Thursday, January 3, 2008

Matilda (Maud) the Empress, 1102-1167

To Thomas [Becket] archbishop of Canterbury, Matilda the empress. 1165.

My lord Pope sent to me, enjoining me, for the remission of my sins, to interfere to renew peace and concord between you and the king, my son, and to try to reconcile you to him. You, as you well know, have asked the same thing from me; wherefore, with the more goodwill, for the honour of God and the Holy church, I have begun and carefully treated of that affair. But it seems a very hard thing to the king, as well as to his barons and council, seeing he so loved and honoured you, and appointed you lord of his whole kingdom and of all his lands, and raised you to the highest honours in the land, believing he might trust you rather than any other; and especially so, because he declares that you have, as far as you could, roused his whole kingdom against him; nor was it your fault that you did not disinherit him by main force. Therefore I send to you my faithful servant, Archdeacon Laurence, that by him I may know your will in these affairs, and what sort of disposition you entertain towards my son, and how you intend to conduct yourself, if it should happen that he fully grants my petition and prayer on your behalf. One thing I plainly tell you, that you cannot recover the king's favour, except by great humility and most evident moderation. However, what you intend to do in this matter signify to me by my messenger and your letters.

Wood, M.A.E. (ed.), Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies of Great Britain (1846), v. 1 letter 4.


Laurie said...

Wouldn't it be nice if, as a descendant of Matilda, I could claim a share of the estate? Of course, I'd have to share it with how many others? Even my more recent ancestor on that side of the family, Joseph Rogers of Rogersville, Tennessee, left a great many descendants! I'll just have to settle for the personal satisfaction of being able to prove it!

Kevin said...


I would suspect that, due to the ancient laws of primogeniture, not much of Matilda's estate remained undivided beyond her grandson's era (the grasping sons of Henry II). Still, I would suspect that indeed sharing it with the other of Matilda's descendants would net us individually a farthing or two--perhaps. There's untold millions of us.

Laurie said...

In any case, I am not descended from Henry II but from his brother William, Count of Poitou.

Kevin said...

Genealogists do not credit William of Poitou (also styled "Fitz Empress") with any children, either legitimate or natural. He sought marriage with Isabel de Warenne, Cts. of Surrey, but the famous Becket opposed the union and it did not come to pass. See: