Yves was the first known lord of Bellême, south of Normandy, a powerful lordship during the late tenth and eleventh centuries which eventually passed to heiresses in the late eleventh century. He was succeeded at some time after 1005 by his son Guillaume, and his son Yves II also became lord of Bellême (in succession to Guillaume's son Robert). As discussed below in the Commentary section, the origin of this family is a difficult problem which has not yet been definitively settled.
Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: After 1005.
Yves gave Magny-le-Désert to Gauzlin, abbot of Fleury, who did not become abbot until 1005 ["Ivo Belesmensis, ..., hujus dilecti Dei Haudquaquam immemor extitit, Magniacum cedendo illi. Quo tamen defuncto, Willelmus, ejus filius, ..." Vita Gauzlini, c. 9, 282; White (1940): 73-4]
Place of Death: Unknown.
See the Commentary section.
Godehilde, living 1005, survived her husband.
Yves mentions his wife Godehilde in a charter of uncertain date ["... ego Ivo, ..., in castro meo Belismo, ..., et pro anime mee, conjugisque mee Godehildis, sive filiis meis vel genitoribus meis remedio, ..." Cart. Marmoutier, 1-2 (#1)]. She also appears with her son Guillaume [see below].
Yves and Godehilde are directly attested as the parents of Guillaume and Avesgaud. The other children are documented by their connection to one of these two siblings. The chronology of the children of Yves and Godehilde is uncertain, because much of what is known comes from charters which can only be dated to within certain ranges.
Guillaume I, d. after 1027, lord of
Bellême, after 1005-after 1027.
Guillaume and his mother Godehilde confirmed a charter of Yves after the latter's death ["Post obitum autem Ivonis, ego Willelmus et Godehildis mater mea, ..." Cart. Marmoutier, 3 (#1)]. According to Guillaume de Jumièges, he fought against duke Robert of Normandy, placing his death after the accession of that duke [GND vi, 4; vol. 2, pp. 48-51]. Guillaume is called a brother of bishop Avesgaud by the Actus Pontificum Cenomannis ["... petivit praesul Belismum, fratris sui Guillelmi castellum, ..." Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 356].
Avesgaud, d. Verdun, 27 October 1036,
bishop of Le Mans, ca. 1004 - 1036.
Avesgaud names his parents as Yves and Godehilde ["Ego Avesgaudus, Cenomannensium presul, ... etiam mea meorumque parentaum, Ivonis scilicet atque Godehildis, ..." Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 356 n. 7, citing Livre blanc (imp.), 69, #121, De domo Ardentium]. Also, as noted above, Guillaume de Bellême is called his brother by the Actus [Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 356]. Avesgaud is called the nepos of Seifrid, his predecessor as bishop of Le Mans ["Sepulto autem Segenfrido, episcopo et monacho, domnus Avesgaudus, nepos ipsius, sedem episcopalem suscepit." Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 355]. [Date and place of death: "1036. Obiit Avesgaudus Cenomannorum episcopus, post quem nepos eius Gervasius eodem anno factus est episcopus." Annales Remenses et Colonienses, MGH SS 16: 731; 27 Oct: "obiit Avesgaudus, Cenomanensium episcopus." Nec. Mans, 285; Nec. Verdun, 289; "Annualis avunculi mei domini Avesgaudi, episcopi, quotannis decenter agatur, qui Iherosolimis rediens, apud Verdunis, VI kalendas novembris, obiit in pace, ibique sepultus est ..." Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 31, 370]
Yves II, lord of Bellême, probably in
Robert, son and successor of Guillaume I as lord of Bellême, was in turn succeeded by his uncle Yves ["Post mortem autem Rotberti, filii Wilelmi, Ivo suus avunculus, succeedens heriditati dedit, pro anima sui nepotis Rotberti ..." Cart. Marmoutier, 4 (#1)]. The usually overlooked succession of Yves II was pointed out by Kathleen Thompson, who would place the rule of Yves over the lordship in the 1040's [Thompson (1985): 217-9].
Hildeburge, d. 27 October 1024;
m. Hamon, d. 15 January 1031, lord of Château-du-Loir.
