Who’s Who? All Those Who Mattered to Henry the Young King. Part II

On 1 June 1191 Philip, count of Flanders died in the Holy Land, at the siege of Acre. He was one-time ally and mentor of his cousin, Henry the Young King. I thought it a good occasion to continue my story of those who were important to Henry in his lifetime and afterwards.

Members of Henry’s mesnie (military household): William Marshal (c.1147-1219), the fourth son of John Marshal (the second by his second wife, Sybil, sister of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury); in 1170 appointed tutor in arms of the newly crowned Henry the Young King. The latter’s mentor, guide and best friend for thirteen years, loyal to his young lord until the latter’s sudden death on 11 June 1183. Fulfilling Henry’s deathbed wish, he undertook the pilgrimage to the Holy Land to take the Young King’s crusader cloak to the Holy Sepulchre. Peter fitz Guy- the Young King’s seneschal in the 1170s; Hasculf de St Hilaire (d. before 1180) from the family of Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouet, member of Henry the Young King’s household before the outbreak of the Great Revolt of 1173-74; accused of exerting a bad influence on the Young King and turning him against his father. The latter dismissed Hasculf and other knights, from his son’s court, which Robert of Torigni in his Chronicle considered one of the direct reasons for the growing estrangement between the father and the son, and consequently for the outbreak of the rebellion itself. Together with the Breton magnate Ralph de Fougeres, Hasculf was one of the chief instigators of the revolt on the border of Normandy and Brittany. He was among the rebels, who surrendered to Henry II at the castle of Dol, Brittany on 26 August 1173. Robert, Count of Meulan, cousin of the French king, the greatest magnate in Normandy; Simon de Marisco, apart from William Marshal the only Englishman in Henry’s household; Baldwin de Bethune, good friend of William Marshal; brother of the great Picard magnate and Robert, advocate of Arras; Judhael de Mayenne; John des Preaux; Adam d’Yquebeuf, Gerard Talbot and Robert de Tresgoz.

Some of the members of Henry’s Chancery (clerical household): Richard Barre, present in the household by 1173, who carried the Young King’s seal and returned it to Henry II upon the outbreak of the Great Revolt; Walter the chaplain, Aelward the chamberlain, William Blund, the steward- officials appointed by Henry II, who refused to swear an oath of fidelity to Henry the Young King against his father in 1173 and returned to the old king. Geoffrey (c.1152-1212)- Henry’s half-brother, the eldest illegitimate son of Henry II; during the Great Revolt of 1173-74 stood firmly by his father’s side and won his name fighting the rebels in England. In the aftermath of the uprising appointed chancellor to Henry the Young King. Adam of Churchdown, the vice-chancellor of Henry the Young King after the Great Revolt of 1173-74; infamous for writing a letter to Henry II (whom he considered his true lord), in which he informed of all what he had witnessed at his young lord’s court. The writ discovered, the action enraged Young Henry, who, in the aftermath of the rebellion had his household filled with his father’s men. Adam was for his life. It was only thanks to the intervention of bishop John of Poitiers that he was saved, although he did not avoid punishment. He was whipped naked through the streets of Argentan and later imprisoned. Henry II himself intervened on his behalf and had him placed in Hyde abbey at Winchester. Bishop John saved Adam’s neck protesting that the vice-chancellor was a clerk and, thus, should not be subject to lay jurisdiction. Godfrey, the provost of Beverley, and nephew of Roger, Archbishop of York, who was appointed Henry's chancellor in 1176 on payment of 11,000 marks of silver. Archbishop Roger, Gedfrey's uncle is said to have paid the money. Gedfrey was drowned while crossing from England to Normandy on 27 September 1177. "The occasion was the sinking of several ships,in which Robert Magnus, magister scholarum of York, and 300 others perished." Gervase of Tilbury, Henry the Young King’s most ardent admirer and chaplain in the 1180s; later in service of Henry’s nephew, Otto IV(1175-1218), Holy Roman Emperor, who made him the marshal of the kingdom of Arles and for whom Gervase wrote his most famous work, Otia Imperialia.

