County of Boulogne

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County of Boulogne
Comté de Boulogne
Arms of Boulogne.svg
Coat of arms
StatusPart of the Kingdom of France (1212–1501)
Historical era Middle Ages
 acquisition by the House of Flanders
 annexed by Philip II of France
 incorporation into the crown lands of France
Succeeded by
Kingdom of France Blank.png

The County of Boulogne was a county within the Kingdom of France during the 9th to 15th centuries, centred on the city of Boulogne-sur-Mer. It was ruled by the counts of Flanders in the 10th century, but a separate House of Boulogne emerged during the 11th century. [1] It was annexed by Philip II of France in 1212, after which it was treated as part of the county of Artois until it was finally annexed into the royal domain in 1550.



Boulogne was already a pagus within the kingdom of the Franks (pagus Bononiensis), but there are few records prior to the 11th century. A proverbially wicked count named Herrequin is recorded for the 9th century, but he may be legendary (see Herla, Erlking). It seems to have come under the rule of the counts of Flanders in the late 9th or early 10th century. In 886, bishop Gauzlin of Paris asked count Erkenger of Boulogne to solicit German help against the Viking raids. Erkenger lost all his possessions in 896, as he remained loyal to Charles the Simple. It may have been at this point that Baldwin II, Count of Flanders, gained control over Boulogne.

Eustace II of Boulogne accompanied William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066. Boulogne was also a major participant in the First Crusade; Eustace III of Boulogne's brothers, Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin of Bouillon, both became kings of Jerusalem, and Eustace himself was offered but declined the title.

Count Renaud of Boulogne joined the imperial side at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, and he was defeated by Philip II of France.

Boulogne passed under nominal royal control in 1223 when it was given to Philip II's son Philip Hurepel. [2] Hurepel revolted against Blanche of Castile when Louis VIII of France died in 1226. When Philip Hurepel died in 1235, Matilda continued to reign and in 1238 was married to Alphonse, second son of King Alfonso II of Portugal, and younger brother of King Sancho II of Portugal. Having become Afonso III of Portugal in 1248 and renounced his title of Count of Boulogne, Alfonse divorced her in 1253 due to her barrenness in favour of Beatrice of Castile.

Nevertheless, Matilda and Philip did have a son Alberic, and a daughter Joan who both survived. Alberic reportedly renounced his rights and went to England, for unknown reasons. Apparently he survived his mother and died in 1284, but presumably did not leave issue. Joan was married in 1236 to Gaucher de Châtillon, Count of Mortain (d. 1251). She predeceased her mother in 1252, and presumably left no surviving issue.

Consequently, after Matilda, her county of Boulogne then passed to Matilda's niece, Adelaide of Brabant and her husband William X of Auvergne.

Bertrand V de la Tour succeeded to the counties of Auvergne and of Boulogne in 1437. Through his son Bertrand VI de la Tour the County of Boulogne passed to his grandson, the last medieval count of Boulogne: Jean III de la Tour d'Auvergne. By his marriage to Jeanne of Bourbon-Vendôme, he left two daughters:

On the death of Jean III de la Tour d'Auvergne in 1501, Anne inherited the title Countess of Boulogne; however at her death the title passed to Madeleine's daughter Catherine de Medici since Madeleine herself had died in 1519. Catherine became Queen of France in 1549 and the title passed to the French crown.

Boulogne was attacked numerous times during the Hundred Years' War and occupied numerous time by the English: the last time from 1544 to 1550. In 1550 the Peace of Boulogne ended the war between England and France and France bought back Boulogne for 400,000 crowns. (See also the Sieges of Boulogne (1544–46)).

List of counts

House of Flanders
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry Arms of Flanders.svg
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry
House of Boulogne
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry Arms of Boulogne.svg
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry
House of Blois
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry Old Arms of Blois.svg
Arms post c.1200 at start of Age of Heraldry
House of Alsace
Blason Lorraine.svg
House of Dammartin
Dammartin arms.svg
House of Auvergne
House of Burgundy
Arms of Eudes de Bourgogne.svg
House of Auvergne
House of La Tour d'Auvergne
Armoiries de la Tour d'Auvergne.svg

After the death of John V, Count of Boulogne, the County of Boulogne was integrated into the royal domain.

See also

Related Research Articles

Eustace I, Count of Boulogne, was a nobleman and founder of the Boulogne branch of the House of Flanders. He held the county of Boulogne from 1024 until his death in 1047.

The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders, beginning in the 9th century. The title was held for a time by the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain. During the French Revolution, in 1790, the county of Flanders was annexed to France and ceased to exist. In the 19th century, the title was appropriated by Belgium and granted twice to younger sons of Belgian kings. The most recent holder died in 1983.

Arnulf I, Count of Flanders

Arnulf I, called "the Great", was the first Count of Flanders.

Robert I, Count of Flanders Count of Flanders

Robert I, known as Robert the Frisian, was count of Flanders from 1071 to his death in 1093. He was a son of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and the younger brother of Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders. He usurped the countship after defeating his nephew Arnulf III and his allies, which included King Philip I of France, count Eustace of Boulogne and the counts of Saint-Pol and Ardres at the Battle of Cassel. He subsequently made peace with Philip, who became his stepson-in-law, but remained hostile to his sister Matilda and brother-in-law, King William I of England.

The County of Aumale, later elevated to a duchy, was a medieval fief in Normandy. It was disputed between England and France during parts of the Hundred Years' War.

Arnulf III was Count of Flanders from 1070 until his death at the Battle of Cassel in 1071.

Matilda was Countess of Boulogne from 1125 and Queen of England from the accession of her husband Stephen in 1136 until her death. She supported Stephen in his struggle for the English throne against her cousin Empress Matilda. She played an unusually active role for a woman of the period when her husband was captured, and proved herself an effective general who managed to force the Empress to release Stephen. Under the agreement that settled the civil war, the Queen's children did not inherit the English throne; however, her three surviving children ruled Boulogne in turn as Eustace IV, William I, and Marie I.

Marie I or Mary was the suo jure Countess of Boulogne from 1159 to 1170. She also held the post of Abbess of Romsey for five years until her abduction by Matthew of Alsace, who forced her to marry him. She is one of several possible identities of the author Marie de France.

Matilda II, Countess of Boulogne Queen consort of Portugal and the Algarves

Mahaut or Matilda II of Boulogne was Countess of Boulogne in her own right and Queen of Portugal by marriage to King Afonso III from 1248 until their divorce in 1253. She was the daughter of Ida, Countess of Boulogne and her husband and co-ruler Renaud, Count of Dammartin. She succeeded her mother as Countess of Boulogne in 1216. She was the great-granddaughter of King Stephen of England.

Philip I, Count of Boulogne Jure uxoris Count of Boulogne

Philip I of Boulogne (1200–1235) was a French prince, Count of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis in his own right, and Count of Boulogne, Mortain, Aumale, and Dammartin-en-Goële jure uxoris.

Renaud I, Count of Dammartin

Renaud de Dammartin was Count of Boulogne from 1190, Count of Dammartin from 1200 to 1214 and Count of Aumale from 1204 to 1214. He was son of Alberic III of Dammartin and Mathilde of Clermont.

The Battle of Cassel was fought on 22 February 1071 between Robert I of Flanders and his nephew, Arnulf III. The battle was a victory for Robert, and Arnulf was killed in the battle.

Baldwin II, Count of Boulogne

Baldwin II of Boulogne was a son of Arnulf III, Count of Boulogne, whom he succeeded as count of Boulogne.

House of Flanders

The House of Flanders—also called the Baldwins —was a medieval ruling family that was founded by Baldwin Iron Arm, son-in-law of Charles the Bald.

Count of Boulogne Historical title in the Kingdom of France

Count of Boulogne was a historical title in the Kingdom of France. The city of Boulogne-sur-Mer became the centre of the county of Boulogne during the ninth century. Little is known of the early counts, but the first holder of the title is recorded in the 11th century.

Baldwin III, Count of Guînes

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The Counts of Dammartin were the rulers of the county of Dammartin, based in the current commune of Dammartin-en-Goële as early as the 10th century. Located at the central plain of France, the county controlled the roads of Paris to Soissons and Laon. It seems that this county was initially held by Constance, the wife of Manasses Calvus, the first Count. The name Dammartin-en-Goële comes from Domnus Martinus, the Latin name of St. Martin of Tours, who evangelized the region of Goële in the fourth century. A small town in the district of Meaux in the Department of Seine-et-Marne, ancient village of Region of Île-de-France, it appears to go back to the earliest times; Dammartin-en-Goële, also called Velly, was in 1031 one of the most significant places in France.

Adelaide of Brabant, born around 1190, died in 1265, was Countess of Boulogne from 1262 to 1265, the third reigning Countess in succession. She was the daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brabant and Matilda of Boulogne.


  1. Heather J. Tanner, The Expansion of the Power and Influence of the Counts of Boulogne under Eustace II', Anglo-Norman Studies XIV: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1991, Ed. Marjorie Chibnall (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK, 1992), p. 251
  2. "Boulogne-sur-Mer (Municipality, Pas-de-Calais, France)". Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  3. 1 2 "NORTHERN FRANCE, NOBILITY" . Retrieved 4 November 2007.