Actus Pontificum Cenomannis states that she was the eldest sister of Avesgaud, and calls Godehilde the second sister ["... emit a canonicis suis ecclesaim de Prorigniaco et ecclesiam de Loiaco, et dedit unam Hildeburgi, sorori suae primogenitae, et alteram Godehildae, germanae suae secundae." Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 357]. In his testament, bishop Gervaise mentions his avuculus Avesgaud and his parents Hamon and Hildeburge, sister of Avesgaud ["Ego Gervasius, sancte Cenomannensis ecclesie, non merito, presul ... et avunculi mei Avesgaudi ... necnon et genotoris cum genetrice mea, Haimonis scilicet et Hildeburga, ... avunculi mei domini Avesgaudi, episcopi, ... sororis ejus, matris quippe mee Hyldeburge: nec pretermittatur ille patris mei Haimonis ..." ibid., c. 31, 367-371]. For the erroneous alleged marriage of Hildeburge to a certain Albert, see the page of Hildeburge.
As noted above, Actus Pontificum Cenomannis states that she was the second sister of Avesgaud [Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 357]. There does not seem to be any other early reference to her, but that has not stopped some scholars from attempting to marry her off to various individuals. The editors of the Actus, Busson and Ledru, suggested the tentative identification that Godehilde was the same person as a certain Godehilde who was wife of Raoul, viscount of Le Mans [ibid., 357 n. 6], but Keats-Rohan pointed out that this identification is not chronologically feasible [Keats-Rohan (1994), 16]. Godehilde has sometimes been given the marriage to a certain Albert that is often wrongly assigned to her sister Hildeburge [e.g., Bry (1620), 137; Boussard (1951), 46-7], but since Godehilde was younger than Hildeburge, the chronological reasons for rejecting the marriage of Hildeburge to Albert also apply to any supposed marriage of Godehilde and Albert. The commonly used Europäische Stammtafeln combines these two errors by having Godehilde marry first Albert de la Ferté-en-Beauce and second a viscount of Maine [ES 3.4: 636]. White errs in making Godehilde (rather than Hildeburge) the wife of Hamon de Château-du-Loir [White (1940): 75-6, 98], but it is well attested that Hildeburge was Hamon's wife. Thus, none of the attempts to give Godehilde a husband rests on a sound basis.
Probable brother or
d. 16 February of an unknown year [Nec.
Mans 39], bishop of Le Mans, ca.
As noted above, Avesgaud is called a nepos of Seifrid, probably to be interpreted as "nephew" in this case [Act. Pont. Cenom., c. 30, 355]. See the Commentary section for more on the possible relationship of Seifrid and Yves.
Possible brother or
Possible sister or sister-in-law: Rothais.
Possible nephew: Yves, fl. 996×1004, son of Fulcoin and Rothais.
Since Yves, grantor of the foundation charter of Abayette, son of Fulcoin and Rothais, mentioned bishop Seifrid as his avunculus, who in turn calls Avesgaud his nepos, and since it is natural to conjecture a connection between the two men named Yves, there is a good possibility that Yves de Bellême was an uncle of Yves, founder of Abayette. See the Commentary section.
Much has been written regarding the parentage of Yves de Bellême, but there is still no definitive solution to this problem.
Supposed father (unlikely): Yves de Creil, fl. 945 (living 981?).
Supposed mother (unlikely): Geile, living 981.
The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis mentions a certain "Ivo de Credolio regis balistarius" [OV 3: 306] who was earlier called the father of Guillaume de Bellême in an addition by Orderic Vitalis to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum of Guillaume de Jumièges [GND iv, 4 (vol. 1, pp. 104-5)]. This Yves de Creil (Ivo de Credulio) has then been plausibly identified with a certain Yves who had a wife Geile and son Yves [see White (1940): 68-73], but no direct evidence has been found for a connection of these individuals with the lords of Bellême. Since it is not chronologically plausible for this Yves de Creil to be the father of Guillaume de Bellême, those who accept Orderic's account as having some foundation have instead added a generation by placing Yves de Creil as the father of Yves de Bellême, although White, who accepted this scenario, was careful to call the link probable rather than proven [White (1940): 71, 98]. Since this theory has as its only support a noncontemporary source which is evidently false in the statement it gives, is not supported by a later statement by the same author (Orderic, who omitted the supposed connection to Guillaume de Bellême in his ecclesiastical history), and other indications seem to place the origins of the Bellême closer to home (see in particular the three papers of Keats-Rohan in the bibliography), this scenario seems unlikely.
