Richilde, Countess of Hainaut

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Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut
Died (1086-03-15)15 March 1086
Mesen
Spouse(s) Herman of Mons
Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders
William Fitzosbern, 1st Earl of Hereford
Baldwin VI of Flanders and Richilde of Hainault

Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut (c. 1018 – 15 March 1086), was a ruling countess of Hainaut from c. 1050 until 1076, in co-regency with her husband Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders and son Baldwin II, Count of Hainaut. She was also countess consort of Flanders by marriage to Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders. She served as regent of Flanders during the minority of her son Arnulf III, Count of Flanders in 1070-1071.

Life[edit]

The origin of Richilde is unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. She was born c. 1018.[1] In 1040, she married Herman of Mons, who became Count of Hainaut.[1]

"Heiress of Hainaut"[edit]

Richilde's own position is unclear. She is counted as ruling countess of Hainaut for different periods in different sources. Herman died in 1049, and left Richilde in the unclear position of "heiress of Hainaut". Apparently, this is meant to read that she was actually Countess regnant in her own right. She had a minor son, Roger, who was evidently not count of Hainaut.

Her position as "heiress of Hainaut", made her an attractive bride, which placed her and the County in a dangerous position. In a need to protect the county of Hainaut, she made an alliance with Baldwin V of Flanders by marrying his eldest son Baldwin. It was her father-in-law Baldwin V who, under threat of force, arranged the marriage between his son and Richilde, because she was "heiress of Hainaut".[2]

As Hainaut was a part of the empire and Henry III had not been consulted, the marriage resulted in a war between the emperor and the Baldwin's, ending in the victory for the latter in 1054. [3][4]

Her husband Baldwin became ruling count of Hainaut De jure uxoris by marriage to her. Her father-in-law arranged for her children with Herman children to be disinherited, and Hainaut was thereby to be inherited by the line of her new husband.

Her husband also became count of Flanders as Baldwin VI in 1067, thereby unifying Hainaut and Flanders and ruling them both until his death on 17 July 1070.[4]

Regency of Flanders[edit]

Before his death, Baldwin VI left Flanders to their eldest son, Arnulf III, and Hainaut to their younger son, Baldwin II, with the provision that if either son preceded the other in death, he would inherit the other's county as well.[5] Baldwin VI also obtained assurances from his brother Robert who gave his oath of homage and promised to protect his nephew.[5] After Baldwin VI's death their son Arnulf III became Count of Flanders, but as he was a minor, Richilde served as Regent of Flanders.[6]

Almost immediately Arnulf's uncle, Robert the Frisian, broke his oath to his brother Baldwin VI and disputed Arnulf's right to Flanders.[7] Richilde asked for help from William Fitzosbern of Normandy who married her. Despite help from King Philip I of France, her forces were defeated at the Battle of Cassel and William Fitzosbern was killed along with her oldest son, Arnulf. Richilde herself was captured and released,[8] King Philip later recognized Robert as Count of Flanders.[9]

Later reign[edit]

Richilde and her younger son, Baldwin II, retained Hainaut, but made subsequent unsuccessful attempts to recover Flanders.[9] Richilde built the castle at Beaumont along with a chapel there dedicated to St. Venantius.[10] She, along with her son Baldwin, founded the monastery of Saint-Denis-en-Broqueroie.[11]

At the end of her regency she retired to the Abbey of Messines.[10] In 1076, she was evidently deposed by her son.

Richilde died on 15 March 1086.[12]

Family[edit]

Richilde married Herman, Count of Hainaut. They had two children:

Richilde married secondly Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders. They were the parents of:

In 1071 Richilde married thirdly William Fitzosbern, 1st Earl of Hereford (c. 1025 – 1071).[4]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Karen S. Nicholas, 'Countesses as Rulers in Flanders', Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Ed. Theodore Evergates (Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), p. 115
  2. ^ Renée Nip, 'The Political Relations Between England and Flanders (1066–1128)', Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998, Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1989), p. 147.
  3. ^ Renée Nip, 'The Political Relations Between England and Flanders (1066–1128)', Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998, Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1989), p. 147.
  4. ^ a b c d e Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafle 5
  5. ^ a b Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005), p. 5
  6. ^ Renée Nip, 'The Political Relations between England and Flanders (1066–1128)', Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998, Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999), p. 154
  7. ^ Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: The History of a Dynasty (987–1328) (London & New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 114
  8. ^ Karen S. Nicholas, 'Countesses as Rulers in Flanders', Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Ed. Theodore Evergates (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), p. 116
  9. ^ a b Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005), p. 6
  10. ^ a b Karen S. Nicholas, 'Countesses as Rulers in Flanders', Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Ed. Theodore Evergates (Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), p. 116
  11. ^ Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005), p. 11
  12. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant Extinct or Dormant, Vol. VI, Ed. H. A. Doubleday & Howard de Walden (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1926), p. 449
  13. ^ a b Gilbert of Mons, Chronicle of Hainaut, Trans. Laura Napran (Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, 2005), pp. 3 & n. 8
Richilde, Countess of Hainaut
Born: c. 1018 Died: 15 March 1086
Preceded by
Herman of Mons
Countess of Hainaut
c. 1050–1076
Succeeded by
Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders
Preceded by
Adela of France, Countess of Flanders
Countess consort of Flanders
1067–1070
Succeeded by
Gertrude of Saxony