William, Count of Poitou

William, Count of Poitou

Infobox British Royalty|none
name =William
title =Count of Poitou
royal house =House of Anjou
House of Plantagenet
father =Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
mother =Empress Matilda
date of birth =birth date|1136|7|22|df=y
place of birth =Argentan, Normandy
date of death =death date|1164|7|30|df=y
place of death =Rouen
place of burial =Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Rouen

William (22 July 1136 at Argentan, Normandy, [Amt, Emile, ‘William FitzEmpress (1136-1164)’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/46709] ] ["Henry Project", Geoffrey V "le Bel" or "Plantagenet", [http://sbaldw.home.mindspring.com/hproject/prov/geoff005.htm] ] - 30 July 1164 at Rouen, Normandy [Amt, Emile, ‘William FitzEmpress (1136-1164)’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/46709] ] ["Henry Project", Geoffrey V "le Bel" or "Plantagenet", [http://sbaldw.home.mindspring.com/hproject/prov/geoff005.htm] ] ) was the youngest of the three sons of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, known as Geoffrey "le bel" (the fair), and Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I of England. His older brother was King Henry II of England. He was Viscount of Dieppe and Count of Poitou. He was also known as William FitzEmpress and as William of Anjou.

In 1156 he was with his brother Henry at the siege of Chinon. [Amt, Emile ‘William FitzEmpress (1136-1164)’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/46709] ] This siege was occasioned by the rebellion of their brother Geoffrey [Warren, W L, "Henry II", p. 65, Univ. of California Press, 1973] He also conducted the siege at the castle of Mountreuil-Bellay. While doing so he had the writings of the Roman military theorist Vegetius read to him; he then did what Vegetius had done, and the siege ended the next day. [Duby, Georges, "France in the Middle Ages, 987-1460: From Hugh Capet to Joan of Arc", transl. by Juliet Vale, p. 178, Blackwell Publishing, 1993]

In September, 1155, King Henry held a council at Wincester where he enthusiastically considered invading Ireland and giving it to William. making him king. The plans were abandoned when their mother Empress Matilda objected, as she did not consider Ireland worth conquering. [Warren, W L, "Henry II", p. 195, Univ. of California Press, 1973] [Weir, Alison, "Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life", p. 145, Ballantine Books, 1999] Henry did, however, make William one of the richest men in England, granting him seven manors (Maldon in Essex; Dartford, Hoo, and Shorne in Kent; Aylsham and Cawston in Norfolk; and Hintlesham in Suffolk). [Amt, Emile, ‘William FitzEmpress (1136-1164)’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/46709] ] He also had land surrounding Dieppe, Normandy, of which he was made vicomte (viscount).

In 1162 his marriage to Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey, was arranged. She was one of the great heiresses in England, being the widow of William of Blois, count of Boulogne and Mortain, the son of King Stephen of England, and a cousin of William. Because of this relationship a dispensation from affinity was required for the marriage to take place; such dispensations were usually granted without difficulty. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury refused to support the request for a dispensation and it was not granted because of that. [Warren, W L, "Henry II", p. 449, Univ. of California Press, 1973] William died suddenly shortly after that, it was said of a broken heart. He was buried in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Rouen. [ "Chronique de Robert de Torigny" I, 1164, p. 350] Henry blamed Thomas Becket for his brother's death, and this might well be the beginning of the great conflict between them. When Becket was murdered 29 December 1170, one of the knights that killed him was Richard le Breton who had been in William's employ. When he delivered his fatal blow he shouted "take that, for the love of my lord William, the king's brother!" [Amt, Emile, ‘William FitzEmpress (1136-1164)’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/46709] ]


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