Matilda of Boulogne


Matilda of Boulogne
This article is about Matilda I, Countess of Boulogne. For another Countess of Boulogne named Matilda, see Matilda II, Countess of Boulogne. For her other namesakes, see Matilda of Boulogne (disambiguation).
Matilda of Boulogne
Queen consort of the English
Tenure 22 December 1135 – 3 May 1152
Coronation 22 March 1136
Countess of Boulogne
Tenure 1125 – 3 May 1152
Predecessor Eustace III
Successor Eustace IV
Spouse Stephen of England
Issue
Baldwin of Boulogne
Matilda of Boulogne
Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne
William of Blois
Marie of Boulogne
House House of Blois
Father Eustace III, Count of Boulogne
Mother Mary of Scotland
Born c. 1105
Boulogne, France
Died 3 May 1152(1152-05-03) (aged c. 46–47)
Hedingham Castle, Essex
Burial Faversham Abbey

Matilda I (or Maud) (1105? – 3 May 1152) was suo jure Countess of Boulogne. She was also queen consort of England as the wife of King Stephen.

Contents

Biography

She was born in Boulogne, France, the daughter of Eustace III, Count of Boulogne and his wife Mary of Scotland, daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland. Matilda was first cousin of her husband's rival, Empress Matilda. Through her maternal grandmother, Matilda was descended from the pre-Conquest English kings.

In 1125, Matilda married Stephen of Blois, Count of Mortain, who possessed a large honour in England. When Matilda's father abdicated and retired to a monastery the same year, this was joined with Boulogne and the similarly large English honour Matilda inherited. On Eustace III's death, Matilda and her husband became joint rulers of Boulogne. Two children, a son and a daughter, were born to the Countess and Count of Boulogne during the reign of King Henry I, who had granted Stephen and Matilda a residence in London.[1] The son was named Baldwin, after Matilda's uncle, King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.[1] The daughter was named Matilda. Baldwin died in early childhood and the young Matilda is thought to have died during childhood too, although some scholars state that she lived long enough to be espoused to the count of Milan.[1]

On the death of Henry I of England in 1135, Stephen rushed to England, taking advantage of Boulogne's control of the closest seaports, and was crowned king, beating his rival, the Empress Matilda. Matilda was heavily pregnant at that time and crossed the Channel after giving birth to a son, Eustace, who would one day succeed her as Count of Boulogne. Matilda was crowned queen at Easter - 22 March 1136.[1]

Matilda was a supporter of the Knights Templar. She founded Cressing Temple in 1137 and Temple Cowley in 1139.[2]. Like her predecessor, Matilda of Scotland, she had a close relationship with the Holy Trinity Priory at Aldgate. She took the prior as her confessor and two of her children were buried there[3].

In the civil war that followed, known as the Anarchy, Matilda proved to be her husband's strongest supporter. When England was invaded, she called troups from Boulogne and its ally Flanders and besieged Dover Castle with success and then went north to Durham, where she made a treaty with David I of Scotland.[4]

After Stephen was captured at the Battle of Lincoln she rallied the king's partisans, and raised an army with the help of William of Ypres. While the Empress Matilda waited in London to prepare her coronation, Matilda and Stephen's brother Henry of Blois had her chased out of the city. The Empress Matilda went on to besiege Henry of Blois at Winchester. Matilda of Boulogne then commanded her army to attack the besiegers. There was a rout in which the Empress's half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, was captured. The two Matildas then agreed to exchange prisoners and Stephen ruled as king again[5].

Matilda died of a fever at Hedingham Castle, Essex, England, and is buried at Faversham Abbey, which was founded by her and her husband.[1]

Issue

Stephen and Matilda had three sons:

They also had two daughters:

  • Matilda of Boulogne
  • Marie of Boulogne

Ancestry

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Agnes Strickland, Elisabeth Strickland: Lives of the Queens of England
  2. ^ Hilton (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. p. 86. 
  3. ^ Duggan. p. 330. 
  4. ^ Hilton (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. pp. 89–90. 
  5. ^ Duggan. p. 3. 

Sources

  • Norgate, Kate (1894). "Matilda of Boulogne". Dictionary of National Biography. 38. pp. 53–53. 
  • Marjorie Chibnall, ‘Matilda (c.1103–1152)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [1].
  • Duggan, Anne (1997). Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe: Proceedings of a Conference Held at King's College London, April 1995. The Boydell Press. 
  • Hilton, Lisa (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. Great Britain: Weidenfeld & Nichelson. ISBN 978-0-7538-2611-9. 
  • Matthew, Donald (2002). King Stephen. Carnegie Publishing. 


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Eustace III
Countess of Boulogne Blason Courtenay.svg
1125–1151
with Stephen
Succeeded by
Eustace IV
English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Adeliza of Louvain
Queen consort of the English
22 December 1135 – 3 May 1152
Vacant
Title next held by
Eleanor of Aquitaine

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