Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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My 25th great grandmother was from the House of Anjou (like the pear) . Her father, Fulk, was a crusader who is buried at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as King of Jerusalem, which is a very big deal, and pretty creepy. I have been there but did not think to look for my ancestors at the time. The Anjous are Plantagenets in that way that royal Euros had lots of different names and houses. The crusade thing is equally confusing. This is how the Anjous took over the English throne:
The Plantagenets are also called Angevins, because their immediate paternal progenitors were Counts of Anjou, an autonomous county in northern France. They descend in the male line from from the Counts of Gatinais, one of whom had married an heiress to the county, her Anjou ancestors deriving from an obscure 9th century nobleman named Ingelger. It is due to this lineage that the Plantagenets are sometimes referred to as the First House of Anjou. One of the more notable Counts was Fulk, a crusader who became King of Jerusalem. It was his son, Geoffrey, nicknamed Plantagenet, who gave his name to the dynasty, and Fulk’s grandson, Henry, was the first of the family to rule England.
Henry’ s claim to the English throne came through his mother, the Empress Matilda, who had claimed the crown as the daughter of Henry I of England. Empress Matilda’s brother William Adelin had died in the wreck of the White Ship, leaving Matilda her father’s only surviving legitimate child. However, on Henry’s death in 1135, Matilda’s cousin Stephen of Blois was supported by much of the Anglo-Norman nobility, and was able to have himself crowned instead. A tightly fought civil war known as The Anarchy ensued, with Matilda gaining support from her illegitimate half-brother, Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. The balance swayed both ways during the war, Matilda gained control at one point and carried the title “Lady of the English” before Stephen forced her out to Anjou. Unrest and instability continued throughout Stephen’s reign, while on the continent, Geoffrey managed to take control of the Duchy of Normandy for the Angevins in 1141 but seemingly showed no interest in campaigning across the Channel.
Sibilla went to Jerusalem where her father married the queen. Later she became a nun, like lots of my royal female ancestors:
Sibylla of Anjou (c. 1112-1165) was a daughter of Fulk V of Anjou and Ermengarde of Maine, and wife of William Clito and Thierry, Count of Flanders.
In 1123 Sibylla married to William Clito, son of the Norman Robert Curthose and future Count of Flanders. Sibylla brought the County of Maine to this marriage, which was annulled in 1124 on grounds of consanguinity. The annulment was made by Pope Honorius II upon request from Henry I of England, William’s uncle; Fulk opposed it and did not consent until Honorius excommunicated him and placed an interdict over Anjou. Sibylla then accompanied her widower father to the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, where he married Melisende, the heiress of the kingdom, and became king himself in 1131. In 1139 she married Thierry, Count of Flanders, who had arrived on his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
She returned to Flanders with her new husband, and during his absence on the Second Crusade the pregnant Sibylla acted as regent of the county. Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut took the opportunity to attack Flanders, but Sibylla led a counter-attack and pillaged Hainaut. In response Baldwin ravaged Artois. The archbishop of Reims intervened and a truce was signed, but Thierry took vengeance on Baldwin when he returned in 1149.
In 1157 she travelled with Thierry on his third pilgrimage, but after arriving in Jerusalem she separated from her husband and refused to return home with him. She became a nun at the convent of St. Lazarus in Bethany, where her step-aunt, Ioveta of Bethany, was abbess. Ioveta and Sibylla supported Queen Melisende and held some influence over the church, and supported the election of Amalric of Nesle as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem over a number of other candidates. Sibylla died in Bethany in 1165.
With Thierry she had six children:
Sibilla d’Anjou born about 1105 Anjou, France died 1165/67
father: *Foulques V “le Jeune” Count of Anjou & King of Jerusalemborn 1092 Anjou, France
died 10 November 1143 Jerusalem, Holy Landburied Church Of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Holy Land
mother: *Ermengarde (Ermentrude) du Maineborn about 1096 Maine, France
died 1126 Maine, Francemarried 11 July 1110 France
*Geoffrey V “le Bon” Plantagenet born 24 August 1113 Anjou, France; died 7 September 1151 Chateau, France
Mathilde d’Anjou born about 1104 Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France; died 1154 Fontevrault Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-et-Loire, France
Elias d’Anjou born about 1111 Anjou, France; died 15 January 1151 St Serge Abbey, Angers, Anjou, France buried L’Abbey des Sergela, Angers, France
spouse: *Dietrich (Thierry) d’ Alsaceborn about 1099 Alsace, France
died 17 January 1168married 1134
*Marguerite de Lorraine born about 1135 Alsace, France died 15 November 1194
*Matthieu d’ Alsace born about 1137 Flanders, Belgium died 1214 buried St. Judoc, Ponthieu, France
C. Pamela- I have this descent but have you seen the fol:
Hollywood often paints a romantic picture of England in the Middle Ages – knights in shinning armor following a strict code of chivalry and enjoying sumptuous banquets in pristine castles. The reality is much more sobering. .
