Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir

  ———“A west-country magnate of the eleventh century: the family, estates and patronage of Beorhtric son of Aelfgar” (in Family Trees and the Roots of Politics)

  Williams, Brenda and Brian: Secrets of the Bayeux Tapestry (Andover, 2008)

  Williams, Brian: Life in a Medieval Castle (Andover, 2011)

  Williams, John R.: “Godfrey of Rheims, a Humanist of the Eleventh Century” (Speculum, 22, 1, 1947)

  Williams, Watkin: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (Manchester, 1935)

  Williamson, David: Brewer’s British Royalty (London, 1996)

  ———The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England (London, 1998)

  Wilson, Derek: The Tower, 1078–1978 (1978)

  Women and Power in the Middle Ages (ed. Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski, London, 1988)

  Women and Sovereignty (ed. Louise Olga Fradenburg, Edinburgh, 1992)

  Wree, Oliver de: Genealogia comitum Flandriae (Bruges, 1642)

  Yorke, Barbara: “St Edith” (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004)

  Notes and References


  1. Huneycutt: Matilda of Scotland

  2. It was kept at the College of Navarre in Paris for hundreds of years, but has long been lost.

  “We Are Come for Glory”

  1. Wace; William of Malmesbury

  2. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The site of the battle has been disputed in recent years, but it is attested to early on, and the traditional location is almost certainly the correct one. The arguments and evidence are well laid out here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/​learn/​story-of-england/​medieval-part-1/​battle-of-hastings-location.


  1. “A Very Beautiful and Noble Girl”

  1. William of Poitiers

  2. Ibid.

  3. Baudri de Bourgeuil

  4. William of Malmesbury

  5. Ibid.

  6. Orderic Vitalis. Matilda was perhaps named for her ancestress Matilda of Saxony-Billung (d.1008), wife of Count Baldwin III.

  7. William of Poitiers

  8. William of Jumièges

  9. Orderic Vitalis

  10. The church was demolished in 1799; its foundations were rediscovered in the 1950s and can be seen in the cellars of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The castle has long since disappeared, but the remains of some of its walls have also been uncovered.

  11. Encomium Emmae Reginae. Baldwin “Iron Arm” married the French princess Judith, widow of King Ethelwulf of Wessex.

  12. In the thirteenth century, the chapel was removed to Lille Cathedral, which is dedicated to Notre Dame de la Treille. The present cathedral dates from 1854.

  13. Verhulst

  14. Borman. The “bourg” was destroyed in the eighteenth century. Nothing remains of the castle of Thérouanne.

  15. Lisiard of Crépy

  16. Encomium Emmae Reginae

  17. Hilton: Queens Consort. He was the son of King Cnut’s first marriage or “handfasting.”

  18. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

  19. Ibid.

  20. Ibid.

  21. Wace; Orderic Vitalis

  22. Douglas. See Chapter 5 of this book for a discussion of these charters.

  23. Wace

  24. Williams: “A west-country magnate of the eleventh century”

  25. The Chronicle of Tewkesbury Abbey. The story also appears in Cotton MS. Cleopatra.

  2. “Great Courage and High Daring”

  1. William of Malmesbury; William of Poitiers

  2. William of Jumièges

  3. William of Malmesbury

  4. Cited Hilton: Queens Consort

  5. William of Poitiers

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. William of Jumièges; William of Poitiers

  10. Wace says the courtship took place before William visited England, which, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was in the latter part of 1051.

  11. Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie

  12. William of Poitiers

  13. “The Chronicle of Tours”

  14. William of Poitiers; Baldwin of Avesnes

  15. William of Jumièges

  16. “The Chronicle of Inger, likewise called Ingerius,” cited by Strickland

  17. “The Chronicle of Tours”

  18. Baldwin of Avesnes; Mouskes

  19. Baldwin of Avesnes

  20. “The Chronicle of Inger, likewise called Ingerius,” cited by Strickland

  21. Baldwin of Avesnes; Mouskes

  22. “The Chronicle of Inger, likewise called Ingerius,” cited by Strickland; Baldwin of Avesnes

  23. William of Malmesbury

  24. “The Chronicle of Tours”; Baldwin of Avesnes; “The Chronicle of Inger, likewise called Ingerius,” cited by Strickland

  25. Baldwin of Avesnes

  26. Ibid.

  3. “William Bastard”

  1. William of Malmesbury

  2. Orderic Vitalis

  3. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

  4. In the later sixteenth century, Huguenots desecrated William’s tomb in the abbey of Saint-Étienne, Caen, and during the French Revolution most of his remains were thrown in the River Orne. All that was spared was one thighbone, which was authenticated and reburied in 1987, with some ceremony, under a simple ledger stone before the high altar.

  5. Douglas. The portrait no longer survives, but in the eighteenth century paintings of William and Matilda were made for St. Stephen’s, where they hung in the galleries. William’s survives. It dates from 1708 and now hangs in the sacristy. An inscription states that it is a copy of the authentic portrait painted on an ancient panel—probably the portrait painted in 1522, for the sitter wears sixteenth-century dress.

  6. William of Jumièges

  7. William of Malmesbury

  8. William of Jumièges

  9. William of Malmesbury

  10. Hilton: Queens Consort

  4. “The Greatest Ceremony and Honour”

  1. The Lateran Council of 1139 changed this to the fourth degree.

  2. William of Jumièges

  3. William of Poitiers

  4. Orderic Vitalis

  5. Ibid.

  6. William of Poitiers

  7. William of Malmesbury

  8. Orderic Vitalis

  9. Bates: William the Conqueror

  10. Stapleton

  11. “Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Sainte-Trinité du Mont de Rouen,” number 37

  12. Chartes de Saint-Julien de Tours

  13. Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie, 124, 126; Lot, nos. 30, 31

  14. William of Malmesbury

  15. William of Poitiers

  16. Ibid. Herleva died soon afterward, and was buried in the abbey of Saint-Grestain, which, in gratitude to the Virgin for having cured him of leprosy, Herluin and their son, Robert, Count of Mortain, founded around 1050 (Robert of Torigni), when the name of Herluin’s second wife appears in a list of benefactors.

  17. Strickland calls it by its Latin name, Augi, which has led to some confusion. The château now standing on the site dates from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

  18. Patterson

  19. William of Poitiers

  20. Ibid.

  21. Wace

  22. William of Jumièges

  23. Orderic Vitalis

  24. William of Jumièges

  25. Orderic Vitalis; Aird

  26. Gathagan: “ ‘Mother of Heroes, Most Beautiful of Mothers.’ ” Matilda’s chamberlains were William “le Flamand” (the Fleming), who probably came to Normandy with her, and Fulchold.

  27. William of Jumièges

  28. William of Poitiers

  5. “Illustrious Progeny”

  1. William of Malmesbury

  2. Orderic Vitalis

  3. William of Jumièges

  4. Fulcoius of Beavais in Recueil de travaux d’érudition dédiés à la m
émoire de Julien Havet

  5. Wace

  6. Orderic Vitalis

  7. William of Malmesbury

  8. His engravings of them are in his work Les monuments de la monarchie française, and in the Archives départementales du Calvados, Series F.

  9. Not 1961, as is often stated.

  10. Dewhurst

  11. Morris; Bates: William the Conqueror

  12. Dewhurst

  13. Hugo of St. Vaast

  14. Orderic Vitalis

  15. Ibid.

  16. Aird

  17. Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie

  18. Mason: William II

  19. See evidence for his age at death in Chapter 16.

  20. Barlow: William Rufus

  21. Bates: William the Conqueror

  22. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, 1066–1154

  23. Norton: England’s Queens

  24. Domesday Book records that Geoffrey, “the chamberlain of the King’s daughter Matilda,” held Hatch Warren, Hampshire, of the King, for the service he had performed for her.

