Guy de Montfort, Count of Nola
He participated in the Battle of Evesham against the royalist forces of his uncle, King Henry III of England, and his cousin, Prince Edward. Both his father and elder brother were traumatically killed during the disastrous battle, Guy de Montfort was extremely wounded and captured.
He was held at Windsor Castle until spring 1266, when he bribed his captors and escaped to France to rejoin his exiled family. Guy and his brother, Simon the younger, wandered across Europe for several years, eventually making their way to Italy.
In 1271, Guy and Simon discovered that their cousin Henry of Almain (son of Richard, Earl of Cornwall) was in Viterbo at the church of San Silvestro. In revenge for the deaths of their father and brother at Evesham, on 13 March, 1271, Guy and Simon murdered Henry while he clutched the altar, begging for mercy. "You had no mercy for my father and brothers", was Guy's reply. This murder was carried out in the presence of the Cardinals (who were conducting a papal Election), of King Philip III of France, and of King Charles of Sicily. For this crime the Montfort brothers were excommunicated, and Dante banished Guy to the river of boiling blood in the seventh circle of his Inferno (Canto XII).
The news reached England, and King Edward I(Note: Edward didn't succeed to throne until 1272) dispatched a clerk of the royal household to inform the northern counties and Scotland about the excommunication. Pope Gregory X wrote a letter (29 November, 1273) to King Edward from Lyons, where he was preparing for an ecumenical council, that Cardinal Riccardo Annibaldi and Cardinal Giovanni Orsini were still in Rome and had been ordered to find a secure place of imprisonment in the territories of the Church for Guy de Montfort.
Simon died later that year at Siena, "cursed by God, a wanderer and a fugitive". Guy was stripped of his titles and took service with Charles of Anjou again, but was captured off the coast of Sicily in 1287 by the Aragonese at the Battle of the Counts. He died in a Sicilian prison.
In Tuscany, he married an Italian noblewoman, Margherita Aldobrandesca, the Lady of Sovana, heiress of a branch of the Aldobrandeschi family, with a feudal contado, nominally subject to Orvieto, that stretched from the shores of the Tyrrhenian sea to the borders of Acquapendente. With her he had two daughters: Anastasia, who married Romano Orsini, and Tomasina, who married Pietro di Vico.
Among his direct descendants (via his elder daughter, Anastasia): late 15th century Kings of Naples, England's Queen-Consort Elizabeth Woodville, 16th century rulers of Poland, Dukes of Ferrera, and Dukes of Guise.
|Ancestors of Guy de Montfort, Count of Nola|
- Norgate 1894.
- Other sources give the site as Cathedral of S. Lorenzo in Viterbo, or the Church of S. Biagio. F. Cristofori, Il conclave del MCCLXX in Viterbo (Roma-Siena-Viterbo 1888), pp. 6-7, 56.
- Thomas Rymer Foedera, Conventiones, Literae et cuiusque generis Acta Publica inter Reges Angliae et alios... editio tertia Tomus I. pars 2 (The Hague 1745), pp. 134-135.
- Margherita, ward of Benedetto Cardinal Caetani, survived him and went on to be married four times more. (G. Ciacchi, Gli Aldobrandeschi nella storia e nella 'Divina Commedia' , (Rome) 1935, vol. i, ch. 6).
- Napoleone Cardinal Orsini succeeded Benedetto Caetani as her mother's guardian, married her to his brother Orsello and arranged this marriage, which brought Sovana and the Aldobrandeschi inheritance to the Orsini.