Henry’s tutors: Master Mainard, assigned to a post of Henry’s magister in 1156. Not much is known about the man except for the fact that the title ‘master’ indicates that he was both a guardian and a teacher and that to cover his expenses, Mainard received £6 annually from the vill of Dartford, Kent. Thomas Becket (c.1118-1170) Chancellor of England (1155-1162) and later Archbishop of Canterbury (1162-1170), canonised in 1173. Close friend of Henry II. The latter, following Archbishop Theobald’s advice, appointed Thomas to the chancellorship. As a chancellor, in 1158, he negotiated a highly lucrative marriage of Prince Henry and Louis VII’s third daughter, Marguerite. In 1162 he became the young Henry’s tutor, but the prince was removed from his household the following year when the open conflict between Henry II and Thomas, the then Archbishop of Canterbury broke out. William fitz John, a royal familiaris and royal justice; before he was appointed a new ‘magister’ to Prince Henry in 1164, he served as a ‘itinerant justice’, formerly occupied with ‘hearing pleas in Yorkshire and eight shires in the south-west between 1158 and 1161’. His task was to instruct the prince in the mechanisms of the judicial and financial systems of the kingdom. Except for William fitz John, William of Canterbury enumerated  William de St John, William fitz Audelin, Hugh de Gundeville and Ranulph fitz Stephen as young Henry’s tutores, with St John being most frequent witness to the prince’s writs in the time when young Henry was a regent from June 1170 until late 1172.

Philip of Flanders (d.1191) the eldest son and heir of Count Thierry of Flanders and Sybil of Anjou, the sister of Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou; cousin of Henry II; inherited Flanders after his father’s death in 1168, although he had already ruled in his father’s name upon his parents departure for the Holy Land in 1157. In 1155 married Elizabeth of Vermandois (d.1182), Henry the Young King’s first cousin and upon her younger brother, Raoul II the Leper’s death in 1167 gained control over his wife’s inheritance. Ambitious and shrewd politician- under his rule Flanders flourished- and ardent participant and patron of the tournaments; chief supporter of the Young King during the Great Revolt of 1173-74.

Matthew of Boulogne (d.1173) ‘a virtuous and handsome knight’ (Gilbert of Mons), younger brother of Philip of Flanders. In 1160 Henry II arranged for him a highly lucrative marriage. Matthew was to wed the late King Stephen’s daughter, Mary of Blois and thus gain the honour of Boulogne*, but in order to carry out this project Henry II had to haul Mary out of Romsey Abbey, where  she was abbess. Matthew and Mary had two daughters, but the match proved unhappy and they divorced c.1170. Matthew’s second wife was Eleanor of Vermandois (d. 1214), sister of Elisabeth (Philip’s wife) and cousin of Henry the Young King. The year of Matthew and Eleanor’s wedding remains disputable: different sources give respectively 1170 (Robert of Torigny) and 1172 (Vanderkindere, La formation) as the date. In 1173 Matthew, together with his brother Philip, supported Henry the Young King in his rebellion against Henry II. Matthew died in July 1173 at the siege of Arques, after receiving mortal wound from a crossbow shot.

William I of Scotland (1143- 1214) also known as the Lion; one of the most vivid figures of the twelfth-century Britain; best remembered for being the one-time ally of Henry the Young King in the Great Revolt of 1173-74; the second son of Henry Earl of Huntingdon and Ada de Warenne. After his father’s death in 1152 invested as an Earl of Northumberland by his grandfather, king David I.** who was succeeded in 1153 by William’s elder brother, Malcolm (1141-1165). During the latter’s reign William lost Northumberland. As it turned out he never came to terms with the loss and regaining what he thought was rightfully his became his life ambition bordering on with obsession. On Malcolm’s death in 1165, twenty-two-year-old William succeeded the throne. He took part in the Young King’s rebellion after the latter promised to return William’s inheritance. To learn more of William-Henry relations, click here.

Robert, 3rd Earl of Leicester (d.1190) and his wife Petronella (d.1212), Henry’s chief supporters in the Great Revolt of 1173-74, defeated by the royal forces at the battle of Fornham (17 October 1173) and imprisoned by Henry II.

Brothers-in-law: Henry the Lion (d.1195) Duke of Saxony and of Bavaria, married Henry’s sister, Matilda (1156-1189), Alfonso VIII (d.1214), King of Castile, Toledo and Extremadura, in 1170 married Henry’s sister, Eleanor (1162-1214). William II of Sicily (d.1189), the first husband of Henry’s youngest sister Joanna (1165-1199); Raymond VI (d. 1222), Count  of Toulouse and marquis of Provence, Joanna’s second husband.

Sisters-in-law: Constance (1161-1201) Duchess of Brittany, Geoffrey’s wife; Berengaria of Navarre (c.1165-1230) Queen of England, Richard I’s consort; Hawisa/Isabelle of Gloucester, the first wife of Henry’s youngest brother, John (1166-1216); Isabella of Angoulême (c.1188-1246), queen consort of England and the second wife of king John. Henry did know and have occasion to meet only Constance of Brittany. Richard and John married already after Henry’s death.

Thomas Becket
Richard de Belmeis II, bishop of London
Rotrou, Archbishop of Rouen
Henry of Pisa and William of Pavia
Roger of Pont-l’Eveque, archbishop of York
John aux Bellesmains, Bishop of Poitiers
Gerald, Bishop of Cahors
Bernard, Bishop of Agen
To learn more about the men I recommend my text Henry the Young King and the Clergy.

Jordan Fantosme, probably of Poitevan connections, was a renowned clerk in the bishop of Winchester’s household, poet and diplomat tied- by the evidence of his work- to the North of England and the Scottish royal court, especially to William the Lion’s younger brother, David, Earl of Huntingdon, whom he greatly praised, not to say idealized in his Chronicle of the War between the English and the Scots; eyewitness to the main events of the Great Revolt of 1173-74. Fantosme’s work remains a trustworthy source of the rebellion, especially the capture of king William before the walls of Alnwick on 13 July 1174. When it comes to the depiction of Henry the Young King and his uprising, Fantosme’s chronicle differs from the other sources: the author created it without the benefit of hindsight into the Young King’s untimely death, in the direct aftermath of the revolt and thus treated young Henry as his future king and did not judge his actions, only tried to understand the young man’s motives.

Robert of Torigni (d.1186), abbot of Mont-Saint Michel***, who had met Henry the Young King and his family on a number of occasions and acted as one of the sponsors at the baptism of his sister Eleanor at Domfront in 1161. Author of the chronicle, from which we learn much about Henry the Young King, his relatives and the figures and events of the era.

Bertran de Born (d.c.1215), lord of Autafort and famous bellicose troubadour, well acquainted with all three Angevin princes, for whom he made up nicknames, e.g. he called the Young King “the king of Lesser Land”. One of the many dissatisfied Poitevan barons, who wanted to replace their liege overlord, Duke Richard [later Lionheart] with his elder brother Henry the Young King. Author of the famous planh, in which he bemoaned Henry’s untimely death, Mon chan fenis ab dol et ab maltraire.

Sancho de Savannac, a mercenary; captain of the Basques hired by young Henry in 1183. It was him, who after Henry’s death spoke in the name of his soldiers demanding the return of their overdue wages. Since the Young King died penniless and William Marshal had no means to pay off the late king’s debt, Sancho threatened to seize the royal body for ransom. William Marshal had to offer himself as a guarantee to pay the money back. Sancho and his fellow soldiers were paid off by Henry II.

Thomas de Agnellis, archdeacon of Wells. In his sermon ‘Sermo de morte et sepultura Henrici Regis Junioris’ (‘On the death and burial of Young King Henry’ in Radulphi de Coggeshall Chronicon Angicanum) claimed that the Young King’s body when carried from Martel to Rouen became the focus for many miracles. The rumors of the late king’s sainthood began to circulate and Thomas was one of the most ardent advocate of the late king’s sanctity (some suggested his connection with Henry’s mother, then imprisoned Queen Eleanor).

Geoffrey of Vigeois (d.1184), a monk of Saint-Martial, Limoges, and the prior of the small abbey of Vigeois in the southern Limousin. His Chronicon is an invaluable source of information concerning Henry’s revolt of 1183 and his last days (especially the death scene).

