William Clito

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William Clito
Guillaume Flan.jpg
William's effigy on a seal
Count of Flanders
Reign2 March 1127 – 28 July 1128
Predecessor Charles I
Successor Thierry
Born25 October 1102
Rouen, Caux, Normandy
Died28 July 1128(1128-07-28) (aged 25)
Abbey of St Bertin, Saint-Omer, Flanders
Burial
Abbey of St Bertin
Spouse
Sibylla of Anjou
(m. 1123;annulled 1124)

Joanna of Montferrat
(m. 1127;died 1128)
House Normandy
Father Robert Curthose
Mother Sibylla of Conversano

William Clito (25 October 1102 – 28 July 1128) reigned as Count of Flanders and claimed the Duchy of Normandy.

Contents

His nickname Clito was a Medieval Latin term equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon "Aetheling" and its Latinized form "Adelinus" (used to refer to his first cousin, William Adelin). Both terms signified "man of royal blood" or, the modern equivalent, "prince". [1] It may have been derived from the Latin inclitus/inclutus, "celebrated." [2]

Youth

William was the son of Duke Robert Curthose of Normandy and Sibylla of Conversano. [3] His father was the son of King William the Conqueror of England. Robert was defeated and captured by his brother King Henry I of England at the Battle of Tinchebrai in 1106. He accompanied Henry to Falaise where Henry met his nephew William Clito for the first time. [4] Henry placed his nephew in the custody of Helias of Saint Saens, count of Arques, who had married a natural daughter of Duke Robert, his friend and patron. [5] The boy William stayed in his sister's and Helias's care until August 1110, when the king abruptly sent agents to demand the boy be handed over to him. [6] Helias was at the time away from home, so his household concealed the boy and smuggled him to their master, who fled the duchy and found safety among Henry's enemies. [6]

First Norman Rebellion, 1118–19

William's first refuge was with King Henry's great enemy, Robert de Bellême, who had extensive estates south of the duchy. [7] On Robert's capture in 1112, William and Helias fled to the court of the young Count Baldwin VII of Flanders, William's cousin. In 1118 a powerful coalition of Norman counts and barons was sufficiently disenchanted with King Henry to ally with Count Baldwin and rebel. They took up William Clito's cause and commenced a dangerous rebellion. [8]

The Norman border counts and Count Baldwin between them were too powerful for the king and seized much of the north of the duchy. [8] But the promising campaign abruptly ended with Baldwin's serious injury at the siege of Arques (September 1118). The next year the cause of William Clito was taken up by King Louis VI of France. He invaded the duchy down the river Seine, and on 20 August 1119 was met by the troops of King Henry at the Battle of Brémule, where the French were decisively defeated.

William had ridden as a new knight amongst the king's guard that day, and barely escaped capture. His cousin, King Henry's son, William Adelin, the next day sent him back the horse he had lost in the battle with other "necessities" in a courtly gesture. The rebellion collapsed, but William continued to find support at the French court. Louis brought his case to the pope's attention in October 1119 at Reims, and forced Henry I to justify his treatment of the exiled boy.

Second Norman Rebellion, 1123–24

The death by drowning of William Adelin, King Henry's only legitimate son, on 25 November 1120 transformed William Clito's fortunes. [9] He was now the obvious male heir to England and Normandy, and a significant party of Norman aristocrats adopted his cause. [9] Henry's problems became worse, as his son William Adelin had been betrothed to Matilda of Anjou, daughter of Count Fulk V of Anjou and Fulk wanted her dowry, several castles and towns in Maine, returned, which Henry refused. [9] Fulk in turn betrothed his daughter Sibylla to William Clito giving him the county of Maine, between Normandy and Anjou, as her dowry. [9] King Henry astutely appealed to canon law, however, and the marriage was eventually annulled in August 1124 on the grounds that the couple were within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity. [10]

In the meantime, a serious aristocratic rebellion broke out in Normandy in favour of William, but was defeated by Henry's intelligence network and the lack of organisation of the leaders, who were defeated at the battle of Bourgtheroulde in March 1124. Louis VI was distracted from active intervention as Henry I got his son-in-law, the Emperor Henry V, to threaten Louis from the east.

Count of Flanders

Louis VI made great efforts to further William's cause in 1127. [11] In January he granted him the royal estates in the French Vexin as a base to attack down the Seine into Normandy, and he was married to the queen's half-sister Joanna of Montferrat. [11] The murder of Count Charles the Good of Flanders on 2 March 1127 gave King Louis an even better chance to further William's fortunes. [11] He marched into Flanders at the head of an army and on 30 March got the barons of the province to accept William as their new count. [11]

Initially, William did well, securing most of the county by the end of May. But English money and the emergence of a rival in Thierry of Alsace led to a deterioration in his position. In February 1128 Saint-Omer and Ghent declared against him, as did Bruges in March. In May 1128 Lille too welcomed Thierry, leaving William controlling little more than the southern fringe of Flanders. However, he struck back at Bruges and at the battle of Axspoele south of the town on 21 June, William, with his Norman knights and French allies, defeated Thierry. [12]

At this point he was joined by Count Godfrey I of Louvain, and together their armies besieged Aalst on 12 July, with the probable intention of going on from there to reduce Ghent. But during the course of the siege he was wounded in the arm in a scuffle with a foot soldier. The wound became gangrenous and William died at the age of twenty-five on 28 July 1128, attended to the end by his faithful brother-in-law, Helias of Saint Saens. William's body was carried to the abbey of St Bertin in St Omer and buried there. He left no children and was survived by his imprisoned father by six years.

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Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but his brothers deposed him in 1091. He gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert.

