Adela of Normandy

Female 1067 - 1137  (~ 70 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Adela of Normandy 
    Born ~ 1067  Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Female 
    Died 8 Mar 1137  Marcigny-sur-Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I46709  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 17 Nov 2016 

    Father William the Conqueror, King of England, Duke of Normandy,   b. 14 Oct 1024, Chateau de Falaise, Falaise, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1087, Rouen, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Mother Matilda of Flanders, Queen of England,   b. Abt 1031, Flanders, Belgium Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 52 years) 
    Married 0___ 1053  Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    • The problem has been and maybe still is that William the Conqueror and Matilda (dau. of Baldwin V of Flanders & Adelaide of France) had relatively great difficulty is obtaining a papal dispensation for their marriage. It was not immediately obvious that there was any impediment that needed a dispensation. This problem of what the relationship between Matilda and William was that required a dispensation generated a vigorous debate earlier this century. Weis or Weis's source (as you report it) goes for a theory that makes Matilda and William cousins of sorts.
    Photos
    The signatures of William I and Matilda are the first two large crosses on the Accord of Winchester from 1072.
    The signatures of William I and Matilda are the first two large crosses on the Accord of Winchester from 1072.

    The Accord of Winchester is the 11th century document that establishes the primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the Archbishop of York...
    Family ID F13813  Group Sheet

    Family Stephen, Count of Blois,   b. ~ 1047, (Blois, France) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1080-1083  [1
    Children 
     1. Stephen of England, King of England,   b. ~ 1092, Blois, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Oct 1154, Dover, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 62 years)
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2017 
    Family ID F17112  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - ~ 1067 - Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 8 Mar 1137 - Marcigny-sur-Loire, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Adela of Normandy, of Blois, or of England (c. 1067[1] – 8 March 1137), also known as Saint Adela in Roman Catholicism,[2] was, by marriage, Countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux. She was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. She was also the mother of Stephen, King of England and Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester.

      Family

      Her birthdate is generally believed to be between 1066 and 1070, after her father's accession to the English throne in 1066.[1] She was the favourite sister of King Henry I of England; they were probably the youngest of the Conqueror's children.[3] Adela was a high-spirited and educated woman, with a knowledge of Latin.[4]

      Marriage

      House of Normandy
      Bayeux Tapestry WillelmDux.jpg
      William the Conqueror invades England
      William I[show]
      William II[show]
      Henry I[show]
      Stephen[show]
      Monarchy of the United Kingdom
      v t e
      She married Stephen Henry, son and heir to the count of Blois, between 1080 and 1083, around her fifteenth birthday.[5] Stephen was nearly twenty years her senior.[1] Stephen inherited Blois, Chartres and Meaux upon his father's death in 1089, as well as lands and right in parts of Berry and Burgundy.[5] Stephen-Henry joined the First Crusade in 1096, along with his brother-in-law Robert Curthose. Stephen's letters to Adela form a uniquely intimate insight into the experiences of the Crusade's leaders[6] and show that he trusted Adela to rule as regent while he was on crusade.[5] The Count of Blois returned to France in 1100 bringing with him several cartloads of maps, jewels and other treasures, which he deposited at Chartres. He was, however, under an obligation to the pope for agreements made years earlier and returned to Antioch to participate in the crusade of 1101. He was ultimately killed in an ill-advised charge at the Battle of Ramla in 1102.[7]

      Issue

      Adela and Stephen's children are listed here in probable birth order. Their birth order is uncertain.

      William, Count of Sully married Agnes of Sully (d. aft 1104) and had issue
      Theobald II, aka Thibaud IV Count of Champagne
      Odo of Blois, aka Humbert. died young
      Adela, married Milo II of Montlhāery (divorced 1115)
      King Stephen of England, married Matilda of Boulogne
      Lucia-Mahaut, married Richard d'Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester. Both drowned on 25 November 1120 in the White Ship disaster.
      Agnes, married Hugh de Puiset and were parents to Hugh de Puiset, Bishop of Durham
      Alix, (d. 1145) married Renaud II of Joigny (d.1134) and had issue
      Henry, Bishop of Winchester (1101-1171), an oblate child raised at Cluny Abbey in Saćone-et-Loire, France[8]
      Eleanor, (d. 1147) married Raoul I of Vermandois (d.1152) and had issue, they were divorced in 1142
      Some of the daughters may have been step-daughters of Adela, rather than biological children. It is known that Adela had five biological sons and may have had three or more daughters,[1] though not all of the daughters were necessarily Adela's biological children.[9] The daughters are not mentioned by name during their youth, only appearing when they reach marriageable age and play an important part in building alliances.[5]

      Adela, a devout Benedictine sympathizer, employed several high-ranking tutors to educate her children.[10] Her youngest son, Henry, was conceived during the single year Stephen was in France between crusading duties. At two years of age Henry was pledged to the Church at Cluny Abbey, Saćone-et-Loire, France, as an oblate child, that is, he was dedicated to the service of God, according to medieval practice. Henry went on to be appointed Abbot of Glastonbury and Bishop of Winchester. In that capacity he sponsored hundreds of constructions including bridges, canals, palaces, forts, castles and whole villages. In addition, Bishop Henry built dozens of abbeys and chapels and sponsored books including the treasured Winchester Bible.