When King Henry I died in 1135, Stephen – grandson of William the Conqueror – grabbed the throne from Henry’s daughter Matilda leading to an extended period of civil war, chaos and anarchy in England. As a consequence of this struggle for power, a period of lawlessness descended upon the countryside, endangering the safety of peasant and noble alike. This lasted almost twenty years ending only with the death of Stephen and the rise of Henry II to the throne. .
“They oppressed the wretched people of the country severely…” .
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – a collection of historical annals describing England’s history from the Dark Ages to the middle of the 12th century – provides some insight into the life and times of the Middle Ages: .
“When King Stephen came to England he held his council at Oxford, and there he took Roger, bishop of Salisbury, and Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, and the chancellor Roger, his nephews, and put them all in prison till they surrendered their castles. When the traitors understood that he was a mild man, and gentle and good, and did not exact the full penalties of the law, they perpetrated every enormity. They had done him homage, and sworn oaths, but they kept no pledge; all of them were perjured and their pledges nullified, for every powerful man built his castles and held them against him and they filled the country full of castles. .
They oppressed the wretched people of the country severely with castle-building. When the castles were built, they filled them with devils and wicked men. Then, both by night and day they took those people that they thought had any goods – men and women – and put them in prison and tortured them with indescribable torture to extort gold and silver – for no martyrs were ever so tortured as they were. They were hung by the thumbs or by the head, and corselets were hung on their feet. Knotted ropes were put round their heads and twisted till they penetrated to the brains. .
They put them in prisons where there were adders and snakes and toads, and killed them like that. Some they put in a ‘torture-chamber’ – that is in a chest that was short, narrow and shallow, and they put sharp stones in it and pressed the man in it so that he had all his limbs broken. In many of the castles was a ‘noose-and-trap’ – consisting of chains of such a kind that two or three men had enough to do to carry one. It was so made that it was fastened to a beam, and they used to put a sharp iron around the man’s throat and his neck, so that he could not in any direction either sit or lie or sleep, but had to carry all that iron. Many thousands they killed by starvation. .
I have neither the ability nor the power to tell all the horrors nor all the torments they inflicted upon wretched people in this country; and that lasted the nineteen years while Stephen was king, and it was always going from bad to worse. They levied taxes on the villages every so often, and called it’ ‘protection money’. When the wretched people had no more to give, they robbed and burned the villages, so that you could easily go a whole day’s journey and never find anyone occupying a village, nor land tilled. Then corn was dear, and meat and butter and cheese, because there was none in the country. Wretched people died of starvation; some lived by begging for alms, who had once been rich men; some fled the country. .
There had never been till then greater misery in the country, nor had heathens ever done worse than they did. For contrary to custom, they respected neither church nor churchyard, but took all the property that was inside, and then burnt the church and everything together. Neither did they respect bishops’ land nor abbots’ nor priests’, but robbed monks and clerics, and everyone robbed somebody else if he had the greater power. If two or three men came riding to a village, all the villagers fled from them; they expected they would be robbers. .
The bishops and learned men were always excommunicating them, but they thought nothing of it, because they were all utterly accursed and perjured and doomed to perdition. .
Wherever cultivation was done, the ground produced no corn, because the land was all ruined by such doings, and they said openly that Christ and his saints were asleep. Such things too much for us to describe, we suffered nineteen years for our sins.” .
This account is taken from Whitelock, Dorothy (translator) The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1961); Davis H.W.C. (ed.), Medieval England (1928). .
How To Cite This Article:
“Anarchy in 12th Century England,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2005). .