The World of Grandpa Don

Ancestors of
Provence, Aragon,
& Barcelona
.

This page looks at our royal ancestors extending from Wilfred the Hairy  of Barcelona to Eleanor of Provence who married King Henry III of England.

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

The relationships of the ancestors and the description of their lives were verified and taken from Wikipedia.

This is their story, as I know it.

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For a detailed chart see:
Pedigree Chart Count of Provence Ramom Berenguer IV
Father of Eleanor of Provence

 

Provence, Aragon, & Barcelona

The nations of Europe during the dark and middle ages did not exist but there were a number of city-states, some of which were powerful enough to hold sway over others.

The Provence of Barcelona in the North Western corner of Spain was conquered by the Visigoths in the early 5th century, becoming for a few years the capital of all Hispania. After being conquered by the Arabs in the early 8th century, it was conquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis, who made Barcelona the seat of the Carolingian "Hispanic March" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona.

The Counts of Barcelona became increasingly independent and expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia. In 1137, Aragon and the County of Barcelona merged in dynastic union by the marriage of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla of Aragon, my 26th great grandparents, their titles finally borne by only one person when their son Alfonso II of Aragon ascended to the throne in 1162. His territories were later to be known as the Crown of Aragon, which conquered many overseas possessions and ruled the western Mediterranean Sea with outlying territories in Naples and Sicily and as far as Athens in the 13th century. The forging of a dynastic link between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile marked the beginning of Barcelona's decline.

The Kingdom of Aragón gave the name to the Crown of Aragon, after the dynastic union in 1150 of the Queen of Aragon (Petronilla of Aragon) with a Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV, (my 26th great grandfather), their son inheriting all different territories in the House of Aragon and the House of Barcelona. The Kings of Aragon had also the title of Count of Barcelona and ruled territories that consisted of not only the present administrative region of Aragon but also Catalonia, and later the kingdoms of Majorca, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia. The King of Aragón was the direct King of the Aragonese region, and held also the title of Count of Provence, Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, and Duke of Athens and Neopatria. Each of these titles gave him sovereignty over a certain region, and these titles changed as he lost and won territories. In the fourteenth century, his power was greatly restricted by the Union of Aragon.

 Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhone River on the west to the Italian border on the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and includes the départements of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse.

The Romans made the region into the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. It was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence until 1481, when it became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region.

Three different dynasties of Counts ruled Provence during the Middle Ages, and Provence became a prize in the complex rivalries between the Catalan rulers of Barcelona, the Kings of Burgundy, the German rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Angevin Kings of France.

The Bosonids (879–1112) were the descendants of the first King of Provence, Boson. His son, Louis the Blind (890–928) lost his sight trying to win the throne of Italy, after which his cousin, Hugh of Italy (died 947) became the Duke of Provence and the Count of Vienne. Hugh moved the capital of Provence from Vienne to Arles and made Provence a fief of Rudolph II of Burgundy.

In the 9th century, Arab pirates (called Saracens by the French) and then the Normans invaded Provence. The Normans pillaged the region and then left, but the Saracens built castles and began raiding towns and holding local residents for ransom. Early in 973, the Saracens captured Maieul, the Abbot of the Monastery at Cluny, and held him for ransom. The ransom was paid and the abbot was released, but the people of Provence, led by Count William I rose up and defeated the Saracens near their most powerful fortress Fraxinet (La Garde-Freinet) at the Battle of Tourtour. The Saracens who were not killed at the battle were baptised and made into slaves, and the remaining Saracens in Provence fled the region. Meanwhile, the dynastic quarrels continued. A war between Rudolph III of Burgundy and his rival, the German Emperor Conrad the Salic in 1032 led to Provence becoming a fiefdom of the Holy Roman Empire, which it remained until 1246.

In 1112, the last descendant of Boson, Douce I, Countess of Provence, married the Catalan Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona,  (My 23rd great grandfather)who as a result became Raymond Berenguer I, Count of Provence. He ruled Provence from 1112 until 1131, and his descendants, the Catalan Dynasty ruled Provence until 1246. In 1125, Provence was divided; the part of Provence north and west of the Durance river went to the Count of Toulouse, while the lands between the Durance and the Mediterranean, and from the Rhone river to the Alps, belonged to the Counts of Provence. The capital of Provence was moved from Arles to Aix-en-Provence, and later to Brignoles.

 

Our Ancestors

 

Wilfred the Hairy

Wilfred or Wifred, called the Hairy was Count of Urgell (from 870), Cerdanya (from 870), Barcelona (from 878), Girona (from 878, as Wilfred II), Besalú (from 878) and Ausona (from 886). On his death in 897, his son, Wilfred Borrell, inherited these Catalan counties.

He was responsible for the repopulation of the long-depopulated no-man's land around Vic (the county of Ausona, a frontier between Christian and Muslim), the re-establishment of the bishopric of Vic and the foundation of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll, where he is buried.

Wilfred was of Gothic lineage from the region of Carcassonne. Tradition claims he was born near Prades in the County of Conflent, now Rià, in Roussillon, France.

According to legend, he was the son of Wilfred of Arriaount (or Wilfred of Arri), a county near Prades. His father was murdered by Salomón and Wilfred became his avenger, killing the assassin. After the research done by French monks Dom De Vic and Dom Vaissete, authors of Histoire Générale de Languedoc, he is identified as the son of Sunifred I of Barcelona, count of many counties under Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald. Wilfred's mother may have been named Ermesende. Sunifred may have been the son[ of Belló, Count of Carcassonne during the reign of Charlemagne, or more probably, his son-in-law. Thus, as a descendant of Sunifred and his brother, Sunyer I, count of Empúries and Roussillon (834-848), Wilfred is considered to be a member of a Bellonid dynasty by Ramon d'Abadal and other historians.

By 884, the Muslims had become increasingly uneasy by the expansion of the Christian counties to the north. Wilfred had established defensive positions or castles in Ausona at Cardona, Bergueda, and Vall de Lord; some were even south of the River Llobregat in the Vall de Cervelló. Essentially the frontiers of Wilfred's counties had now extended too far to remain irrelevant.

The Muslim ruler Ismail ibn Musa ibn Qasi fortified Lleida in response. Provoked by this, Wilfred attacked Ismail at Lleida. The attack however was a disaster. The historian Ibn al Athir describes the massacre of the attackers by the city's defenders. Buoyed by this success, Ismail's successor Lubb ibn Muhammed ibn Qasi attacked Barcelona in 897. Wilfred died in battle on 11 August 897. He was buried in the monastery at Ripoll.

Wilfred married Guinidilda daughter of Baldwin I of Flanders and Judith of Flanders and had the following issue:

  • Emma, Abbess of Sant Joan de les Abadesses, d.942

  • Wilfred Borrell

  • Sunyer

  • Miró

  • Sunifred

  • Rodolfo, Bishop of Urgel, Abbot of Ripoll, d.940

  • Riquilla

  • Ermesinde, d.after 925

  • Cixilona, a nun, d.945

  • [parentage not proven] Guinidilda; married Cte Raymond II of Toulouse (d.923)

Wilfred and Guinidilda were my 34th great grandparents.

 

Sunyer, Count of Barcelona

Sunyer (c. 870 – 950) was count of Barcelona, Girona and Ausona from 911 to 947. He was the son of Wilfred the Hairy and younger brother of the previous Count of Barcelona, Wilfred II Borrel. He worked jointly with his brother in the government of the Counties held by their father after his death in 897. He did not reign independently until his brother's death in 911.

However on the death of his uncle, Count Radulf I of Besalú, in 913 or 920, a conflict emerged between Sunyer and his brother Count Miró II of Cerdanya over the succession of the County of Besalú. In exchange for the total renunciation of all claims on the County of Barcelona, Sunyer gave up his claim on Besalú.

Sunyer was apparently married by 917, and later appears with wife Richilda, speculated to have been a daughter of the Count of Rouergue based on the introduction of novel names into the family. They had four sons and a daughter: Ermengol, Miró, Borrell, Adelaide (also called Bonafilla), and Wifred.

Sunyer made important efforts with domestic politics, protected the church and strengthened its institutions by giving it more land and income. He also continued to encourage the repopulation of the county of Ausona.

He abandoned the defensive stance adopted by his predecessors and took up the fight actively against the Moorish states to the south. Battles were fought at Lleida and Tarragona. At the same time he managed to retain diplomatic relations with Córdoba, which had increasingly lost control of its northern provinces. In 912, Muhammad al-Tawil, the Wāli of Huesca and Lleida, attacked and destroyed the Barcelonian army under Sunyer in the Tàrrega valley. However Sunyer's counterattack in 914 successfully pushed them back and resulted in the death of al-Tawil. He subsequently repopulated the county of Penedès, which had been the scene of many conflicts between the Frankish and Muslim empires, as far as Olèrdola (929).

From 936 to 937 he led an expedition against the Muslims. As a result of this successful campaign many of the enemy forces were killed, including the Qadi of Valencia. The Moors temporarily abandoned Tarragona (which became a no-man's land), while Tortosa was forced to pay a tribute to the Count. This gain was short-lived however, as Abd ar-Rahman III sent envoys and a fleet to Barcelona in 940, forcing Sunyer into a subservient alliance and to abandon a marriage pact he had reached with king García Sánchez I of Pamplona, who was to marry (or had already married) Sunyer's daughter.

In 947 Sunyer retired to monastic life and ceded the government of his realms to his sons: Borrell II and Miró I. He died in the Monastery of La Grassa (in Conflent) in 950.

Sunyer and Richilda were my 33rd great grandparents.

 

Borrell II, Count of Barcelona

Borrell II (died 993) was Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 945 and Count of Urgell from 948.

