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Eustace II, (c. 1015-1020 – c. 1087) [1][2] was count of Boulogne from 1049-1087, fought on the Norman side at the Battle of Hastings, and afterwards received a large honour in England.

He was the son of Eustace I. His first wife was Goda, daughter of the English king Æthelred the Unready, and sister of Edward the Confessor.[3] Goda died circa 1047[4], and he quickly married again (about 1049[4]). From his second marriage with Ida of Lorraine (daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine), Eustace had three sons, Eustace III, the next count of Boulogne, and Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin, both later monarchs of Jerusalem.

In 1048 Eustace joined his father-in-law's rebellion against the Emperor Henry III. The next year Eustace was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX for marrying within the prohibited degree of kinship[5]. It's likely the pope's action was at the behest of Henry III. The rebellion failed, and in 1049 Eustace and Godfrey submitted to Henry III.

Eustace paid a visit to England in 1051, and was honourably received at the Confessor's court. Edward and Eustace were former brothers-in-law and remained allied politically. On the other hand the dominant figure in England, Earl Godwin, had recently married his son Tostig to the daughter of Eustace's rival the count of Flanders. Furthermore Godwin's son Sweyn had been feuding with Eustace's stepson Ralph the Timid.

A brawl in which Eustace and his servants became involved with the citizens of Dover led to a serious quarrel between the king and Godwin. The latter, to whose jurisdiction the men of Dover were subject, refused to punish them. His lack of respect to those in authority was made the excuse for outlawing himself and his family. They left England, but returned the next year (1052) with a large army, aided by the Flemish.

In 1052 William of Talou rebelled against his nephew William of Normandy. Eustace may well have been involved in this rebellion, although there is no specific evidence, for after William of Talou's surrender he fled to the Boulonnais court.

The following years saw still further advances by Eustace's rivals and enemies. Count Baldwin of Flanders consolidated his hold over territories he had annexed to the east. In 1060 he became tutor of his nephew Philip I of France. In contrast Eustace's stepson Walter of Mantes failed in his attempt to claim the County of Maine. He was captured by the Normans and died soon afterwards in mysterious circumstances.

These events evidently caused a shift in Eustace's political allegiances, for he then became an important participant in the Norman conquest of England in 1066. He fought at Hastings, although sources vary regarding the details of his conduct during the battle. Sources suggest that Eustace was present, with William the Bastard at the Malfosse incident in the immediate aftermath of the battle, where a Saxon, feigning death leapt up and attacked him, and was presumably cut down before he could reach William.

Eustace received large land grants afterwards, which suggests he contributed in other ways as well, perhaps by providing ships.

In the following year, probably because he was dissatisfied with his share of the spoil, he assisted the Kentishmen in an attempt to seize Dover Castle. The conspiracy failed, and Eustace was sentenced to forfeit his English fiefs.

Subsequently he was reconciled to the Conqueror, who restored a portion of the confiscated lands.

Eustace died circus 1087, and was succeeded by his son, Eustace III.

It has been suggested that Eustace was the patron of the Bayeux Tapestry.[6]

Eustace has been portrayed on screen by Leslie Bradley in the film Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) and by Joby Blanshard in the two-part BBC TV play Conquest (1966), part of the series Theatre 625.

Notes

  1. ^ Tanner, Heather. "The Expansion of the Power and Influence of the Counts of Boulogne under Eustace II". Anglo-Norman Studies 14: 251-277.
  2. ^ "NORTHERN FRANCE, NOBILITY". http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/NORTHERN%20FRANCE.htm#EustacheIIA. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  NORTHERN FRANCE, NOBILITY presents a range of dates for both his birth and death. Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition appears to favor a 1087 death date. This conflicts with the previous source and with Holböck, Ferdinand (c. 2002). Married Saints and Blesseds. Ignatius Press. pp. 147. ISBN 0898708435.  and Duby, Georges; Jane Dunnett, translator (c. 1996). Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages. University of Chicago Press: Ignatius Press. pp. 40. ISBN 0226167747. 
  3. ^ Vitalis, Ordericus; Thomas Forester, translator (1854). The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Vol II. London: H.G. Bohn. pp. 12, footnote. 
  4. ^ a b Heather J. Tanner, ‘Eustace (II) , count of Boulogne (d. c.1087)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  5. ^ Tanner 263. Eustace and Ida were both descended from Louis II of France, and just within the prohibited seventh degree. However, since today we don't know all their ancestors, it's possible there was a closer relationship.
  6. ^ Bridgeford

References

  • Bridgeford, Andrew (1999). "Was Count Eustace II of Boulogne the patron of the Bayeux Tapestry?". Journal of Medieval History 25: 155–185. doi:10.1016/S0304-4181(98)00029-3. ; Bridgeford, Andrew (2005). 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry. Walker & Company. ISBN 1841150401. ; Bridgeford, Andrew (2004). "Whose Tapestry is it Anyway?". History Today 54. 
  • Tanner, Heather. "The Expansion of the Power and Influence of the Counts of Boulogne under Eustace II". Anglo-Norman Studies 14: 251–277. 
  • Vitalis, Ordericus; Thomas Forester, translator (1854). The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Vol II. London: H. G. Bohn. pp. 12, footnote. 
  • "Foundation of Medieval Genealogy". http://fmg.ac/. 
  • Holböck, Ferdinand (c. 2002). Married Saints and Blesseds. Ignatius Press. pp. 147. ISBN 0898708435. 
  • Duby, Georges; Jane Dunnett, translator (c. 1996). Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages. University of Chicago Press: Ignatius Press. pp. 40. ISBN 0226167747. 
Preceded by
Eustace I
Count of Boulogne Blason Courtenay.svg
1049–1070
Succeeded by
Eustace III
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