of the daughters.
  1. Robert Born between 1051–1054, died 10 February 1134. Duke of Normandy, married Sybil of Conversano, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversano.
  2. Richard Born c.1054, died around 1075.
  3. William Rufus Born between 1056 and 1060, died 2 August 1100. King of England, killed in the New Forest.
  4. Henry Born late 1068, died 1 December 1135. King of England, married Edith of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland. His second wife was Adeliza of Louvain.
  5. Agatha, betrothed to Harold II of England, Alfonso VI of Castile, and possibly Herbert I, Count of Maine, but died unmarried.
  6. Adeliza (or Adelida Adelaide Died before 1113, reportedly betrothed to Harold II of England, probably a nun of St Léger at Préaux.
  7. Cecilia (or Cecily) Born c.1056, died 1127. Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen.
  8. Matilda[25] Born around 1061, died perhaps about 1086.
  9. Constance died 1090, married Alan IV Fergent, Duke of Brittany.
  10. Adela died 1137, married Stephen, Count of Blois.
There is no evidence of any illegitimate children born to William.

Ancestors of Matilda of Flanders
1.    ^ Matilda’s principal attribute was her descent from Charlemagne and her many royal ancestors, her closest being Robert II of France. She was the niece of King Henry I of France, William's suzerain, and at his death in 1060, first cousin to his successor King Philip I of France. A member of the aristocracy she was closely related to most of the royal families of Europe. A marriage to a member of the (Carolingian) royal family was a means of upward mobility for a soldier or nobleman like William. Her descent from Alfred the Great also proved a legitimizing factor as queen of England. See: Hilton, Queen Consort (Pegasus, 2010), p. 17; Régine Le Jan, 'Continuity and Change in the Tenth-Century Nobility', Nobles and Nobility in Medieval Europe: Concepts, Origins, Transformations, ed. Anne J. Duggan (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002), pp. 56, n. 14, 57; A. Wareham, Lords and Communities in Early Medieval East Anglia (Boydell Press, 2005), p. 3.

2.    ^ It is not certain Adeliza and Agatha were not the same daughter, but if they were different daughters William of Jumièges seems to bear the responsibility for confusing the two. None of the daughter's ages are known according to Orderic Vitalis. See Douglas, William the Conqueror (1964), 395; Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol II (Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854), pp. 181-82 & 182 n. 1.

5. Before William The Conqueror there was Alfred The Great Another famous Great Grandfather

If you studied English history at school, then you are probably familiar with King Alfred the Great, but if you are like myself, I don't think I would have been able to follow all the stories about all the noble greats who shaped the earth 1000 years ago.

For the Durnford family he is my 33rd Great Grandfather.  He is the ancestor of Baldwin V father of Queen Mathilde who married William the Conqueror.

When I have been doing my research I often wonder if they ever knew how they were all related!

I knew before that Alfred the Great was a great grandfather, and I was quite surprised when I came across his statue in Westminster.  

To learn a little about King Alfred I am sharing a little of what Wikipaedia reveals.

Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by the time of his death had become the dominant ruler in England. He is the only English monarch to be accorded the epithet "the Great".

Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons".

Details of Alfred's life are described in a work by the 10th century Welsh scholar and bishop Asser. Alfred's reputation has been that of a learned and merciful man who encouraged education and improved his kingdom's legal system, military structure and his people's quality of life.


Further information: House of Wessex family tree
Alfred was born in the village of Wanating, now Wantage, Oxfordshire. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex, by his first wife, Osburh.

In 853, at the age of four, Alfred is said to have been sent to Rome where, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was confirmed by Pope Leo IV who "anointed him as king". Victorian writers later interpreted this as an anticipatory coronation in preparation for his ultimate succession to the throne of Wessex.

However, his succession could not have been foreseen at the time, as Alfred had three living elder brothers. A letter of Leo IV shows that Alfred was made a "consul"; a misinterpretation of this investiture, deliberate or accidental, could explain later confusion. It may also be based on Alfred's later having accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Rome where he spent some time at the court of Charles the Bald, King of the Franks, around 854–855.

On their return from Rome in 856, Æthelwulf was deposed by his son Æthelbald. With civil war looming, the magnates of the realm met in council to hammer out a compromise. Æthelbald would retain the western shires (i.e., traditional Wessex), and Æthelwulf would rule in the east.

When King Æthelwulf died in 858, Wessex was ruled by three of Alfred's brothers in succession, Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred.

Bishop Asser tells the story of how as a child Alfred won a prize of a volume of poetry in English, offered by his mother to the first of her children able to memorise it. Legend also has it that the young Alfred spent time in Ireland seeking healing. Alfred was troubled by health problems throughout his life. It is thought that he may have suffered from Crohn's disease.Statues of Alfred in Winchester and Wantage portray him as a great warrior. Evidence suggests he was not physically strong, and though not lacking in courage, he was noted more for his intellect than a warlike character.

Reigns of Alfred's brothers

A map of the route taken by the Viking Great Heathen Army that arrived in England from Denmark, Norway and southern Sweden in 865.

During the short reigns of the older two of his three elder brothers, Æthelbald of Wessex and Æthelberht of Wessex, Alfred is not mentioned. An army of Danes which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle described as the Great Heathen Army had landed in East Anglia with the intent of conquering the four kingdoms that constituted Anglo-Saxon England in 865. It was with the backdrop of a rampaging Viking army that Alfred's public life began, with the accession of his third brother, Æthelred of Wessex, in 866.

It is during this period that Bishop Asser applied to Alfred the unique title of "secundarius", which may indicate a position akin to that of the Celtic tanist, a recognised successor closely associated with the reigning monarch. It is possible that this arrangement was sanctioned by Alfred's father, or by the Witan, to guard against the danger of a disputed succession should Æthelred fall in battle. The arrangement of crowning a successor as royal prince and military commander is well known among other Germanic tribes, such as the Swedes and Franks, to whom the Anglo-Saxons were closely related.

Fighting the Viking invasion

In 868, Alfred is recorded as fighting beside Æthelred in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the Great Heathen Army led by Ivar the Boneless out of the adjoining Kingdom of Mercia. At the end of 870, the Danes arrived in his homeland. The year which followed has been called "Alfred's year of battles". Nine engagements were fought with varying outcomes, though the place and date of two of these battles have not been recorded.

