Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Adeliza of Louvain

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ADELIZA of Louvain (d. 1151?), second queen of Henry I, was daughter of Godfrey (‘Barbatus’) of Louvain, duke of Brabant or Lower Lotharingia, descended in the male line from Charles the Great. The date of her birth is not known, but she is described as ‘puella’ in 1120. It was partly the report of her singular beauty (on which all the chroniclers are agreed), and partly ‘ob spem prolis adipiscendæ’ (Gervase, i. 92, Rolls Ser.), that Henry, then in his fiftieth year (and a widower since May 1118), sought her hand in the above year. The contract of marriage was signed 16 April 1120; but, owing to the delay in the bride's arrival, the marriage itself did not take place till 24 Jan. 1120–1, the royal pair being crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury six days later. It was on this occasion that Henry of Huntingdon (p. 243, Rolls Ser.) composed, in praise of her beauty, the elegiacs beginning:

    Anglorum regina, tuos, Adeliza, decores
       Ipsa referre parans musa stupore riget.

Of a gentle and retiring disposition she took no part in politics, but devoted herself to soothing and pacifying the disappointed and sullen king. She also interested herself greatly in the literary movement of the day, taking under her special patronage Geoffroi Gaimar, Philip du Than, the author of the ‘Voyage de St. Brandan,’ and David the Trouveur. On the death of Henry (1 Dec. 1135) she disappears from view; but it is probable that she retired to the castle of Arundel which, with its honour, had been left to her in dower for life. We find her residing there in 1139, when the empress landed in the neighbourhood, and was received into the castle ‘ab Adeliza quondam regis Henrici regina tunc autem amica (sic) vel uxore W. Comitis de Arundell’ (Gervase, ed. Stubbs, i. 110). The date of her marriage to William de Albini [see Albini, William de, d. 1176] is unknown; but as she left by him seven children, it cannot have been long after Henry's death. Her only recorded acts after 1139 are her foundation of the small priories of Pyneham and of the Causeway (De Calceto), and her benefactions to that of Boxgrove, all in Sussex, with her gifts to Henry's abbey of Reading and to the cathedral church of Chichester. To the latter she presented the prebend of West Dean in the year 1150, after which date there are no further traces of her. It is stated by Sandford that ‘she was certainly buried at Reading;’ but she has since been proved to have left her husband and retired to the abbey of Affligam near Alost, in Flanders, which had been founded by her father and uncle, and to which her brother Henry had withdrawn in 1149. Here she died on 23 March (the year not being recorded), and was buried: ‘Affligenam delata vivendi finem facit ix. kal. Aprilis et sepulta est e regione horologii nostri’ (Sanderus, Chorographia Sacra Brabantiæ). While lady of Arundel she had sub-enfeoffed her brother Joceline (‘the Castellan’) in the lordship of Petworth on the occasion of his marriage with the heiress of the Percies, by whom he was ancestor of the earls of Northumberland.

[Strickland's Lives of the Queens of England (1840), vol. i.; Lawrence's Memoirs of the Queens of England (1838), vol. i.; Henry Howard's Howard Memorials (1834), x.; Butkens' Trophées du Brabant, vol. i.; Sanderus' Chorographia Sacra Brabantiæ.]

J. H. R.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.3
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
137 ii 9 f.e. Adeliza of Louvain: omit ? after 1151
138 i 8-7 f.e. for 23 March . . . . and read 24 March 1151 (Ann. of Margam) and