Henry IV, Count of Luxembourg

Henry IV, Count of Luxembourg

Henry IV (c.1112 – 14 August 1196), called the Blind ("l'Aveugle" or "der Blinde"), was count of Luxembourg from 1136 and count of Namur from 1139 until his abdication in 1189. He was the son of Godfrey I of Namur and Ermesinda, daughter of Conrad I of Luxembourg.

He inherited the counties of La Roche and Durbuy from cousins Henry II of Durbuy and Henry of Laroche. When his cousin Conrad II of Luxembourg died, he was granted that county by the Emperor Lothair II, who thus prevented its passing to the French count of Grandpré. Three years later, he inherited Namur from his father. He inherited the advocacy of the abbeys of Saint-Maximin at Trier and Saint-Willibrod at Echternach. This was the cause of many conflicts with the archbishop of Trier.

In 1141, he helped Alberon II, Bishop of Liège take Bouillon with Renaut I of Bar. In 1147, he gave up Saint-Maximin, but he regained it on the death of the Archbishop Albero de Montreuil in 1152. The new archbishop, Hillin von Fallemanien, exchanged the rights over the abbeys with the town of Grevenmacher in 1155. In 1157, he married Laurette (d.1175), daughter of Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders, and Margaret of Clermont. They separated in 1163. Left without child, he designated his brother-in-law Baldwin IV of Hainault, husband of his sister Alice of Namur, as his heir. When Baldwin died in 1171, he designated Baldwin V. Baldwin V and Henry carried out two wars, in 1170 and 1172, with Henry III of Limburg.

In 1171, Henry married a second time, this time to Agnes, daughter of Henry of Guelders and Agnes of Arnstein. Heirless still, he repudiated her in 1184, but fell seriously ill and rejoined her. In September 1186, a girl, Ermesinde, was born to them. This birth called into question the plan of succession, as Henry considered his promise to Baldwin null. Henry, then 76 years old, pledged his daughter in marriage to Henry II of Champagne. Baldwin still claimed his inheritance. It was then decided that Baldwin would inherit Namur, Ermesinde Durbuy and La Roche, and Luxembourg ("fief masculin") would revert to the Empire.

The fiefs were dispensed in 1189 and after the planned marriage between Ermesinde and the count of Champagne was cancelled Henry bethrothed her instead to Theobald I of Bar. He entered into a war with Henry of Limburg and was defeated on 1 August 1194 at Neuville on Mehaigne. He died two years later in Echternach.

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