Borrell was first seen acting as Count during the reign of his father Sunyer in 945 at the consecration of the nunnery church of Sant Pere de les Puelles in Barcelona. In 947, Sunyer retired to monastic life and ceded the government of his realms jointly to his sons Borrell and Miró I. In 948, Borrell inherited Urgell from his uncle Sunifred II. Sunyer died in 950, and Miró died in 966, leaving Borrell sole ruler of more than half of Old Catalonia, a status which led outsiders and flatterers to refer to him as dux Gothiae, "Duke of Gothia". His own documents almost all refer to him merely as comes et marchio, "Count and Marquis".

 In 967 Borrell  married Letgarda, who is speculated to have been daughter of a Count of Toulouse or Rouergue based on the names given to her children. By her Borrell had two sons and two daughters: Ramon Borrell (972-1017), Ermengol (974–1010), Ermengarda and Richilda. After Letgarda's death circa 986, he married Eimeruda of Auvergne in 987.

Borrell's military career seems to have been undistinguished — he is recorded as fighting only two battles and seems to have lost both - and it was under his rule that Barcelona was sacked in 985 by the Muslim leader Almansur. On the other hand, he had far greater success as a diplomat. Before the attacks of the 980s, and discounting a single raid by the Caliph al-Hakam II soon after his succession in 961, he maintained cordial relations with the Muslim rulers of Córdoba and also sent emissaries to the kings of the Franks. Furthermore, in 970, he voyaged to Rome to meet with both Pope John XIII and Emperor Otto I.

Borrell was also a patron of learning and culture. In 967, Borrell visited the monastery of Aurillac and the Abbot asked the count to take Gerbert of Aurillac (the future Pope Sylvester II) with him so that the boy could study mathematics in Spain. In the following years, Gerbert studied under the direction of Bishop Atto of Vic, some 60 km north of Barcelona, and probably also at the nearby Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll. He was also taken on the 970 embassy to Rome, during which the Pope persuaded Otto to employ Gerbert as a tutor for his young son, the future emperor Otto II.

In 985 the Hispanic March was attacked by the Muslim general Almansur, who managed to take Barcelona, which was pillaged and sacked. Many citizens were taken prisoner by the Muslim forces. Borrell sent a request for help to King Lothar III, the current King of the Western Franks, but although documents of Borrell's refer to royal orders that must have come from this embassy, actual military assistance was beyond Lothar's power. What appears to have been a similar plea to Hugh Capet resulted in a letter from Hugh to Borrell promising aid if the count preferred "to obey us rather than the Ishmaelites", but in any event Hugh could not persuade his nobles to support a southern expedition. No answer to Hugh's letter is known from Borrell, and the connection between the March and France was effectively broken. Catalan historians now consider this the point at which their nation became a sovereign power, and the millennium of their independence was celebrated in 1987 with conferences and numerous publications; however it appears that Catalan counties other than Borrell's retained links with the Frankish crown for a little longer

From 988, Borrell's sons Ramon Borrell and Ermengol appear as rulers in a divided territory, with Ramon Borrell being count of Barcelona, Girona, and Osona and Ermengol being count of Urgell.  Borrell II continued to issue documents and tour his domains, however, and when he was taken ill in 993 in Castellciutat near la Seu d'Urgell, the will that he made provided for him outliving his executors. It was not to be, however, and his death followed soon afterwards

Count of Barcelona Borrell II and Luitgarde De Toulouse were my 32nd great grandparents.

 

Raimund Borrel I of Barcelona

Ramon Borrell (972-1017) was count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 992. He was the son of Borrell II of Barcelona and Letgarda of Rouergue, and was associated with his father in ruling the counties from 988.

In 993 he married Ermesinde of Carcassonne with whom he had three children: Borrell Ramon (died young before 1017), Berenguer Ramon (c.1006), and Estefania/Adelaide, who married Roger I of Tosny.

Between 1000 and 1002 Ramon had to deal with a number of incursions by Al-Mansur. However Al-Mansur was killed in the Battle of Calatañazor by Navarran and Leonese forces. Seeing an opportunity Ramon counter-attacked in 1003 leading an expedition to Lleida. However this prompted a new raid on the county of Barcelona by Al-Mansur's son, Abd al-Malik. This was defeated by an alliance of Christian forces at the Battle of Torà. Ramon was also present at the Battle of Albesa shortly thereafter.

In 1010, with the Cordoban Caliphate crumbling into civil war, Ramon saw another opportunity. He organized a campaign against the Caliphate with Ermengol I of Urgell and Bernard I of Besalú, and joined forces with Muhammad II of Córdoba. Their army destroyed the forces of Caliph Sulayman II and sacked Córdoba in May 1010, although Ermengol died as a result of the battle. The bishop Arnulf of Vic also died on this campaign. On 2 June 1010, Ramon participated in the Battle of Aqbat al-Bakr on the side of the Muslim rebels as part of the Andalusian civil wars.

In 1015 and 1016 Ramon made further expeditions to the rivers Ebro and Segre. The treasure obtained from these campaigns maintained the loyalty of his barons. Within the County of Barcelona he ensured the repopulation of the Segarra, Conca de Barberà and Camp de Tarragona. He was also the first Catalan ruler to mint his own coinage.

At his death in 1017, he was succeeded by his son Berenguer Ramon under the regency of his mother. He was reportedly buried in the Barcelona Cathedral, but his grave was lost.

Ramone and Ermesinde were my 31st great grandparents.

.

 

Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Barcelona 

Berenguer Ramon I, the Crooked, also called the Hunchback (1005 – 26 May 1035) was the count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 1018 to his death.

He was the son of Ramon Borrell, Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona and his wife Ermesinde of Carcassonne. He accepted the suzerainty of Sancho the Great of Navarre, and in 1021, he married the king's sister-in-law, Sancha Sánchez, daughter of Sancho I Garcés, Count of Castile. By her he had two sons: his successor, Ramon Berenguer (b. 1023), and Sancho (birth year unknown). In 1027, he married secondly Guisla of Lluca, with whom he had two more sons, William (b. 1028) and Bernard (b. 1029). Two daughters have also been tentatively assigned to this couple: Clemencia, who married Ermengol III of Urgell and another, incorrectly referred to as Sibylla, who was the mother of Hugh I and Eudes I, Dukes of Burgundy, and of Henry, Count of Portugal.

Berenguer Ramon as a historical figure is enigmatic, shrouded in incomprehensible contradictions and ambiguities. First, he was a man of peace, and peace ruled throughout his reign. He pacified his neighbours as well, bringing to heel the Count of Urgell, Ermengol II. He reestablished amicable relations with Hugh I, Count of Empúries, and maintained them with William I of Besalú and Wilfred II of Cerdanya. He was a son of the church who maintained relations with the papacy and went on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1032. On many occasions he travelled to Zaragoza and Navarre to discuss with Sancho III the Great, King of Navarre their mutual stance against the Counts of Toulouse. His confidantes and councillors were the Abbot Oliva, the judge Ponç Bofill, Gombau de Besora, and the Bishops Pedro of Girona and Deudado of Barcelona. In 1025, he decreed that the proprietors of entails (men holding land in fee tail) were free from taxation.

On the other hand, the government of Berenguer Ramon I marks the beginning of the decline of the comital power in Catalonia. At the death of his father in 1018, Berenguer Ramon was a minor and his mother Ermesinde served as regent until 1023. But even when he attained his majority, his mother would not relinquish the powers of regency and reigned with him. According to some chroniclers, Berenguer's character left some things to be desired. He is described as weak and indecisive. Moreover, his policy of peace with the Moors was a bone of contention with the noblesse, who saw war with the Muslims as a way of obtaining glory, wealth, and possibly even salvation. This led some nobles to act independently of the count's wishes. Ermesinde, contra her son, was energetic and decisive, intent on imposing the authority of Barcelona on the baronage. But, as a woman, her capability to exercise control of the military was greatly impeded and organizing a raid or expedition to satisfy the wants of the aristocracy was virtually impossible.

The obliteration of comital authority became evident shortly before his death in 1035, as Ermisende partitioned his patrimony amongst his sons. Ramon Berenguer received Girona and Barcelona as far as the river Llobregat; Sancho received the frontierland from the Llobregat to the Moorish lands, which constituted the new county of Penedès with its capital in Olèrdola; and William was given the County of Ausona. Berenguer Ramon died on 26 May 1035 and was buried in Santa Maria de Ripoll.

Ramon  and Sancha were my 30th great grandparents.

 

 

Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer I the Old  (1023–1076 AD) was Count of Barcelona in 1035–1076. He promulgated the earliest versions of a written code of Catalan law, the Usages of Barcelona.

Born in 1024, he succeeded his father, Berenguer Ramon I the Crooked in 1035. It was during his reign that the dominant position of Barcelona among the other Catalan counties became evident. Ramon Berenguer campaigned against the Moors, extending his dominions as far west as Barbastro and imposing heavy tributes (parias) on other Moorish cities. Historians claim that those tributes helped create the first wave of prosperity in Catalan history. During his reign Catalan maritime power started to be felt in the western Mediterranean. Ramon Berenguer the Old was also the first count of Catalonia to acquire lands (the counties of Carcassonne and Razés) and influence north of the Pyrenees.

Another major achievement of his was beginning the codification of Catalan law in the written Usatges of Barcelona which was to become the first full compilation of feudal law in Western Europe. Legal codification was part of the count's efforts to forward and somehow control the process of feudalization which started during the reign of his weak father, Berenguer Ramon. Another major contributor was the Church acting through the institution of the Peace and Truce of God. This established a general truce among warring factions and lords in a given region for a given time. The earliest extant date for introducing the Truce of God in Western Europe is 1027 in Catalonia, during the reign of his father, Berenguer Ramon.

Ramon Berenguer I, together with his third wife Almodis, also founded the Romanesque cathedral of Barcelona, to replace the older basilica presumably destroyed by Al-Mansur. Their velvet and brass bound wooden coffins are still displayed in the Gothic cathedral which eventually replaced the cathedral that they founded.

He was succeeded by his twin sons Ramon Berenguer II and Berenguer Ramon II.

