Werner, Count in Hesbaye

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Count Werner (French Garnier, Latin Werinharius, short form Werinzo[1]) died in 973 with his brother Rainald or Reginzo, near Mons in Hainaut, which is now in Belgium. The two brothers were reported to have been holding the lands that had been held by one Count Richer, who had recently died.

Werner and his brother were killed by another pair of brothers who attacked them, but failed to take Mons: Reginar IV, the future count of Mons, and Lambert I, the future count of Louvain. They claimed this same lordship by right of their dead rebel father, Reginar III.

Werner was a Count in Hesbaye, also now in Belgium, and he probably also held lands as far away as Zülpich which is now in Germany. All the areas he was associated with were part of the Kingdom of Lotharingia, which during this period was no longer independent, but mainly under the control of Germany.


There are a small number of records for Werner, some of which are not definitely involving the same person:

  • It is proposed that in 958 Werner, not named as a count, played the role of advocatus for Sint-Truiden Abbey. Such roles were normally performed by counts, or people of similar noble status.[2]
  • In 963, or possibly 959, it is proposed that Werner is the Count of that name who swapped his lands in Bodeux, west of Stavelot, for land which Stavelot Abbey held in "Nohas", in the Eifel gau and in the county of Zülpich, now in Germany.[3] It is noted by historians that among the witnesses to this transaction there were a Richar and a Duke Godefrid.[4]
  • In 966 Count Werner appeared as count of a county which contained Gelmen, near Borgloon. A certain Rudolf (not named as a count) had previously held this estate, but because of his infidelity, in 966 it was held by the collegiate church of Maria (de) in the imperial capital at Aachen. Gelmen was now to be exchanged by them for a large number of lands held in different parts of Lower Lotharingia by a count named Immo.[5]
  • In 973, various medieval sources report that Count Werner and his brother Rainald were killed near Mons in Hainaut, defending the area from Reginar IV and his brother Lambert, who claimed it as their dead rebel father's possession, with French support.[6]

This battle near Mons happened after, in October 972, a Count Richer who had been holding Mons was killed during an attack on his uncle, Bishop Wicfried of Verdun. Reginar and Lambert attacked from France, the next year.[7] However, they failed to take control at this time, and instead Count Godfrey "the captive" is attested as count in Hainaut after this.


Werner's exact parentage is unknown, but historian Eduard Hlawitschka has proposed that he was a member of the Matfried family [de], and therefore closely related to his predecessors in Hainaut, Count Richer (count from 964–972 when he died) and Richer's uncle and predecessor Godfrey I, Duke of Lower Lorraine, who died in 964. It is possible Werner and Renaud were brothers of Richer, and cousins of Count Godfrey "the captive" through his mother, who was a Matfried.[8]


Belgian historians, including Léon Vanderkindere and Jean Baerten, have traditionally connected the records involving Werner with other records to propose a narrative whereby Werner and his brother were longer term enemies of the Reginar family, a powerful Lotharingian family which had an alliance with France in this period.

  • In 944, Flodoard in his Annals reported two important Lotharingian brothers, Ragnarius and Rodulfus, who were allied to the King of France, the losing side, during a rebellion in that time.[9] In his 1900 article, Vanderkindere had discovered that Reginar II had died before 943. Therefore it is concluded that Reginar III had a brother named Count Rudolf, and that he was the Rudolf who appeared in records as a Count in areas near Gelmen in the 940s.
  • In 953 Reginar III, the senior Reginarid of that time, was defeated by Archbishop and Duke Bruno, and banished to Bohemia where he died.[10] This narrative therefore proposes that Count Rudolf his brother was also removed from positions of importance and Werner had been assigned successor as a Count in the Hesbaye region.
  • In the County of Hainaut, where Reginar III's sons claimed to have an inheritance, after the disgrace of Count Reginar III, Godfrey I, Duke of Lower Lorraine received the County of Hainaut. This Duke Godfrey died on campaign in Italy in 964 and had no children.[11] His nephew (nepos) Count Richer, Count of Liugas, then appears in records as a count in Hainaut.
  • In 967, very soon after the 966 charter, Werner was not mentioned at all in a charter which involved Brustem, very close to Gelmen.[12] Jean Baerten explained this by arguing that Werner was no longer count of the same area, because of another (unattested) royal decision to place him elsewhere, and because a more legitimate heir to the Reginars was to be installed.[13]


Hlawitschka has proposed that Werner had a daughter, Godila, who married Liuthar, Margrave of the Nordmark.[14]


  1. ^ Annales Altahenses, under 973
  2. ^ Diplomata Belgica, 1292. See Baerten (1969, pp. 9–10,13); Baerten, 1965 & Origines, pp. 1231,1234–1235)
  3. ^ Vanderkindere (1902, pp. 137,248–9) believed the charter was from 953. The charter can be found in Halkin and Roland eds, Stavelot-Malmédy, nr.74 169-171 = Wampach, C., ed., Urkunden- und Quellenbuch zur Geschichte der altluxemburgischen Territorien bis zur burgundischen Zeit, 1 (Luxembourg 1935) nr.167, 213-216; Oppermann, O., Rheinische Urkundenstudien, 1: Die kölnisch-niederrheinischen Urkunden (Bonn 1922) 201-202. Also see Verdonk, Alzey-Zutphen, 73 note 481.
  4. ^ Hlawitschka 1969, p. 146fn.
  5. ^ Diplomata Belgica, 3973. MGH DD Otto I, nr.316, pp.429-431.
  6. ^ Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium: Bethmann ed., 1.95, 439; Sigebert, Chronica: Bethmann ed., 351; Thietmar, Chronicon, Book 7 (W. Trillmich ed. and transl., Ch.46, 402-405; = MGH SS 3, J. M. Lappenberg ed., Ch.32, 851; = David A. Warner trans., Ch.46, 339-340).
  7. ^ Warner, David A. (Translator) (2001). Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thiermar of Merseburg. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 339.
  8. ^ Hlawitschka 1969, pp. 97–98,101.
  9. ^ Flodoard, Annales, Heller and Waitz eds, 390; = Lauer ed., 92; = Fanning and Bachrach trans., 26B-26C, 39.
  10. ^ Continuator Reginonis Trevirensis (ed. G.H. Pertz), in: MGH SS I, Hannover 1826, p.623.
  11. ^ This is reported in the Vita Adelheidis. See Verdonk p.75.
  12. ^ 1146 confirmation of the charter is Diplomata Belgica 1613: Hemptinne, T. de, A. Verhulst and L. De Mey eds, De oorkonden der graven van Vlaanderen (Juli 1128 - September 1191), Uitgave 2, Band 1 (Brussels 1988) nr. 95, 155-157; = Piot ed. Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Trond, 1, 72. There is also a complementary narrative record of the grant: Gestorum Abbatem Trudonensium Continuatio Tertia, 3.12-3.14, years 964-972, Koepke ed., 379; = de Borman ed. 131; = Lavigne trans. 221.
  13. ^ Baerten (1969, pp. 10–11,12); Baerten (1965, pp. 1230,1237–1238).
  14. ^ Hlawitschka 1969, pp. 97,101.


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