Elizabeth of Vermandois, Countess of Leicester

Elizabeth of Vermandois (c. 1085 – 1131) (or Isabel), was an Anglo-Norman noblewoman, who by her two marriages was the mother of the 1st Earl of Worcester, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, the 3rd Earl of Surrey, and of Gundred de Warenne, mother of the 4th Earl of Warwick.

Elizabeth of Vermandois
WarenneArms.svg
Chequy or and azure, the famous proto-heraldic coat of arms of Elizabeth of Vermandois (possibly first adopted by her brother Ralph, Count of Vermandois, as shown on his seal[1]), which she transmitted in differenced forms to her offspring
Bornc. 1085
Died13 February 1131
Noble familyHouse of Capet
Spouse(s)Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester
William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey
FatherHugh I, Count of Vermandois
MotherAdelaide, Countess of Vermandois

It is believed that she was the source of the famous chequered shield of gold and blue (or and azure) adopted at the dawn of the age of heraldry (in England circa 1200-1215) by her brother and originating before the middle of the 12th century,[2] as did only two other groups of allied English shields, the Mandeville-de Vere "quarterly shields" and the de Clare "chevron shields".[1]

OriginsEdit

She was the third daughter of Hugh I, Count of Vermandois (1057–1102) ("Hugh Magnus/Hugh the Great"), the younger son of King Henry I of France. Her mother was Adelaide of Vermandois[3] the daughter of Herbert IV, Count of Vermandois and Adele of Valois. Elizabeth thus represented both the Capetian line of her paternal grandfather King Henry I of France, and the Carolingian line of her maternal grandfather Herbert IV of Vermandois.[4]

Marriages & issueEdit

 
Proto-heraldic arms of Waleran de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Worcester, Count of Meulan, as seen on his seals and borne by his descendants: Chequy or and gules, a difference of the arms of his maternal uncle Ralph, Count of Vermandois[2]
 
Chequy arms of Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Leicester (died 1204), grandson of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester, son of Elizabeth of Vermandois. No heraldic evidence survives regarding the arms borne by the 2nd and 3rd Earls, and as the 4th Earl died without issue, the tinctures of his arms are unknown, but display the form of the Vermandois model[2]
 
Arms of "de Warenne" (Chequy or and azure), borne by the 2nd House of Warenne, descended from Isabel de Warenne, only daughter and heiress of William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, son of Elizabeth of Vermandois.[2] Today quartered by the Duke of Norfolk who is also Earl of Surrey
 
Arms of "de Newburgh": Chequy or and azure, a chevron ermine, borne by Henry de Beaumont, 5th Earl of Warwick (c.1192-1229) (aliter "Henry de Newburgh"), descendant of Gundred de Warenne (daughter of Elizabeth of Vermandois) and her first husband Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick (c.1102-1153), again a difference of the Vermandois chequy arms[2]

She was the wife successively of two Anglo-Norman magnates, firstly of Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, Count of Meulan (d.1118), by whom she had twin sons, and secondly of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey (d.1138), by whom she had a further son and a daughter Gundred de Warenne.

Marriage to Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, Count of MeulanEdit

In 1096 Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, Count of Meulan (d.1118) reputed to be the "wisest man in his time between London and Jerusalem" insisted, in defiance of the laws of the Church, on marrying the very young Elizabeth, he being over fifty at the time.[5] In early 1096 Bishop Ivo, on hearing of the proposed marriage, wrote a letter forbidding the marriage and preventing its celebration on the grounds of consanguinuity, i.e. that the two were related within prohibited degrees.

In April 1086 Elizabeth's father was able to convince Pope Urban to issue a dispensation for the marriage,[4][5] and departed on the Crusade preached by that pope, his last act being to see his daughter married to Robert.

Robert was a nobleman of some significance in France, having inherited lands from his maternal uncle Henry, Count of Meulan. He gained renown fighting in his first battle, in command of the right wing, at the Battle of Hastings as one of the Proven Companions of William the Conqueror.[6][7] He was rewarded with ninety manors in the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.[8] The count of Meulan was one of Henry I's "four wise counsellors and was one of the king's commanders at the Battle of Tinchebray" 28 September 1106.[9] In 1107 Robert became Earl of Leicester.[10]

By de Beaumont she had three sons (the eldest of whom were twins) and five or six daughters as follows:[11]

SonsEdit

DaughtersEdit

Marriage to William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of SurreyEdit

Elizabeth is reputed to have had an affair and left her first husband when he was near death. The historian James Planché claimed (1874) that she was seduced by or fell in love with a younger nobleman, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey,[12] whom she married. However the evidence for such Elizabeth having had an affair is lacking. William had sought a royal bride in 1093, but failed in his attempt to wed Matilda of Scotland (also known as Edith), who later married King Henry I.[16] He married Elizabeth in 1118, very soon after the death of Robert.[17] Elizabeth survived her second husband.[3][18]

By William de Warenne she had three sons and two daughters:[19]

SonsEdit

DaughtersEdit

AncestryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., Vol. XII, Part 1, Appendix J, "The Warenne Group of Chequered Shields", pp.26-9, note b
  2. ^ a b c d e G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., Vol. XII, Part 1, Appendix J, "The Warenne Group of Chequered Shields", pp.26-9
  3. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4, (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 699
  4. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 1, Herzogs und Grafenhäuser des Heiligen Römischen Reiches Andere Europäiche Fürstenhäuser (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 55
  5. ^ a b Edmond Chester Waters, 'Gundrada de Warenne', The Archaeological Journal, Vol. xli (London, 1884), p. 308-9
  6. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953), Appendix L, pp. 47–8, Appendix L, The Battle of Hastings and the Death of Harold (List of those known to be at the Battle of Hastings)
  7. ^ David C. Doulgas, William the Conqueror (University of California Press, 1964), p. 203
  8. ^ J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 206
  9. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003) pp. 132–3, 199–200
  10. ^ K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, a Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066–1166 (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1999), p. 371
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. VII (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd, 1929), p. 540
  12. ^ a b J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 212
  13. ^ J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 216
  14. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. VII (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd, 1929), p. 526, footnote (c)
  15. ^ Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, Bol. II, No. 1, (1854), p. 311
  16. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003)p. 340
  17. ^ C. Warren Hollister, 'The Taming of a Turbulent Earl: Henry I and William of Warenne', Historical Reflections, Vol. 3 (1976) p. 90 n. 36
  18. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 496
  19. ^ a b c d William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) p. 10
  20. ^ a b William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) pp. 27–8
  21. ^ William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) p. 11
  22. ^ Victoria Chandler, 'Ada de Warenne, Queen Mother of Scotland (c. 1123–1178)', The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 60, No. 170, Part 2 (October 1981), pp. 119–139

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