Elizabeth of Vermandois, Countess of Leicester
Elizabeth of Vermandois, or Elisabeth or Isabel de Vermandois (c. 1085 – 1131), was the third daughter of Hugh Magnus and Adelaide of Vermandois, and as such represented both the Capetian line of her paternal grandfather Henry I of France, and the Carolingian ancestry of her maternal grandfather Herbert IV of Vermandois. As the wife of two Anglo-Norman magnates, Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester and William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, she is the ancestress of hundreds of well-known families down to the present time. She is the ancestress of all Scottish rulers including and after her grandson Malcolm IV and all English rulers starting with Henry IV.
|Elizabeth of Vermandois|
|Died||13 February 1131|
|Noble family||House of Capet|
|Spouse(s)||Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester|
William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey
|Father||Hugh I, Count of Vermandois|
|Mother||Adelaide, Countess of Vermandois|
Countess of Leicester
In 1096, Robert de Beaumont, Count of Meulan reputed to be "the wisest man in his time between London and Jerusalem" insisted, in defiance of the laws of the church, on marrying a very young Elizabeth, he being over fifty at the time. In early 1096 Bishop Ivo, on hearing of the proposed marriage, wrote a letter banning the marriage and preventing its celebration on the grounds the two were related within prohibited degrees. In April of that year Elizabeth's father count Hugh left on Crusade, his last act being to see his daughter married to count Robert. The crusader was able to convince Pope Urban to issue a dispensation for the marriage which then went forward.
Her husband was a nobleman of some significance in France, having inherited lands from his maternal uncle Henry, Count of Meulan, and is known to have fought at the Battle of Hastings as a companion of William the Conqueror. He was rewarded with ninety manors in the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire. The count of Meulan was one of Henry I's "four wise counsellors and was one of the king's commanders at the Battle of Tinchebray" 28 September 1106. In 1107 Robert became Earl of Leicester.
Countess of Surrey
Elizabeth, Countess of Meulan is reputed to have had an affair and left her husband when he was near death. The historian James Planché claimed (1874) that the Countess was seduced by or fell in love with a younger nobleman, William de Warenne There is no evidence that her second husband, William II de Warenne, second earl of Surrey, was that lover and only later rumors that she had a lover at all during her first marriage. William had sought a royal bride in 1093, but failed in his attempt to wed Matilda of Scotland also known as Edith, who later married Henry I. He obtained a bride of royal blood when he married Elizabeth in 1118, very soon after the death of Earl Robert. Elizabeth survived her second husband William to later die 1131.
By her first husband, Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, (d 5 June 1118), Elizabeth had three sons (including twin elder sons) and five or six daughters:
- Lady Emma de Beaumont (born 1102), betrothed as an infant to Aumari de Montfort, nephew of William, Count of Évreux, but the marriage never took place. She probably died young, or entered a convent.
- Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester (born 1104), married and left issue.
- Waleran de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Worcester (born 1104), married and left issue.
- Hugh de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Bedford (born c. 1106), lost his earldom, left issue.
- Lady Adeline de Beaumont (b ca 1107), married firstly, Hugh IV, 4th Lord of Montfort-sur-Risle, and secondly, Richard de Granville of Bideford (d. 1147).
- Lady Aubree (or Alberee) de Beaumont (b ca 1109), married Hugh II of Châteauneuf-en-Thimerais.
- Lady Maud de Beaumont (b ca 1111), married William Lovel.
- Lady Isabel de Beaumont (b Aft. 1102), a mistress of King Henry I of England. She first married Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and later married Hervé de Montmorency, Constable of Ireland.
By her second husband, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, Elizabeth had three sons and two daughters:
- William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey
- Ralph de Warenne
- Reginald de Warenne, who inherited his father's property in upper Normandy, including the castles of Bellencombre and Mortemer. He married Alice de Wormegay, daughter of William de Wormegay, Lord of Wormegay in Norfolk, by whom he had a son, William de Warenne (founder of the priory of Wormegay).
- Lady Gundred (Gundrada) de Warenne, who married firstly, Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick and had issue, and secondly, William de Lancaster and had issue.
- Lady Ada de Warenne (d. ca. 1178), who married Henry of Scotland, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, younger son of King David I of Scotland, and had issue. She is known as the "Queen mother of Scotland" for her two sons, Malcolm IV, King of Scotland and William I 'the Lion', King of Scotland, as well as being the ancestor of numerous Scottish kings.
|Ancestors of Elizabeth of Vermandois, Countess of Leicester|
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4, (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 699
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 1, Herzogs und Grafenhäuser des Heiligen Römischen Reiches Andere Europäiche Fürstenhäuser (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 55
- Edmond Chester Waters, 'Gundrada de Warenne', The Archaeological Journal, Vol. xli (London, 1884), p. 308-9
- George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953), Appendix L, pp. 47–8, Appendix L, The Battle of Hastings and the Death of Harold (List of those known to be at the Battle of Hastings)
- David C. Doulgas, William the Conqueror (University of California Press, 1964), p. 203
- J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 206
- C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003) pp. 132–3, 199–200
- K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, a Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066–1166 (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1999), p. 371
- J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 212
- C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003)p. 340
- C. Warren Hollister, 'The Taming of a Turbulent Earl: Henry I and William of Warenne', Historical Reflections, Vol. 3 (1976) p. 90 n. 36
- G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 496
- George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. VII (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd, 1929), p. 540
- J. R. Planché, The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol. I (Tinsley Bros., London, 1874) p. 216
- George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. VII (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd, 1929), p. 526, footnote (c)
- Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, Bol. II, No. 1, (1854), p. 311
- William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) p. 10
- William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) pp. 27–8
- William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume VIII – The Honour of Warenne (The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1949) p. 11
- Victoria Chandler, 'Ada de Warenne, Queen Mother of Scotland (c. 1123–1178)', The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 60, No. 170, Part 2 (October 1981), pp. 119–139
- Elizabeth de Vermandois on thepeerage.com