Godfrey I of Leuven

Godfrey I (c.106025 January 1139), called the Bearded, the Courageous, or the Great, was the landgrave of Brabant, and count of Brussels and Leuven (or Louvain) from 1095 to his death and duke of Lower Lorraine (as Godfrey V or VI) from 1106 to 1129. He was also margrave of Antwerp from 1106 to his death.

Godfrey was the son of Henry II of Leuven and a countess called Adela (origin unknown). He succeeded his brother Henry III in 1095. He first came into conflict with Otbert, Bishop of Liège, over the county of Brugeron that they both claimed. In 1099, the arbitration of the Emperor Henry IV allotted the county to the bishop, who entrusted it to Albert III, Count of Namur. Godfrey arbitrated a dispute between Henry III of Luxembourg and Arnold I, Count of Looz, over the appointment of the abbot of Saint-Trond.

Godfrey was in favour with the emperor and defended his interests in Lorraine. In 1102, he stopped Robert II of Flanders, who was invading the Cambraisis. After the death of the emperor in 1106, his son and successor, Henry V, who had been in rebellion, decided to avenge himself on his father's partisans. Duke Henry of Lower Lorraine was imprisoned and his duchy confiscated and given to Godfrey. After Henry escaped from prison, he tried to retake his duchy and captured Aachen, but ultimately failed.

In 1114, during a rift between the emperor and Pope Paschal II, Godfrey led a revolt in Germany. In 1118, the emperor and the duke were reconciled. In 1119, Baldwin VII of Flanders died heirless and Flanders was contested between several claimants, of which William of Ypres had married a niece of Godfrey's second wife. Godfrey supported William, but could not enforce his claim against that of Charles the Good. Also dead in that year was Otbert. Two separate men were elected to replace him and Godfrey again sided with the loser.

By marrying his daughter Adeliza to Henry I of England, who was also the father-in-law of the emperor, he greatly increased his prestige. However, Henry V died in 1125 and Godfrey supported Conrad of Hohenstaufen, the duke of Franconia, against Lothair of Supplinburg. Lothair was elected. Lothair withdrew the duchy of Lower Lorraine and granted it to Waleran, the son of Henry, whom Henry V had deprived in 1106. Nonetheless, Godfrey maintained the margraviate of Antwerp and retained the ducal title.

After the assassination of Charles the Good in 1127, the Flemish succession was again in dispute. William Clito prevailed, but was soon fraught with revolts. Godfrey intervened on behalf of Thierry of Alsace, who prevailed against Clito. Godfrey continued to war against Liège and Namur. He died on 25 January 1139 and was buried in the monastery of Affligem. He is sometimes said to have passed in 1140, but this is an error.

Family and children

He married Ida, daughter of Otto II of Chiny and Adelaide of Namur. They had several children:

Later, he married to Clementia of Bourgogne, and they have one son:

  • Jocelin (d. 1180); he accompanied his half-sister Adeliza to England and married to Agnes, heiress of the Percy family, and took this surname. Probably the same as Gosuinus, mentioned in 1143 together with his sister Adeliza.

Preceded by:
Henry I
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Henry III
Count of Louvain
Succeeded by:
Godfrey II
Landgrave of Brabant
Succeeded by:
Godfrey II

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