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Godfrey I of Leuven

Godfrey I of Leuven

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Godfrey I called the Bearded, the Courageous, or the Great, was the landgrave of Brabant
Duke of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was formally erected in 1183/1184. The title "Duke of Brabant" was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I, son of Godfrey III of Leuven . The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant...

, and count of Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 and Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 (or Louvain) from 1095 to his death and duke of Lower Lorraine (as Godfrey V or VI) from 1106 to 1129. He was also margrave
Margrave
A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

 of Antwerp from 1106 to his death.

Biography


Godfrey was the son of Henry II
Henry II, Count of Leuven
Henry II was Count of Leuven from 1054 through 1071. Henry II was the son of Lambert II, Count of Leuven and Oda of Verdun. His maternal uncles included Pope Stephen X and Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lorraine....

 and a countess called Adela (origin unknown). He succeeded his brother Henry III
Henry III of Leuven
Henry III of Leuven was count of Leuven from 1078 to 1095.He was allied by marriage to most of the nearby lords: he was brother in law of Baldwin II of Hainaut, and son-in-law of Robert I of Flanders. The bishop of Liège, Henri I of Verdun, was peace-loving. Henry was able to concentrate on the...

 in 1095. He first came into conflict with Otbert, Bishop of Liège, over the county of Brunengeruz that both claimed. In 1099, Emperor Henry IV allotted the county to the bishop, who entrusted it to Albert III, Count of Namur. Godfrey arbitrated a dispute between Henry III of Luxembourg and Arnold I, Count of Loon, over the appointment of the abbot of Sint-Truiden
Sint-Truiden
Sint-Truiden is a city and municipality located in the province of Limburg, Flemish Region, Belgium, near the towns of Hasselt and Tongeren. The municipality includes the old communes of Aalst, Brustem, Duras, Engelmanshoven, Gelinden, Gorsem, Groot-Gelmen, Halmaal, Kerkom-bij-Sint-Truiden,...

.

Godfrey was in favour with the emperor and defended his interests in Lorraine. In 1102, he stopped Robert II of Flanders, who was invading the Cambraisis. After the death of the emperor in 1106, his son and successor, Henry V
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

, who had been in rebellion, decided to avenge himself on his father's partisans. Duke Henry of Lower Lorraine
Henry, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Henry I was the count of Limburg and Arlon from 1082 to his death and duke of Lower Lorraine between 1101 to 1106. He was the son of Waleran I of Limburg and Jutta, daughter of Frederick, Duke of Lower Lorraine....

 was imprisoned and his duchy confiscated and given to Godfrey. After Henry escaped from prison, he tried to retake his duchy and captured Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, but ultimately failed.

In 1114, during a rift between the emperor and Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II , born Ranierius, was Pope from August 13, 1099, until his death. A monk of the Cluniac order, he was created cardinal priest of the Titulus S...

, Godfrey led a revolt in Germany. In 1118, the emperor and the duke were reconciled. In 1119, Baldwin VII of Flanders died heirless and Flanders was contested between several claimants, one of whom, William of Ypres
William of Ypres
William of Ypres , styled count of Flanders, was King Stephen of England's chief lieutenant during the English civil wars of 1139–54...

, had married a niece of Godfrey's second wife. Godfrey supported William, but could not enforce his claim against that of Charles the Good. Also dead in that year was Otbert. Two separate men were elected to replace him and Godfrey again sided with the loser.

By marrying his daughter Adeliza
Adeliza of Louvain
Adeliza of Louvain, sometimes known in England as Adelicia of Louvain, also called Adela and Aleidis; was queen consort of the Kingdom of England from 1121 to 1135, the second wife of Henry I...

 to Henry I of England
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

, who was also the father-in-law of the emperor, he greatly increased his prestige. However, Henry V died in 1125 and Godfrey supported Conrad of Hohenstaufen
Conrad III of Germany
Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

, the duke of Franconia, against Lothair of Supplinburg. Lothair was elected. Lothair withdrew the duchy of Lower Lorraine and granted it to Waleran
Waleran, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Waleran II , called Paganus meaning "the Pagan", probably due to a late baptism, was the Duke of Limburg and Count of Arlon from his father's death in about 1119 until his own twenty years later...

