FEMALE Adèle of France

Wife of Baldwin V, count of Flanders.

Date of birth: Unknown, probably ca. 1010×1015 (see Commentary)
Place of birth:
Unknown

Date of death: 8 January 1079 (see Commentary)
[“VI id. [januarii]...Adelaidis comitissa;”, Obit. S.-Denis 307; “VI idus. [januarii] Anniversarium Adelaidis comitisse;”, Obit. Argenteuil 344; “VI ID. [januarii] Obitus Adelæ comitissæ”, Necrol. S.-Pierre de Lille 301; “Adela comitissa…obiit VI id. Ianuarii”, Ann. Formos. 127 (s.a. 1079).]
Place of death: Messines
[“Adela comitissa Mecenensis obiit”, Ann. Formos. 127 (s.a. 1079); “Venerabilis autem comitissa, scilicet Athela…apud Mescinas novissima tuba excitanda in Christi pace obdormivit”, Fland. Gen. 320.]
Place of Burial: Messines abbey
[“Mecinensis ecclesiae abbatissa, ac totius ejusdem ecclesiae conventus…Quorum justis petitionibus condescendens obtemperare volui, tum quia ossa matris meae sepeliuntur in eadem ecclesia”, Actes Com. Fland. 13, no. 5, charter of her son Robert Friso dated 2 February 1080; “Balduinus vero Insulanus, ibi sepultus, duxit Athelam Mecenis sepultam”, Lambert 309.]

Father: Robert II the Pious, d. 20 July 1031, king of France, 996-1031.
[“Balduinus, Flandrensium comes marchio et Philippi Francorum regis ejusque regni procurator et bajulus ... conjugis meae Adele et filii mei Balduini fideli ac salubri aqquiescens [sic] consilio ... Quin etiam uxor mea elemosinarum et remunerationis a Domino mecum [particeps] esse cupiens et illius dominici Verbi reminiscens: ... Dedit quoque praeterea bodium aecclesiae de Doulesmont thesaurario, ut ex eo unoquoque anno XII sol. canonici recipiant in die psollempni apostolorum Petri et Pauli quia eodem die [celebrabunt] anniversarium [diem] patris ejus Rodberti Francorum pridem regis”, Chartes Originales no. 380, charter of her husband for Saint-Pierre de Lille dated 1066; “Balduuinus clarissimus Flandrensium marchysus una cum coniuge sua dilectissima uidelicet sorore nostra Adala”, Dipl. Belg. 1:197, no. 92, charter of her brother King Henri I dated 1038; “ADDELA Flandrensium comitissa unaque nobilissimi Rotberti Francorum regis filia”, ibid. 1:279, no. 162, charter of her nephew King Philippe I dated 1066.]

Mother: Constance of Arles (Provence), d. 22 July 1034, daughter of Guillaume I (II), marquis of Provence.
[“Generatio autem sic est:

         Gaufridus Grisagonellus. Blanca Arelatensis comitissa.
  Fulco Andegavensis comes.         Constantia regina.
  Comitissa Vascinensis. Adera [sic] Flandrensis comitissa.”,

Ives de Chartres 215–6, no. 211; “Constantia regina Francorum et Ermengardis comitissa Avernensis sorores fuerunt. De Constantia nata est Athela comitissa”, Fland. Gen. 323.]

Spouse: m. ca. 1028×1031 (see Commentary) Baldwin V de Lille, count of Flanders, d. Lille 1 September 1067, buried there
[“Balduuinus clarissimus Flandrensium marchysus una cum coniuge sua dilectissima uidelicet sorore nostra Adala”, Dipl. Belg. 1:197, no. 92, charter of her brother King Henri I dated 1038; “Balduinus Barbatus duxit filiam Gisleberti comitis Odgivam, ex qua suscepit Balduinum Insulanum, qui duxit filiam Rodberti regis Francorum Adelam”, Geneal. Fland. Bertin. 306; “Balduinus vero Insulanus… duxit Athelam…filiam Rodberti regis Francorum”, Lambert 309; “Obiit Baldwinus potentissimus marchisus”, Ann. Bland. 28 (s.a. 1067); “Obiit Balduinus comes kal. Septembris”, Ann. Elnonenses 158 (s.a. 1067); “KALENDAS [septembris]. Anno Domini millesimo sexagesimo septimo, obitus comitis Balduini, memoriæ felicis, regiminis Francorum sub rege Philippo procuratoris, et hujus ecclesiæ fundatoris”, Necrol. S.-Pierre de Lille 313; “1 sept. Obiit Balduinus, Flandrensis comes”, Obit. Rebais 157; “Obiit Balduinus potentissimus marchisus, qui Insule sepultus est”, Ann. Elmarenses 93 (s.a. 1067); “Obiit Balduinus comes…Insule sepelitur”, Ann. Elnonenses 158 (s.a. 1067). The obituary of Saint-Germain des Prés anomalously recorded his burial on 31 August, “II kal. [septembris] Deposicio domni Balduini comitis”, Obit. S.-Germain 271.]

