Matilda of Anjou

Matilda of Anjou
Duchess of Normandy
Bornc. 1106
Fontevraud Abbey
(m. 1119; died 1120)
FatherFulk V, Count of Anjou
MotherErmengarde, Countess of Maine

Matilda of Anjou, also known as Mahaut (c. 1106 – 1154) was married in 1119 to William Adelin, son and heir apparent of Henry I of England.


Matilda was the daughter of Count Fulk V of Anjou, and his first wife Ermengarde, Countess of Maine.[1] In February 1113, Fulk V and Henry I met near Alençon where they entered into a treaty of peace which was secured by the betrothal of Henry's son William Adelin and Fulk's daughter Matilda.[2] The young couple were married in June 1119.[3]

On the evening of 25 November 1120, returning from Normandy to England, William chose to sail aboard the White Ship and subsequently drowned when that ship sank in the English Channel just outside Barfleur harbor.[4] Matilda had avoided the disaster, as passage for her had been arranged aboard another ship, presumably the one that her father-in-law was traveling on.[5] His death left her a widow with no immediate heir to the throne of England and thus ended the treaty with Anjou.[6]

On his return from Jerusalem, c. 1121–1122, Fulk V demanded the return of Matilda's dowry, comprising castles and towns in Maine, to which Henry flatly refused.[6] After months of fruitless quarreling Fulk was considering warring on Henry once more.[6] Finally, Fulk countered Henry by marrying his other daughter, Sibylla, to William Clito, the son of Robert Curthose, Henry's nephew and rival for Normandy.[7] Fulk dowered the couple with the lordship of Maine.[7]

Meanwhile, after her husband's death Matilda remained at Henry's court and was treated as one of the king's daughters.[8] Henry maintained she could remain as long as she wished[a] and intended to marry her to one of his great nobles, "heaping on her wealth and honours which would have raised her above all her family."[8] She remained in England for several years, unmarried, but according to Orderic, wishing to see her parents and home, she returned to Anjou.[8] After a time in Anjou she took the advice of Geoffrey, Bishop of Chartres and in 1128 she took her vows at Fontevrault Abbey as a nun. In 1150 she became the Abbess and died in 1154.[9]


  1. ^ Orderic contradicts himself on this point: he states that she was a guest who could stay as long as she likes in one sentence, then in another states she was detained at court by Henry, implying she was not free to leave. Given the state of affairs between Anjou and England between 1120 and 1123, the second scenario seems more plausible. See Orderic Vitalis, trans. Forester, Vol. IV (1856), p. 38.


  1. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 82
  2. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 231
  3. ^ Kate Norgate, England Under the Angevin Kings, Vol. I (London, New York: Macmillan and Co., 1887), p. 236
  4. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2003), pp. 276-77
  5. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 276
  6. ^ a b c Sandy Burton Hicks, 'The Anglo-Papal Bargain of 1125: The Legatine Mission of John of Crema', Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Winter, 1976), p. 302
  7. ^ a b C. Warren Hollister and Thomas K. Keefe, 'The Making of the Angevin Empire', Journal of British Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (May, 1973), pp. 10-11
  8. ^ a b c Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol VI (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1856), p. 59
  9. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol VI (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1856), p. 59, n. 3

Matilda of Anjou
Born: c. 1111 Died: c. 1154
Royal titles
Title last held by
Matilda of Scotland
Duchess consort of the Normans
1119 – 25 Nov 1120
Title next held by
Adeliza of Louvain

Categories: Duchesses of Normandy | English Roman Catholic religious sisters and nuns | Anglo-Norman Roman Catholic abbesses | Burials at Fontevraud Abbey | Abbesses of Fontevraud | 1100s births | 1154 deaths | 12th-century Christian nuns | 12th-century English people | 12th-century English women | 12th-century French people | 12th-century French women | 12th-century Norman women

Information as of: 03.06.2021 04:44:37 CEST

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