In Berkshire, a successful skirmish at the Battle of Englefield on 31 December 870 was followed by a severe defeat at the siege and Battle of Reading by Ivar's brother Halfdan Ragnarsson on 5 January 871. Four days later, the Anglo-Saxons won a brilliant victory at the Battle of Ashdown on the Berkshire Downs, possibly near Compton or Aldworth. Alfred is particularly credited with the success of this latter battle.

Later that month, on 22 January, the English were defeated at the Battle of Basing. They were defeated again on 22 March at the Battle of Merton (perhaps Marden in Wiltshire or Martin in Dorset).

Æthelred died shortly afterwards on 23 April

Burghal system

See also: Burghal Hidage

A map of burhs named in the Burghal Hidage.
At the centre of Alfred's reformed military defence system was the network of burhs, distributed at strategic points throughout the kingdom. There were thirty-three total spaced approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) distant, enabling the military to confront attacks anywhere in the kingdom within a single day.

Alfred's burhs (later termed boroughs) ranged from former Roman towns, such as Winchester, where the stone walls were repaired and ditches added, to massive earthen walls surrounded by wide ditches probably reinforced with wooden revetments and palisades such as at Burpham, Sussex. The size of the burhs ranged from tiny outposts such as Pilton to large fortifications in established towns, the largest at Winchester.

A contemporary document now known as the Burghal Hidage provides an insight into how the system worked. It lists the hidage for each of the fortified towns contained in the document. For example Wallingford had a hidage of 2400 which meant that the landowners there were responsible for supplying and feeding 2,400 men, the number sufficient for maintaining 9,900 feet (3.0 kilometres) of wall.[52] A total of 27,071 soldiers were needed system wide, or approximately one in four of all the free men in Wessex.

Many of the burhs were twin towns that straddled a river and connected by a fortified bridge, like those built by Charles the Bald a generation before. 

The double-burh blocked passage on the river, forcing Viking ships to navigate under a garrisoned bridge lined with men armed with stones, spears, or arrows. Other burhs were sited near fortified royal villas allowing the king better control over his strongholds.

This network of well-garrisoned burhs posed significant obstacles to Viking invaders, especially those laden with booty. The system threatened Viking routes and communications making it far more dangerous for the Viking raiders. However, the Vikings lacked both the equipment necessary to undertake a siege against the burh and a developed doctrine of siegecraft, having tailored their methods of fighting to rapid strikes and unimpeded retreats to well defended fortifications. The only means left to them was to starve the burh into submission, but this allowed the king time to send assistance with his mobile field army or garrisons from neighbouring burhs.

In such cases, the Vikings were extremely vulnerable to pursuit by the king's joint military forces. Alfred's burh system posed such a formidable challenge against Viking attack that when the Vikings returned in 892 and successfully stormed a half-made, poorly garrisoned fortress up the Lympne estuary in Kent, the Anglo-Saxons were able to limit their penetration to the outer frontiers of Wessex and Mercia.
Alfred's burghal system was revolutionary in its strategic conception and potentially expensive in its execution. His contemporary biographer Asser wrote that many nobles baulked at the new demands placed upon them even though they were for "the common needs of the kingdom".

King Alfred the Great pictured in a stained glass window in the West Window of the South Transept of Bristol Cathedral.

In the 880s, at the same time that he was "cajoling and threatening" his nobles to build and man the burhs, Alfred, perhaps inspired by the example of Charlemagne almost a century before, undertook an equally ambitious effort to revive learning It entailed the recruitment of clerical scholars from Mercia, Wales and abroad to enhance the tenor of the court and of the episcopacy; the establishment of a court school to educate his own children, the sons of his nobles, and intellectually promising boys of lesser birth; an attempt to require literacy in those who held offices of authority; a series of translations into the vernacular of Latin works the king deemed "most necessary for all men to know";the compilation of a chronicle detailing the rise of Alfred's kingdom and house, with a genealogy that stretched back to Adam, thus giving the West Saxon kings a biblical ancestry.

Very little is known of the church under Alfred. The Danish attacks had been particularly damaging to the monasteries, and though Alfred founded monasteries at Athelney and Shaftesbury, the first new monastic houses in Wessex since the beginning of the eighth century. According to Asser, Alfred enticed foreign monks to England for his monastery at Athelney as there was little interest for the locals to take up the monastic life.

Alfred undertook no systematic reform of ecclesiastical institutions or religious practices in Wessex. For him the key to the kingdom's spiritual revival was to appoint pious, learned, and trustworthy bishops and abbots. As king he saw himself as responsible for both the temporal and spiritual welfare of his subjects. Secular and spiritual authority were not distinct categories for Alfred.
He was equally comfortable distributing his translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care to his bishops so that they might better train and supervise priests, and using those same bishops as royal officials and judges. Nor did his piety prevent him from expropriating strategically sited church lands, especially estates along the border with the Danelaw, and transferring them to royal thegns and officials who could better defend them against Viking attacks.

Establishment of a court school

Following the example of Charlemagne, Alfred established a court school for the education of his own children, those of the nobility, and "a good many of lesser birth". There they studied books in both English and Latin and "devoted themselves to writing, to such an extent .... they were seen to be devoted and intelligent students of the liberal arts." He recruited scholars from the Continent and from Britain to aid in the revival of Christian learning in Wessex and to provide the king personal instruction. Grimbald and John the Saxon came from Francia; Plegmund (whom Alfred appointed archbishop of Canterbury in 890), Bishop Werferth of Worcester, Æthelstan, and the royal chaplains Werwulf, from Mercia; and Asser, from St. David's in south-western Wales.

A Byzantine icon of King Alfred, as venerated as a Christian saint. Inscription reads in Greek, "THE SAINT ALFRED THE GREAT - KING AND CONFESSOR".

A drawing of the Alfred Jewel.