  25. Rouleaux des morts du Ixe au Xve siècle. After Cecilia was professed as a nun in 1075, Baudri, Abbot of Bourgeuil, wrote to her, and sent greetings to a sister she had with her at Holy Trinity, whose name he had forgotten, although he knew “she was of Bayeux and then of Anjou.” This unnamed sister cannot have been a nun in or near Bayeux, because there were no convents in the area, although she could have been a nun in Anjou, perhaps at Fontevrault or Ronceray (Barlow: William Rufus). She is perhaps to be identified with Matilda, or Adeliza, both of whom who are mentioned in the mortuary roll of 1112.

  26. Foulds

  27. Keats-Rohan

  28. Planché; Foulds; Sharpe: “King Harold’s Daughter”; Domesday Book. A case has also been made for Matilda d’Aincourt having been the illegitimate daughter of Gunhilda of Wessex, daughter of Harold II of England, by Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond. St. Mary’s Abbey was his property, and Matilda d’Aincourt’s gifts to it came from his revenues. However, the register of the honour of Richmond records that, early in 1069, Queen Matilda persuaded King William to grant many of the lands in North Yorkshire of the rebel Edwin, Earl of Mercia, to Alan Rufus. Furthermore, Walter d’Aincourt and Alan Rufus were partners in the lead trade; Walter owned lead mines, while Alan built the port of Boston, Lincolnshire, whence the lead was shipped. These links might also explain the connection between Matilda d’Aincourt and Lord Alan (Sharpe: “King Harold’s Daughter”).

  29. Orderic Vitalis

  30. Houts: “Adelida”; Thomas Forester, in his translation of Orderic Vitalis’s The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy

  31. Rouleaux des morts du Ixe au Xve siècle

  32. Houts: “Adelida”

  33. Letter 1 in Appendix II

  34. Orderic Vitalis

  35. Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica; Burke: The Royal Families, vol. 1: “Descendants of William the Conqueror” and pedigree LXVIII; The Roll of Battle Abbey; Barlow: The Feudal Kingdom of England

  36. Stapleton

  37. Orderic Vitalis

  38. Liber Monasterii de Hyde

  39. Stapleton

  40. Early Yorkshire Charters

  41. Chester Waters; Freeman: “The Parentage of Gundrada, Wife of William of Warren”; Chandler; Early Yorkshire Charters

  42. Anselm of Aosta: The Letters of St Anselm of Canterbury

  43. Orderic Vitalis

  44. Recueil de travaux d’érudition dédiés à la mémoire de Julien Havet

  45. Orderic Vitalis

  6. “The Tenderest Regard”

  1. William of Malmesbury

  2. Cartwright

  3. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I

  4. William of Malmesbury

  5. William of Poitiers

  6. Orderic Vitalis

  7. Le cartulaire de la chapitre cathedral de Coutances; Bates: The Normans and Empire

  8. Calendar of Documents preserved in France; Borman

  9. William of Malmesbury

  10. Sturluson

  11. Many sources were consulted for the royal household, the court and royal life, but I am chiefly indebted to the “Constitutio Domus Regis”; Brian Williams; Goodall; Steane; Tomkeieff and Norris.

  12. The term “ladies’ bower” is a nineteenth-century invention.

  13. Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

  14. Holmes

  15. Baudri de Bourgeuil

  16. Hedley

  17. “Constitutio Domus Regis”

  18. Map

  19. Holmes

  7. “The Piety of Their Princes”

  1. William of Malmesbury

  2. Ibid.

  3. Borman

  4. Orderic Vitalis

  5. William of Jumièges; Orderic Vitalis

  6. Orderic Vitalis

  7. William of Malmesbury

  8. According to Milo Crespin, Abbot of Bec-Hellouin, writing around 1130, and, later, Wace.

  9. William of Malmesbury

  10. William of Jumièges

  11. Freeman: History of the Norman Conquest

  12. William of Jumièges; Orderic Vitalis; Wace

  13. William of Jumièges

  14. Cited Fettu: William the Conqueror

  15. The Cultural Patronage of Medieval Women

  16. Borman

  17. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I; “Les actes de Guillaume le Conquérant et de la reine Mathilde pour les abbayes caënnaises”; Borman

  18. Gathagan: “Embodying Power, Gender and Authority in the Queenship of Matilda of Flanders”

  19. Freeman: History of the Norman Conquest; Borman

  20. Orderic Vitalis

  21. After wartime bombing, only ruins remain today.

  22. Chibnall: “The Empress Matilda and Bec-Hellouin.” It was later endowed in Matilda’s memory by her children, notably Henry, who completed the church and whose bowels would later be buried there. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times, and any vestiges of the abbey Matilda knew were razed in 1418.

  23. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I

  24. The Cultural Patronage of Medieval Women; “La reine Mathilde et la fondation de la Trinité de Caen”

  25. Bates: William the Conqueror. The foundations of the palace were excavated in the 1960s, and may be seen next to the hall built by William and Matilda’s son Henry.

  8. “Without Honour”

  1. William of Poitiers

  2. Eadmer

  3. William of Malmesbury

  4. Ibid.

  5. William of Poitiers

  6. Orderic Vitalis

  7. William of Malmesbury

  8. Sturluson

  9. Orderic Vitalis

  10. Sturluson

  11. William of Poitiers

  12. According to William of Poitiers, the Duke’s chaplain, who was in a position to know. William of Jumièges, Orderic and Robert of Torigni all state that one princess was betrothed in turn to Harold and the Spanish prince.

  13. William of Poitiers; Orderic Vitalis; Robert of Torigni

  14. The Aelfgyva in the Bayeux Tapestry is a small figure who stands in a doorway while a tonsured man apparently draws away her veil from her face. Above is the unfinished sentence “…where a clerk and Aelfgyva…” Possibly the unfinished sentence is meant to be suggestive. This is unlikely to have been a betrothal, since the male party is absent. There have been many theories about Aelfgyva’s identity. Recently it has been suggested that she was the subject of some otherwise unrecorded sexual scandal—in the border below her there is an image of a priapic nude man reaching up toward her, mimicking the stance of the priest above—and even that she might be Emma of Normandy, whom gossip credited with a shocking liaison with a bishop (Laynesmith; Freeman: “The Identity of Aelfgyva in the Bayeux Tapestry”). Another theory is that she was Harold’s sister, Aelfgyva Godwinsdottir, whose marriage to one of William’s barons wa
s under discussion (Eadmer), and that the intention was to show her as being unworthy. By October 1066 she had died, before any marriage took place (Eadmer). William of Malmesbury perhaps confused her death with that of the princess who had been betrothed to Harold (Borman). It is highly unlikely therefore that “Aelfgyva” was one of the ducal princesses, and inconceivable that an embroiderer would have impugned one of them by placing her above such a blatantly sexual image (Borman).

  15. Barlow: William Rufus

  16. Orderic Vitalis

  17. Sturluson

  18. Eadmer

  19. Orderic Vitalis. William of Malmesbury states that, in 1066, Harold repudiated his oath to William because the princess to whom he had been betrothed had died before she was old enough to marry. There is no record of any of the other daughters dying before 1066.

  20. Eadmer

  21. Orderic Vitalis

  9. “A Prudent Wife”

  1. William of Jumièges

  2. The lower parts of the nave and towers, a section of the wall of the south aisle, much of the Romanesque arcading in the nave, and the basic structure of the upper stories survive from the church Matilda knew.

  3. Benoît de Saint-Maure

  4. Borman

  5. Houts: The Normans in Europe; Gathagan: “ ‘Mother of Heroes, Most Beautiful of Mothers’ ”

  6. Orderic Vitalis

  7. Houts: “The Echo of the Conquest in the Latin Sources”

  8. Cartwright

  9. Fettu: Queen Matilda

  10. Orderic Vitalis

  11. William of Malmesbury

  12. Ibid.

  13. Orderic Vitalis

  14. Cited Fettu: Queen Matilda

  15. William of Poitiers

  16. Orderic Vitalis

  17. Wace

  18. Ibid.

  19. Houts: “The Echo of the Conquest in the Latin Sources”; Houts: “The Ship List of William the Conqueror”

  20. Wace

  21. Norton: England’s Queens; Borman

  22. William of Poitiers; William of Jumièges

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