Children:
See the page of Baldwin V de Lille for details.

MALE Baldwin VI, d. 17 July 1070, count/marquis of Flanders, 1067-1070; count of Hainaut;
m. Richilde, countess of Hainaut,
widow of Hermann, count of Hainaut.

FEMALE Matilda, d. 2 November 1083;
m.
William I "the Conqueror", d. 9 September 1087, duke of Normandy, 1035-1087; king of England, 1066-1087.

MALE Robert Friso (the Frisian), d. 12 or 13 October 1093, count/marquis of Flanders, 1071-1093;
m. Gertrude,
widow of Floris I, count of Holland, and daughter of Bernhard II, duke of Saxony.



Commentary

Adèle is often wrongly identified with her namesake of unknown family who was married to Richard III of Normandy in January 1026. According to Lewis 235 note 76, “H. Prentout refuted the earlier opinion that Adela had first been married to Richard III of Normandy: Études sur quelques points de l’histoire de Normandie (Caen, 1926), pp. 42–45” – however, the citation is incorrect as there is no reference to the question either in that work by Prentout or in his Études sur quelques points d’histoire de Normandie, nouvelle série (Caen, 1929). In any case the same conclusion had been reached almost a century beforehand by Licquet 2:5–6, on the basis of the account by Guillaume of Jumièges stating that King Robert II’s daughter Adèle was sent to Flanders in her cradle to be raised there until she was old enough to marry Count Baldwin IV’s son Baldwin, who afterwards rebelled against his father [“Tempore sub eodem Balduinus, satrapa Flandrensis, sobolem suam cupiens innormare prosapia regali, Robertum, Francorum regem, expetiit filiam eius poscens filio suo Balduino dari. Quam adeptam a palatinis ferens tricliniis ad domum propriam in cunis asportauit, annos usque ad nubiles eam nutriens cura diligenti. Cuius filius mox, ut nobilis puelle amplexibus cepit frui, affinitate fretus regali, patrem a proprio solo pepulit, Flandrensibus ab eius fidelitate auulsis. Qui indecenter a suis destitutus Normannorum ducem Rodbertum festinanter aggreditur, suffragium aduersus filium postulaturus”, GND vi, 6 (2:52)]. It is most unlikely that the chronicler would have neglected to mention the fact if Adèle was previously married to Richard III and her father-in-law Baldwin IV had sought help against his own son, her husband, from her former brother-in-law Robert I of Normandy.

Date of Birth:

There is no direct contemporary evidence for the date of Adèle’s birth. She is generally assumed to have been the youngest of Robert II’s offspring, since she was reportedly raised from infancy in Flanders in preparation for her marriage (see GND vi, 6 quoted above) and this may have taken place early in 1028 or perhaps a few years later (see below), by which time she had presumably turned at least 12.

Date of Marriage:

The betrothal of Adèle at an early age, reported by Guillaume of Jumièges, is confirmed by an anonymous 12th-century author writing in Tournai, adding hearsay that Baldwin was obliged to marry when he did due to the onset of youthful vigour [“Robertus, sciens Balduinum Barbatum Flandrensium comitem tunc temporis magne esse potentie, filiam Adelam adhuc puellulam filio eius adolescentulo Balduino Insulano desponsavit patrique eius nutriendam tradidit…Balduinus iam iuvenilis etatis primis auspiciis pollens, Adelam, filiam predicti regis, ducere debebat uxorem, ut dictum est”, Hist. Tornac. 336–7. Pfister 79 asserted that the marriage was celebrated during a great assembly of Frankish nobles in Paris at the beginning of 1028, when seven counts including Baldwin IV of Flanders subscribed a royal charter (Dipl. Robert 617–9, no. 46), but as pointed out by Lewis 235 note 76 the younger Baldwin’s presence at this gathering is uncertain. A source written around fifty years later suggests that Adèle’s wedding did not take place until after her father’s death in July 1031, since her brother King Henri I reportedly gave Corbie as part of her dowry [“Henricus igitur rex Francorum, qui patri suo Rotberto successerat in regnum, sororem nomine Adelam habuit, quam Flandrensium marchioni, Balduino scilicet seniori, nuptiali copula coniunxit et ei Corbeiam, quae regno suo adiacebat, pro dotali munere cum aliis pluribus concessit”, Mirac. Adalhard. 863]. Baldwin V was ordered by Pope Leo IX not to proceed with the marriage of his and Adèle’s daughter to William of Normandy in October 1049, by which time Matilda was presumably 12 years old or more and so born by autumn 1035 at the latest [“Interdixit et Balduino comiti Flandrensi, ne filiam suam Wilielmo Nortmanno nuptui daret”, Sacr. Concil. 19:742].

Date of Death:

Adèle’s death on 8 January 1079 is recorded in annals compiled at Voormezeele abbey towards the end of the 11th century, “Adela comitissa…obiit VI id. Ianuarii”, Ann. Formos. 127 (s.a. 1079) – the same date is given by several other sources (see above) and the year is confirmed by a charter of her son Robert Friso stating that 2 February 1080 fell in the second year after her death, “ego Rotbertus, Dei clementia Flandrensium comes…anno secundo post obitum matris meae…Actum Mecinis IIII nonas februarii, anno ab incarnatione Domini MLXXX”, Actes Com. Fland. 13–4, no. 5. Vanderkindere (1902) 1:299 mistakenly attributed the year 1070 for Adèle’s death to ‘Flandria generosa’, but the year is not stated or implied there in describing her retirement as a veiled widow at Messines after returning from a journey to Rome [“Venerabilis autem comitissa, scilicet Athela, tanto marito sed non divitiis desolata, nec tamen in eisdem divitiis delectabiliter vivens mortua, nocte ac die orationibus instabat. Unde et apud Mescinas sanctimonialium feminarum construxit cenobium, et in lectica duobus equis portabili et propter ventos et pluvias, ne vel eis a meditatione sancta impediretur, decenter concamerata usque Romam apostolorum et aliorum sanctorum patrocina requisivit, et a domno papa veste viduitatis benedictioneque percepta, Flandrias repetivit, et apud Mescinas novissima tuba excitanda in Christi pace obdormivit”, Fland. Gen. 320]. Many secondary works [e.g. AVD 13:290 and Vanderkindere (1902) 1:299] report that the necrology of Messsines abbey placed Adèle’s death in 1071: this was a 15th-century compilation (now lost), and an error could well have occurred in copying the year from an earlier version. It was contradicted by a later epitaph at Messines giving the correct date and year [“Ghy gist la contesse Adèle, fille du roy Robert, premier [sic] de ce nom, roy de Franche. En son temps femme du conte Baudeoin le débonnaire, conte de Flandres. Laquelle fonda l’esglise et monastère, l’an mil lx, et trespassa en chest monastère, l’an mil lxxix, le viije jour de janvier”, Cart. Messines XIV–XV.]


Bibliography

Actes Com. Fland. = Actes des comtes de Flandre, 1071–1128, edited by Fernand Vercauteren, Recueil des actes des princes belges II (Brussels, 1938)

Actes de Philippe = Recueil des actes de Philippe Ier, roi de France (1059–1108), edited by Maurice Prou, Chartes et diplômes relatifs à l’histoire de France (Paris, 1908)

Ann. Bland. = Annales Blandinenses, Grierson (1937), 1–73

Ann. Elmarenses = Annales Elmarenses, Grierson (1937), 74–115

Ann. Elnonenses = Annales Elnonenses, Grierson (1937), 132–75

Ann. Formos. = Annales Formoselenses, Grierson (1937), 116–31

AVD = François Clément, revised by Nicolas de Saint-Allais, L’art de vérifier les dates des faits historiques, des chartes, des chroniques…, 19 vols (Paris, 1818–30)