Most recent discussions of the origin of Yves de Bellême have centered on the fact that his son bishop Avesgaud of Le Mans was a nepos (here almost certainly meaning "nephew") of his predecessor Seifrid, who was in turn an avunculus of a another Yves/Ivo, son of Fulcoin, grantor of the foundation charter of Abbayette (996×1004), in which Ivo granted the charter "... cum consensu et uoluntate meorum parentum, duarum uidelicet sororum mearum: Billehendis atque Erenburgis, necnon duorum auunculorum: Seinfredi episcopi et Guillelmi, atque cognatorum: Guillelmi clerici, Roberti Sutsardi rursusque Guillelmi laici... pro salute anime meae atque patris mei Fulconii et matris mee Rothais et omnium meorum parentum ..." (... with the consent and will of my relatives, viz., two of my sisters Billehendis and Erenburgis, and also two uncles, bishop Senfridus and Guillelmus, and relatives Guillelmus clericus, Robertus[,] Sutsardus, and finally Guillelmus laicus ... for the health of my soul and of my father Fulconus and my mother Rothais and all of my relatives ...) [Keats-Rohan (1994), 24]. Although it is certain that Yves de Bellême and Yves son of Fulcoin were different individuals, their careless identification as the same individual has led some to the following false parentage for Yves de Bellême:
Falsely attributed mother: Rothais.
(While most of the standard sources have avoided this error, it can be occasionally found in internet genealogies.)
As has been pointed out before [e.g., White (1940): 91-5], the fact that Yves de Bellême was not among those consenting to the Abbayette charter makes it difficult (but not decisively so) to make Yves de Bellême a full brother of bishop Seifrid, since if the latter had some interest in the property which required his consent, then it is likely that the former did also. Thus, White (1940): 91-5, makes Seifrid a brother of Godehilde, wife of Yves. Keats-Rohan (1996, 1997), setting aside an earlier opinion that Yves and Seifird might have been full brothers [Keats-Rohan (1994): 14], suggested that they were in fact uterine brothers (which would get rid of the difficulty mentioned above), and conjectured that the parents of Yves de Bellême may have been as follows:
Proposed father (very
Hervé, count of Mortagne.
Proposed mother (very conjectural): [Hildeburge], daughter of Raoul II, viscount of Le Mans.
These proposed relationships are a part of a lengthy discussion which takes place across the three papers of Keats-Rohan cited below, but no direct evidence can be cited in support of either of these relationships, and in fact some of the relationships which lead up to these suggestions are themselves conjectural. There is no direct evidence that Raoul II had a daughter named Hildeburge (whose name is itself a conjecture for onomastic reasons), nor that Hervé was married to a daughter of Raoul. Although these conjectures form a good stimulus for further research, they cannot be accepted without further evidence.
Conjectured sister (plausible): Hildeburge, m. Albert, brother of Anno, abbot of Jumièges
and Saint-Mesmin de Micy.
