De Flanders - Cliftons Collectibles Genealogy

Flanders Coat of Arms

De Flanders

Counts of Flanders

Flanders Coat of Arms

In 57 BC, Julius Caesar extended the power of Rome into the region of Europe that is now Belgium. The people he encountered there were the Belgae, one of the various Celtic tribes of early Gaul.  The Romans designated their new province as Gallia Belgica. In the fourth century AD, with Rome deteriorating, control of Gaul was ceded to the Franks, a Germanic tribe.  By 431, they had established an independent dynasty, the Merovingian, with its capital at Tournai. Under Clovis I circa 466-511, the Merovingians succeeded in defeating the remaining  Romans in Gaul. Thus they held vast sections of present day Belgium and France as well as southwestern Germany. Clovis also adopted Christianity, gaining the support of the Catholic Church A  result. When Clovis' died the Merovingian kingdom began to fracture and the Frankish territories did not come together under single rule again until the reign of Pepin III  "the Younger" in 751. Pepin deposed the last of the Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty, named after his son Charlemagne.

Charlemagne succeeded his father in 768 and ruled for almost a half century, creating during that time an empire that covered the majority of continental Europe, with the exception of Spain and Scandinavia. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned him Emperor of the West.   On Charlemagne's death, his empire was divided, and familial feuding led ultimately to the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Under the terms of the treaty, three of Charlemagne's grandsons split the empire between them. West Francia, under Charles the Bald, formed the basis of France. The Middle Kingdom was given to Lothair, though it would soon fragment. East Francia, under Louis the German, became the basis of Germany. West Francia included the narrow strip of land north and west of the Scheldt river in today's Belgium. The remainder of present-day Belgium was included first in the Middle Kingdom, under Lothair, but it gradually came under the sway of the German kings.  

This division was soon to have great consequences for the development of Belgium's nascent cities. In the northwestern part of Belgium, which nominally belonged to the young kingdom of France, there arose the powerful Counts of Flanders. The first of these was Baldwin Iron Arm, who amply demonstrated his independence from the French by carrying off and marrying one of the daughters of Charles the Bold. Baldwin also began the process of creating fortified towns in Flanders in order to curtail the depredations of the Norsemen. The first of these was Ghent (c.867), and the process was continued by Baldwin's heir (Baldwin II) with the fortification of Bruges and Ypres.

House of Flanders

Institution of Baldwin i as Countof Flanders
Institution of Baldwin I by Charles the Bald
Picture is in the Public Domain ( from Wikipedia)
Baldwin I Count of Flanders was born circa 830 and died 879. Father, Odoscer (Odacre) of Flanders,  mother not known. He was also referred to as Baldwin Iron Arm.  He was the first count of Flanders, and  also Lay-abbot of Saint-Pierre de Gand (St. Peter's, Ghent), 870. In the middle of the ninth century, the country around Bruges was governed by a marquess or "forester" named Baldwin, whose bravery in fighting the Northmen had won him the surname of Iron Arm.  Baldwin married Judith of France, daughter of the Emperor Charles the Bald, and received from his father-in-law, with the title of count, the country bounded by the North Sea, the Scheldt, and the Canche.  Thus was founded, in 864, the County of Flanders. Fame came to him  for actions connected with his marriage, possibly about 861,  when he first eloped with the princess Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald. Prior to this occurrence, Judith had been married to Æthelwulf, King of Wessex, died in 858 and then to his son, Æthelbald, King of Wessex ( the English), died in 860. After Æthlbald's demise the widow had returned to France. Apparently at Baldwin's instigation and her brother's approval, Judith joined "the Iron Arm". Charles the Bald had not looked favorably upon the marriage. Baldwin had to gain approval of Pope Nicholas I, before matters calmed down.  Baldwin and Judith were married 13 December 863 in Auxerre.  
Children: Baudouin II (Baldwin) "the Bald" Count of Flanders born about 0864 Flanders, Nord, France died 10 September 0918; Widnille Countess of Flanders born about 0865 Flanders, Belgium;   Rudolph (Raoul) Count of Cambrai born 0867 Flanders died 17 June 0896.