Cart. Messines = Inventaire analytique et chronologique des chartes et documents appartenant aux archives de l’ancienne abbaye de Messines, edited by Isidore Diegerick (Bruges, 1876)

Chartes Originales = Chartes originales antérieures à 1121 conservées en France, edited by Cédric Giraud, Jean-Baptiste Renault & Benoît-Michel Tock, Centre de médiévistique Jean Schneider, Nancy –electronic edition, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, Orléans (http://www.cn-telma.fr/originaux/, première version, 10 Jun 2010)

Dipl. Belg. = Diplomata belgica ante annum millesimum centesimum scripta, edited by Maurits Gysseling & Anton Koch, 2 vols, Bouwstoffen en Studiën voor de Geschiedenis en de Lexicografie van het Nederlands I (Tongres, 1950)

Dipl. Robert. = Roberti regis diplomata, RHF 10:573–626

Fland. Gen. = Flandria generosa, edited by Ludwig Conrad Bethmann, MGH SS 9:313–34

Geneal. Fland. Bertin. = Genealogia comitum Flandriae bertiniana, edited by Ludwig Conrad Bethmann, MGH SS 9:305–8

GND = Guillaume de Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum Ducum, as edited in Elisabeth van Houts, ed. & trans., The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, 2 vols., (Oxford, 1992). Citation is by book and chapter of Guillaume’s work, with the volume and page number of the edition by van Houts in parentheses. Unless otherwise stated, references are to Guillaume’s work and not to later additions by Orderic Vitalis and Robert de Torigni.

Grierson (1937) = Les Annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand, edited by Philip Grierson, Recueil de textes pour servir à l’étude de l’histoire de Belgique 4 (Brussels, 1937)

Hist. Tornac. = Historiae Tornacenses partim ex Herimanni libris excerptae, edited by Georg Waitz, MGH SS 14:327–52

Ives de Chartres = St Ivo, bishop of Chartres, Divi Ivonis epistolæ, edited by François Juret with additional notes by Jean-Baptiste Souchet, revised by Jean Fronteau, reprinted in PL 162:columns 11–288

Lambert = Lamberti genealogia comitum Flandriae, edited by Ludwig Conrad Bethmann, MGH SS 9:309–12

Lewis = Andrew Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France: Studies on Familial Order and the State (Cambridge, Mass. & London, 1981)

Licquet = Théodore Licquet, Histoire de Normandie, depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à la conquête de l’Angleterre en 1066, 2 vols (Rouen, 1835)

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series

Mirac. Adalhard. = Miracula sancti Adalhardi Corbeiensis (excerpts), edited by Oswald Holder-Egger, MGH SS 15.2:860–5

Necrol. S.-Pierre de Lille = Necrologium ecclesiæ collegiatæ beati Petri Insulensis, Documents liturgiques et nécrologiques de l’église collégiale de Saint-Pierre de Lille, edited by Édouard Hautcœur (Lille & Paris, 1895) 301–18

Obit. Argenteuil = Obituaire, prieuré d’Argenteuil, Obit. Sens 1.1:343–51

Obit. Rebais = Extraits de l’obituaire de Rebais, Obit. Sens 4:155–7

Obit. S.-Denis = Obituaire du XIIIe siècle, l’abbaye de Saint-Denis, Obit. Sens 1.1:306–34

Obit. S.-Germain = Obituaire du IXe siècle, l’abbaye de Saint-Germain des Prés, Obit. Sens 1.1: 246–80

Obit. Sens = Obituaires de la Province de Sens, Recueil des Historiens de la France, Obituaires, 4 vols in 5 (Paris, 1902-23)

Pfister = Christian Pfister, Études sur le règne de Robert le Pieux (996–1031), Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études 64 (Paris, 1885)

Sacr. Concil. = Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio…, edited by Giovanni Domenico Mansi, vol. 19, Ab anno DCCCCLXVII usque ad annum MLXX exclusive, (Venice, 1774)

Vanderkindere (1902) = Léon Vanderkindere, La formation territoriale des principautés belges au Moyen Âge, 2 vols (2nd ed., Brussels, 1902)


Compiled by Peter Stewart

First uploaded 29 May 2012.

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