Joan of Artois, Countess of Foix

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Joan of Artois
Countess of Foix
Viscountess of Béarn
Conches, France
Diedafter 24 March 1350
Carbonne, France
Noble family House of Artois
Spouse(s) Gaston I de Foix, Count of Foix, Viscount of Béarn
Gaston II de Foix, Count of Foix, Viscount of Béarn
Roger Bernard IV de Foix
Robert de Foix, Bishop of Lavaur
Marguerite de Foix
Blanche de Foix
Jeanne de Foix
Father Philip of Artois
Mother Blanche de Dreux

Joan of Artois, Countess of Foix, Viscountess of Béarn (French: Jeanne d'Artois; 1289 after 24 March 1350), was a French noblewoman, and the wife of Gaston I de Foix, Count of Foix, Viscount of Béarn. From 1331 to 1347 she was imprisoned by her eldest son on charges of scandalous conduct, dissolution, and profligacy.

French people are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

Béarn Place in France

Béarn is one of the traditional provinces of France, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, the principality of Bidache, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms in the southwest the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64). The capitals of Béarn were Beneharnum, Morlaàs, Orthez, then Pau.



Joan was born in 1289 in Conches, France, the second eldest daughter of Philip of Artois and Blanche de Dreux. [1] Her paternal grandparents were Robert II of Artois and Amicie de Courtenay, and her maternal grandparents were John II, Duke of Brittany and Beatrice of England, the daughter of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. Joan had two brothers, Robert III of Artois, and Othon of Artois; and four sisters, Margaret, Isabelle, Marie, and Catherine, Countess of Aumale.

Conches-en-Ouche Commune in Normandy, France

Conches-en-Ouches is a commune in the Eure département in northern France.

Philip of Artois was the son of Robert II of Artois, Count of Artois, and Amicie de Courtenay. He was the Lord of Conches, Nonancourt, and Domfront.

Amicie of Courtenay (1250–1275) was a French noblewoman and a member of the Capetian House of Courtenay, a cadet line of the House of Capet.

In 1298, when Joan was nine years old, her father died of the wounds he had received at the Battle of Furnes in which he had fought a year earlier.

Battle of Furnes

The Battle of Furnes was fought on 20 August 1297 between French and Flemish forces.

Joan's aunt was Mahaut of Artois with whom her brother Robert would litigate to obtain possession of the County of Artois which Mahaut had inherited suo jure despite being challenged by Robert, who believed the title and estates rightfully belonged to him following the death of his grandfather Robert II in 1302 at the Battle of the Golden Spurs. [2] However, Mahaut's rights as suo jure Countess of Artois were upheld by King Philip IV, and upon her own death in 1329, the title passed to her daughter, Joan II, Countess of Burgundy, and Queen consort of King Philip V of France. [2]

County of Artois countship

The County of Artois was a historic province of the Kingdom of France, held by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 until 1477/82, and a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 until 1659.

Suo jure is a Latin phrase, used in English to mean "in his/her own right".

Battle of the Golden Spurs 1302 battle

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was a military confrontation between the royal army of France and rebellious forces of the County of Flanders on 11 July 1302 during the Franco-Flemish War (1297–1305). It took place near the town of Kortrijk (Courtrai) in modern-day Belgium and resulted in an unexpected victory for the Flemish. It is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Courtrai.

The Chateau de Foix where Jeanne of Artois was imprisoned in 1331 Chateau Foix.jpg
The Château de Foix where Jeanne of Artois was imprisoned in 1331

Marriage and issue

The letters of King Philip IV dated 7 April 1299, recount the private agreements between the king and Roger Bernard III, Count of Foix relating to the proposed marriage of Joan (who was ten years old at the time), to the Count's eldest son, Gaston (born 1287). In October 1301 at Senlis, the marriage contract was signed and Joan was subsequently wed to Gaston de Foix. [3] Five months later on 3 March 1302, upon the death of his father, Gaston became the Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn; however his mother Marguerite de Béarn acted as his regent until he reached his majority.

Gaston I of Foix or Gaston VIII of Foix-Béarn was the 9th Count of Foix, the 22nd Viscount of Béarn and Co-Prince of Andorra.

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".

Gaston and Joan together had:

Gaston II, Count of Foix French noble

Gaston II of Foix-Béarn, son of Gaston I of Foix-Béarn and Jeanne of Artois, was the 10th Count of Foix.

James II of Aragon King of Aragon

James II, called the Just, was the King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. He was also the King of Sicily from 1285 to 1295 and the King of Majorca from 1291 to 1298. From 1297 he was nominally the King of Sardinia and Corsica, but he only acquired the island of Sardinia by conquest in 1324. His full title for the last three decades of his reign was "James, by the grace of God, king of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica, and count of Barcelona".

Blanche of Anjou Queen consort of Aragon

Blanche of Anjou was Queen of Aragon as the second spouse of King James II. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, she is also known as Blanche of Naples. She served as Regent or "Queen-Lieutenant" of Aragon during the absence of her spouse in 1310.


Joan's powerful influence over her husband Gaston created permanent conflict with both the local nobility and the administration, who in 1317 issued a request to Parliament in order to discharge her from the guardianship of her children, accusing her of scandalous conduct, dissolution and profligacy. A charter dated 1317 legally prevented her from having the guardianship of her children. Joan's husband had died from illness two years previously on 13 December 1315 in Pontoise. In spite of a compromise signed in 1325 in Beaugency, bitter quarrels became more frequent between Joan and her eldest son Gaston who had succeeded his father as Count of Foix. In 1331, King Philip VI authorised Gaston to imprison Joan in the Château de Foix. She was later moved to Orthez, then to Lourdes; finally in 1347, her third eldest son, the Bishop of Lavaur secured her release from prison and she retired to Carbonne. French historian Jules Michelet suggested a link between Joan's imprisonment in 1331 and the fact that her brother Robert was at the time being sued for forgery and accused of practising witchcraft against the life of King Philip VI. [6]

Joan died on an unknown date sometime after 24 March 1350.


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  1. de Lage 1976, p. 29.
  2. 1 2 Wagner 2006, p. 270-271.
  3. Vale 1996, p. 90.
  4. 1 2 Lodge 1926, p. 15.
  5. Viader 2003, p. 128.
  6. Michelet 1971, p. 172.