Welf I, Duke of Bavaria

Welf I, Duke of Bavaria

Welf I (died 6 November 1101, Paphos) was duke of Bavaria from 1070 to 1077 and from 1096 to his death. He was the first member of the Welf branch of the House of Este. In the Welf genealogy he is counted as Welf IV.

Welf was the son of Azzo II of Este and his wife Chuniza of Altdorf. When Welf's maternal uncle, Welf, Duke of Carinthia (also known as Welf III), died childless, Welf inherited his property. Welf married Ethelinde, daughter of Otto II, Duke of Bavaria.

Although the Marquis of Este, guided by his cousin Matilda, continued firm in the Pope's interests, his son Welf, who had succeeded to the Bavarian states, and whose views were more immediately directed to Germany, supported the emperor. For his fidelity he was rewarded with the duchy of Bavaria, which had been forfeited by Otto, his father-in-law. When Duke Otto had become an enemy of King Henry IV, Welf divorced Ethelinde, and soon thereafter (in 1070) was appointed duke of Bavaria in Otto's stead. This event took place at Goslar in 1070, when the states of Bavaria submitted quietly to the new made duke, who was the representative of one of the most ancient families in the province; and although, in compliance with the commands of the emperor, he afterwards repudiated his duchess, the daughter of Otho, we do toot find that his influence was at all affected by such an act, which savored somewhat of injustice.

During the Investiture Controversy, Welf sided with Pope Gregory VII, and in March 1077 supported the election of Rudolf of Rheinfelden as anti-king. They were reconciled in 1076, but the following year saw them again engaged in active hostilities. Henry, in consequence of these repeated acts of rebellion, deprived him of his newly-acquired sovereignty; but, supported by his faithful Bavarians, and aided by his father in Italy, he was able to maintain his place, and to set the ban of the empire at defiance in May 1077.

Welf joined the discontented princes who supported the standard of Rudolph, when all were put without the pale of the church who refused to obey the mandate of that Pope; and in that age of ignorance and superstition, many were obliged to comply with a Pope's mandate, who otherwise would have supported the sovereign of their own choice. Fortunately for the peace of Germany, Gregory died in 1085, and Welf , though he still adhered to the party of the church, began to relax in his exertions to maintain the usurper. In 1089, Welf's son Welf married Matilda of Tuscany, thus strengthening relationships with the pope. After the younger Welf divorced Matilda in 1095, Welf made amends with King Henry IV and was reappointed as duke of Bavaria.

On the divorce of his first wife, Welf married a princess of Flanders, the widow of Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria, in England, and the sister of the queen of William I of England, the conqueror of that kingdom.

After the death of his father Azzo in 1097, Welf tried to acquire his father's property south of the Alps, but did not succeed against his younger half-brother Fulco.

In 1099, Welf joined the Crusade of 1101. He died while returning from the crusade in Cyprus in 1101 and was buried in Weingarten Abbey. He was succeeded as duke of Bavaria by his son Welf.


Welf had the following children from his marriage with Judith of Flanders, daughter of Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders:

* Welf, born 1072
* Henry (d. 13 December 1126)
* Kunizza, died 6 March 1120, married Frederick Rocho, Count of Dießen


* [http://www.genealogie-mittelalter.de/ Genealogie Mittelalter]
* Sir Andrew Halliday "Annals of the House of Hannover", v.1, London, 1826. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC03031224&id=m_VUiHt9jxwC&dq=Annals+of+the+House+of+Hannover at Google Books]
* Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Line 166-23
* The Plantagenet Ancestry by William Henry Turton, Page 40

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