Thomas, Count of Flanders
|Lord of Piedmont (later Count of Piedmont, also Count of Flanders jure uxoris, and regent of Savoy)|
|Spouse||Joanna, Countess of Flanders and Hainaut, 1237–1244
Beatrice Fieschi, 1252–1259
|Issue||Thomas, Amadeus, Louis, Eleanor, Margaret, and Alice|
|House||House of Savoy|
|Father||Thomas I of Savoy|
|Mother||Margaret of Geneva|
|Died||7 February 1259|
Thomas II (c. 1199, Montmélian – 7 February 1259) was the Lord of Piedmont from 1233 to his death, Count of Flanders jure uxoris from 1237 to 1244, and regent of the County of Savoy from 1253 to his death, while his nephew Boniface was fighting abroad. He was the son of Thomas I of Savoy and Margaret of Geneva.
Thomas started his career in the church, as a canon at Lausanne and became prévôt of Valence by 1226. In 1233, when Thomas I of Savoy died, Thomas, being a younger son, inherited only the lordship of Piedmont, which he later raised to the status of a county. Historians and genealogists have retrospectively dubbed him "Thomas II of Savoy" in order to distinguish him from the other Thomases of the House of Savoy.
Count of Flanders
Thanks to the influence of his brother William of Savoy and his niece Margaret of Provence, Thomas was chosen to keep Flanders and Hainaut close to the French royal family. At the urging of Louis IX of France, Thomas married Joanna, Countess of Flanders and Hainaut, daughter of the Latin Emperor Baldwin I, in 1237. Later that same year, Thomas and his brother William were able to negotiate the release of numerous Flemish merchants from English prisons.
His loyalties as Count of Flanders were divided between the kings of France and England. When his niece, Eleanor of Provence gave birth to Edward in the summer of 1239, Thomas went for a visit, and was received with much ceremony and was granted an annual stipend of 500 marks. He returned to visit the family around Easter of 1240 and was given a gift which Henry III of England extracted from the lands of Simon de Montfort.
The count and countess were very generous toward local churches, and Thomas often followed his wife's lead on such matters. Thomas also understood the needs of the emerging merchant class, and worked to provide better rights for them. This included granting new charters and restructuring the governance in key cities such as Damme and Bruges.
In July 1243, Thomas and his brother Amadeus were ordered by Enzo of Sardinia to join in a siege of Vercelli, which had recently switched allegiances from the Empire to the Pope. Not only was the attack on the city unsuccessful, but the brothers were excommunicated for it. When the brothers wrote to the new Pope Innocent IV to appeal, he granted their request, and further indicated that Thomas would be protected from excommunication without papal authorization.
Thomas and Joanna had no issue and she died in 1244.
Although he was the next brother of Amadeus IV, he never became the Count of Savoy because he predeceased his nephew, Boniface, who himself died without sons to succeed him. Thomas did act as regent for Boniface during the early years of his reign. Although Thomas left sons, upon Boniface' death the remaining uncles, younger brothers of Thomas, ruled the County of Savoy. Thomas' eldest son and heir Thomas III thought it to be an injustice and unsuccessfully claimed Savoy. However, it so happened that Philip I, the last surviving brother of Thomas, made Thomas' younger son Amadeus his heir in Savoy, leaving the elder son, Thomas, and the genealogically senior line descending from him out of the Savoy succession.
Thomas and Beatrice had six children:
- Thomas, his successor and pretender to the County of Savoy
- Amadeus, who later inherited Savoy
- Louis (1250 – after 10 January 1302), Baron of Vaud
- Eleanor (died 6 December 1296), married (1270) Louis I of Beaujeu
- Margaret (died May 1292)
- Alice (died 1 August 1277)
He also had at least three illegitimate children.
|Count of Piedmont
|Count of Flanders
- Chevalier, J. (1889). Quarante années de l'histoire des évêques de Valence. Paris.
- Cognasso, Francesco (1940). Tommaso I ed Amedeo IV. Turin.
- Cox, Eugene L. (1974). The Eagles of Savoy. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 0691052166.
- Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843). "AMADEUS IV". The Biographical dictionary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Google Books). Vol. II. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. pp. 384–385. OCLC 449283879. Retrieved August 2, 2010.