The Alfred Jewel, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, commissioned by Alfred.
The Alfred jewel, discovered in Somerset in 1693, has long been associated with King Alfred because of its Old English inscription "AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN" (Alfred ordered me to be made). The jewel is about 2 12 inches (6.4 centimetres) long, made of filigreed gold, enclosing a highly polished piece of quartz crystal beneath which is set a cloisonné enamel plaque, with an enamelled image of a man holding floriate sceptres, perhaps personifying Sight or the Wisdom of God.

It was at one time attached to a thin rod or stick based on the hollow socket at its base. The jewel certainly dates from Alfred's reign. Although its function is unknown, it has been often suggested that the jewel was one of the æstels—pointers for reading—that Alfred ordered sent to every bishopric accompanying a copy of his translation of the Pastoral Care. Each æstel was worth the princely sum of 50 mancuses, which fits in well with the quality workmanship and expensive materials of the Alfred jewel".

Appearance and character

Asser wrote of Alfred in his Life of King Alfred,

"Now, he was greatly loved, more than all his brothers, by his father and mother—indeed, by everybody—with a universal and profound love, and he was always brought up in the royal court and nowhere else. ... [He] was seen to be more comely in appearance than his other brothers, and more pleasing in manner, speech and behaviour ... [and] in spite of all the demands of the present life, it has been the desire for wisdom, more than anything else, together with the nobility of his birth, which have characterized the nature of his noble mind."

It is also written by Asser than Alfred did not learn to read until he was twelve years old or later, which is described as 'shameful negligence' of his parents and tutors. It is true, however, that Alfred was an excellent listener and had an incredible memory, and he retained poetry and psalms very well. A story is told by Asser about how his mother held up a book of English poetry to him and his brothers, and said; 'I shall give this book to whichever one of you can learn it the fastest.' After excitedly asking, 'Will you really give this book to the one of us who can understand it the soonest and recite it to you?' Alfred then took it to his teacher, learned it, and recited it back to his mother.

Alfred is also noted as carrying around a small book, probably an ancient version of a small pocket notebook, which contained psalms and many prayers that he often collected. Asser writes: "[these] he collected in a single book, as I have seen for myself; amid all the affairs of the present life he took it around with him everywhere for the sake of prayer, and was inseparable from it."

An excellent hunter in every branch of the sport, Alfred is remembered as an enthusiastic huntsman against whom nobody’s skills could compare. However, it is recorded that his skills and success did not strive in vain.

Although he was the youngest of his brothers, he was probably the most open-minded. Despite eventually becoming one of the greatest warriors and forgers of peace in the kingdom, he was an early advocate for education. His desire for learning could have come from his early love of English poetry and inability to read or physically record them until later in life. Asser writes that "[Alfred] could not satisfy his craving for what he desired the most, namely the liberal arts; for, as he used to say, there were no good scholars in the entire kingdom of the West Saxons at that time."


In 868, Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of a Mercian nobleman, Æthelred Mucil, Ealdorman of the Gaini. The Gaini were probably one of the tribal groups of the Mercians. Ealhswith's mother, Eadburh, was a member of the Mercian royal family.

They had five or six children together, including Edward the Elder, who succeeded his father as king, Æthelflæd, who would become Queen of Mercia in her own right, and Ælfthryth who married Baldwin II the Count of Flanders. His mother was Osburga daughter of Oslac of the Isle of Wight, Chief Butler of England. Asser, in his Vita Ælfredi asserts that this shows his lineage from the Jutes of the Isle of Wight. This is unlikely as Bede tells us that they were all slaughtered by the Saxons under Cædwalla.

In 2008 the skeleton of Queen Eadgyth, granddaughter of Alfred the Great was found in Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany. It was confirmed in 2010 that these remains belong to her — one of the earliest members of the English royal family.

Osferth was described as a relative in King Alfred's will and he attested charters in a high position until 934. A charter of King Edward's reign described him as the king's brother, "mistakenly" according to Keynes and Lapidge, but in the view of Janet Nelson, he probably was an illegitimate son of King Alfred.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

4. Unravelling the French Grandparents and their lives to William the Conqueror and Queen Mathilde

Ranulph Viscount  Bayeux de Briquessart Mechines born 1021 died 1089

Ranulf de Briquessart (or Ranulf the Viscount) (died c. 1089 or soon after) was an 11th century Norman magnate and viscount. Ranulf ‘s family were connected to the House of Normandy by marriage, and, besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region.

He married Margaret, daughter of Richard Goz, viscount of the Avranchin, whose son and successor Hugh d'Avranches became Earl of Chester in England c. 1070.

Ranulf is probably the "Ranulf the viscount" who witnessed a charter of William, Duke of Normandy, at Caen on 17 June 1066.  Ranulf helped preside over a judgement in the curia of King William (as duke) in 1076 in which a disputed mill was awarded to the Abbey of Mont St. Michael. 

On 14 July 1080 he witnessed a charter to the Abbey of Lessay (in the diocese of Coutances), another in the same year addressed to Remigius de Fécamp bishop of Lincoln in favour of the Abbey of Préaux. and one more in the same period, 1079 x 1082, to the Abbey of St Stephen of Caen. His name is attached to a memorandum in 1085, and on 24 April 1089 he witnessed a confirmation of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy and Count of Maine to St Mary of Bayeaux, where he appears below his son in the witness list.

He certainly died sometime after this. His son Ranulf le Meschin became ruler of Cumberland and later Earl of Chester. The Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, shows that his eldest son was one Richard, who died in youth, and that he had another son named William.  He also had a daughter called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).

He married Margaret de Goz and they had a son Ranulph de Bayeux Meschines born 1046 died 1116

Ranulph Viscount Bayeux de Briquessart Mechines may have had a concubine  Alix Alixia of Normanby.  Her father was Robert the Duke of Normanby.

Ranulf le Meschine, who was born in 1046 and died in 1118  married Maud Margaret Avranches born 1050 died 1109.  
They had a son Ranulf de Briquessart le Meschin, who was born 1070.

Ranulf le Meschin, Ranulf de Briquessart or Ranulf I [Ranulph, Ralph] (died 1129) was a late 11th- and early 12th-century Norman magnate based in northern and central England. Originating in Bessin in Normandy, Ranulf made his career in England thanks to his kinship with Hugh d'Avranches - the earl of Chester, the patronage of kings William II Rufus and Henry I Beauclerc, and his marriage to Lucy, heiress of the Bolingbroke-Spalding estates in Lincolnshire.
Ranulf fought in Normandy on behalf of Henry I, and served the English king as a kind of semi-independent governor in the far north-west, in Cumberland and Westmorland, founding Wetheral Priory. After the death of his cousin Richard d'Avranches in the White Ship Disaster of November 1120, Ranulf became earl of the county of Chester on the Anglo-Welsh marches. He held this position for the remainder of his life, and passed the title on to his son.

Ranulf le Meschin's father and mother represented two different families of viscounts in Normandy, and both of them were strongly tied to Henry, son of William the Conqueror. His father was Ranulf de Briquessart, and likely for this reason the former Ranulf was styled le Meschin, "the younger". Ranulf ‘s father was viscount of the Bessin, the area around Bayeux. Besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Ranulf the elder was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region of Normandy. Ranulf le Meschin's great-grandmother may even have been from the ducal family of Normandy, as le Meschin's paternal great-grandfather viscount Anschitil is known to have married a daughter of Duke Richard III.

Ranulf le Meschin's mother, Margaret, was the daughter of Richard Goz. Richard's father Thurstan Goz had become viscount of the Hiémois between 1017 and 1025, while Richard himself became viscount of the Avranchin in either 1055 or 1056. Her brother (Richard Goz's son) was Hugh d'Avranches "Lupus" ("the Wolf"), viscount of the Avranchin and Earl of Chester (from c. 1070).  Ranulf was thus, in addition to being heir to the Bessin, the nephew of one of Norman England's most powerful and prestigious families.

We know from an entry in the Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, that Ranulf le Meschin had an older brother named Richard (who died in youth), and a younger brother named William. He had a sister called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).

He married Lucy. Lucia Bolingbroke Countess of Taillebois born 1074 died 1144. Lucy had a few husbands.

Ivo Taillebois, when he married Ranulf ‘s future wife Lucy, had acquired her Lincolnshire lands but sometime after 1086 he acquired estates in Kendal and elsewhere in Westmorland. Adjacent lands in Westmorland and Lancashire that had previously been controlled by Earl Tostig Godwinson were probably carved up between Roger the Poitevin and Ivo in the 1080s, a territorial division at least partially responsible for the later boundary between the two counties.

 Norman lordship in the heartland of Cumberland can be dated from chronicle sources to around 1092, the year King William Rufus seized the region from its previous ruler, Dolfin. There is inconclusive evidence that settlers from Ivo's Lincolnshire lands had come into Cumberland as a result.

Between 1094 and 1098 Lucy was married to Roger Fitz Gerold de Roumare, and it is probable that this marriage was the king's way of transferring authority in the region to Roger Fitz Gerold.  Only from 1106 however, well into the reign of Henry I, do we have certain evidence that this authority had come to Ranulf. The "traditional view", held by the historian William Kapelle, was that Ranulf ‘s authority in the region did not come about until 1106 or after, as a reward for participation in the Battle of Tinchebrai. Another historian, Richard Sharpe, has recently attacked this view and argued that it probably came in or soon after 1098. Sharpe stressed that Lucy was the mechanism by which this authority changed hands, and pointed out that Ranulf had been married to Lucy years before Tinchebrai and can be found months before Tinchebrai taking evidence from county jurors at York (which may have been responsible for Cumbria at this point).

Ranulf likewise distributed land to the church, founding a Benedictine monastic house at Wetheral. This he established as a daughter-house of St Mary's Abbey, York, a house that in turn had been generously endowed by Ivo Taillebois. This had occurred by 1112, the year of the death of Abbot Stephen of St Mary's, named in the foundation deed. In later times at least, the priory of Wetheral was dedicated to St Mary and the Holy Trinity, as well as another saint named Constantine.  Ranulf gave Wetheral, among other things, his two churches at Appleby, St Lawrences (Burgate) and St Michaels (Bongate). 

As an incoming regional magnate Ranulf would be expected to distribute land to his own followers, and indeed the record of the jurors of Cumberland dating to 1212 claimed that Ranulf created two baronies in the region. Ranulf ‘s brother-in-law Robert de Trevers received the barony of Burgh-by-Sands, while the barony of Liddel went to Turgis Brandos. 

 He appears to have attempted to give the large compact barony of Gilsland to his brother William, but failed to dislodge the native lord, the eponymous "Gille" son of Boite; later the lordship of Allerdale (including Copeland), even larger than Gilsland stretching along the coast from the river Ellen to the river Esk, was given to William. Kirklinton may have been given to Richard de Boivill, Ranulf ‘s sheriff.

Earl of Chester

Chester Cathedral today, originally Chester Abbey, where Ranulf ‘s body was buried

1120 was a fateful year for both Henry I and Ranulf. Richard, earl of Chester, like Henry's son and heir William Adeling, died in the White Ship Disaster near Barfleur on 25 November. Only four days before the disaster, Ranulf and his cousin Richard had witnessed a charter together at Cerisy.

Henry probably could not wait long to replace Richard, as the Welsh were resurgent under the charismatic leadership of Gruffydd ap Cynan. According to the Historia Regum, Richard's death prompted the Welsh to raid Cheshire, looting, killing, and burning two castles. Perhaps because of his recognised military ability and social strength, because he was loyal and because he was the closest male relation to Earl Richard, Henry recognized Ranulf as Richard's successor to the county of Chester.

In 1123, Henry sent Ranulf to Normandy with a large number of knights and with his bastard son, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, to strengthen the garrisons there. Ranulf commanded the king's garrison at Évreux and governed the county of Évreux during the 1123-1124 war with William Clito, Robert Curthose's son and heir.

 In March 1124 Ranulf assisted in the capture of Waleran, Count of Meulan.Scouts informed Ranulf that Waleran's forces were planning an expedition to Vatteville, and Ranulf planned an to intercept them, a plan carried out by Henry de Pommeroy, Odo Borleng and William de Pont-Authou, with 300 knights. A battle followed, perhaps at Rougemontier (or Bourgthéroulde), in which Waleran was captured.

