July Anniversaries

July proved to be an eventful month for Henry the Young King and his family.

6 July 1189
Henry the Young King’s father, king Henry II of England died, aged 56, at Chinon, in the midst of the war campaign against his elder surviving son, Richard [future the Lionheart]. The author of The Deeds of King Henry II reported:
Henry, king of England died in the year of our lord 1189, in the month of July, on the sixth day of the month, within the octave of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the nineteenth lunation, on the fifth day of the week, at Chinon. He was buried at Fontevrault in the abbey of the nuns who served God there. The day after his death, when he was borne to burial, he lay in state robed in royal splendour, wearing a gold crown on his head, gauntlets on his hands and a gold ring on his finger, holding the sceptre in his hand, with gold-braided shoes and spurs on his feet, girded with his sword, and his face uncovered.( in The Plantagenet Chronicles, ed. Dr.Elizabeth Hallam Greenwich Edition, 2002, p.192)

12 July 1198
Henry the Young King’s nephew, Otto of Brunswick, Henry the Lion and Matilda’s son was crowned king at Aachen by Adolf, Archbishop of Cologne. To learn more about this extraordinary man I highly recommend brilliant post from my friend Gabriele.

                                          The Battle of Bouvines. 27 July 1214

13 July 1174
William I of Scotland, Henry the Young King’s chief supporter in the Great Rebellion was captured by Henry II’s forces before the walls of Alnwick. In a far-away Gravelines, Flanders, waiting for a weather to change and for the propitious winds to take him across the Channel, Henry the Young King did not know that with the capture of his chief ally the rebellion against his father in England  had been already doomed.

13 July 1189
It is one of the probable dates (the other being 28 June 1189) of Matilda (1156-1189), Duchess of Saxony and Bavaria’s death. Henry the Young King’s sister died aged 33 and was buried in Brunswick Cathedral. She was one year Henry’s junior. In 1168 she became the second wife of Henry the Lion (1129-1195), duke of Saxony and Bavaria. During her husband’s absences (his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1172-73), despite her youth, Matilda often administered his vast lands. Matilda and Henry had six children. One of their sons, Otto became Holy Roman Emperor.

14 July 1223
After long and eventful reign (1179-1223) Philip II Augustus, king of France and Henry the Young King’s brother-in-law, died. It was he, who, after Richard I the Lionheart’s untimely death brought the Angevin domination on the Continent to an end.

16 July 1212
Henry the Young King’s brother-in-law (Lenora’s husband), Alfonso VIII of Castile, together with Sancho VII of Navarre, Alfonso II of Portugal and Pedro II of Aragon defeated the Almohad forces under the caliph Miramamolin at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa The Christian triumph was complete and ended once and for all the Almohad threat to Christian Spain. Immediately after the battle, Alfonso VIII, overcome with joy, sent Miramamolin’s standard and tent, with a detailed account of the crusade to the Pope. He wrote:
‘On their side 100,000 armed men or more fell in the battle, according to the estimate of the Saracens whom we captured. But of the army of the Lord … incredible though it may be, unless it be a miracle, hardly 25 or 30 Christians of our whole army fell. O what happiness! O what thanksgiving! Though one may lament that so few martyrs from such a great army went to Christ in martyrdom’

22 July 1136
Henry the Young King’s paternal uncle, William, Count of Poitou was born at Argentan, Normandy, as the youngest of three sons of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou, and Henry II’s beloved younger brother.

22 July 1170
As a result of the cooperation of the pope and the king of France, Henry II and Thomas Becket finally came to terms, with the former willing to grant all that was demanded of him in order to avoid his continental domains being laid under interdict. The reconciliation took place on 22 July 1170 at Freteval. Thomas Becket was promised a safe passage to England and return to Canterbury. As the time would show the peace settled between them was not to last.

22 July 1174
Together with Philip, Count of Flanders and his father-in-law, king Louis of France Henry the Young King launched the first attack on the city of Rouen in the course of the Great Revolt. Their attacks on the well-fortified city proved fruitless and they withdrew upon learning of Henry II’s arrival in mid-August.

22 July 1183
Henry the Young King’s body, after forty-day wandering, was buried near the high altar of Rouen Cathedral. To learn what it had encountered on its way north from Martel to Rouen click here.

24 July 1148
Louis VII of France, Henry the Young King’s future father-in-law, at the time still husband to Henry’s mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, lay siege to Damascus during the Second Crusade.

25 July 1137
Henry the Young King’s future mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry’s future father-in-law, Louis of France were married in the Cathedral of Saint Andre in Bordeaux by Eleanor’s guardian, Archbishop Geoffrey du Lauroux. Shortly afterwards they became king and queen of France.

25 July 1173
Matthew of Boulogne, one of Henry the Young King’s chief allies in the Rebellion against his father, was mortally wounded by a mercenary at the siege of Arques. He was the younger brother and heir 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. Philip withdrew to Flanders after Matthew’s death.

26 July 1158
Geoffrey of Nantes (b.1134), the second son of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou and Henry the Young King’s paternal uncle died, aged 24. His untimely passing secured his elder brother, Henry II’s position as the Count of Anjou.

27 July 1214
The Battle of Bouvines took place, where Henry the Young King’s youngest brother, John’s campaign to retrieve territories on the European mainland lost to the French ended in ignominious failure. John and his nephew, Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor were defeated by the Young King’s once brother-in-law, Philip II Augustus of France (1165-1223). Here's a detailed description of the encounter.

30 July 1164
The afore-mentioned William of Poitou (b.1136), the youngest son of Geoffrey le Bel and Empress Matilda and Henry's paternal uncle died, aged twenty-eight.


  1. one of those strange historical coincidences - Henry marrying the daughter of his mother's previous husband:>


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