~ the battle for England between Stephen of Blois and Matilda The Empress ~


25 July 2010

Biographies: Eustace, Count of Boulogne

• Eustace, Count of Boulogne - Constance of France

Eustace, Count of Boulogne
Birth: c.1130-35
Death: 17 August 1153, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Burial: Faversham Abbey, Kent
Father: Stephen of Blois
Mother: Matilda of Boulogne
Marriage: c.1140 - Constance of France
Children: Nil

NOTES: Eustace was the second son of King Stephen and assumed the title Count of Boulogne by right of his mother, Matilda of Boulogne, in c.1146. He paid homage for Normandy to Louis VII of France in 1137 and married the French king's sister, Constance, in c.1140. Eustace was knighted in 1147 and in 1151 he joined Louis in an abortive raid on Normandy. Meanwhile Stephen was attempting unsuccessfully to have Eustace crowned in his own lifetime. Backed by the Pope, Theobald of Bec steadfastly refused to perform the ceremony. Eustace died unexpectedly in August 1153 and was buried at Faversham Abbey in Kent which had been founded by his parents. Legend tells he was struck down (or choked on his food) after plundering church lands near Bury St Edmunds. His death greatly increased the possibility of a peaceful settlement between Stephen and Henry of Anjou. The negotiations concluded with the Treaty of Wallingford (also called Treaty of Westminster) of 1153, in which Henry was finally named Stephen's heir.

The chronicler's assessment of Eustace weren't kind - from The Peterborough Chronicle, "He was an evil man and did more harm than good wherever he went; he spoiled the lands and laid thereon heavy taxes."

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