Although Ranulf bore the title "earl of Chester", the honour (i.e., group of estates) which formed the holdings of the earl of Chester were scattered throughout England, and during the rule of his predecessors included the cantre of Tegeingl in Perfeddwlad in north-western Wales. Around 1100, only a quarter of the value of the honour actually lay in Cheshire, which was one of England's poorest and least developed counties.

 The estates elsewhere were probably given to the earls in compensation for Cheshire's poverty, in order to strengthen its vulnerable position on the Anglo-Welsh border. The possibility of conquest and booty in Wales should have supplemented the lordship's wealth and attractiveness, but for much of Henry's reign the English king tried to keep the neighbouring Welsh princes under his peace.

Ranulf ‘s accession may have involved him giving up many of his other lands, including much of his wife's Lincolnshire lands as well as his lands in Cumbria, though direct evidence for this beyond convenient timing is lacking. That Cumberland was given up at this point is likely, as King Henry visited Carlisle in December 1122, where, according to the Historia Regum, he ordered the strengthening of the castle.

Hollister believed that Ranulf offered the Bolingbroke lands to Henry in exchange for Henry's bestowal of the earldom. The historian A. T. Thacker believed that Henry I forced Ranulf to give up most of the Bolingbroke lands through fear that Ranulf would become too powerful, dominating both Cheshire and the richer county of Lincoln.

Sharpe, however, suggested that Ranulf may have had to sell a great deal of land in order to pay the king for the county of Chester, though it could not have covered the whole fee, as Ranulf ‘s son Ranulf de Gernon, when he succeeded his father to Chester in 1129, owed the king £1000 "from his father's debt for the land of Earl Hugh". Hollister thought this debt was merely the normal feudal relief expected to be paid on a large honour, and suggested that Ranulf ‘s partial non-payment, or Henry's forgiveness for non-payment, was a form of royal patronage.

Ranulf died in January 1129, and was buried in Chester Abbey. He was survived by his wife and countess, Lucy, and succeeded by his son Ranulf de Gernon. A daughter, Alicia, married Richard de Clare, a lord in the Anglo-Welsh marches. One of his offspring, his fifth son, participated in the Siege of Lisbon, and for this aid was granted the Lordship of Azambuja by King Afonso I of Portugal.

So far we have followed the lives of our ancestors up to Poppa and her marriage to Ranulph, the relationship has been easy to follow, but from here on, our lineage becomes a little difficult to follow.

Hopefully you can follow as best as you can.

Our complicated French Connections:

Unravelling our French connections from the Royal Courts of France is not an easy task. 

To try to establish the links we have to begin with King Bernard and his son Count Peppin II

King Bernard of Italy and Queen Cunegonde de Toulouse  had a son

Count Peppin II  married Rothaide de Bobbio              

Their family

1.       Count Pepin III de Senlis de Valois
               2.       Hubert I de Vermandois  m  Bertha de Morvois
               3.       Gunhilde De Vermandois de Bayeux    married Berenger de Bayeux

        Count Pepin III married Cunigunde (Adela) Duchess De Rennes  

                They had a son Bormard (Bernard) Comte de Senlis  he married Adalind of Gurvand     daughter of                            Louis I Pious Grand Emperor)

                Bernard and Adalind had a son Robert I de Senlis  

                                Robert I married Adelise de Peronne and had a daughter Poppa de Senlis
                                Poppa married Ancitil Count de Briquessar and they had a son

1.2                          Ranulph Viscount of Bayeux de Briquessart Meschines  had a mistress
                                                Alix Fitz Richard (daughter of Richard III 5th Duke of Normandy and son of                                                           Richard II and Judith) had two children:

1.3                          1.            Ranulph married Maud Margaret Avranches (Heiress of Chester)
                                2.            Agnes of Bayeux who married Robert de Grandmes
                                Ranulph married Maud Avranches and they had a son Ranulph de Meschines

1.4                          This Ranulph married Lucia of Bolingbroke Countess of Taillebois

1.5                          They had a son Ranulph de Meschines who married Maud Matilda Fitz Robert de                             Caen who was the daughter of King Henry I of England and Sybilla Corbet of Alcester

                                They had a son  Hugh 5th Earl of Chester de Kevelioc  married Bertrade  de Evreaux                                                               (daughter of Simon of Montfort)             
                                They had a daughter Beatrix de Kevelioc of Chester de Meschines 
                                       She married Lord William Belward of Malpas and they had a son

                                David Le Clerc de Malpas. David married Constance de Kevelioc Princess of Powhys                                 and they had a daughter
                                            Idonea de Malpas who married Sir Urian De Pierre
              Idonea de Malpas and Sir Urian de Pierre had two children
                    Joanne De Sancto Petro
                    Katherin de Pierre

Joanne married Sir Hugh de Dutton and they had a son Hugh de Dutton
                                                This Hugh married Joan de Holland
                                                They had a son Thomas Dutton who married Ellen Thornton

                                                Katherine de Pierre married Randolph Thornton.
                                                They had a son Sir Peter Thornton who married Lucia Hellesby and they                                                        had a  daughter Ellen Thornton who married Thomas Dutton (her cousin)

Then follows the line to the Herricks of Grey Friers

                Thomas and Ellen had a daughter Joanna de Dutton who married John de Haydock
                                They had a son Sir Gilbert Haydock Knight who married Isabel de Houghton
                                They had a daughter Joan Haydock
                                She married Sir Richard Molyneux and they had a son Thomas Molyneux
                                He married Catherine de Cotton
                                They had a daughter Ellen Molyneux who married John Bond
                                They had a daughter Mary Bond who married John Herrick 
                                They had a son Robert Herrick who married Eizabeth Manby. 

These are the great grandparents who lived in Grey Friers in Leiceter.