Gerald of Wales (c.1146–c.1223), Henry II’s protégé and court official, chronicler, author of Topography of Ireland", "Conquest of Ireland", "Journey through Wales", "Description of Wales", "Education of a Prince", "Autobiography", and- among the others- Life of Geoffrey, Archbishop of York (Henry the Young King’s half-brother).When Henry II denied St David’s to Gerald- the position that was the latter’s lifetime ambition bordering on obsession- he turned the clergyman into a bitter enemy. The chronicler gave vent to his malevolence in the texts full of harsh criticism and venom. Still, despite bearing grudge towards the elder king, about the young Henry he wrote in a surprisingly gentle manner.

* The honour of Boulogne included valuable manors around London and Colchester. Wissant was the count of Boulogne’s port through which much of England’s wool export passed on its way to the cloth producing Flemish towns (Gillingham, p.22)

** David held the earldom through his wife Matilda de Senlis, Countess of Northampton-Huntingdon [their marriage had been arranged by David’s brother-in-law, Henry I of England] and had it confirmed in a formal charter. In 1149 he was promised by Henry fitz Empress [future Henry II] that “all the land north of Newcastle and the Tyne should belong to the kings of Scotland for ever”. Henry did not keep his word. In 1157 he demanded the return of Northumberland from David’s grandson and successor, sixteen-year-old Malcolm IV.

*** Under Robert’s abbacy the abbey reached its zenith. The library for instance was enriched by about a hundred books, with a chronicle written by Robert himself.


Chronicle of Hainaut by Gilbert of Mons. Trans. into English by Laura Napran. The Boydell Press, 2005.
The Poems of the Troubadour Bertran de Born Ed. by William D.Paden, Tilde Sankovitch and Patricia H. Stäblein. University of California Press, 1986.
From Childhood to Chivalry. The Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy, 1066-1530 by Nicholas Orme
The Angevin Empire by John Gillingham. Edward Arnold, 1984.
“On the Instruction of a Prince: the Upbringing of Henry, the Young King” by Matthew Strickland in Henry II: New Interpretations. Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Nicholas Vincent. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007
Mercenaries and Paid Men: the Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages by John
France. Google Books.
Death of Kings: Royal Death in Medieval England by Michael Evans. London, 2007.
The New Historians of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance by Peter Damian-Grint. Google Books.
Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy by Kenneth J. Panton. Google Books.
Change in Medieval Society: Europe North of the Alps, 1050-1500 by Sylvia Lettice Thrupp. Google Books.
A History of Anglo-Latin Literature. 1066-1422 by A.G. Rigg. Google Books.
William Marshal. Court Career and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire 1147-1219 by David Crouch. Harlow, 1990.
The World of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Literature and Society in Southern France between the Eleventh and Thirteenth Centuries ed. by Marcus Bull and Catherine Leglu. The Boydell Press, 2005.
Flanders and the Anglo-Norman World, 1066-1216  by Eljas Oksanen. Google Books.
King John: New Interpretations, ed by S.D.Church. Google Books.
The Kings and Queens of Scotland by Richard Oram. Tempus, 2006.
Archbishop Geoffrey Plantagenet and the Chapter of York by D.L.Douie. St. Anthony’s Press, 1960.
The Miracles of Our Lady of Rocamadour: Analysis and Translation by Marcus Bull. Google Books.
The Constitution and the Clergy of Beverley Minster in the Middle Ages http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/7616/1/7616_4681-vol2.PDF
Mont Saint-Michel by Nicolas Simonnet. Google Books.


  1. Great to see a mention of Gerald of Wales - I enjoy reading his travels.

    1. I too love Gerald's flowery style and the way he described Henry the Young King :-) There's an interesting article by Helen Steele entitled 'Gerald of Wales and the Angevin Kings'. Highly recommended!. Here's a link:


  2. Wow, so great to see all this information collected in one extremely interesting and useful post! I so love the name Judhael de Mayenne ;-)

    1. I too love the name. Sounds so exotic :-)
      I'm so happy you find the post interesting. Such a compliment. Thank you!


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