Family and issue:

  • First wife, Isabel/Elisabeth of Narbonne or of Béziers Berenguer (died young)

    • Arnau (died young)

    • Pere Ramon (1050-1073?), murdered his father's third wife, Almodis, and was exiled.

  • Second wife, Blanca of Narbonne, daughter of Wolf Ato Zuberoa and Ermengarda of Narbonne.

  • Third wife, Almodis de La Marche, countess of Limoges Berenguer

    • Ramon II, Count of Barcelona, the Fratricide (1053/54-1097)

    • Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona, the Towhead (1053/54-1082)

    • Agnes, married Guigues II of Albon

    • Sancha, married William Raymond, count of Cerdanya

Ramon Berenguer I and Almodis de La Marche were my 29th great grandparents. 

 

 

Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer II the Towhead or Cap de estopes (1053 or 1054 – December 5, 1082) was Count of Barcelona from 1076 until his death. He ruled jointly with his twin brother, Berenguer Ramon II. He succeeded his father, Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona, as co-ruler with his twin brother, Berenguer Ramon, in 1075.

The twins failed to agree and divided their possessions between them, against the will of their late father. Ramon Berenguer the Towhead, so called because of the thickness and colour of his hair, was killed while hunting in the woods in 1082. His brother, who went on to become the sole ruler of Catalonia, was credited by popular opinion of having orchestrated this murder. Berenguer Ramon the Fratricide was later succeeded by Ramon Berenguer's son, Ramon Berenguer III.

Ramon Berenguer married to Mahalta (or Maud) of Apulia, born ca. 1059, died 1111/1112, daughter of Duke Robert Guiscard and of Sikelgaita de Salerno. Following his murder, she remarried to Aimery I of Narbonne, and was the mother of his son Aimery II.

Ramon Berenguer and Mahalta's son, Ramon Berenguer III (before 1082-1131), was count of Barcelona and Provence. Ramon and Mahalta wer my 28th great grandparents. 

 

Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer III, the Great, was the count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 1086 (jointly with Berenguer Ramon II and solely from 1097), Besalú from 1111, Cerdanya from 1117, and Provence, in the Holy Roman Empire, from 1112, all until his death in Barcelona in 1131. As Ramon Berenguer I, he was Count of Provence from 1112 in right of his wife.

Born in 1082 in Rodez, he was the son of Ramon Berenguer II. He succeeded his father to co-rule with his uncle Berenguer Ramon II. He became the sole ruler in 1097, when Berenguer Ramon II was forced into exile.

During his rule Catalan interests were extended on both sides of the Pyrenees. By marriage or vassalage he incorporated into his realm almost all of the Catalan counties (except Urgell and Peralada). He inherited the counties of Besalú (1111) and Cerdanya (1117) and in between married Douce, heiress of Provence (1112). His dominions then stretched as far east as Nice.

In alliance with the Count of Urgell, Ramon Berenguer conquered Barbastro and Balaguer. He also established relations with the Italian maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa, and in 1114 and 1115 attacked with Pisa the then-Muslim islands of Majorca and Ibiza. They became his tributaries and many Christian slaves there were recovered and set free. Ramon Berenguer also raided mainland Muslim dependencies with Pisa's help, such as Valencia, Lleida and Tortosa. In 1116, Ramon traveled to Rome to petition Pope Paschal II for a crusade to liberate Tarragona. By 1118 he had captured and rebuilt Tarragona, which became the metropolitan seat of the church in Catalonia (before that, Catalans had depended ecclesiastically on the archbishopric of Narbonne).

Toward the end of his life Ramon Berenguer became a Templar. He gave his five Catalonian counties to his eldest son Ramon Berenguer IV and Provence to the younger son Berenguer Ramon.

He died in 1131 and was buried in the Santa Maria de Ripoll monastery.

Marriages and descendants:

  • First wife, María Rodríguez de Vivar, second daughter of El Cid (died ca. 1105)

    • María, married Bernat III, Count of Besalú (died 1111)

    • Jimena, also known as Eixemena, married Roger III, Count of Foix

  • Second wife, Almodis

  • Third wife, Douce or Dolça de Gévaudaun, heiress of Provence (died ca. 1127)

    •  Almodis, married Ponce de Cervera, mother of Agalbursa, who married Barisone II of Arborea

    • Berenguela or Berengaria (1116–1149), married Alfonso VII of Castile

    • Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona (1113/1114–1162)

    • Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Provence (ca. 1115–1144)

    • Bernat, died young

Ramon Berenguer and Douce de Gévaudaun were my 27th great grandparents.

 

Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer IV (c. 1113 – 6 August 1162,), sometimes called the Holy, was the Count of Barcelona who brought about the union of his County of Barcelona with the Kingdom of Aragon to form the Crown of Aragon.

