Matilda I, Countess of Boulogne

(Redirected from Matilda_of_Boulogne)
Queen consort of England
Tenure22 December 1135 – 3 May 1152
Coronation22 March 1136
Countess of Boulogne
Reign1125 – 3 May 1152
PredecessorEustace III
SuccessorEustace IV
Bornc. 1105
Boulogne, France
Died3 May 1152 (aged c. 46–47)
Hedingham Castle, Essex
SpouseStephen, King of England
FatherEustace III, Count of Boulogne
MotherMary of Scotland

Matilda (c.1105 – 3 May 1152) was Countess of Boulogne from 1125 and Queen of England from the accession of her husband Stephen in 1136 until her death. Matilda supported Stephen in his struggle for the English throne against her cousin Empress Matilda. Queen Matilda played an unusually active role for a woman of the period when her husband was captured, and proved herself an effective general who managed to force the Empress to release Stephen. Under the agreement that settled the civil war, the Queen's children did not inherit the English throne. However, her three surviving children ruled Boulogne in turn as Eustace IV, William I, and Marie I.



Matilda was born in Boulogne, France. Her father was Count Eustace III of Boulogne. Her mother, Mary, was the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland. Through her maternal grandmother, Matilda was descended from the Anglo-Saxon kings of England.

Countess of Boulogne

In 1125, Matilda married Stephen of Blois, Count of Mortain, who possessed a large honour in England. When Matilda's father abdicated and retired to a monastery the same year, this was joined with Boulogne and the similarly large English honour Matilda inherited.

On Eustace III's death, Matilda and her husband became joint rulers of Boulogne. Two children, a son and a daughter, were born to the countess and count of Boulogne during the reign of King Henry I of England, who had granted them a residence in London.[1] The son was named Baldwin, after Matilda's uncle King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.[1] The daughter was named Matilda. Baldwin died in early childhood and the young Matilda is thought to have died during childhood too, although she lived long enough to be espoused to Waleran de Meulan, Earl of Worcester.[1]


On the death of Henry I of England in 1135, Stephen rushed to England, taking advantage of Boulogne's control of the closest seaports, and was crowned king, beating his rival, the Empress Matilda. Matilda of Boulogne was heavily pregnant at that time and crossed the Channel after giving birth to a son, William, who would one day succeed as count of Boulogne. Matilda was crowned queen at Easter, on 22 March 1136.[1]

Matilda was a supporter of the Knights Templar. She founded Cressing Temple in Essex in 1137 and Temple Cowley in Oxford in 1139.[2] Like her predecessor, Matilda of Scotland, she had a close relationship with the Holy Trinity Priory at Aldgate. She took the prior as her confessor and two of her children were buried there.[3]

In the civil war that followed, known as the Anarchy, Matilda proved to be her husband's strongest supporter. When England was invaded in 1138, she called troops from Boulogne and its ally Flanders, and besieged Dover Castle with success and then went north to Durham, where she made a treaty with David I of Scotland in 1139.[4]

After Stephen was captured at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, she rallied the king's partisans, and raised an army with the help of William of Ypres. While the Empress Matilda waited in London to prepare her coronation, Matilda and Stephen's brother Henry of Blois had her chased out of the city. The Empress Matilda went on to besiege Henry of Blois at Winchester. Matilda of Boulogne then commanded her army to attack the besiegers. There was a rout in which the Empress's half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, was captured. The two Matildas then agreed to exchange prisoners and Stephen ruled as king again.[5]

Matilda died of a fever at Hedingham Castle, Essex, England, and is buried at Faversham Abbey, which she and her husband founded.[1]


Stephen and Matilda had three sons:

They also had two daughters:


  1. ^ a b c d e Agnes Strickland, Elisabeth Strickland: Lives of the Queens of England
  2. ^ Hilton (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. p. 86.
  3. ^ Duggan. p. 330. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Hilton (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. pp. 89–90.
  5. ^ Duggan. p. 3. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Eustace III
Countess of Boulogne
1125 – 1151
with Stephen
Succeeded by
Eustace IV
English royalty
Preceded by
Adeliza of Louvain
Queen consort of England
22 December 1135 – 3 May 1152
Title next held by
Eleanor of Aquitaine

Categories: English royal consorts | 1100s births | 1152 deaths | House of Boulogne | Counts of Boulogne | Counts of Mortain | Duchesses of Normandy | 12th-century French people | 12th-century English people | 12th-century French women | 12th-century English women | 12th-century Scottish women | 12th-century Scottish people | Women in 12th-century warfare | Scottish princesses | People of The Anarchy | Women in medieval European warfare | 12th-century women rulers | Burials at Faversham Abbey

Information as of: 28.06.2021 03:14:01 CEST

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