(parents of Albert, abbot of Saint-Mesmin de Micy)
In a charter of 1023×7, abbot Albert of Saint-Mesmin de Micy donates property in Bellême from his maternal inheritance ["Ego Albertus, abbas abbatiae sanctorum Stephani prothomartyris et Christi confessoris Maximini, ..., erat michi quidam alodus ex materna hereditate, ..., dedi pro remedio anime meae filiique mei Arnulfi, Turonensis archiepiscopi, et parentum meorum, ... Est autem ipse alodus in pago Bethlemensi, quem vocant Domna Maria, ..." Cart. Jumièges, 24 (39); also in Bry (1620), 51]. This confirms the Bellême origin of Albert's mother Hildeburge, and she is often identified with Hildeburge, daughter of Yves, and assigned consecutive marriages to Albert and Hamon, in that order [Depoin (1909), 156-8; Head (1990), 227 n. 126]. However, as is discussed on the page of Hildeburge, daughter of Yves, this identification is not chronologically feasible. In fact, the elder Albert's wife Hildeburge appears to be about a generation earlier than the other Hildeburge, daughter of Yves and wife of Hamon. A close relationship between the two Hildeburges is a definite possibility, and Keats-Rohan, following Louise, would make the elder Hildeburge a sister of Yves de Bellême [Keats-Rohan (1996), 17, 27-8, 20 & n. 40, citing Louise (1990-1), 1: 161 (not seen by me)].
Act. Pont. Cenom. = Busson & Ledru, eds., Actus Pontificum Cenomannis in urbe Degentium (Archives Historiques du Maine 2, Le Mans, 1902).
Boussard (1951) = Jacques Boussard, "La seigneurie de Bellême aux Xe et XIe siècles", in Mélanges d'Histoire du Moyen Âge dédiés à la mémoire de Louis Halphen (Paris, 1951).
Bry (1620) = Gilles Bry, Histoire des pays et comté dv Perche et dvché d'Alençon (Paris, 1620).
Cart. Jumièges = J.-J. Vernier, ed., Chartes de l'abbaye de Jumièges (v. 825 à 1204), 2 vols. (Rouen & Paris, 1916).
Cart. Marmoutier = M. Barret, ed., Cartulaire de Marmoutier pour le Perche (Mortagne, 1894).
Depoin (1909) = Joseph Depoin, "Les premiers anneaux de la maison de Bellême - Contribution à la chronologie des évèques du Mans", Bulletin Historique et Philologique du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques, 1909: 147-167.
ES = Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln (neue Folge), (Marburg, 1980-present).
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, followed by the volume and page number of the edition by van Houts.
Head (1990) = Thomas Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints: The Diocese of Orléans 800-1200 (Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Keats-Rohan (1994) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Two Studies in North French Prosopography", Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994): 3-37.
Keats-Rohan (1996) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Politique et Parentèle: Les comtes, vicomtes et évèques du Maine c. 940-1050", Francia 23 (1996): 13-30.
Keats-Rohan (1997) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "'Un vassal sans histoire'?: Count Hugh II (c.940/955-992) and the origins of Angevin overlordship in Maine", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 189-210.
Louise (1990-1) = Gérard Louise, La seigneurie de Bellême, Xe-XIIe siècles (Le pays Bas-Normand, 83e année, 1990-1). [I have not seen this source.]
Nec. Mans = Busson & Ledru, Nécrologe-obituaire de la Cathédrale du Mans (Archives Historiques du Maine 7, Le Mans, 1906).
Nec. Verdun = Ch. Aimond, "Le Nécrologe de la Cathédrale de Verdun", Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für lothringisches Geschichte und Altertumskunde/Annuaire de la Société d'Histoire et Archéologie Lorraine 21.2 (1909), 132-314.
OV = Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969-80).
Thompson (1985) = Kathleen Thompson, "Family and influence to the south of Normandy in the eleventh century: the lordship of Bellême", Journal of Medieval History 11 (1985): 215-226.
Vita Gauzlini = Léopold Delisle, "Vie de Gauzlin, abbé de Fleuri et archevèque de Bourges, par André de Fleuri", Mémoires de la Société Archéologique de l'Orléanais 2 (1853): 257-322. Also edited more recently in Robert-Henri Bautier & Gillette Labory, ed. & trans., André de Fleury, Vie de Gauzlin, abbé de Fleury (Vita Gauzlini abbatis Floriacensis monasterii) (Paris, 1969). Citations are from Delisle's edition
White (1940) = Geoffrey H. White, "The First House of Bellême", Trans. Royal Hist. Soc. ser. 4, 22 (1940): 67-99.
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
First uploaded 7 July 2005.
Revision uploaded 24 January 2011 (rewrote sections on Hildeburge and Godehilde, and added conjectured sister Hildeburge)
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