Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1999-02 > 0919341562

From: John Carmi Parsons <>
Subject: Re: Alais of France
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 07:39:22 -0500 (EST)


First of all--whenever I respond to any of your messages, the copy that is
sent to you directly (at Michelle.Murphy%) is
invariably bounced back as undeliverable; only the copy to GEN_MEDIEVAL_L
goes through.

Other responses below:

> Re: Alais of France
> Her mother was indeed Constance of Castile.
> Alais had one daughter by William II of Ponthieu: Marie, later
> countess of
> Ponthieu in her own right, who to judge from two of William's charters
> was
> probably born late in 1197 or (more likely) in 1198. (Alais and
> William
> Who did Marie marry, and did she have issue?

Marie married, probably in 1210, Simon, younger son of Count Aubri II of
Dammartin and Mahaut of Clermont. Simon became Count of Ponthieu and
Montreuil *jure uxoris* according to the customs of that region. In 1214,
however, he joined with his elder brother Count Renaud of Dammartin, Aumale
and (*jure uxoris*) Boulogne in the conjuration of NW French nobles who
backed King John of England against Philip Augustus of France--the group
Philip smashingly defeated at Bouvines. Marie reconciled with Philip a
few years later, but only at the price of ceding to him a considerable amount
of her inheritance; when Simon reconciled with the king, he agreed on pain of
losing the entire inheritance not to marry his two eldest daughters (no sons
survived at that time) w/o the king of France's consent.

The eldest daughter was Jeanne, who in 1235 was betrothed to Henry III of
England, but Louis IX broke off the betrothal under the terms of the 1225
reconciliation, and instead Jeanne married Ferdinand III of Castile. (Very
ironically, it was of course Jeanne's daughter Eleanor who m. Edward I of
England and ultimately brought Ponthieu to him when Jeanne d. 1279).

When Jeanne was betrothed to Ferdinand III, it was also arranged that the 2nd
daughter, Philippa, was to marry Ferdinand III's eldest son Alfonso (X), but
this plan fell through, and instead Philippa m. Count Raoul II of Eu (d. 1246
w/o issue by her; she subsequently m. Raoul de Coucy II d.s.p. by her 1250,
and then Otto II of Gueldres d. 1271, by whom she left issue).

The third daughter Agnes d.c. 1263 m. John visct of Chatelleraut d.c. 1263 and
left issue. The youngest, Marie fl. 1279 m. Count John II of Roucy d. 127?
and left issue.

Another daughter Mathilde d. young in or before 1237 when her parents made a
grant to secure prayers for her soul; at least two sons had died before 1231
but nothing is known of them. Simon d. 1239; Marie later married Mathieu de
Montmorency, who died on crusade w/Louis IX, but she had no further issue.

> Also, I just wondered if someone could clarify the names of two of
> Louis VII's children; his second daughter by Eleanor of Aquitaine and
> his second daughter by Constance of Castile.
> I thought their names were Alix and Alais, but "Alix" is often
> referred to as Alais or Alice.....are these the correct names, and is
> Alix a full name or short for Alexandra or Alexandrine, which are
> slightly unusual medieval names?

Given the spelling variations we invariably encounter, it's often very hard to
know whether anybody regarded the spelling of their names as a very important
matter. DO NOT confuse this with the choice of a particular name to be
conferred at baptism; this was important because it was how people addressed
the individual in speech and would speak of him/her to others. Particularly
among the aristocracy, who could affix seals to a document to represent
themselves to the world, the orthography of the spoken name mattered less.
In a largely pre-literate population, the individual whose name is at issue
was usually NOT the one writing the document and NOT the one reading it, so
that person's input, if any, was minimal. What mattered was the literacy of
the individual who WAS actually writing the document, and was the one who
made the choice how to write the name; or the literacy of those who might
read the document later.

I rather suspect the two sisters were christened with the same name--that was
NOT as unusual in the Middle Ages as it might be today (but then, look at
George Foreman, who has named all 5 of his sons George....). But primarily to
avoid confusion I decided very early on to call Eleanor of Aquitaine's
daughter as Alix, and Constance's as Alais. (In William II of Ponthieu's
charters, his wife's--Constance's daughter's--name is usually Aalis or Aalais.
This does not, however, indicate a rigorous attitude toward spelling, only
that the count had a well-organized chancery whose clerks repeated, or more
probably simply copied, their spellings from one document to another.)

John Parsons

This thread: