Matilda FitzRoy, Countess of Perche

Matilda (c. 1080/1100? - 25th November 1120), Countess of Perche, was among several members of the English royal family who died in the wreck of the White Ship off Barfleur.

Matilda FitzRoy
Countess of Perche
Reign1103–1120
Bornc. 1080/1100
Died25 November 1120
Noble familyNormandy
Spouse(s)
(m. 1103)
Issue
Philippa, Countess of Maine
Felicia
FatherHenry I of England
MotherEdith

LifeEdit

Matilda, or Maud, was an illegitimate daughter of King Henry I of England by a mistress identified only as Edith.[a][1] Nothing is known of her mother's family. Her father was the youngest son of William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda of Flanders.[2]

During the High Middle Ages illegitimate children were not always acknowledged by their fathers (and so many remained unknown) but Henry I recognised at least 20 of his 'natural' children, including Maud.[3] She was identified as his daughter by Orderic Vitalis, who added that the king built up her husband's power by greatly augmenting his estates and wealth in England.[4] Her father gave her lands in Wiltshire as her dowry.[5]

In 1103 Matilda married Rotrou III, Count of Perche, as his second wife.[6] She married at the same time as her half-sister Juliane de Fontrevault.[7] Rotrou was a direct vassal of King Henry in England, where he held fiefs jure uxoris, in right of his wife. He also was given the de Bellelme fief in Normandy at the forfeiture of Robert de Belleme.[8]

White ShipEdit

In the wreck of the White Ship, the evening of 25 November 1120, William of Malmesbury noted the fate of the countess:

"the water having washed some of the crew overboard and entering the chinks drowned others, the boat was launched, and the young prince getting into it might certainly have been saved by reaching the shore, had not his illegitimate sister, the countess of Perche, now struggling with death in the larger vessel, implored her brother's assistance, shrieking out that he should not abandon her so barbarously. Touched with pity, he ordered the boat to return to the ship, that he might rescue his sister; and thus the unhappy youth met his death through excess of affection; for the skiff, overcharged by the multitude who leaped into it, sank, and buried all indiscriminately in the deep." Thus William Adelin perished trying to save his sister Maud.[9]

FamilyEdit

Matilda and Rotrou had two daughters:[10]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Her mother Edith held lands in Devon as late as 1130 and so survived her daughter. See Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol XI (1949), p. 112 note (a).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage; or, A History of the House of Lords and all its Members from the Earliest Times, Vol. XI, Ed. Geoffrey H. White (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1949), p. 112
  2. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 1
  3. ^ Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., Royal Bye-Blows, The Illegitimate Children of the English Kings From William I to Edward III', The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 119 (April 1965), pp. 94–5
  4. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Trans. Thomas Forester, Vol, IV (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1856), p. 111
  5. ^ K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066–1166, Volume II: Pipe Rolls to Cartae Baronum (UK & Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer, 2002), p. 236
  6. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 82
  7. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Trans. Thomas Forester, Vol, III ( London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), p. 345
  8. ^ Geoffrey H. White, 'The First House of Belleme', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fourth Series, Vol. 22 (1940), p. 79
  9. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Trans. Thomas Forester, Vol, IV (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1856), p. 40
  10. ^ a b c Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., Royal Bye-Blows, The Illegitimate Children of the English Kings From William I to Edward III', The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 119 (April 1965), p. 96


Preceded by
Beatrice de Montdidier
Countess of Perche
1103–1120
Succeeded by
Havise de Salisbury