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Richilde, countess of Hainaut - part 1 - chronology

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Peter Stewart

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Mar 10, 2023, 6:19:31 PM3/10/23
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In order to avoid an overlong posting, and to spread my depleted energy
a bit, I will break down the indicators to Richilde's origin across
several threads. I will leave out detailed source citations but of
course will provide these if anyone asks.

We know that Richilde must have been born within or very little outside
the range ca 1015-ca 1020: her eldest son was evidently born by ca 1036
and her youngest ca 1055. Her first husband Herman was the only recorded
child of parents who were married in a peace settlement after the death
of Reginar V's paternal uncle Lambert (killed on 12 October 1015).
Herman's paternal grandparents had been married after the death of the
bride's father, Hugo Capet, in October 996, which is perhaps what led
Alberic of Troisfontaines in the 13th century to state wrongly that
Reginar IV had another wife who was mother to Herman's father Reginar V.
The prior wife may be correct, as Reginar IV was probably around two
decades older than his Capetian wife, but we know from a contemporary
source written for Reginar V himself that he was a nephew by a sister to
Hugo Capet's son Robert II. The timespan from a marriage after October
996 through male line to a great-grandson who was born by ca 1036 is
tightish but definitely not impossible.

Richilde's eldest son Roger of Hainaut first occurs as bishop of
Châlons-sur-Marne in a royal charter dated 1065 but with indiction for
1066, most probably issued in 1066 after 1 October. He is called
'episcopus', not qualified as 'electus', so was apparently already
consecrated by that time. The canonical minimum age for episcopal
consecration was 30, and Roger was evidently a man of some experience as
he occurs in the royal act of 1066 as the highest-ranking dignitary (and
the only cleric) adjudicating a dispute between the abbot of
Saint-Médard and the count of Soissons - if he was not around 30 years
old this would be throwing an underage bishop in at the judicial deep
end without floaties, which is very unlikely in the circumstances.

Jean-Noël Mathieu asserted that Roger had been an archdeacon from ca
1050, but he cited no authority for this fairly implausible information
and I haven't come across one. Roger was said to have been relegated to
a clerical career by his step-father Balduin VI, so in or after 1051 if
true - but he is also said to have been lame and a 14th-century source
says that he entered the church with the consent of his father Herman,
so by 1051 at the latest if true. Unfortunately several medieval sources
and modern historians have confused Roger with his namesake predecessor,
that may have muddled the scant indications we have for his
pre-episcopal life.

Richilde's daughter by Herman was said to have been encloistered by
Balduin VI but this is probably not true or at least not the full story.
In May 1071, ten months after Balduin's death, Richilde had an unmarried
daughter (named Agnes) who explicitly may yet have wished to marry, and
there is no reason to believe this was a former nun or was other than
Herman's daughter. She may have been placed in a nunnery as an oblate
but exercised her choice to leave without taking final vows. At any
rate, there is no evidence that she ever did marry.

Richilde died on 15 March in 1084 according to her later epitaph, or on
the same date in 1086 according to an inscription allegedly found in her
coffin. The discrepancy may have come from a misreading of IV as VI, or
vice versa, at the end of the year AD in Roman numerals. 1086 is more
frequently given, probably because in that year her son and heir Balduin
II of Hainaut donated her foundation of Notre-Dame-la-Grande in
Valenciennes to Hasnon abbey as a priory, stating that she was deceased
- it is natural to suppose this was done closer to her death than 2+
years afterwards.

Peter Stewart

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pj.ev...@gmail.com

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Mar 10, 2023, 9:38:45 PM3/10/23
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Thanks, Peter!

Peter Stewart

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Mar 11, 2023, 2:32:31 AM3/11/23
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On 11-Mar-23 10:19 AM, Peter Stewart wrote:

> Richilde died on 15 March in 1084 according to her later epitaph, or on
> the same date in 1086 according to an inscription allegedly found in her
> coffin. The discrepancy may have come from a misreading of IV as VI, or
> vice versa, at the end of the year AD in Roman numerals. 1086 is more
> frequently given, probably because in that year her son and heir Balduin
> II of Hainaut donated her foundation of Notre-Dame-la-Grande in
> Valenciennes to Hasnon abbey as a priory, stating that she was deceased
> - it is natural to suppose this was done closer to her death than 2+
> years afterwards.