2.            Agnes of Bayeux who married Robert de Grandmes
.                               Agnes and Robert de Grandmes had a son William De Grandmes
                                                 who married Mabilla Guiscard of Apulia
                                They had a daughter Petronilla Pernel de Grandmesnil
                                They had a daughter Margaret de Beaumont who married Saer De Qunicy
                                They had a son Roger III Earl of Winchester de Quincy who married Helen of                                                       Galloway
                                They had a daughter Elena de Quiny who married Alan La Zouche.
                                They had a son Sir Roger la Zouche who married Ela Longspee

                                                  (Who is descendant of King Henry II and Countess Ida de Tosny

These are the 18th great grandparents  and in fact Ella is related also through Molyneaux line

2.  Hubert I de Vermandois married Bertha Morvois 

Their family

                Robert I Count of Vermandois  married Adelaide de Chalon
                They had 2 children
                1.            Adele de Vermandois Meaux
                2.            Hubert II de Vermandois

                1.  Adele married Geoffrey I (Greygown) of Anjou and they had a daughter Ermegarde Duchess                     of Anjou de Bretagne
                              Ermegarde married Conan I Berenger Le Tort of Brittany  They had two children
                              1.   Geoffrey I Duke of Brittany married Hawise of Normandy
                                 (Daughter of Richard I of Normandy and Gunnora Princess of Denmarke
                               2.    Judith (Juetta) de Rennes of Brittany married Richard II of Normandy *
                                (son of Richard I and Gunnora Princess of Denmark)

                Judith and Richard had 5 children

Richard III 5th Duke of Normandy married Aelis Adela Countess of Contenance                                        daughter of King Robert II of France and Constance de Arles of Toulouse
Alice of Normandy  married Raynold I of Burgundy
Robert I The Magnificent  Duke of Normandy  married Herleva Arlette       
                        Countess Mortaigne  Duchess of Falaise
They had a son William The Conqueror   who married Mathilde of Flanders
William a Monk at Fecamp
Eleanor of Normandy  married Baldwin IV Count of Flanders
son of Arnulf II Count of Flanders and father of Baldwin V of Flanders who married Aelis Adela Countess of Contenance, who had also married Robert III

They had a daughter Mathilde of Flanders who married William the Conqueror.

                  2.  Hubert II  married Adlea Hildebrante de Neustria  daughter of King Robert
                            They had two children:
                                   Robert I Comte de Vermandois and       
                                   Sprote de Bretagne  married Guillaume I (William Duke of Normandy    
                                They had a son Richard I of Normandy who married Gunnora de Crepon
                                  And they had a son Richard II who married Judith de Rennes 

                       Robert married Adeliade de Chalon and they had a daughter Adele de Vermandois  who                                         married Geoffrey I of Anjou and they had a daughter Ermegarde Duchess of Ajnou

                                She married Conan I Berenger and they had two children
                                Geoffrey I Duke of Brittany        
                                Judith Berenger of Rennes

Some Research on Robert the Magnificent, father of William the Conqueror

Robert the Magnificent (French: le Magnifique)[a] (22 June 1000 – 1–3 July 1035), was the Duke of Normandy from 1027 until his death. Owing to uncertainty over the numbering of the Dukes of Normandy he is usually called Robert I, but sometimes Robert II with his ancestor Rollo as Robert I

He was the father of William the Conqueror who became in 1066 King of England and founded the House of Normandy.

He was the son of Richard II of Normandy and Judith, daughter of Conan I, Duke of Brittany. He was also grandson of Richard I of Normandy, great-grandson of William I of Normandy and great-great grandson of Rollo, the Viking who founded Normandy. Before he died, Richard II had decided his elder son Richard III would succeed him while his second son Robert would became Count of Hiémois. In August 1026 their father, Richard II, died and Richard III became duke, but very soon afterwards Robert rebelled against his brother, was subsequently defeated and forced to swear fealty to his older brother Richard.

Early reign

When Richard III died a year later there were suspicions that Robert had had something to do with his death. Although nothing could be proved, Robert had the most to gain  The civil war Robert I had brought against his brother Richard III was still causing instability in the duchy  Private wars raged between neighbouring barons. This resulted in a new aristocracy arising in Normandy during Robert’s reign.

 It was also during this time that many of the lesser nobility left Normandy to seek their fortunes in southern Italy and elsewhere. Soon after assuming the dukedom, possibly in revenge for supporting his brother against him, Robert I assembled an army against his uncle, Robert, Archbishop of Rouen and Count of Évreux. A temporary truce allowed his uncle to leave Normandy in exile but this resulted in an edict excommunicating all of Normandy, which was only lifted when Archbishop Robert was allowed to return and his countship was restored. Robert also attacked another powerful churchman, his cousin Hugo III d'Ivry, Bishop of Bayeux, banishing him from Normandy for an extended period of time. Robert also seized a number of church properties belonging to the Abbey of Fecamp.

Outside of Normandy

Despite his domestic troubles Robert decided to intervene in the civil war in Flanders between Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and his father Baldwin IV whom the younger Baldwin had driven out of Flanders. Baldwin V, supported by king Robert II of France, his father-in-law, was persuaded to make peace with his father in 1030 when Duke Robert promised the elder Baldwin his considerable military support. Robert gave shelter to Henry I of France against his mother, Queen Constance, who favoured her younger son Robert to succeed to the French throne after his father Robert II.

 For his help Henry I rewarded Robert with the French Vexin. In the early 1030s Alan III, Duke of Brittany began expanding his influence from the area of Rennes and appeared to have designs on the area surrounding Mont Saint-Michel After sacking Dol and repelling Alan's attempts to raid Avranches, Robert mounted a major campaign against his cousin Alan III.

However, Alan appealed to their uncle, Archbishop Robert of Rouen, who then brokered a peace between Duke Robert and his vassal Alan III. His cousins, the Athelings Edward and Alfred, sons of his aunt Emma of Normandy and Athelred, King of England had been living at the Norman Court and at one point Robert, on their behalf, attempted to mount an invasion of England but was prevented in doing so, it was said, by unfavourable winds. Gesta Normannorum Ducum stated that King Cnut sent envoys to Duke Robert offering to settle half the Kingdom of England on Edward and Alfred. After postponing the naval invasion he chose to also postpone the decision until after he returned from Jerusalem.

The Church and his pilgrimage

Robert's attitude towards the Church had changed noticeably certainly since his reinstating his uncle's position as Archbishop of Rouen. In his attempt to reconcile his differences with the Church he restored property that he or his vassals had confiscated, and by 1034 had returned all the properties he had earlier taken from the abbey of Fecamp.
After making his illegitimate son William his heir, he set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum he travelled by way of Constantinople, reached Jerusalem, fell seriously ill and died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. His son William, aged about eight, succeeded him.