Ramon Berenguer IV inherited the county of Barcelona from his father Ramon Berenguer III on 19 August 1131. On 11 August 1137, at the age of about 24, he was betrothed to the infant Petronilla of Aragon, aged one at the time. Petronilla's father, Ramiro II of Aragon, who sought Barcelona's aid against Alfonso VII of Castile, withdrew from public life on 13 November 1137, leaving his kingdom to Petronilla and Ramon Berenguer, the latter in effect becoming ruler of Aragon, although he was never king himself, instead commonly using the titles "Count of the Barcelonans and Prince of the Aragonians", and occasionally those of "Marquis of Lleida and Tortosa" (after conquering these cities). He was the last Catalan ruler to use "Count" as his primary title; starting with his son Alfonso II of Aragon the counts of Barcelona styled themselves, in the first place, as kings of Aragon.

The treaty between Ramon Berenguer and his father-in-law, Ramiro II, stipulated that their descendants would rule jointly over both realms, and that even if Petronilla died before the marriage could be consummated, Berenguer's heirs would still inherit the Kingdom of Aragon. Both realms would preserve their laws, institutions and autonomy, remaining legally distinct but federated in a dynastic union under one ruling House. Historians consider this arrangement the political masterstroke of the Hispanic Middle Ages. Both realms gained greater strength and security and Aragon got its much needed outlet to the sea. On the other hand, formation of a new political entity in the north-east at the time when Portugal seceded from León in the west gave more balance to the Christian kingdoms of the peninsula. Ramon Berenguer successfully pulled Aragon out of its pledged submission to Castile, aided no doubt by his sister Berengaria, wife of Alfonso the Emperor, who was well known in her time for her beauty and charm.

In the middle years of his rule, Ramon Berenguer turned his attention to campaigns against the Moors. In October 1147, as part of the Second Crusade, he helped Castile to conquer Almería. He then invaded the lands of the Almoravid taifa kingdoms of Valencia and Murcia. In December 1148, he captured Tortosa after a five-month siege with the help of Southern French, Anglo-Norman and Genoese crusaders. The next year, Fraga, Lleida and Mequinenza in the confluence of the Segre and Ebro rivers fell to his army. The reconquista of modern Catalonia was completed.

Ramon Berenguer also campaigned in Provence, helping his brother Berenguer Ramon and his infant nephew Ramon Berenguer II against the Counts of Toulouse. During the minority of Ramon Berenguer II, the Count of Barcelona also acted as the regent of Provence (between 1144 and 1157). In 1151, Ramon signed the Treaty of Tudilén with Alfonso VII of León and Castile. The treaty defined the zones of conquest in Andalusia as an attempt to prevent the two rulers from coming into conflict. Also in 1151, Ramon Berenguer founded and endowed the royal monastery of Poblet. In 1154, he accepted the regency of Gaston V of Béarn in return for the Bearnese nobles rendering him homage at Canfranc, thus uniting that small principality with the growing Aragonese empire.

Ramon Berenguer IV died on 6 August 1162 in Borgo San Dalmazzo, Piedmont, Italy, leaving the title of Count of Barcelona to his eldest surviving son, Ramon Berenguer, who inherited the title of King of Aragon after the abdication of his mother Petronilla of Aragon two years later in 1164. He changed his name to Alfonso as a nod to his Aragonese lineage, and became Alfonso II of Aragon. Ramon Berenguer IV's younger son Pere (Peter) inherited the county of Cerdanya and lands north of the Pyrenees, and changed his name to Ramon Berenguer.

With his Spouse Petronilla of Aragon he had:

  • Peter of Aragon (heir of Aragon)

  • Alfonso II of Aragon

  • Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Provence

  • Dulce, Queen of Portugal

  • Sancho, Count of Provence

  • Ramon, Archbishop of Narbonne

Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla of Aragon were my 26th great grandparents.

 

Alfonso II of Aragon

King Alfonso II (Aragon) or Alfons I (Provence and Barcelona); Huesca, Aragon, 1–25 March 1157 – 25 April 1196), called the Chaste or the Troubadour, was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1164 until his death. He was the son of the count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona and the Queen Petronilla of Aragon and the first King of Aragon who was also Count of Barcelona. He was also Count of Provence from 1166 or shortly before, which he acquired from Countess Douce II, until 1173, when he ceded it to his brother Berenguer. His reign has been characterised by nationalistic and nostalgic Catalan historians, as l'engrandiment occitànic or "the Pyrenean unity": a great scheme to unite various lands on both sides of the Pyrenees under the rule of the House of Barcelona.

Born at Huesca, Alfonso, called indistinctly from birth Alfonso and Ramon, ascended the united throne of Aragon and Barcelona as Alfonso, in deference to the Aragonese, to honour Alfonso I.

For most of his reign he was allied with Alfonso VIII of Castile, both against Navarre and against the Moorish taifa kingdoms of the south. In his Reconquista effort Alfonso pushed as far as Teruel, conquering this important stronghold on the road to Valencia in 1171. The same year saw him capturing Caspe. Apart from common interests, kings of Aragon and Castile were united by a formal bond of vassalage the former owed to the latter. Besides, on January 18, 1174, in Zaragoza Alfonso married Infanta Sancha of Castile, sister of the Castilian king.

