, Adeliza Of Louvain

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Adeliza of Louvain
b: ABT 1103
d: 23 APR 1151
Adeliza of Louvain,[2] sometimes known in England as Adelicia ofLouvain,[3] also called Adela and Aleidis; (c. 1103 – 23 April 1151) wasQueen of England from 1121 to 1135, as the second wife of King HenryI.[4] She was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain.

Adeliza of Louvain was born in 1105 in Louvain, present-day Belgium.[5]She was renowned for her beauty, reflected in the epithet ‘the fairmaiden of Brabant.’ The chronicler Henry of Huntingdon also mentionsAdeliza’s beauty in an interlude in his Historia Anglorum stating, “Ajewel grows pale on you, a crown does not shine. Put adornment aside, fornature provides your adornment...” [6]

Her father was Godfrey I, Count of Louvain (1095-1139), Landgrave ofBrabant, and Duke of Lower Lotharingia (1106-1128), an ally of Henry V,Holy Roman Emperor. After the death of Adeliza’s mother, Ida of Chiny,Godfrey married Clementia of Burgundy, the mother of Baldwin VII, Countof Flanders who had fought with the French against the Normans in1118.[7] Adeliza''s brother, Joscelin of Louvain, married the heiress tothe Percy fortune. He is often referred to as an “opportunist.”.[8]

Plans for Adeliza’s marriage to Henry I of England, may have begun whenshe was as young as sixteen, even before Henry’s only legitimate son,William Adelin, died on 25 November 1120 in the White Ship disaster.However, Henry’s need for a new male heir expedited the marriage plansand the couple wed on 24 January 1121. Apparently in addition to herbeauty, Henry was also attracted to Adeliza as a wife because she was adescendant of Charlemagne.[9] It is thought that Henry’s only survivinglegitimate child Empress Matilda, from his first wife Matilda ofScotland, may have been involved in arranging his second marriage, due tothe fact that she was with him near the time that it was beingnegotiated.[10] Henry of Huntingdon mentions the royal couple in hisHistoria Anglorum stating that the new queen accompanied Henry to Londonat Pentecost. Adeliza appears to have traveled extensively with Henry,likely to increase the chances of her conception.[11] Despite their closecontact, however, Adeliza and Henry never produced a child.
Unlike Henry’s first wife Matilda, Adeliza appears to have played a verypassive role in the administration of the kingdom. While Matilda issuedsome thirty-one charters and writs during her queenship, during Adeliza''sfifteen-year marriage to Henry I she issued one, and she only attested 13of Henry’s many charters, even though they were almost alwaystogether.[12]

Despite her limited involvement in politics, Adeliza seems to have playedan active role as a patron of the arts and literature, and wasinfluential in fostering the rise of French poetry in the English court.While English queens had been traditionally associated with artisticpatronage for decades, and a number of them, including Edith of Wessex,Emma of Normandy and Matilda, had financed a number of works in differentmedia, Adeliza primarily sponsored books written in French.[13] At thetime, secular bound books in the vernacular language were extremelypopular, a trend given impetus by wealthy aristocratic women likeAdeliza. Philippe de Thaon, an Anglo-Norman poet, dedicated hiszoological treatise known as the Bestiary to the queen:

Philippe de Thaon Has distilled into a French treatise
The Bestiary, A book in Latin,
For the honour of a jewel Who is an outstandingly beautiful woman.
And she is courtly and wise, Of good customs and generous:
She is called ‘Aaliz’, Queen is she crowned,
She is the queen of England; May her soul never know trouble!
Listen to what we ?nd About her name in Hebrew:''''
‘Aaliz’ is her name; ‘Praise of God’ is
In Hebrew truly ‘Aaliz’, laus of God.
I do not dare give further praise, Lest envy take me,
But so that she may be remembered And praised forever more
I wish to compose this book; May God be present at its beginning![14]

The Bestiary would have been amply illustrated, and was intended to beread page by page, not all at once, like a poem. Many other works thatAdeliza commissioned were similar in structure to the Bestiary, includingthe now lost Life of King Henry by David.[15]

When Henry died on 1 December 1135, Adeliza retired temporarily to theBenedictine convent of Wilton Abbey, near Salisbury. She was present atthe dedication of Henry''s tomb at Reading Abbey on the first anniversaryof his death. At about that time, she founded a leper hospital dedicatedto Saint Giles at Fugglestone St Peter, Wiltshire.
In 1138, three years after Henry I''s death, Adeliza married Williamd''Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, one of Henry I''s advisors, and son ofGuillaume d’Aubigny and Maud le Bigod.[1] Together, they lived at hercastle of Arundel on the Sussex coast and had seven children.[16] Theirnames were (by order of birth), Alice, William, Olivia, Reynor, Geoffrey,Henry, and Agatha.[17][1]

