Adela of Normandy

Adela of Normandy

:"also Adelaide of Normandy sister of William I of England".Infobox British Royalty
name = Adela of Normandy
title = Countess of Blois
reign = 1089 – 19 May 1102
spouse = Stephen II, Count of Blois
issue = William, Count of Chartres
Theobald II, (Thibaud IV) Count of Champagne
Stephen, King of England
Lucia-Mahaut d'Avranches, Countess of Chester
Agnes of Blois
Eléonore, Countess of Vermandois
Alice, Countess of Joigni
Lithuise of Brai, Viscountess of Troyes
Philip, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne
Henry of Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury, Bishop of Winchester

royal house = Norman dynasty
father = William I
mother = Matilda of Flanders
date of birth = c. 1067
place of birth = Normandy, France
date of death = death date|1137|3|8|df=yes (aged c. 70)
place of death = Marcigny-sur-Loire, France|

Adela of Normandy also known as Adela of Blois and Adela of England (c. 1062 or 1067 – March 8, 1137?) was by marriage countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux. She was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. She was also the mother of both Stephen, King of England and Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester.

Her birthdate is generally believed to have been between 1060 and 1064; however, there is some evidence she was born after her father's accession to the English throne in 1066. She was the favourite sister of King Henry I of England; they were probably the youngest of the Conqueror's children. She was a high-spirited and educated woman, with a knowledge of Latin.

She married Stephen Henry, son and heir to the count of Blois, sometime between 1080 and 1084, probably in 1083. Stephen inherited Blois, Chartres and Meaux in 1089, and owned over 300 properties, making him one of the wealthiest men of his day. He was a pious and revered leader who managed huge areas of France which inherited from his father and added to by his sharp administrations. He was, essentially a king in his own right. Stephen-Henry joined the First Crusade, along with his brother-in-law Robert Curthose. Stephen's letters to Adela form a uniquely intimate insight into the experiences of the Crusade's leaders. The Count of Blois returned to France in 1100 bringing with him several cartloads of maps, jewels and other treasures, which he deposited at Chartres. He was, however, under an obligation to the pope for agreements made years earlier and returned to Antioch to participate in the crusade of 1101. He was ultimately killed in an ill advised charge at the Battle of Ramla. Rumors of his cowardice and defection under fire are untrue and unfounded and have been proven to be propaganda generated by later biased historians. Stephen-Henry was often referred to as "le Sage," and was a great patron of Troubadours and writers.

Adela and Stephen's children are listed here as follows. Their birth order is uncertain.
# Guillaume (William)(d. 1150), Count of Chartres married Agnes of Sulli (d. aft 1104) and had issue.
# Theobald II, aka Thibaud IV Count of Champagne
# Odo of Blois, aka Humbert. died young.
# Stephen of Blois {King of England}.
# Lucia-Mahaut, married Richard d'Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester. Both drowned on 25 November 1120.
# Agnes of Blois, married Hugh de Puiset and were parents to Hugh de Puiset.
# Eléonore of Blois (d. 1147) married Raoul I of Vermandois (d.1152) & had issue they were divorced in 1142.
# Alix of Blois (d. 1145) married Renaud (d.1134)III of Joigni & had Issue
# Lithuise of Blois (d. 1118) married Milo I of Montlhéry(Divorced 1115)
# Philip (d. 1100) Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne
# Henry of Blois b.1101- d. 1171 (oblate child raised at Cherite sur Loire (Cluny Abbey) 1103.

Adela was regent for her husband during his extended absence as a leader of the First Crusade (1095-1098), and when he returned in disgrace it was at least in part at her urging that he returned to the east to fulfil his vow of seeing Jerusalem.Fact|date=January 2008 She was again regent in 1101, continuing after her husband's death on this second crusading expedition in 1102, for their children were still minors. Orderic Vitalis praises her as a "wise and spirited woman" who ably governed her husband's estates in his absences and after his death.

She employed tutors to educate her elder sons, and had her youngest son Henry pledged to the Church at Cluny. Adela quarrelled with her eldest son Guillaume, "deficient in intelligence as well as degenerate", and had his younger brother Theobald replace him as heir. Her son Stephen left Blois in 1111 to join his uncle's court in England.

Adela retired to Marcigny in 1120, secure in the status of her children. Later that same year, her daughter Lucia-Mahaut, was drowned in the wreck of the White Ship alongside her husband. She lived long enough to see her son Stephen seize the English throne, and took pride in the ascension of her youngest child Henry Blois to the bishophric of Winchester, but died soon after.

Adela was portrayed by Nike Arrighi in the two-part BBC TV play "Conquest" (1966), about her father's conquest of England, part of the series "Theatre 625".


*LoPrete,Kimberly. "The Anglo-Norman Card of Adela of Blois", "Albion" 22 (1990)
*LoPrete, Kimberly. "Adela of Blois and Ivo of Chartres: Piety, Politics, and the Peace in the Diocese of Chartres", "Anglo-Norman Studies" 19
*Parsons, John Carmi. "Medieval Mothering (New Middle Ages)", 1996
*LoPrete, Kimberly. "Adela of Blois" Countess and Lord, C.1067-1137, "Four Courts" Dublin (2007)

External links

* [ RoyaList Online interactive family tree] (en)

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