Paula does not appear in any known contemporary document. She appears by name only in a passage of Orderic Vitalis naming the parents of Hélie de La Flèche ["Helias Iohannis et Paulæ filius, ..." OV x, 8 (vol. 5, pp. 228-9)].
Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: Unknown.
Place of Death: Unknown.
The parentage of Paula is discussed in detail below in the commentary section.
Spouse: Jean, d. after 13 February 1087, lord of La Flèche.
[See the Commentary section for quotes from the relevant sections of Orderic Vitalis.]
Helias, d. 11 July 1110, lord of La Flèche and count of Maine.
Gosbert, a monk.
Enoch, a monk
The ancestry of Paula is subject to a considerable amount of confusion, due to the contradictory nature of the sources. The main problem is the testimony of Orderic Vitalis, who contradicts himself on a number of points. We first give quotes from the four groups of data provided by Orderic, and then quote some other important sources.
Orderic Vitalis (Book 3)
"Anno ab incarnatione Domini mlxivº post mortem Herberti iuuenis Cenomannensium comitis ... Præfatus nimirum iuuenis post obitum Herberti senioris patris sui qui uulgo Euigilans Canem cognominabatur, propter grauissimus infestationes quas a perfidis affinibus suis Andegauensibus incessanter partiebatur consilio Bertæ matris suæ se suumque patrimonium fortissimo duci Normannorum commendauerat, et Margaritam sororem suam Rodberto eiusdem ducis filio in coniugium dederat cum qua hæreditatem suam comitatum scilicet Cenomannensem si sine liberis obiret concesserat. Sed quia Walterius Pontesiensium comes filius Drogonis comitis qui cum Rodberto seniore Normannorum duce in Ierusalem ierat, et in illo itinere peregrinus obierat Biotam Hugonis Cenomannensium comitis filiam, quæ amita prædicti iuuenis erat, in coniugium habebat, totum comitatum Cenomannensem calumniabatur et ex parte possidebat." [OV iii (vol. 2, pp. 116-7)] The information in this passage is corrupt compared to other sources, including other passages of Orderic. Orderic's statement in Book 3 would make more sense if we assumed that he accidently switched Herbert "Wake-dog" and Hugues in this passage.
Orderic Vitalis (Book 4)
"Herbertus Cenomannorum comes ex prosapia ut fertur Karoli Magni originem duxit et uulgo sed parum latine cognominari Euigilans-canem pro ingenti probitate promeruit. Nam post mortem Hugonis patris sui ... Hugo filius Herberti postquam Alannus Britannorum comes a Normannis in Normannia impotionatus occubuit Bertam ipsius relictam Tedbaldi Blesensium comitis sororem in coniugium accepit, quæ filium nomine Herbertum et tres filias ei peperit. Vna earum data est Azsoni marchiso Liguriæ. Alia nomine Margarita Rodberto filio Guillelmi ducis Neustriæ desponsata est quæ uirgo in tutela eiusdem ducis defuncta est. Tercia uero Iohanni domino castri quod Flecchia dicitur nupsit quæ marito suo tres liberos Goisbertum, Heliam et Enoch peperit." [OV iv (vol. 2, pp. 304-5)]
Orderic Vitalis (Book 8)
"Anno ab incarnatione Domini MºXCº indictione xiiiª Cenomanni contra Normannos rebellauerunt, eiectisque custodibus eorum de munitionibus nouum principem sibi constituerunt. Nam qui uiuente Guillelmo rege contra eum rebellare multociens conati sunt ipso mortuo statim de rebellione machinari ceperunt. Legationem igitur filiis Azonis marchisi Liguriæ direxerunt, ... Tandem diffinierunt ut Fulco qui maior natu erat patris honorem in Italia possideret Hugo autem frater eius Cenomannensem principatum ex matris hereditate sibi reposceret. ... Tandem Helias consobrinus eius ad eum [i.e., to Hugo] accessit, ... Hæc ita dicenti Hugo manifeste propalauit Heliæ, quod suum uellet consulatum uendere patriosque penates reuisere. Helias dixit, 'Cognatus tuus sum domine, suffragioque meo sullimatus es in consulatus honore quem nulli potes nisi michi dare uel uendere. Nam filia Herberti comitis Lancelino de Balgenceio nupsit eique Lancelinum Radulfi patrem et Iohannem meum genitorem peperit. ...' His dictus ignauus Allobrox annuit et pro comitatu Cenomannensi decem milia solidorum Cenomannensis monetæ recepit. Helias uero recedente Ligure comes Cenomannorum factus est et xx annis adepto consulatu strenue potitus est. Heres quoque soceri sui Geruasii de Castro Ligeri factus est, cuius filiam habuit, ex qua filiam nomine Eremburgem genuit quam domini sui filio Fulconi Andegauorum comiti in matrimonium copulauit." [OV viii, 11 (vol. 4, pp. 192-9)]
Orderic Vitalis (Book 10)
"Helias Iohannis et Paulæ filius, Hugonis Cenomannorum consulis consobrinus, uir multis erga Dei cultum honestatibus uiguit, populique regimen in timore Dei salubriter seruauit. Hic generosam coniugum Mathildem filiam Geruasii accepit qui Rodberti cognomento Brochardi fratris Geruasii Remorum archiepiscopi filius fuit. Huic sex fratres fuerunt, quorum duo priores Goisbertus et Enoch post militiam monachi facti sunt reliqui uero quattuor Ioffredus et Lanscelinus, Milo et Guillelmus immatura morte preuenti sunt. Helias de paterna hereditate Flechiam castrum possedit, quattuor uero castella de patrimonio uxoris suæ optinuit, id est Ligerim et Maiatum, Luceium et Vstilliacum. Vxor eius ei filiam Eremburgem nomine peperit, quæ nubilibus annis Fulconi Andegauorum tunc comiti nunc Ierusolimorum regi nupsit, et generosam sobolem genuit, Iosfredum et Heliam, Mathildem et Sibillam, quæ filiis regem solenniter nupserunt, sed Deo irreprehensibiliter omnia disponente cito uiduatæ sunt." [OV x, 8 (vol. 5, pp. 228-9)] Here, in addition to being the source which supplies us with Paula's name, we have a list of her seven sons, including the ones who died young.
Guillaume de Poitiers
"Hugo hereditatem suam Hereberto reliquit filio, ... ." [Guillaume de Poitiers, i, 37 (pp. 58-9)]; "... Gualterium Medantinum comitem, cui soror Hugonis nupserat, ... ." [ibid., i, 38 (pp. 60-1)]; "[Guillelmus] Voluit in omne seculum et progeniei suae optime consultum fuisse prudens uictor, pius parens. Idcirco germanam Hereberti, ex partibus Teutonum suae munificentiae maximis impensis adductam, nato suo coniugare decreuit, ut per eam ipse et progeniti, ex ipso iure, quod nulla controuersia conuelli posset uel infirmari, Hereberti haereditatem possiderent sororius et nepotes. ... Haec generosa uirgo, nomine Margarita ..." [ibid., i, 39 (pp. 62-3)]; Guillaume also mentions the elder count Herbert of Maine in the beginning of his account, but does not give his relationship to the later counts [ibid., i, 37 (pp. 58-9)].