, the son of Henry, whom Henry V had deprived in 1106. Nonetheless, Godfrey maintained the margraviate of Antwerp and retained the ducal title (which would in 1183 become Duke of Brabant
Duke of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was formally erected in 1183/1184. The title "Duke of Brabant" was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I, son of Godfrey III of Leuven . The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant...

).

After the assassination of Charles the Good in 1127, the Flemish succession was again in dispute. William Clito
William Clito
William Clito was the son of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, by his marriage with Sibylla of Conversano...

 prevailed, but was soon fraught with revolts. Godfrey intervened on behalf of Thierry of Alsace, who prevailed against Clito. Godfrey continued to war against Liège
Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

 and Namur
Namur (city)
Namur is a city and municipality in Wallonia, in southern Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and of Wallonia....

.

Godfrey spent his last years in the abbey of Affligem
Affligem Abbey
Affligem Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the municipality of Affligem, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, twelve miles to the north-west of Brussels...

. He died of old age on 25 January 1139 and was buried in the left aisle of the abbey church. He is sometimes said to have passed in 1140, but this is an error.

Family and children


He married Ida, daughter of Otto II of Chiny and Adelaide of Namur. They had several children:
  • Adeliza of Louvain
    Adeliza of Louvain
    Adeliza of Louvain, sometimes known in England as Adelicia of Louvain, also called Adela and Aleidis; was queen consort of the Kingdom of England from 1121 to 1135, the second wife of Henry I...

     (b. 1103–d. abbey of Affligem, 23 April 1151) married Henry I, King of England and later William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel
    William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel
    William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Lincoln and 1st Earl of Arundel , also known as William d'Albini, was son of William d'Aubigny, 'Pincerna' of Old Buckenham Castle in Norfolk, and Maud Bigod, daughter of Roger Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk.-Marriage and Issue:The younger William was an important member...

     (1109–before 1151).
  • Godfrey II of Leuven
    Godfrey II of Leuven
    Godfrey II was the count of Leuven, landgrave of Brabant by inheritance from 23 January 1139. He was the son of Godfrey I and Ida of Chiny...

     (b. 1107–d. 13 June 1142), Duke of Lower Lotharingia, Landgrave of Brabant, Count of Brussels and Leuven. He married Lutgardis of Sulzbach, daughter of Berenger I of Sulzbach.
  • Clarissa (d. 1140).
  • Henry (d. in the abbey of Affligem
    Affligem
    Affligem is a municipality located some west-north-west of Brussels in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, not far from the town of Aalst and the important railway junction of Denderleeuw....

    , 1141), monk.
  • Ida (d. 1162) married to Arnold II, count of Cleves (d. 1147).


Later, he married to Clementia of Burgundy
Clementia of Burgundy
Clementia of Burgundy was Countess of Flanders by marriage and acted as regent while her husband was on crusade.-Family:She was the daughter of William I, Count of Burgundy and a noblewoman named Stephanie de Etiennette. Pope Callixtus II was her brother.-Life:In 1097, she married Robert II, Count...

 and had issue:
  • Joceline of Louvain (d. 1180); he accompanied his half-sister Adeliza to England and married Agnes, heiress of the Percy
    House of Percy
    The House of Percy were the most powerful noble family in Northern England for much of the Middle Ages, having descended from William de Percy who crossed from Normandy to England with William I in early December 1067 and was rebuilding York Castle in 1070...

     family, and took her surname. Probably the same as Gosuinus, mentioned in 1143 together with his sister Adeliza.

Sources

  • Collins's Peerage of England, ed. S.E. Brydges
    Samuel Egerton Brydges
    Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges, 1st Baronet was an English bibliographer and genealogist. He was also Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1812 to 1818....

     IX vols, London 1812.
  • Académie royale de Belgique, Biographie Nationale, v. 7, Brussels, 1883.
  • FMG on Godfrey I, Count of Louvain