In fact the rationale for placing Richilde's death in 1086 rather than
1084 is stronger than I had realised. In 1898 Charles Duvivier published
a charter of Gerard II, bishop of Cambrai, recording that Richilde and
her son Balduin II of Hainaut had come together to ask for his
affirmation of the founding of Notre-Dame-la-Grande in Valenciennes. The
dating in the inaccurate 18th-century copy that Duvivier used was 1080
in indiction 8 - 1080 has often been given as the year of Richilde's
foundation. However, indiction 8 corresponds to 1085 not 1080 and a
late-13th century transcription of Gerard II's charter in the cartulary
of Hasnon gives the date as 1086 in indiction 9 (correct for 1086 new
style). There is no suggestion in the charter that Richilde had died
between making her request to the bishop and his issuing the charter. In
light of this, Richilde must have survived until that year, dying on 15
March 1086. Jeff Rider and some others who have opted for 1084 are mistaken.

mike davis

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Mar 20, 2023, 2:07:28 PM3/20/23
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There are quite a lot of Richilde threads, to avoid confusing the other ones which
are evolving, i post this small query here. When did Richilde and Herman marry?
Wiki has the date of 1040 and refs to Karen S. Nicholas, 'Countesses as Rulers in
Flanders', Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Ed. Theodore Evergates
(Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), p. 115. I havnt seen this
and I wonder if its just a guess.

You point out that Hermans grandparents were Hugh capet, but wasnt Baldwin VI
also descended from him? I remember that when Henry VIII married his brothers
widow, they had to get papal dispensation, but this affinity was more distant, so
would the rules still apply?

The sources on the net suggest that she was forced to marry Baldwin VI when he
invaded Hainault, but as a widow with 2 small children, she might have seen him
as an advantageous match and a protector of her position, perhaps against other
claimants to Hainault. It did of course lead to a terrible war as the Emperor was
outraged to see Flanders take over Hainault. Ultimately the 2 were separated after
baldwin VIs brother Robert the Frisian seized Flanders, but Richildes descendants
did stay in control of Hainault.

Mike





lancast...@gmail.com

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Mar 20, 2023, 2:36:48 PM3/20/23
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Mike, which "wiki"? Wikipedia or Wikitree or another one? Sorry, but this is not a joke question. I realize your question is in good faith and you might not understand my confusion. A wiki is a type of software set-up, and on this list there are numerous references to those two. I edit on both of them.

mike davis

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Mar 21, 2023, 1:04:04 PM3/21/23
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Sorry I meant Wikipedia english version. There is quite a reasonable discussion of the issue
on wikitree at:
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/D'Egisheim-1

but it doesnt add anything new, as its just focused on the arguments of Vanderkindere
Droogenbroeck and stuff on fmg Medieval Lands and rather sidetracked by their insistance
that she was either a member of the Eguisheim or a branch of the reginars.

Mike

Will Johnson

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Mar 21, 2023, 1:11:42 PM3/21/23
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Unfortunately the Wikipedia entry on Richilde has more nonsense than sense.
It's a real dog's breakfast as one of our posters states.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richilde,_Countess_of_Hainaut

It's only made immensely more unreadable by not *quoting* inline the exact terms used in the sources cited.
So it's almost impossible to know what each source actually stated, and what some intrepid editor has inserted from their own ignorance.

lancast...@gmail.com

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Mar 22, 2023, 2:36:15 AM3/22/23
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If anyone is looking for sources to help rework the Wikipedia article, the Wikitree profile mentioned by Mike was worked on by me in 2020 and contains more. The job is not really simple though because Wikitree is a genealogical Wiki and prefers primary source discussion, whereas Wikipedia demands modern secondary sources (and not online ones like Medlands or Wikitree or this forum).