Actus Pontificum Cenomannis
"... et mittentes in Italiam Athonem quemdam, marchisium, cum uxore et filio, qui vocabatur Hugo, ... [Act. Pont. Cenom. 376] "... Erat autem uxor ejusdem marchisii, Gercendis nomine, filia Herberti, Cenomannorum illustrissimi comitis, qui vocatus est Evigila Canem; que de primo quidem Theobaldo, duci Campanie, in matrimonium tradita, sed ab eo, repudio interveniente discedens, prefati Athonis postmodum fuerat copulata conjugio." [Act. Pont. Cenom., 377]
The succession of count Herbert "Wake-dog", Hugues IV (son of Herbert), and Herbert II (son of Hugh IV) is a straightforward consequence of information from Act. Pont. Cenom. and charter evidence (see the pages of Herbert I and Hugues IV for more), and is also one of the contradictory scenarios given by Orderic. The problem comes from trying to determine the correct relationships of various female members of the dynasty and the eventual inheritance of the county of Maine by the lords of La Flèche. For three of these women, the contradictions can be corrected with a reasonable degree of confidence:
However, the ancestry of Paula and the exact manner of the inheritance of the county of Maine by the lords of La Flèche are problematic. All plausible scenarios would make Hélie de La Flèche a descendant of count Herbert I "Wake-dog" of Maine. There is not much precise chronological information available, but we can still narrow things down a little. Hugues IV and his wife Berthe were married between 14 May 1045 and 14 May 1047 [Latouche (1910), 28, n. 4; 144; see the page of Hugues IV for more details], and Hélie's grandson Geoffroy Plantagenet was born on 24 August 1113 [Chr. S. Albini Andegav.]. From this, we can see that that it is chronologically impossible for Hélie to have been a great-grandson of Hugues IV (which would give four generations in less than 68 years). It is chronologically possible for Hélie to have been a maternal grandson of Huges IV, but that would lead to a rather tight chronology, and the birthdate of Hélie would have to be placed in the general neighborhood of 1070. Similarly, it is improbable that there was chronological room for Hélie to have been a great-great-grandson of Hugues IV's father Herbert "Wake-dog". Thus, we can conclude with a reasonable degree of probability that Hélie was either a grandson or great-grandson of Herbert "Wake-dog".
Here the lack of other data forces us to rely on Orderic Vitalis, and the combination of information from Books 4, 8, and 10, while not directly contradictory, would give us the rather unlikely scenario that the passing of the county of Maine to Hélie de La Flèche was due to two intermarriages, the second one between first cousins (as shown in the following table).
This double marriage is improbable. In particular, when Hélie describes his right of inheritance to Maine, it is unlikely that he would tout a relationship through his paternal grandmother if he were in fact also a maternal grandson of a count of Maine. Also, such first cousin marriages that would be implied by accepting both Book 4 and Book 8 were actively opposed by the church. Thus, it is very unlikely that the accounts of Book 4 and Book 8 are both correct, so it seems reasonable to conclude that there was a single marriage which resulted in the inheritance of Maine by Hélie de La Flèche, and that Orderic was confused about the exact nature of this relationship. Thus, rejecting the double marriage, and assuming that we are correct in making Hélie a grandson or great-grandson of Herbert "Wake-dog", we have four possible scenarios:
Scenario 1: Book 4 is correct,
and Hélie's mother Paula was a daughter of count Hugues IV.
Although we cannot rule this scenario out directly, two noticeable negative factors can be pointed out. One is the somewhat tight chronology already indicated above. The other is that such a descent would make Hélie a clearly stronger heir in 1090 than Hugues son of Azzo, making it unclear why the nobles of Maine would have brought in an heir from Italy when a stronger claimant was available among their own people. Thus, this scenario seems less likely than some of the others.
Scenario 2: Book 8 is correct,
and Hélie's claim was through his paternal grandmother, a
daughter of count Herbert I "Wake-dog" (in which case
Paula's parentage would be unknown).
It has widely been assumed that Hélie's mother Paula (assuming Orderic gives her name correctly) was the heiress of Maine, and that Hélie's claim to Maine was through her. Indeed, this assumption has expanded to the point that Anselme, in accepting the account of Orderic's Book 4, has assigned "Paule" as the name of the wife of Lancelin de Baugency, said to be daughter of count Herbert I [Anselme 3: 170]. If we knew that for sure that Paula was the heiress, we could reject this scenario. However, there does not appear to be any definitive reason to make this assumption. In 1090, the Manceaux rebelled against the Normans, and the countship of Maine was given to Hugues V, son of Azzo of Este and Gersende of Maine, who was brought from Italy to become count [OV viii, 11 (vol. 4, pp. 192-9)]. Only later was the countship purchased from Hugues V by the other claimant Hélie de La Flèche. If Hélie was only a great-grandson of a count of Maine (rather than a grandson), that would fit well enough with Orderic's account in Book 4.
Scenario 3: Hélie's mother
Paula was a daughter of Herbert I "Wake-dog".
This scenario was the one preferred by Latouche, and he has been followed by many others since then [Latouche (1910), 113-5 (Appendice III)]. Latouche's account starts with a table intended to show what Orderic Vitalis states about the relationships. Unfortunately, because Orderic contradicts himself on several points, it is not really feasible to give a single table showing his statements about the counts of Maine, so the result is that Latouche's tabular outline of Orderic's account is misleading. Making the point that the first cousin marriage implied by Orderic is improbable, Latouche points out that Orderic erroneously assigns two daughters of Herbert I "Wake-dog" as children of Hugues IV, and concludes that he has made the same mistake with Paula. In addition to the lack of any direct evidence, the greatest difficulty with this scenario is the fact that one would have to reject both of Orderic's accounts of Hélie's ancestry as incorrect, and incorporate elements of each. Although it remains a reasonable possibility, it is difficult to regard Latouche's solution as definitive.
Scenario 4: Hélie's mother
Paula was a granddaughter of Herbert I "Wake-dog"
through a child other than Hugues IV.
This scenario has been included on the list for completeness, because it represents the other way in which Hélie might be a great-grandson of Herbert "Wake-dog". However, there is no good reason to believe that this alternative was true.
In conclusion, even though we can reject Scenario 4 as being improbable, and Scenario 1 seems less likely than the rest, it does not seem possible to single out one of the scenarios as being obviously preferable. Scenarios 2 and 3, and to a lesser degree Scenario 1, all remain possible.
Three possible alternatives for the parentage of Paula
Possible father: Herbert I "Wake Dog", count of Maine.
Possible father: NN (not of Maine).
Possible father (less
likely): Hugues IV, count of Maine.
Possible mother (less likely): Berthe, daughter of Eudes, count of Blois.
father: Hugues V,
count of Maine, son of marquis Alberto
Azzo II and Gersende de Maine.
[Anselme 3: 173] The chronology is impossible. This is undoubtedly a corrupt version coming from Robert de Torigny's additions to GND, which suggest that Paula's son Hélie was once betrothed to a daughter of his Hugues V ["Interea Cinomannenses ... consilium ineunt cum Helia, filio Iohannis de Fleca, uiro forti et industrio et in illa prouincia potentissimo, ut filiam cuiusdam comitis Langobardie, neptem uidelicet Herberti, quondam Cinomannensis comitis, ex primogenita filia in matrimoniam ducat, ..." GND (Rob. Tor.), viii, 5 (vol. 2, pp. 208-9)].
Act. Pont. Cenom. = Busson & Ledru, eds., Actus Pontificum Cenomannis in urbe Degentium (Archives Historiques du Maine 2, Le Mans, 1902).
Anselme = Père Anselme, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, 9 vols. (Paris, 1726-33).
Arbois de Jubainville (1859-1866) = H. Arbois de Jubainville, Histoire des ducs et des comtes de Champagne, 6 vols. (Paris, 1859-1866).
Cart. Trinité de Vendôme = Charles Métais, Cartulaire de l'abbaye cardinale de la Trinité de Vendôme, 2 vols. (Paris, 1893).
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.
GND (Rob. Tor.) = Additions to GND by Robert de Torigny.
Guillaume de Poitiers = R.H.C. Davis and Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans, The Gesta Guillelmi of William of Poitiers (Oxford, New York, 1998).
Halphen (1903) = Louis Halphen, ed., Recueil d'annales angevines et vendômoises (Paris, 1903).
Latouche (1910) = Robert Latouche, Histoire du comté du Maine (Paris, 1910).
OV = Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969-80).
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
Uploaded 10 January 2008.
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