Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou

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Geoffrey Plantagenet
Duke of the Normans
Count of Anjou, Maine and Mortain
Geoffrey of Anjou Monument.jpg
Enamel effigy of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, from his tomb at Le Mans. His decorated shield suggests early origins of the three lions of the Royal Arms of England.
Count of Anjou
Reign1129 – 7 September 1151
Predecessor Fulk the Younger
Successor Henry Curtmantle
Born24 August 1113
Died7 September 1151(1151-09-07) (aged 38)
Château-du-Loir, France
Burial
Spouse
Matilda of England (m. 1128)
Issue
Detail
Henry II, King of England
Geoffrey, Count of Nantes
William, Viscount of Dieppe
Emma of Anjou
House Plantagenet (founder)
Father Fulk, King of Jerusalem
Mother Ermengarde, Countess of Maine

Geoffrey V (24 August 1113 – 7 September 1151), called the Handsome or the Fair (French: le Bel) and Plantagenet, was the Count of Anjou, Touraine and Maine by inheritance from 1129, and also Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. His marriage to the Empress Matilda, daughter and heiress of Henry I of England, produced a son, Henry Curtmantle, who succeeded to the English throne as King Henry II (1154–1189) and was the first of the Plantagenet dynasty to rule England; the name "Plantagenet" was taken from Geoffrey's epithet. Geoffrey's ancestral domain of Anjou gave rise to the name Angevin for three kings of England (Henry II his son and heir, and Henry's sons Richard and John), and what became known as the Angevin Empire in the 12th century.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Geoffrey was the elder son of Fulk V of Anjou and Ermengarde of Maine. Geoffrey received his nickname from the yellow sprig of broom blossom (genêt is the French name for the planta genista, or broom shrub) he wore in his hat. [1] :9 [2] :1 [3] The chronicler John of Marmoutier described Geoffrey as handsome, red haired, jovial, and a great warrior. [4] King Henry I of England, having heard good reports on Geoffrey's talents and prowess, sent his royal legates to Anjou to negotiate a marriage between Geoffrey and his own daughter, Empress Matilda. Consent was obtained from both parties, and on 10 June 1128 the fifteen-year-old Geoffrey was knighted in Rouen by King Henry in preparation for the wedding.

Marriage

Geoffrey and Matilda's marriage took place in 1128. The marriage was meant to seal a peace between England/Normandy and Anjou. She was eleven years older than Geoffrey, and very proud of her status as Empress (as opposed to being a mere countess). Their marriage was a stormy one with frequent long separations but she bore him three sons and survived him. [1] :14–18

Count of Anjou

The year after the marriage Geoffrey's father left for Jerusalem (where he was to become king), leaving Geoffrey behind as count of Anjou.

When his father in law, King Henry I of England died in 1135, Geoffrey supported Matilda in entering Normandy to claim her inheritance. The border districts submitted to her, but England chose her cousin Stephen of Blois for its king, and Normandy soon followed suit. The following year, Geoffrey gave Ambrieres, Gorron, and Chatilon-sur-Colmont to Juhel de Mayenne, on condition that he help obtain the inheritance of Geoffrey's wife. [5]

In 1139 Matilda landed in England with 140 knights, where she was besieged at Arundel Castle by King Stephen. In the "Anarchy" which ensued, Stephen was captured at Lincoln in February 1141, and imprisoned at Bristol. [6] A legatine council of the English church held at Winchester in April 1141 declared Stephen deposed and proclaimed Matilda "Lady of the English". [6]

During 1142 and 1143, Geoffrey secured all of Normandy west and south of the Seine, and, on 14 January 1144, he crossed the Seine and entered Rouen. He assumed the title of Duke of Normandy in the summer of 1144. In 1144, he founded an Augustine priory at Château-l'Hermitage in Anjou. [7] Geoffrey held the duchy until 1149, when he and Matilda conjointly ceded it to their son, Henry, which cession was formally ratified by King Louis VII of France the following year. [8]

Geoffrey also put down three baronial rebellions in Anjou, in 1129, 1135 and 1145–1151. [9] He was often at odds with his younger brother, Elias, whom he had imprisoned until Elias died in 1151. The threat of rebellion slowed his progress in Normandy, and is one reason he could not intervene in England. Geoffrey died later the same year, aged just 38, and Henry took his father’s place as Head of the Plantagenet House. In 1153, the Treaty of Wallingford stipulated that Stephen should remain King of England for life and that Henry, the son of Geoffrey and Matilda should succeed him, beginning the Plantagenet era in England. [10]

Death

North West France 1150 North West France 1150.png
North West France 1150

Geoffrey died suddenly on 7 September 1151. According to John of Marmoutier, Geoffrey was returning from a royal council when he was stricken with fever. He arrived at Château-du-Loir, collapsed on a couch, made bequests of gifts and charities, and died. His wife and sons outlived him. He was buried at St Julien's Cathedral in Le Mans France, and Henry succeeded him as Duke of Normandy. [10]

Legacy

Children

Geoffrey and Matilda's children were:

  1. Henry II, King of England (1133–1189), succeeded his father as head of Angevin Dynasty, had 8 children with Eleanor of Aquitaine, who became rulers of the Angevin Dynasty after their father.
  2. Geoffrey, Count of Nantes (1 June 1134 Rouen – 26 July 1158 Nantes) died unmarried and was buried in Nantes
  3. William, Viscount of Dieppe (1136–1164) died unmarried

Geoffrey also had illegitimate children by an unknown mistress (or mistresses): Hamelin who married Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey; Emme, who married Dafydd Ab Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales; and Mary, who became a nun and Abbess of Shaftesbury and who may be the poet Marie de France.

Early heraldry

An enamel effigy (funerary plaque) commissioned by his widow to decorate the tomb of Geoffrey of Anjou is one of the earliest examples of European heraldry. Jean de Marmentier, a late-12th-century chronicler, reported that in 1128 Henry I of England knighted his son-in-law Geoffrey and granted him a badge of gold lions. [11] A gold lion may already have been Henry's own badge, and different lion motifs would later be used by many of his descendants. The enamel shows Geoffrey with a blue shield depicting gold lions, apparently the same motif later used by a grandson of Geoffrey, William Longespee. [12] In addition to being one of the first authentic representations of a coat of arms, [13] according to British historian Jim Bradbury it "suggests possible evidence for the early use of what became the English royal arms". [14]

Ancestors

Related Research Articles

Stephen, King of England 12th-century King of England and Count of Boulogne

Stephen, often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death. He was Count of Boulogne from 1125 until 1147 and Duke of Normandy from 1135 until 1144. His reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda, whose son, Henry II, succeeded Stephen as the first of the Angevin kings of England.

Anjou Province

Anjou was a French province straddling the lower Loire River. Its capital was Angers and it was roughly coextensive with the diocese of Angers. It bordered Brittany to the west, Maine to the north, Touraine to the east and Poitou to the south. The adjectival form of Anjou is Angevin, and inhabitants of Anjou are known as Angevins. During the Middle Ages, the County of Anjou, ruled by the Counts of Anjou, was a prominent fief of the French crown.

Empress Matilda 12th-century Anglo-Norman royal daughter and wife of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor

Empress Matilda, also known as the Empress Maude, was one of the claimants to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy. The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She travelled with her husband into Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St Peter's Basilica, and acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry V had no children, and when he died in 1125, the imperial crown was claimed by his rival Lothair of Supplinburg.

The Anarchy Civil war in England between 1135 and 1154

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Maine (province) Place in France

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House of Normandy usual designation for the family that were the Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England

The House of Normandy is the usual designation for the family that were the counts of Rouen, dukes of Normandy and kings of England which immediately followed the Norman conquest of England and lasted until the House of Plantagenet came to power in 1154. The house emerged from the union between the Viking Rollo and Poppa of Bayeux, a West Frankish noblewoman. William the Conqueror and his heirs down through 1135 were members of this dynasty.

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William FitzEmpress was the youngest of the three sons of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.

Elias II was the younger son of Fulk V of Anjou and his first wife, Eremburga, daughter of Count Elias I of Maine. There is debate as to whether he was ever count of Maine or whether he merely made a claim to it.

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Ermengarde or Erembourg of Maine, also known as Erembourg de la Flèche, was Countess of Maine and the Lady of Château-du-Loir from 1110 to 1126. She was the daughter of Elias I, Count of Maine, and Mathilda of Château-du-Loire.

Geoffrey VI was Count of Nantes from 1156 to 1158. He was also known as Geoffrey of Anjou and Geoffrey FitzEmpress.

Events from the 1150s in England.

Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony 12th-century English princess and duchess

Matilda of England was the eldest daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Through her marriage with the Welf duke Henry the Lion, she was Duchess consort of Saxony and Bavaria from 1168 until her husband's deposition in 1180. She was named after her grandmother Matilda of England.

Henry II of England 12th-century King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and ruler of other European lands

Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 to his death. He was the first king of the House of Plantagenet. King Louis VII of France made him Duke of Normandy in 1150. Henry became Count of Anjou and Maine upon the death of his father, Geoffrey of Anjou, in 1151. His marriage in 1152 to Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII had recently been annulled, made him Duke of Aquitaine. He became Count of Nantes by treaty in 1185. At various times, Henry also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.

Brian fitz Count was descended from the Breton ducal house, and became an Anglo-Norman noble, holding the lordships of Wallingford and Abergavenny. He was a loyal adherent of Henry I, King of England, and a staunch supporter of his daughter, the Empress Matilda, during the Anarchy (1135–1153).

Angevin kings of England royal house of Anjou that ruled England in the 12th and early 13th centuries

The Angevins were a royal house of French origin that ruled England in the 12th and early 13th centuries; its monarchs were Henry II, Richard I and John. In the 10 years from 1144, two successive counts of Anjou in France, Geoffrey and his son, the future Henry II, won control of a vast assemblage of lands in western Europe that would last for 80 years and would retrospectively be referred to as the Angevin Empire. As a political entity this was structurally different from the preceding Norman and subsequent Plantagenet realms. Geoffrey became Duke of Normandy in 1144 and died in 1151. In 1152 his heir, Henry, added Aquitaine by virtue of his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry also inherited the claim of his mother, Empress Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I, to the English throne, to which he succeeded in 1154 following the death of King Stephen.

References

  1. 1 2 Costain, Thomas B (1962). The Conquering Family . New York: Popular Library.
  2. Jones, Dan (2013). The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. Viking. ISBN   9780670026654.
  3. J. Bernard Burke The Heraldic Register , p. 65, at Google Books
  4. Norgate, Kate (1887). England Under the Angevin Kings. General Books LLC. pp. 261–262. ISBN   978-1421259840.
  5. Bradbury, Jim. 1990. "Geoffrey V of Anjou, Count and Knight", in The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood III, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Ruth Harvey. Rochester: Boydell Press.
  6. 1 2 King, Edmund (2008). King Stephen's Reign. London: Woodbridge. pp. 58–79.
  7. Dutton, Kathryn (2014). The Haskins Society Journal. London: Boydell. pp. 125–154.
  8. Warren, W.L. (1977). Henry II . Berkeley: University of California Press. p.  38. ISBN   978-0520034945.
  9. Halphen, L (ed.); Poupardin, R (ed.); Marmoutier, John of (1913). Chroniques des comtes. Paris.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. 1 2 Haskins, Charles H. 1912. "Normandy Under Geoffrey Plantagenet", The English Historical Review, volume 27 (July): 417–444.
  11. Woodcock, Thomas and John Martin Robinson (1988), The Oxford Guide to Heraldry, Oxford University Press, pg 10.
  12. Ailes, Adrian (1982). The Origins of The Royal Arms of England. Reading: Graduate Center for Medieval Studies, University of Reading. pp. 52–53.
  13. Gage, John (1999), Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction, pg ??.
  14. Bradbury, Jim (2004), The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare, p. 273
Geoffrey Plantagenet
Born: 24 August 1113 Died: 7 September 1151
Preceded by
Ermengarde
Count of Maine
1126–1151
Succeeded by
Henry Curtmantle
Preceded by
Fulk V
Count of Anjou
1129–1151
Preceded by
Eustace
Count of Mortain
1141–1151
Preceded by
Stephen
Duke of Normandy
1144–1150