Although not a great deal is known about Adeliza’s relationship with herstepdaughter, it is known she was present at the ceremony when Henryofficially named Matilda as his heir, since the chronicler John ofWorcester states that the Queen “swore [an oath] for the kings daughter.”[18] After her second marriage, Adeliza received Matilda at her home inArundel, along with Matilda’s half-brother Robert, 1st Earl ofGloucester, in defiance of the wishes of her husband who was a staunchsupporter of King Stephen.[19] She later betrayed them and handed themover when King Stephen besieged the castle.[20] Trying to explainAdeliza''s actions, John of Worcester suggests that “she feared the king’smajesty and worried that she might lose the great estate she heldthroughout England.” He also mentions Adeliza’s excuse to King Stephen,“she swore on oath that his enemies had not come to England on heraccount but that she had simply given them hospitality as persons of highdignity once close to her.” [21]

Because of Henry I’s generosity, Adeliza was given the revenues ofRutland, Shropshire and a large district of London, with possession ofthe city of Chichester.[22] Henry also gave the manor of Aston to Adeliza“as his queen and wife.” Landholdings that were part of Adeliza ofLouvain’s dower include Waltham[disambiguation needed] in Essex, anestate in south-east England, with areas in Hertfordshire andBedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Middlesex. She had propertyin Devon. As a gift from Henry I, she was given a property in Ashleworth,a component of the royal estate of Berkeley. In 1126 the whole county ofShropshire was given to her, even though it is not listed in the PipeRoll.

Adeliza gave her brother Joscelin a large estate in Sussex calledPetworth that was dependent on her castle of Arundel.[23] Henry also gaveAdeliza lands that had previously been Matilda’s includingWaltham[disambiguation needed] and Queenhithe. She had estates in Essex,Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Gloucestershire, and Devon. Herhusband then granted her exemption from tax for those lands. In additionsto those gifts, she was given a portion of the royal estate at Berkeley,and the county of Shropshire.[24] After Matilda died, Adeliza continuedto exercise jurisdiction over her lands, retaining some of her propertyuntil 1150. In 1136, she endowed Reading abbey with one hundred shillingsa year from the revenues of Queenhithe.[25] On the first anniversary ofHenry I’s death, Adeliza give the manor of Aston to the Abbey of Reading,and endowed them with lands “to provide for the convent and otherreligious pweaona [sic] coming to the abbey on the occasion of theanniversary of my lord King Henry.” She added the gift of a church a fewyears later.[26]

In the last years of her life, Adeliza appears to have faded intoobscurity. In 1150, Adeliza left William to enter the monastery ofAfflighem in Flanders. At least one of her brothers was also living atthis monastery. The annals at the monastery are the only source tomention her death in 1151, and her burial site is unknown. Sometraditions imply she was buried at the monastery, but a donation made byher brother Joscelin to Reading Abbey seems to suggest she was buriedthere with Henry I.[27]
  • ABT 1103 - Birth - ; Louvain
  • 23 APR 1151 - Death - ; Affligem Abbey, Brabant
  • Also Known As - Adela and Aleidis
Adeliza of Louvain
ABT 1103 - 23 APR 1151
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Godfrey I, Count of Louvain
Marriageto Ida of Chiny
Marriageto Clementia of Burgundy
FatherHenry II, Count of Louvain
MotherAdèle of Orthen
PARENT (F) Ida of Chiny
Marriageto Godfrey I, Count of Louvain
MGodfrey II, Count of Louvain
Marriageto Luitgarde of Sulzbach
FAdeliza of Louvain
BirthABT 1103Louvain
Death23 APR 1151Affligem Abbey, Brabant
Marriage24 JAN 1121to Henry I of England
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Henry I of England
Death1 DEC 1135
Marriageto Eadgith (or Matilda)
Marriagemistressto ?
Marriage24 JAN 1121to Adeliza of Louvain
FatherWilliam I
MotherMathilda of Flanders
PARENT (F) Adeliza of Louvain
BirthABT 1103Louvain
Death23 APR 1151 Affligem Abbey, Brabant
Marriage24 JAN 1121to Henry I of England
FatherGodfrey I, Count of Louvain
MotherIda of Chiny
Descendancy Chart
Adeliza of Louvain b: ABT 1103 d: 23 APR 1151
Henry I of England d: 1 DEC 1135