      Adela quarrelled with her eldest son William and despite his previously being named heir-designate,[11] she appointed his younger brother Theobald to replace him as heir in 1107. Her son Stephen moved to London in 1111 to join his uncle's court and became the favorite of his uncle King Henry I (Beauclerc). Upon Beauclerc's death in Normandy (1135), Stephen of Blois seized the English throne.

      Regent

      Adela filled in as regent for her husband's duties during his extended absence as a leader of the First Crusade (1095–1098)[5] as well as during his second expedition in 1101. This included granting monks the right to build new churches, as well as other charters. Adela also worked with Ivo of Chartres at various points, exchanging letters throughout her regency,[12] to discuss matters such as the control of misbehaving nuns and larger issues such as disputes about sworn oaths.[5] While her husband was away, Adela would continue to tour their lands, settling disputes, promoting economic growth, and even commanding knights to go to battle with the king.[5] In 1105, after St Anselm visited her during a sickness, she was responsible for communicating the archbishop's earnestness in threatening excommunication to her brother Henry I. Orderic Vitalis praises her as a "wise and spirited woman" who ably governed her husband's estates and her own.[5]

      Adela continued to act as regent after her husband's death and through her son Thibaud's early rule until her retirement in 1120.[5] Even after Thibaud came of age and no longer needed a regent, Adela continued to issue charters and act as co-ruler of many parts their land. Adela did not secure a marriage alliance for Thibaud, who did not get married until after Adela's retirement, which helped to maintain her power and influence over both her son and her lands.[13]

      Retirement

      Adela retired to Marcigny Convent in 1120. Though she may have considered retiring to an abbey in Normandy, where members of her family, including sisters and nieces may have already been living; Adela was drawn to and chose the larger, more prestigious convent at Marcigny near her son Henry at Cluny Abbey.[14] Adela may have acted as prioress within the community at Marcigny, though this is not certain.[15] She continued to interact with her children and the ecclesiastical leaders of lands that she had once ruled, communicating with them and maintaining her influence over the area.[16] In one instance, Adela sent letters to both her son Thibaud [17] and Geoffrey, bishop of Chartres reminding them of her settlement of a monastic case.[18]

      Later that same year, her daughter Lucia-Mahaut, was drowned in the wreck of the White Ship alongside her husband. Adela lived long enough to see her son Stephen on the English throne, though any response she had to this development has been lost.[19] She likely took pride in the ascension of her youngest child, Henry of Blois, to the bishopric of Winchester in 1129.[3] She died in 1137 at Marcigny.[20] After her death, prayers were offered at a number of churches that she had endowed personally or had recognized at some point during her life.[21]

      Legacy

      Adela is a saint in the Roman Catholic church. Her feast day is 24 February.[2]

      In fiction

      Adela was portrayed by Nike Arrighi in the two-part BBC TV play Conquest (1966), about her father's conquest of England, part of the series Theatre 625.

      In art

      Adela is a featured figure on Judy Chicago's installation piece The Dinner Party, being represented as one of the 999 names on the Heritage Floor.[22][23]

      Ancestry

      [show]Ancestors of Adela of Normandy

      References

      ^ Jump up to: a b c d LoPrete, Kimberly. "Adela of Blois." Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Margaret Schaus. New York: Routledge, 2006. 6-7.
      ^ Jump up to: a b Catholic Online. "St. Adela".
      ^ Jump up to: a b LoPrete, Kimberly A. (1990). "The Anglo-Norman Card of Adela of Blois". Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies. 22 (4): 569–589. doi:10.2307/4051390.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. "Adela of Blois as Mother and Countess." Medieval Mothering. Ed. John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler. New York: Garland Pub., 1999. 315-316.
      ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i LoPrete, Kimberly A. "Adela of Blois: Familial Alliances and Female Lordship." Aristocratic Women in Medieval France. Ed. Theodore Evergates. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1999. 15.
      Jump up ^ "A letter from Count Stephen of Blois (03/1098)".
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 115.
      Jump up ^ Senette, Douglas John. "A Cluniac Prelate: Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester (1129-1171)". Tulane University Digital Library. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. "Adela of Blois as Mother and Countess." Medieval Mothering. Ed. John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler. New York: Garland Pub., 1999. 323-24
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. "Adela of Blois as Mother and Countess." Medieval Mothering. Ed. John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler. New York: Garland Pub., 1999. 318-19.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 111.
      Jump up ^ "Adela, countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux".
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. "Adela of Blois as Mother and Countess." Medieval Mothering. Ed. John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler. New York: Garland Pub., 1999. 322.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 408-411
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 412.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 412-418.
      Jump up ^ Women's Biography: Adela, countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux[permanent dead link]
      Jump up ^ "A letter from Adela, countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux (1133-37)".
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly A. Adela of Blois: Countess and Lord (c.1067-1137). Dublin: Four Courts, 2007. 416.
      Jump up ^ "Adela, Countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux". Epistolae. Columbia University. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
      Jump up ^ LoPrete, Kimberly, Adela of Blois. Four Courts Press, Dublin. 417-418.
      Jump up ^ "Adela of Blois". Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Adela of Blois. Brooklyn Museum. 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
      Jump up ^ Chicago, 121. [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S9966] "Adela of Normandy" biography, accessed & downloaded Thurssday, November 17th, 2016 by David A. Hennessee, https://en.wi.

    2. [S51586] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_I_of_England.

    3. [S51592] http://www.ourfamilyhistories.org/getperson.php?personID=I198431&tree=00.