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Robert Curthose 11th and 12th-century Duke of Normandy, crusader, and claimant to the English throne

Robert Curthose, sometimes called Robert II, succeeded his father William the Conqueror as Duke of Normandy in 1087 and reigned until 1106. Robert was also an unsuccessful claimant to the throne of the Kingdom of England. The epithet "Curthose" had its origins in the Norman French word courtheuse 'short stockings' and was apparently derived from a nickname given to Robert by his father; the chroniclers William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis reported that William the Conqueror had derisively called Robert brevis-ocrea.

Louis VI of France King of the Franks

Louis VI, called the Fat or the Fighter, was King of France from 1108 to 1137.

Fulk, King of Jerusalem King of Jerusalem

Fulk, also known as Fulk the Younger, was the Count of Anjou from 1109 to 1129 and the King of Jerusalem from 1131 to his death. During his reign, the Kingdom of Jerusalem reached its largest territorial extent.

Battle of Tinchebray 1106 battle during the invasion of Normandy by Henry I

The Battle of Tinchebray took place on 28 September 1106, in Tinchebray, Normandy, between an invading force led by King Henry I of England, and the Norman army of his elder brother Robert Curthose, the Duke of Normandy. Henry's knights won a decisive victory: they captured Robert, and Henry imprisoned him in England and then in Wales until Robert's death in 1134.

William Adelin 12th-century English prince

William Ætheling (Old English: [ˈwiɫiɑm ˈæðeliŋg]; 5 August 1103 – 25 November 1120), commonly called Adelin, sometimes Adelinus, Adelingus, A(u)delin or other Latinised Norman-French variants of Ætheling, was the son of Henry I of England by his wife Matilda of Scotland, and was thus heir apparent to the English throne. His early death without issue caused a succession crisis, known in history as the Anarchy.

Thierry, Count of Flanders Count of Flanders

Theoderic, commonly known as Thierry of Alsace, was the fifteenth count of Flanders from 1128 to 1168. With a record of four campaigns in the Levant and Africa, he had a rare and distinguished record of commitment to crusading.

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 usurped the countship after defeating his nephew Arnulf III and his allies, Robert's sister Matilda and King Philip I of France. He made peace with Philip, who became his stepson-in-law, but remained hostile to his sister and brother-in-law, King William the Conqueror of England.

Duke of Normandy Medieval ruler of the Duchy of Normandy

In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.

Robert de Bellême, seigneur de Bellême, seigneur de Montgomery, viscount of the Hiémois, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury and Count of Ponthieu, was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, and one of the most prominent figures in the competition for the succession to England and Normandy between the sons of William the Conqueror. He was a member of the powerful House of Bellême.

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Matilda of Anjou, also known as Mahaut was married in 1119 to William Adelin, son and heir apparent of Henry I of England.

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.

Sibylla of Anjou was a countess consort of Flanders. She was the daughter of Fulk V of Anjou and Ermengarde of Maine, and wife of William Clito and Thierry, Count of Flanders. She was the regent of Flanders in 1147-1149.

William of Ypres was a Flemish nobleman and one of the first mercenary captains of the Middle Ages. Following two unsuccessful bids for the County of Flanders, William became King Stephen of England's chief lieutenant during the civil war of 1139–54 known as the Anarchy. He held Kent, though not the title of earl, until the early years of King Henry II's reign, when he returned to Flanders.

Helias of Saint-Saens

Helias of Saint Saens (?–1128), Count of Arques was a Norman magnate of the eleventh and twelfth century, a loyal supporter of Robert Curthose and protector of his son William Clito. His support of the latter eventually brought him into conflict with Henry I of England ending in his willing exile from Normandy.

Sibylla of Conversano Duchess of Normandy

Sibylla of Conversano was a wealthy Italian heiress and Duchess of Normandy as the wife of Robert Curthose.

Henry I, Count of Eu and Lord of Hastings was the son of William II, Count of Eu, and his wife Helisende d'Avranches was the sister of Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of Chester. Henry descended from Richard I, Duke of Normandy. His father died in 1096, having revolted against King William II of England.

References

  1. Clemoes, Peter; Biddle, Martin; Brown, Julian; Derolez, René (October 11, 2007). "Anglo-Saxon England". Cambridge University Press via Google Books.
  2. Aird, William M. (September 28, 2011). "Robert `Curthose', Duke of Normandy (C. 1050-1134)". Boydell Press via Google Books.
  3. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten , Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 81
  4. C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003), pp. 204-6
  5. C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003), p. 206
  6. 1 2 David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (Hambledon Continuum, New York, 2007), p. 185
  7. Kathleen Thompson, 'Robert of Bellême Reconsidered', Anglo-Norman Studies XIII; Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1990, Ed. Marjorie Chibnall (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1991), p. 278
  8. 1 2 David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (Hambledon Continuum, New York, 2007), p. 187
  9. 1 2 3 4 Sandy Burton Hicks, 'The Anglo-Papal Bargain of 1125: The Legatine Mission of John of Crema', Albion, Vol. 8, No. 4, (Winter, 1976), p. 302
  10. Edward Augustus Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest of England, Its Causes and Its Results, Vol V (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1876), p. 199
  11. 1 2 3 4 Henry I and the Anglo-Norman World; Studies in memory of C. Warren Hollister, Ed. Donald F. Fleming, Janet M. Pope (Boydell Press, UK, 2007), pp. 318-19
  12. William M. Aird, Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy: C. 1050-1134, (The Boydell Press, 2008), 272.

Further reading

Preceded by
Charles I
Count of Flanders
1127–1128
Succeeded by
Thierry