Another milestone in this alliance was the Treaty of Cazorla between the two kings in 1179, delineating zones of conquest in the south along the watershed of the rivers Júcar and Segura. Southern areas of Valencia including Denia were thus secured to Aragon. During his reign Aragonese influence north of the Pyrenees reached its zenith, a natural tendency given the affinity between the Occitan and Catalan dominions of the Crown of Aragon. His realms incorporated not only Provence (from 1166 or just before), but also the counties of Cerdanya (1168) and Roussillon (inherited in 1172). Béarn and Bigorre paid homage to him in 1187. Alfonso's involvement in the affairs of Languedoc, which would cost the life of his successor, Peter II of Aragon, for the moment proved highly beneficial, strengthening Aragonese trade and stimulating emigration from the north to colonise the newly reconquered lands in Aragon.

Alfonso II provided the first land grant to the Cistercian monks on the banks of the Ebro River in the Aragon region, which would become the site of the first Cistercian monastery in this region. The Monasterio de Piedra was founded in 1194 with thirteen monks from Poblet Monastery, in an old castle next to the Piedra river, the Real Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de Rueda was founded in 1202 and utilized some of the first hydrological technology in the region for harnessing water power and river diversion for the purpose of building central heating. He died at Perpignan in 1196.

With his wife, Sancha of Castile, daughter of king Alfonso VII of Castile, b. 1155 or 1157, d. 1208 he had:

  1. Constance, married Emeric of Hungary and later Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

  2. Eleanor, married Raymond VI of Toulouse

  3. Peter the Catholic, successor

  4. Douce (Dolça), nun

  5. Alfonso, Count of Provence

  6. Ferdinand, Abbot of Montearagon, d. after 1227

  7. Ramon Berenguer, d. in the 1190s

  8. Sancha of Aragon, married Raymond VII of Toulouse, in March 1211. They had one daughter, Joan, and were divorced in 1241.

King Alfonso II and Constance were my 25th great geandparents.

 

 

Alfonso II, Count of Provence

Alfonso II (1174 – 1 December 1209) was the second son of Alfonso II of Aragon and Sancha of Castile. His father transferred the County of Provence from his uncle Sancho to him in 1185. Alfonso II was born in Barcelona.

In 1193, Alfonso married Gersenda II of Sabran, daughter of Rainou, Count of Forcalquier and Gersend of Forcalquier. They had a child who became Ramon Berenguer IV as count of Provence.

According to explanations in the manuscripts of Gaucelm Faidit's poems, Alfonso was a rival of the troubadour's for the love of Jourdaine d'Embrun. Alfonso II died in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

Alfonso and Gersend were my 24th great grandparents.

 

Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence

Ramon Berenguer IV or V (1195 – 19 August 1245), Count of Provence and Forcalquier, was the son of Alfonso II of Provence and Garsenda of Sabran, heiress of Forcalquier. After his father's death (1209), Ramon was imprisoned in the castle of Monzón, in Aragon until he was able to escape in 1219 and claim his inheritance. He was a powerful and energetic ruler who added Forcalquier to his domain. Giovanni Villani in his Nuova Cronica had this to say about Raymond:

Count Raymond was a lord of gentle lineage, and kin to them of the house of Aragon, and to the family of the count of Toulouse, By inheritance Provence, this side of the Rhone, was his; a wise and courteous lord was he, and of noble state and virtuous, and in his time did honourable deeds, and to his court came all gentle persons of Provence and of France and of Catalonia, by reason of his courtesy and noble estate, and he made many Provençal coblas and canzoni of great worth.

On 5 June 1219, Ramon married Beatrice of Savoy, daughter of Thomas I of Savoy. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened by Matthew Paris to that of a second Niobe. Their children included four daughters, all of whom married kings.

  1. stillborn son (1220)

  2. Margaret of Provence (1221–1295), wife of Louis IX of France

  3. Eleanor of Provence (1223–1291), wife of Henry III of England

  4. stillborn son (1225)

  5. Sanchia of Provence (1228–1261), wife of Richard, Earl of Cornwall

  6. Beatrice of Provence (1231–1267), wife of Charles I of Sicily

Ramon Berenguer IV died in Aix-en-Provence. At least two planhs (Occitan funeral laments) of uncertain authorship (one possibly by Aimeric de Peguilhan and one falsely attributed to Rigaut de Berbezilh) were written in his honour.

Ramon Berenguer IV and Beatrice were my 23rd great grandparents.

 

 

Eleanor of Provence

Eleanor of Provence (c. 1223 – 24/25 June 1291) was Queen consort of England, as the spouse of King Henry III of England, from 1236 until his death in 1272.

Although she was completely devoted to her husband, staunchly defended him against the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, she was very much hated by the Londoners. This was because she had brought a large number of relatives with her to England in her retinue; these were known as "the Savoyards", and they were given influential positions in the government and realm. On one occasion, Eleanor's barge was attacked by angry citizens who pelted her with stones, mud, pieces of paving, rotten eggs and vegetables.