Baldwin II "The Bald" De Flanders  Count of Flanders was born about 864/865 in Flanders (now Belgium) and died 10 Sept. 0918, and was buried in Saint-Pierre de Gand, Ghent, Belgium.  He was the second Count of Flanders and also hereditary abbot of St. Bertin from 892 until his death. Other titles were: Count of Artois, Lay about of Saint Vast from 892-899,  Count of Boulogne from about 898-918, and Count of Ternois from 892 to about 918. Through his mother, Baldwin was a descendant of Charlemagne.  He married Ælfthryth of Wessex a daughter of Alfred the Great, King of England, and sister of King Edward the Elder of Wessex.  Baldwin II and Ælfthryth, now Countess of Flanders, had the following children: Arnulf I of Flanders born  circa 890 and died 965, Adalolf Count of Boulogne, born about 890 and died about 933, Ealswid and Ermentrud.  Baldwin II was succeeded by his eldest son Arnulf I, in Flanders, and by his younger son Adalolf in Boulogne, Ternois, and St. Bertin. Baldwin II continued his father's defense against  major Viking incursions in his early years as Count. Information about Charlemagne soon.
Arnulf I, "The Great" Count of Flanders was born circa 890 and died 28 March 965 and was the third Count of Flanders. He is also sometimes referred to as,  "the old".  Arnulf was the son of  Count Baldwin II of Flanders and Ælfthryth of Wessex, daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex.  Arnulf I expanded Flemish rule to the south possessing all, or part of Artois, Ponthieu, Amiends, and  Ostravent. Arnulf's southern expansion efforts caused conflict with the Normans, leading to the murder by his men of the Duke of Normandy, William Longsword.  The Vikings threat was fading during his tenure, so he turned  his attention to reforming the Flemish government.  Arnulf I married Adele of Vermandois, daughter of Herbert II of Vermandois.  Their children were:  Luitgard, Egbert, Baldwin III of Flanders, Elftrude, Hildegarde and a previous daughter, Hildegarde.  Arnulf made his son, Baldwin III of Flanders  co-ruler in 958, but he died.  Arnulf was succeeded by an infant son, Arnulf II of Flanders.

Baldwin III of Flanders was co-ruler beginning in 958, with is father. He died in 962.  Baldwin III and Mathulde Billung of Saxony daughter of Heman, Duke of Saxony had a son, Arnulf II, born in 960-961. Arnulf I died in 965. A member of the family held the regency for his grandson, Arnulf II.
Arnulf II, Count of Flanders was born in 960-961 and died 30 March  987.  He was the Count of Flanders from 965 until his death.  He was at first under the guardianship of Baldwin alias Balzo (died 973), who was an illegitimate son of brother of Adalolf I, or brother of Raoul, Baldwin II.  By the time Arnulf was of age,  Flanders territory in the south had shrunk in size, due to gifts by his grandfather to Lothar, King of France, and political divisions. Arnulf married Princess Susanna Rozala of Lombardy, daughter of Berengar II King of Italy.  They had three children: Baldwin IV of Flanders (980–1035); Eudes of Cambrai; and Mathilda (d. 995). On her husband's death, she acted as regent for her young son.   He was succeeded by his son, Baldwin IV.  He greatly expanded the Flemish dominions. He fought successfully both against the Capetian king of France, Robert II, and the Holy Roman emperor Henry II. Henry found himself obliged to grant to Baldwin IV in fief Valenciennes, the burgraveship of Ghent, the land of Waes, and Zeeland. The count of Flanders thus became a feudatory of the empire as well as of the French crown. More information forthcoming on Berengar and his family soon.
Baldwin IV, "the Bearded"Count of Flanders  was born in  of Arnulf II and Rozela in 988 and died 30 May 1035.  Baldwin IV first married Ogive of Luxembourg, daughter of Frederick of Luxembourg, by whom he had a son and heir, Baldwin V. He also married Eleanor of Normandy, daughter of Richard II of Normandy, by who he had a daughter Judith, who married Tostig Godwinson and Welf I, Duke of Baveria. To the north of Flanders Baldwin was given Zeeland as a fief by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, and on the right bank of the Scheldt river he received Valiennes in 1013 and parts of Cambresis and Hainaut.  In the French territories of the Count of Flanders, the supremacy of Baldwin's people went unchallenged.  They organized a great deal of colonization of the marshland along the coast of Flanders and enlarged the city of Brugge.
Baldwin V, Count of Flanders was the son of Baldwin IV and Orgive of Luxembourg.  He was the Count of Flanders from 1035 until his death  on 1 September 1067.  In 1028 Baldwin married Adèle of France, daughter of King Robert II of France.  At  Adèle's instigation Baldwin rebelled against his father, but in 1030 peace was sworn and the old count continued to rule until his death.  

During a long war (1046-1056) as an ally of Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lorraine, fought against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III Baldwin lost Valenciennes to Herman of Hainaut. When Herman died in 1051 Baldwin married his son, Baldwin V to  then man's widow, Richildis and arranged that the sons of her first marriage were disinherited, thus uniting the County of Hainaut with Flanders.  Upon the death of Henry III this marriage was acknowledged by treaty, by Agnes de Poitou, mother and regent of Henry IV.  Baldwin was the co Regent with Anne of Kiev  for his nephew by marriage, Phillip I of France.

Baldwin V, Count of Flanders
and Princess Adèle of France had five children:

  • Baldwin VI, his heir 1030-1070
  • Matilda, who married William the Conqueror circa 1031-1083
  • Robert I of Flanders circa 1033-1093
  • Henry of Flanders circa 1035
  • Sir Richard of Flanders circa 1050-1105
Matilda De Flanders was the daughter of  Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and Princess Adèle of France, born circa 1031 and died 1083 She married William the Conqueror.  

To continue this line please follow the link to Normandy

Soon, we will have information about connections with Alfred the Great King of England, King Robert of France and Berengar II King of Italy, and Charlemagne.
For more on our line go to Plantagenet and Anjou

Copyright © L. Neale Clifton 1997 - 2011

Catholic Encyclopedia: Flanders
Counts of Flanders, Internet
Wikipedia History of  Flanders Belgium /Web
Various Internet Websites.

Modified 31 August 2011