According to the historian William of Malmesbury, decades later his son William sent a mission to Constantinople and Nicaea, charging it with bringing his father's body back to Normandy for burial. Permission was granted, but, having travelled as far as Apulia (Italy) on the return journey, the envoys learned that William himself had meanwhile died. They then decided to re-inter Robert's body in Italy.

By his mistress, Herleva of Falaise, he was father of:
By Herleva or possibly another concubine,  he was the father of:

William and Mathilde are our Great Grandparents, and it would seem that they were cousins.

Richard I of Normandy (28 August 933 – 20 November 996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French, Sans Peur), was the Duke of Normandy from 942 to 996.[1][dubiousdiscuss] Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write his De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum (Latin, On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy), called him a dux, but this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's leadership in war, and not a reference to a title of nobility. Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy, or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, most important landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.
Richard was born to William I of Normandy, princeps or ruler of Normandy, and Sprota.  He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. He was about 10 years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942.

 His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a Danish marriage. William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years later when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux.  After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller; Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.

When his father died, Louis IV of France seized Normandy, installed the boy Richard in his father's office, then placed him in the care of the count of Ponthieu. The king then split the lands, giving lands in lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. Louis kept Richard in confinement at Lâon, but he escaped with the assistance of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis (who had been a companion of Rollo of Normandy), Ivo de Bellèsme, and Bernard the Dane  (ancestor of families of Harcourt and Beaumont).

In 946, Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, Count of Paris. He then allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders, drove Louis out of Rouen, and took back Normandy by 947.
In 962 Theobald I, Count of Blois, attacked Rouen, Richard’s stronghold, but his army was defeated by the Normans and retreated never having crossed the Seine. Lothair king of the West Franks stepped in to prevent any further war between the two.
Afterwards, and until his death in 996, Richard concentrated on Normandy itself, and participated less in Frankish politics and petty wars. In lieu of building up the Norman Empire by expansion, he stabilized the realm, and united his followers into a cohesive and formidable principality.

Richard used marriage to build strong alliances . His marriage to Emma connected him to the Capet family. His wife Gunnor, from a rival Viking group in the Cotentin, formed an alliance to that group, while her sisters form the core group that was to provide loyal followers to him and his successors. His daughters provided valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighbouring counts as well as to the king of England.

He also built on his relationship with the church, restoring their lands and ensured the great monasteries flourished. His reign was marked by an extended period of peace and tranquility.

His first marriage (960) was to Emma, daughter of Hugh "The Great" of France, and Hedwig von Sachsen. They were betrothed when both were very young. She died after 19 March 968, with no issue.

According to Robert of Torigni, not long after Emma's death, Duke Richard went out hunting and stopped at the house of a local forester. He became enamoured of the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she being a virtuous woman, suggested he court her unmarried sister, Gunnor, instead. Gunnor became his mistress, and her family rose to prominence. Her brother, Herefast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial. Gunnor was, like Richard, of Viking descent, being a Dane by blood. Richard finally married her to legitimise their children:

Some research on Richard II of Normandy.
Richard succeeded his father as Duke of Normandy in 996. During his minority, the first five years of his reign, his regent was Count Ralph of Ivrea, his uncle, who wielded the power and put down a peasant insurrection at the beginning of Richard's reign.

Richard had deep religious interests and found he had much in common with Robert II of France, who he helped militarily against the duchy of Burgundy. He forged a marriage alliance with Brittany by marrying his sister Hawise to Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany and by his own marriage to Geoffrey's sister, Judith of Brittany.

In 1000-1001, Richard repelled an English attack on the Cotentin Peninsula that was led by Ethelred II of England. 
Ethelred had given orders that Richard be captured, bound and brought to England. But the English had not been prepared for the rapid response of the Norman cavalry and were utterly defeated.

Richard attempted to improve relations with England through his sister Emma of Normandy's marriage to King Ethelred.This marriage was significant in that it later gave his grandson, William the Conqueror, the basis of his claim to the throne of England. This proved to be beneficial to Ethelred when in 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England. Emma with her two sons Edward and Alfred fled to Normandy followed shortly thereafter by her husband king Ethelred.

 Soon after the death of Ethelred, Cnut, King of England forced Emma to marry him while Richard was forced to recognize the new regime as his sister was again Queen. Richard had contacts with Scandinavian Vikings throughout his reign. He employed Viking mercenaries and concluded a treaty with Sweyn Forkbeard who was en route to England.

Richard II commissioned Dudo of Saint-Quentin his clerk and confessor to portray his ducal ancestors as morally upright Christian leaders who built Normandy despite the treachery of their overlords and neighboring principalities.  It was clearly a work of propaganda designed to legitimize the Norman settlement, and while it contains numerous historically unreliable legends, as respects the reigns of his father and grandfather, Richard I and William I it is basically reliable.

In 1025 and 1026 Richard confirmed gifts of his great-grandfather Rollo to Saint-Ouen at Rouen. His other numerous grants to monastic houses tends to indicate the areas over which Richard had ducal control, namely Caen, the Éverecin, the Cotentin, the Pays de Caux and Rouen.

Richard II died 28 Aug 1026.

He married firstly, c.1000, Judith (982–1017), daughter of Conan I of Brittany, by whom he had the following issue:
Secondly he married Poppa of Envermeu, by whom he had the following issue:

3.            Gunhilde De Vermandois de Bayeux    married Berenger de Bayeux

                They had a daughter Poppa de Bayeux.  She married Robert Rognvaldsson  (Duke of                                                                                      Normandy)                                                                        
                They had a son Guillaume I Duke of Normandy who married Sprote de Bretagne

                                They had a son Richard I of Normandy who married Gunnora de Crepon

                                They had several children including
                                                               i.      Maud of Normandy  she married Odo II Count of Blois
                                                             ii.      Mauger of Corbeil Count of Mortain of Normandy who married Germaine de Corbiel
                                                            iii.      Richard II (The Good King)  who married Judith Berenger of Rennes
                                                           iv.      Robert Archbishop of Rouen Count of Evreuz who married Harleve of Rouen     
                                                             v.      Hawise of Normandy who married Geoffrey I Duke of Brittany
                                                           vi.      Emma Queen of Normandy who married Cnut King of Denmark and Norway and              King Ethelred II father of King Edward III of England

Having trouble following the lineage?  Well imagine having to be the recorder of marriages in France in these times!  No doubt each of these people probably had more than one or two wives or husbands!