Eleanor was the mother of five children including the future King Edward I of England. She also was renowned for her cleverness, skill at writing poetry, and as a leader of fashion.

Born in Aix-en-Provence, she was the second daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence (1198–1245) and Beatrice of Savoy (1205–1267), the daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and his second wife Margaret of Geneva. Her three sisters also married kings. Like her mother, grandmother, and sisters, Eleanor was renowned for her beauty. She was a dark-haired brunette with fine eyes. Piers Langtoft speaks of her as "The erle's daughter, the fairest may of life". On 22 June 1235, Eleanor was betrothed to King Henry III of England (1207–1272). Eleanor was probably born in 1223. Matthew Paris describes her as being "jamque duodennem" (already twelve) when she arrived in the Kingdom of England for her marriage.

Eleanor was married to King Henry III of England on 14 January 1236. She had never seen him prior to the wedding at Canterbury Cathedral and had never set foot in his kingdom. Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated. She was dressed in a shimmering golden gown which was tightly-fitted to the waist, and then flared out in wide pleats to her feet. The sleeves were long and lined with ermine. After riding to London the same day where a procession of citizens greeted the bridal pair, Eleanor was crowned queen consort of England in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey which was followed by a magnificent banquet with the entire nobility in full attendance.

Eleanor and Henry together had five children:

  1. Edward I (1239–1307), married Eleanor of Castile (1241–1290) in 1254, by whom he had issue, including his heir Edward II; he married Margaret of France in 1299, by whom he had issue.

  2. Margaret of England (1240–1275), married King Alexander III of Scotland, by whom she had issue.

  3. Beatrice of England (1242–1275), married John II, Duke of Brittany, by whom she had issue.

  4. Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster (1245–1296), married Aveline de Forz in 1269, who died four years later without issue; married Blanche of Artois in 1276, by whom he had issue.

  5. Katherine (25 November 1253 – 3 May 1257)

Four others are listed, but their existence is in doubt as there is no contemporary record of them. These are:

  1. Richard (1247–1256)

  2. John (1250–1256)

  3. William (1251–1256)

  4. Henry (1256–1257)

Eleanor was renowned for her learning, cleverness, and skill at writing poetry, as well as her beauty; she was also known as a leader of fashion, continually importing clothes from France. She often wore parti-coloured cottes (a type of tunic), gold or silver girdles into which a dagger was casually thrust, she favoured red silk damask, and decorations of gilt quatrefoil, and to cover her dark hair she wore jaunty pillbox caps. Eleanor introduced a new type of wimple to England, which was high, "into which the head receded until the face seemed like a flower in an enveloping spathe".

Eleanor seems to have been especially devoted to her eldest son, Edward; when he was deathly ill in 1246, she stayed with him at the abbey at Beaulieu in Hampshire for three weeks, long past the time allowed by monastic rules. It was because of her influence that King Henry granted the duchy of Gascony to Edward in 1249. Her youngest child, Katherine, seems to have had a degenerative disease that rendered her deaf. When the little girl died at the age of three, both her royal parents suffered overwhelming grief.

Eleanor was a loyal and faithful consort to Henry, but she brought in her retinue a large number of cousins, "the Savoyards," and her influence with the King and her unpopularity with the English barons created friction during Henry's reign. Though Eleanor and Henry supported different factions at times, she was made regent of England when her husband left for Normandy in 1253. Eleanor was devoted to her husband's cause, stoutly contested Simon de Montfort, raising troops in France for Henry's cause. On 13 July 1263, she was sailing down the Thames when her barge was attacked by citizens of London. Eleanor stoutly hated the Londoners who returned her hatred; in revenge for their dislike Eleanor had demanded from the city all the back payments due on the monetary tribute known as queen-gold, by which she received a tenth of all fines which came to the Crown. In addition to the queen-gold other such fines were levied on the citizens by the Queen on the thinnest of pretexts. In fear for her life as she was pelted with stones, loose pieces of paving, dried mud, rotten eggs and vegetables, Eleanor was rescued by Thomas Fitzthomas, the Mayor of London, and took refuge at the bishop of London's home.

In 1272 Henry died, and her son Edward, who was 33 years old, became Edward I, King of England. She remained in England as queen dowager, and raised several of her grandchildren—Edward's son Henry and daughter Eleanor, and Beatrice's son John. When her grandson Henry died in her care in 1274, Eleanor went into mourning and gave orders for his heart to be buried at the priory at Guildford which she founded in his memory.

She retired to a convent; however, remained in contact with her son, King Edward, and her sister, Queen Margaret of France. Eleanor died on 24/25 June 1291 in Amesbury, eight miles north of Salisbury, England. She was buried on 11 September 1291 in the Abbey of St Mary and St Melor, Amesbury on 9 December. The exact site of her grave at the abbey is unknown making her the only English queen without a marked grave. Her heart was taken to London where it was buried at the Franciscan priory.

 King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence were my 22nd great grandparents. 

To follow this line of ancestors see Henry III of England

 

 
 

© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
Dec 07, 2013

 

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