Darrell E. Larocque

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Mar 22, 2023, 8:48:51 AM3/22/23
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Medlands is a modern secondary source though... there should be no issue at all using it from Wikipedia. They allow all sorts of weak secondary sources in articles so I don't think using them would be an issue whatsoever. I've got my own work going on with the d'Estouteville and d'Halluin research on WikiTree so I'm not going to be able to help with Wikipedia.

lancast...@gmail.com

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Mar 22, 2023, 9:26:54 AM3/22/23
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Darrell, Medlands has been discussed on WP more than once and there is a pretty strong consensus there that it does not have the necessary type of reputation among experts, nor does it have peer review like a journal, and nor does it have any team of editors and checkers, like an academic publishing house. These are the standard types of questions on WP. 100s of such questions are debated there every day. So whatever we each think of it, it does not match the requirements of WP. All projects need to draw their line somewhere and I think Wikipedia's way of doing it is practical. If Medlands started getting cited by academic specialists then this might bring the question back up, but I think it is going to be some time before Medlands gets to that level of quality. You have to remember that for the most part Medlands so far has been an attempt to collect primary records, and so there are very few attempts to consider modern secondary literature on Medlands. That makes it quite different in style to the types of sources WP wants. As mentioned though, on Wikitree Medlands is often cited, although it is not normally seen as a preferred source anymore.

Darrell E. Larocque

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Mar 22, 2023, 12:20:36 PM3/22/23
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I haven't engaged in any Wikipedia discussions in ages, so you would know more than I! Pretty ridiculous in my mind but it's not my universe anymore!

I just left you a comment on WikiTree about John Stuteville, who I have as Jean d'Estrouteville of course, [[Stuteville-95]].

Thanks!

Darrell

taf

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Mar 22, 2023, 1:13:45 PM3/22/23
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On Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 9:20:36 AM UTC-7, Darrell E. Larocque wrote:

> I haven't engaged in any Wikipedia discussions in ages, so you would know more than I! Pretty ridiculous in my mind but it's not my universe anymore!
>

Not really ridiculous. Self-published, without editorial oversight, by a person without a reputation for accuracy or expertise among people familiar with the topics covered. The use of primary sources to decorate the narrative gives a misleading appearance of scholarship. That is not to say that most of it isn't accurate, but with the occasional flawed logic, jumped conclusion, novice error, simple repetition of traditional material, or superficiality ('a scholar concluded X', ignoring criticism or alternatives from other scholars), there are enough land mines hidden within, the detection of which requires a degree of expertise, such that the average Wikipedia editor would be unable to distinguish where it is worth citing and where less solid. A good reason to forego its use.

taf

lancast...@gmail.com

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Mar 22, 2023, 3:34:20 PM3/22/23
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Yes I think that like any simple policy, it will sometimes be frustrating, but it reduces the risks and time consumed in silliness. In practice Wikipedia has been a lot more successful than most online projects and many have adapted their own policies based on that success, but adapted to the goals of the various projects. Darrell I have answered you about the profile you mentioned. I think the cited source, Clay EYC ix, explains it all so maybe you can't see it on google from where you are? Chris Phillips posted some tips here http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/google.shtml
On this list Rosie Bevan once made some good posts about the Stutevilles. There is a lot of confusion around about them.

Darrell E. Larocque

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Mar 22, 2023, 4:05:44 PM3/22/23
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I responded, have the La Roque and the Morandière references already up in my browser from earlier.

Is Rosie Bevan still active or is she not on here anymore? I will see what I can find... thanks for that tidbit!

Darrell

lancast...@gmail.com

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Mar 22, 2023, 5:42:25 PM3/22/23
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Rosie Bevan is still active, but not on this forum. She publishes reasonably often in Foundations, and also helps manage such things as the Domesday Corrections webpages on the FMG website.

Darrell E. Larocque

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Mar 22, 2023, 11:01:13 PM3/22/23
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I just wish I had her contact information. If you can find it, just message me through PM at WikiTree. If

I have found something new tonight which is exciting that may help in my d'Estouteville de Torcy research. The work continues!

Darrell

Peter Stewart

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Apr 3, 2023, 6:45:30 PM4/3/23
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Comments interspersed below, with apologies for the delay in responding
- for health reasons I have been absent from the newsgroup, away from
home & research materials, and my capacity for pursuing this topic now
is very limited. I will resume the interrupted series of threads when I
am up to doing more.
It would have been just a guess if Karen Nicholas had made it, but she
didn't. On the page cited she wrote:

"Richilde was forty-nine years old when she became countess of Flanders
... She spent eleven years as countess of Hainaut (1040-51), then
sixteen years with her second husband, Baldwin of Flanders, before he
succeeded his father as count Baldwin VI of Flanders (1067-70). From the
beginning of her marriage to Baldwin, Richilde actively sought to retain
her first husband's inheritance in her own hand. She placed the children
of her first marriage in the church: Gertrude entered a convent and
Roger, who is described by Gislebert of Mons as "debilitated in body,"
joined the secular clergy, from which he later was elected bishop of
Chalons-sur-Marne. Richilde then devoted all her attention and ambition
to the sons of her second marriage, Arnold and Baldwin, who were
expected to inherit Hainaut as well as Flanders. Gislebert of Mons later
criticized her for a lack of maternal feeling for the children of her
first marriage. But Roger might well have been physically disabled and
Richilde, by her second marriage, would have acted decisively at a time
when her rule in Hainaut was threatened; in effect, she turned the
disaster of her widowhood into the victory of a prestigious second
marriage to the future count of Flanders."

Becoming countess of Hainaut in 1040 does not necessarily preclude
Richilde's having been already married to Herman beforehand, as Nicholas
may have approximated the dating from the death of his father evidently
in 1039/40 (the annals of Elnone place Reginar's death in 1039 but the
chronology there is frequently inexact). There are several guesses in
the quoted passage apart from the putative dating of Richilde's first
marriage. We don't know how old she was in 1067 when Balduin succeeded
as count of Flanders, but as she was probably not older than her first
husband (whose parents were married after September 1015) she was
perhaps born ca 1020 as Henri Platelle estimated. The inheritance of
Herman had been in Richilde's hands before Balduin invaded Hainaut and
married her - there is no evidence that her son Roger was ever called
count, although he may have been old enough to rule in his own right at
his father's death if born by ca 1036 as proposed upthread. We don't
know when Roger entered the Church, but one later source says that this
was done with Herman's consent in which case there may never have been a
question of Roger's succeeding him as count. The daughter of Richilde
and Herman may or may not have entered a convent, as discussed before,
and giving her the name Gertrude is unevidenced. It is may be that
Richilde's daughter Agnes was from her first marriage.

If Roger had reached the age of 30 in 1066, by when he was a bishop,
then Richilde must have married Herman in the lifetime of his father.
For all we know she may have been chosen by Reginar to make up for some
deficiency in his son, who appears to have been merely a cipher in
Richilde's dominant career apart from an effort to ally with Flanders
against the emperor despite her opposition.

> You point out that Hermans grandparents were Hugh capet, but wasnt Baldwin VI
> also descended from him? I remember that when Henry VIII married his brothers
> widow, they had to get papal dispensation, but this affinity was more distant, so
> would the rules still apply?

Balduin and Herman were doubly related by blood, as second cousins by
descent from Hugo Capet and his wife Adelaide, and as second cousins
once removed by descent from Mathilde of Saxony who married successively
Balduin III of Flanders and Godfrey the Captive, count of Verdun. There
was no process of formally giving papal dispensations in the mid-11th
century as this had developed by the early-16th, but affinity through
the consanguinity of her two husbands was held to be a problem for
Richilde's marriage to Balduin. Affinity even through god-parenthood
could be held as an impediment to marriage, as with King Robert II and
Bertha of Burgundy - but unless politics bolstered the canonical case
Rome could not very well try to police every possible instance of
marriage to a deceased husband's second cousin.

> The sources on the net suggest that she was forced to marry Baldwin VI when he
> invaded Hainault, but as a widow with 2 small children, she might have seen him
> as an advantageous match and a protector of her position, perhaps against other
> claimants to Hainault. It did of course lead to a terrible war as the Emperor was
> outraged to see Flanders take over Hainault. Ultimately the 2 were separated after
> baldwin VIs brother Robert the Frisian seized Flanders, but Richildes descendants
> did stay in control of Hainault.

This led to the confusion of later medieval chroniclers about Richilde's
right to Hainaut, making the incorrect assumption that she must have
been born the heiress and carried it to Herman. Possibly this wrong
impression may also have been due in part to her becoming countess of
Valenciennes - if that is what happened, by some less-than-absolute
hereditary right - and so transferring comital rank to Herman before the
death of his father.
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