Our grandparents are also our great aunts and uncles in so many occasions.

 Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders  Mathilde's grandfather

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
30 May 1035
Baldwin IV of Flanders (980 – May 30, 1035) known as the Bearded, was Count of Flanders.
Baldwin IV, born c.980, was the son of Arnulf II, Count of Flanders (c. 961 - 987) and Rozala of Lombardy (950/60 – 1003), of the House of Ivrea.  He succeeded his father as Count of Flanders in 987, but with his mother Rozala as the regent until his majority.

In contrast to his predecessors Baldwin turned his attention eastward, leaving the southern part of his territory in the hands of his vassals the counts of Guînes, Hesdin, and St. Pol

To the north of the county Baldwin was given Zeeland as a fief by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, while on the right bank of the Scheldt river he received Valenciennes (1013) and parts of the Cambresis as well as Saint-Omer and the northern Ternois 

In the French territories of the count of Flanders, the supremacy of the Baldwin remained unchallenged. They organized a great deal of colonization of marshland along the coastline of Flanders and enlarged the harbour and city of Brugge. Baldwin IV died on 30 May 1035.

Marriage and issue

Baldwin first married Ogive of Luxembourg, daughter of Frederick of Luxembourg, by whom he had a son and heir:
He later married Eleanor of Normandy, daughter of Richard II of Normandy, by whom he had a daughter:

Baldwin V, Count of Flanders
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
19 August 1012
1 September 1067 (aged 55)
Baldwin V of Flanders (19 August 1012 – 1 September 1067) was Count of Flanders from 1035 until his death.
He was the son of Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders, who died in 1035.


In 1028 Baldwin married Adèle of France in Amiens, daughter of King Robert II of France; at her instigation he rebelled against his father but in 1030 peace was sworn and the old count continued to rule until his death.
During a long war (1046–1056) as an ally of Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lorraine, against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, he initially lost Valenciennes to Hermann of Hainaut. However, when the latter died in 1051 Baldwin married his son Baldwin VI to Herman's widow Richildis and arranged that the sons of her first marriage were disinherited, thus de facto uniting the County of Hainaut with Flanders. Upon the death of Henry III this marriage was acknowledged by treaty by Agnes de Poitou, mother and regent of Henry IV. Baldwin V played host to a grateful dowager queen Emma of England, during her enforced exile, at Bruges. He supplied armed security guards, entertainment, comprising a band of minstrels. Bruges was a bustling commercial centre, and Emma fittingly grateful to the citizens. She dispensed generously to the poor, making contact with the monastery of Saint Bertin at St Omer, and received her son, King Harthacnut of England at Bruges in 1039.
From 1060 to 1067 Baldwin was the co-Regent with Anne of Kiev for his nephew-by-marriage Philip I of France, indicating the importance he had acquired in international politics. As Count of Maine, Baldwin supported the King of France in most affairs. But he was also father-in-law to William of Normandy, who had married his daughter Matilda. Flanders played a pivotal role in Edward the Confessor's foreign policy. As the King of England was struggling to find an heir: historians have argued that he may have sent Harold Godwinsson to negotiate the return of Edward the Atheling from Hungary, and passed through Flanders, on his way to Germany. Baldwin's half-sister had married Earl Godwin's third son, Tostig. The half-Viking Godwinsons had spent their exile in Dublin, at a time William of Normandy was fiercely defending his duchy. It is unlikely however that Baldwin intervened to prevent the duke's invasion plans of England, after the Count had lost the conquered province of Ponthieu.]By 1066, Baldwin was an old man, and died the following year.


Baldwin and Adèle had three children:

Adèle of France  known also as Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines; (1009 – 8 January 1079, Messines), she was the Countess of Normandy (January 1027–August 1027), Countess of Flanders (1035–1067)
Adèle was the second daughter of Robert II (the Pious), and Constance of Arles. In January 1027 she married Richard III, Duke of Normandy. The marriage was short-lived for on 6 August of that same year Richard III suddenly died. 

Adela then married Baldwin V, Count of Flanders in 1028.
Adèle's influence lay mainly through her family connections. On the death of her brother, Henry I of France, the guardianship of his seven-year-old son Philip I fell jointly on his widow, Ann of Kiev, and on his brother-in-law, Adela's husband, so that from 1060 to 1067, they were Regents of France.

In 1071, Adela's third son, Robert the Frisian, planned to invade Flanders even though at that time the Count of Flanders was Adela's grandson, Arnulf III. When she heard about Robert's plans, she asked Philip I to stop him. Philip sent soldiers to support Arnulf including a contingent of ten Norman knights led by William FitzOsborn. Robert's forces attacked Arnulf's numerically superior army at Cassel before it could organize, and Arnulf was killed along with William Fitz Osborn. Robert's overwhelming victory led to Philip making peace with Robert and investing him as Count of Flanders.

 A year later, Philip married Robert's stepdaughter, Bertha of Holland, and in 1074, Philip restored the seigneurie of Corbie to the crown.

Adèle had a strong interest in Baldwin V’s church reforms and was behind her husband’s founding of several collegiate churches. Directly or indirectly, she was responsible for establishing the Colleges of Aire (1049), Lille (1050) and Harelbeke (1064) as well as the abbeys of Messines (1057) and Ename (1063). 

After Baldwin’s death in 1067, she went to Rome, took the nun’s veil from the hands of Pope Alexander II and retired to the Benedictine convent of Messines, near Ypres. There she later died and was buried at the convent. Honoured as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, her commemoration day is 8 September.


Her first marriage was in 1027 to Richard III, Duke of Normandy (died 1027). They had no children.
Her second marriage was in 1028 to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (died 1067).

Their children were: