Belley & Savoy
House of Savoy.
Belley is of Roman origin, and in the 5th century became
an episcopal see. It was the capital of the province of
Bugey, which was a dependency of Savoy till 1601, when
it was ceded to France. In 1385 the town was almost
entirely destroyed by an act of incendiarism, but was
subsequently rebuilt by the dukes of Savoy, who
surrounded it with ramparts of which little is left.
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the
territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake
Geneva in the north and Dauphiné in the south.
By the 8th century, the territory that would later
become known as Savoy was part of the Kingdom of the
Franks, and at the division of Francia at the Treaty of
Verdun in 843, it became part of the short-lived kingdom
of Middle Francia. After only 12 years, at the death of
Lothair I in 855, Middle Francia was divided into
Lotharingia north of the Alps, Italy south of the Alps,
and the parts of Burgundy in the Western Alps, inherited
by Charles son of Lothair. This latter territory
comprised what would become known as Savoy and Provence.
From the 10th to 14th century, parts of what would
ultimately become Savoy remained within the Kingdom of
Arles. Beginning in the 11th century, the gradual rise
to power of the House of Savoy is reflected in the
increasing territory of their County of Savoy between
1003 and 1416.
The County of Savoy was detached de jure from the
Kingdom of Arles by Emperor Charles IV in 1361. It
acquired the County of Nice in 1388, and in 1401 added
the County of Genevois, the area of Geneva except for
the city proper, which was ruled by its prince-bishop,
nominally under the duke's rule: the bishops of Geneva,
by unspoken agreement, came from the House of Savoy;
this agreement came to an end in 1533.
The historical land of Savoy emerged as the feudal
territory of the House of Savoy during the 11th to 14th
centuries. The historical territory is shared between
the modern republics of France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Installed by Rudolph III, King of Burgundy, officially
in 1003, the House of Savoy became the longest surviving
royal house in Europe. It ruled the County of Savoy to
1416 and then the Duchy of Savoy from 1416 to 1714.
The territory of Savoy was annexed to France in 1792
under the French First Republic, before being returned
to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1815. Savoy,
along with the county of Nice, was finally annexed to
France by a plebiscite, under the Second French Empire
in 1860, as part of a political agreement (Treaty of
Turin) brokered between the French emperor Napoleon III
and King Victor Emmanuel II of the Kingdom of Sardinia
that began the process of unification of Italy. Victor
Emmanuel's dynasty, the House of Savoy, retained its
Italian lands of Piedmont and Liguria and became the
ruling dynasty of Italy.
This line of our ancestors were of the House of Savoy.
The house descended from Humbert I, Count of Sabaudia
(Umberto I "Biancamano"), (1003–1047 or 1048). Humbert's
family are thought to have originated from near
Magdeburg in Saxony, with the earliest recording of the
family being two 10th century brothers, Amadeus and
Humbert. Though originally a poor county, later heirs to
the throne were diplomatically skilled, and gained
control over strategic mountain passes in the Alps. Two
of Humbert's sons were bishops at the Abbey of Saint
Maurice on the River Rhone east of Lake Geneva, and
Saint Maurice is still the patron of the House of Savoy.
Humbert's son, Otto of Savoy ascended the throne in 1051
after the death of his elder brother Amedeo and married
the Marchioness Adelaide of Turin, passing the
Marquessate of Susa, with the towns of Turin and
Pinerolo, into the House of Savoy's possession. This
diplomatic skill caused the great powers such as France,
England, and Spain to take the counts' opinions into
They once had claims on the modern canton of Vaud, where
they occupied the Château of Chillon in Switzerland, but
their access to it was cut by Geneva during the
Protestant Reformation, after which it was conquered by
Bern. Piedmont was later joined with Sabaudia, and the
name evolved into "Savoy" (Italian "Savoia"). The people
of Savoy were descended from the Celts and Romans.
Umberto I, Count of Savoy
Umberto I (c. 980 – 1047/1048) (Humbert) was the
first Count of Savoy from 1032, when the County of
Vienne, which had been sold to the Archdiocese of
Vienne, was divided between the County of Albon and the
Maurienne. Humbert came of noble stock, as his father is
believed to be Amadeus, Count of Belley . He is also
called Umberto the White-Handed reportedly to
signify his generosity. However, this posthumously
applied title may derive from a textual mistranslation
of an early Latin record which actually refers to the
walls of his castle, not his hands, as white.
During the wars between Rudolph III of Burgundy and the
Emperor Henry II, Umberto supported the latter with
provisions and soldiers because he was related to the
imperial family by marriage. Thus, in 1003, the emperor
installed him as the Count of Aosta, a mountainous
region then a part of Burgundy but today within Italy,
and granted him the northern Viennois as a reward.
Umberto in turn protected the right flank of Henry's
army during his subsequent invasion of Italy in 1004.
Umberto's lands were essentially autonomous after the
death of Henry. Their mountainous inaccessibility and
their minor importance lent them to being overlooked and
ignored in the power struggles which inevitably followed
the death of the emperor. In 1032, Umberto received the
Maurienne, his native country, from the Emperor Conrad
II, whom he had helped in his Italian campaigns against
Aribert, Archbishop of Milan.
He died at Hermillon, a town in the Maurienne region of
present day Savoie, France.
Umberto married Ancilla (Auxilia or Ancilia) of Lenzburg,
the daughter of the master of ceremonies of Burgundy,
and had at least four sons:
Amadeus I (died 1056), Count of Savoy, his successor
Aymon (died 1054 or 1055), Bishop of Sion
Burchard (died 1068 or 1069), Archbishop of Lyon
Otto (died ca. 1057), Count of Savoy, successor of
Some authors believe that he had additional sons.
Umberto and Ancilla were my 30th great grandparents.
Otto I, Count of Savoy
Otto (1010/1020 – c. 1057) was a Count of Savoy from
1051 (or 1056) until his death. He substantially
enlarged his lands through his marriage. After this
acquisition the House of Savoy concentrated their
expansion efforts towards Italy instead of outside the
Alps as they had done before. Savoy's lands occupied
much of modern Savoy and Piedmont, although several
other small states could be found between them.
He was son of Humbert, the first Count of Savoy, and his
wife Ancilla of Lenzburg, and ascended the throne after
the death of his elder brother, Amadeus I of Savoy.
In 1046 he married Adelaide, heiress of Turin and Susa.
They had five children:
Bertha, Countess of Moriana (died 1087)
Adelaide (died 1080), married Rudolf of Swabia
Otto and Adelaid were my 29th great grandparents.
Amadeus II, Count of Savoy
Amadeus II (c. 1050 – 26 January 1080) was the Count of
Savoy from 1078 to 1080. His life is obscure and few
documents mention him. During his reign he was
overshadowed by his mother, but he had good relations
with the Papacy and, for a time, the Holy Roman Emperor.
The second son of Otto, Count of Savoy, and Adelaide,
Margravine of Turin, Amadeus II was probably born around
1050, because he, alongside other noblemen of the
Kingdom of Burgundy, swore an oath on the tomb of Saint
Peter in Rome to defend the Church around 1070–73. In
1074 Pope Gregory VII was trying to persuade William I,
Count of Burgundy, to remember this vow and, with
Amadeus and others, go to the defence of the Roman
Empire in the East against the Seljuk Turks. As his
mother is known to have had good relations with the
Papacy in these years, this record seems to indicate
that Amadeus was following his mother's policies at this
early stage in his career.
Early in 1077 Amadeus, with his mother and brother
Peter, then Count of Savoy, hosted his sister Bertha,
and his brother-in-law, Bertha's husband, the Emperor
Henry IV. Amadeus and Adelaide then escorted the
imperial couple to Canossa so the excommunicated emperor
could reconcile with the pope. There they both took part
in the negotiations and stood as pledges for the
emperor's good faith.
On 16 July 1078 Amadeus and Peter witnessed a donation
of their mother's to the Abbey of Novalesa. It was the
last act of Amadeus and Peter together.
On 9 August 1078 Peter died and Amadeus succeeded him as
Count of Savoy, but in the March of Turin, where Peter
had co-ruled with their mother, Amadeus was never
margrave, although the reason for this is unclear. One
document, issued by his widowed daughter Adelaide in
1090, refers to him as "count and margrave", but it is
probably anachronistic. There is only one document from
his reign, in the cartulary of Saint-André-le-Bas in
Vienne, which is dated when "Count Amadeus [was]
reigning." This shows, by the absence of the regnal year
of the emperor, that despite his involvement in the
reconciliation at Canossa, Amadeus II was neutral in the
wider Investiture Controversy and the wars against Henry
IV that it caused in Germany.
Amadeus died in Turin on 26 January 1080, according to
the necrology of the church of Saint Andrew there. This
date must be at least approximately correct, since
Adelaide made a monastic donation for the benefit of the
souls of her sons Margrave Peter and Count Amadeus on 8
According to the much later Chronicles of Savoy, Amadeus
married Joan, daughter of "Girard, Count of Burgundy",
who scholars have surmised to have been Count Gerold II
of Geneva. The Chronicon Altacumbae says only that "the
wife of Amadeus [was] from Burgundy", which might refer
to Amadeus I. If his wife were Genevan, it would explain
how the house of Savoy came to possess so early a large
portion of the Genevois. His wife, whatever her name and
origins, bore Amadeus II several children, although
there is some uncertainty about how many. His confirmed
William IV, Margrave of Montferrat, who married Otta
d'Agile and had descendants
Adelaide, wife of Manasses, sire de Coligny
Ausilia (also Auxilia or Usilia), second wife of
Humbert II de Beaujeu, whom she bore four sons by
the last decade of the eleventh century: Guichard,
Humbert, Guigues, and Hugh
Not included in this list is Umberto who succeeded
Amadeus and who is identified as being the son of
Amadeus and Joan.
Amadeus III of Savoy and his wife Joan were my 28th
Umberto II, Count of Savoy
Umberto II, nicknamed the Fat (1065, Carignano, Piedmont
– 14 October 1103), was Count of Savoy from 1080 until
his death in 1103. He was the son of Amadeus II of
He was married to Gisela of Burgundy, daughter of
William I, Count of Burgundy, and had 7 children:
Amadeus III of Savoy
William, Bishop of Liège
Adelaide, (d. 1154), married to Louis VI of France
Agnes, (d. 1127), married to Archimbald VI, lord of
Guy, abbey of Namur
Umberto II and Gisela were my 27th great grandparents.
Amadeus III, Count of Savoy
Amadeus III of Savoy (1095 – April 1148) was Count of
Savoy and Maurienne from 1103 until his death. He was
also known as the Crusader.
He was born in Carignano, Piedmont, the son of Humbert (Umbert)
II of Savoy and Gisela of Burgundy, the daughter of
William I of Burgundy. He succeeded as count of Savoy
upon the death of his father. Amadeus had a tendency to
exaggerate his titles, and also claimed to be Duke of
Lombardy, Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Chablais, and vicar
of the Holy Roman Empire, the latter of which had been
given to his father by Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
He helped restore the Abbey of St. Maurice of Agaune, in
which the former kings of Burgundy had been crowned, and
of which he himself was abbot until 1147. He also
founded the Abbey of St. Sulpicius in Bugey, Tamié Abbey
in the Bauges, and Hautecombe Abbey on the Lac du
In 1128, Amadeus extended his realm, known as the "Old
Chablais", by adding to it the region extending from the
Arve to the Dranse d'Abondance, which came to be called
the "New Chablais" with its capital at Saint-Maurice.
Despite his marriage to Mahaut, he still fought against
his brother-in-law Guy, who was killed at the Battle of
Montmeillan. Following this, King Louis VI of France,
married to Amadeus' sister Adélaide de Maurienne,
attempted to confiscate Savoy. Amadeus was saved by the
intercession of Peter the Hermit, and by his promise to
participate in Louis' planned crusade.
In 1147, he accompanied his nephew Louis VII of France
and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine on the Second Crusade.
He financed his expedition with help from a loan from
the Abbey of St. Maurice. In his retinue were many
barons from Savoy, including the lords of Faucigny,
Seyssel, La Chambre, Miolans, Montbel, Thoire,
Montmayeur, Vienne, Viry, La Palude, Blonay, Chevron-Villette,
Chignin, and Châtillon. Amadeus travelled south through
Italy to Brindisi, where he crossed over to Durazzo, and
marched east along the Via Egnatia to meet Louis at
Constantinople in late 1147. After crossing into
Anatolia, Amadeus, who was leading the vanguard, became
separated from Louis near Laodicea, and Louis' forces
were almost entirely destroyed.
Marching on to Adalia, Louis, Amadeus, and other barons
decided to continue to Antioch by ship. On the journey,
Amadeus fell ill on Cyprus, and died at Nicosia in April
1148. He was buried in the Church of St. Croix in
Nicosia. In Savoy, his son Humbert III succeeded him,
under the regency of bishop Amadeus of Lausanne.
He had no children with his first wife Adelaide,
Countess consort of Savoy. In 1123 he married Mahaut (or
Mafalda, or Matilda) of Albon, the sister of Guy IV of
Dauphinois, with whom he had ten children:
Elisa of Savoy (1120-?) married Humberto of Beaujeu
Mafalda (Mahaut), (1125-1158), married Afonso I of
Agnes of Savoy (1125-1172), married William I, Count
Humbert III (1136-1188)
John of Savoy
Peter of Savoy
William of Savoy
Margaret of Savoy (died 1157)
Isabella of Savoy
Juliana of Savoy (died 1194), abbess of St.
Amadeus III and Matilda were my 26th great grandparents.
Umberto III, Count of Savoy
Umberto III (1135, Avigliana, Piedmont – 1189), surnamed
the Blessed, was Count of Savoy from 1148 to 1189. His
parents were Amadeus III of Savoy and Mahaut (or Mafalda,
or Matilda) of Albon, the sister of Guy IV of Dauphinois.
His memorial day is March 4.
Christopher Cope in his "The Lost Kingdom of Burgundy":
Umberto III, who reigned from 1149 to 1189...was a man
of irresolute spirit who was disconsolate at being born
a prince and preferred the seclusion of a monastery. He
only renounced his chosen state of celibacy so as to
give his land an heir.
His first wife died young; his second marriage ended in
divorce. Umberto gave up and became a Carthusian monk.
However, the nobles and common people of Savoy begged
him to marry yet again, which he reluctantly did. This
third wife gave him two more daughters, and Umberto
attempted to return to the monastic life yet again.
Finally he was prevailed upon to marry for a fourth
time, and this wife, Beatrice, produced the son who
would ultimately succeed him.
In 1188 he founded the Monastery of Sant'Antonio di
Umberto married four times:
Faidiva of Toulouse (Italian) (d. abt 1154) daughter
of Alphonse I of Toulouse
Gertrude of Flanders (m. abt 1155), whom he divorced
and confined. She was freed thanks to Robert, bishop
of Cambrai and returned to the court of her brother,
Philip of Flanders.
Clementia of Zähringen (married 1164), daughter of
Conrad I of Zähringen. They had 2 daughters:
Sofia, (1165–1202), married Azzo VI of Este
Alicia, (1166–1178), betrothed to John of
Beatrice of Viennois and had 1 son:
Umberto and Beatrice were my 25th great
Thomas I, Count of Savoy
Thomas I or Tommaso I (1178, Aiguebelle, Savoy – 1 March
1233, Moncalieri, Savoy) was Count of Savoy from
1189-1233. He was the son of Humbert (Umbert) III of
Savoy and Beatrice of Viennois. His birth was seen as
miraculous; his monkish father had despaired of having a
male heir after three wives. Count Humbert sought
counsel from St. Anthelm, who blessed Humbert three
times, and it was seen as a prophecy come true when
Thomas was born shortly before Anthelm himself died on
26 June 1178. He was named in honour of Saint Thomas
Thomas was still a minor when his father died on 4 March
1189, and a council of regency was established, composed
of his mother Beatrice, his father's cousin Boniface I
of Montferrat, and the Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
He had reached his majority by August 1191. Thomas
possessed the martial abilities, energy, and brilliance
that his father lacked, and Savoy enjoyed a golden age
under his leadership. Despite his youth he began the
push northwest into new territories. In the same year he
granted Aosta Valley the "Carta delle Franchigie",
recognising the right to administrative and political
autonomy. This right was maintained up until the eve of
the French Revolution. Later he conquered Vaud, Bugey,
and Carignano. He supported the Hohenstaufens, and was
known as "Thomas the Ghibelline" because of his career
as Imperial Vicar of Lombardy.
In 1195 he ambushed the party of Count William I of
Geneva, which was escorting the count's daughter,
Margaret of Geneva, to France for her intended wedding
to King Philip II of France. Thomas carried off
Marguerite and married her himself, producing some eight
sons and six daughters.
Amedeo, his immediate successor
Umberto, d. between March and November 1223
Tommaso, lord and then count in Piedmont and founder
of a line that became the Savoy-Achaea
Aimone, d. 30 August 1237, Lord of Chablais
Guglielmo (William of Savoy), Bishop of Valence and
Dean of Vienne
Amadeo of Savoy, Bishop of Maurienne
Pietro, who resided much in England, became Earl of
Richmond, and ultimately in 1263 became the disputed
count of Savoy
Filippo, archbishop of Lyon, who resigned, through
marriage became Count Palatine of Burgundy and
ultimately in 1268 became the disputed count of
Bonifacio who became archbishop of Canterbury
Beatrice of Savoy, d. 1265 or 1266, married in
December 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of
Provence (1209-1245) and was mother of four
Alasia of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St
Pierre in Lyon (d.1250)
Ágatha of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St
Pierre in Lyon (d.1245)
Margherita of Savoy, d. 1273, married in 1218 to
Hartmann I of Kyburg
Avita of Savoy (1215-92) who married Baldwin de
Redvers, 7th Earl of Devon and Robert Aguillon
He had illegitimate children too:
Aymon (+ 1243), who was Count of Larches, with
Beatrice of Grisel married
Thomas "the big", who was count of Lioches
Thomas and Margaret were my 24th great grandperents.
Beatrice of Savoy
Beatrice of Savoy (1205 – 4 January 1267) was the
daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and Margaret of Geneva.
She was Countess consort of Provence by her marriage to
Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence.
Her paternal grandparents were Humbert III, Count of
Savoy, and Beatrice of Viennois. Her maternal
grandparents were William I, Count of Geneva and
Beatrice de Faucigny. Beatrice of Savoy's mother,
Margaret was betrothed to Philip II of France. While
Margaret was travelling to France for her wedding, she
was captured by Beatrice's father, Thomas. He took her
back to Savoy and married her himself. Thomas' excuse
was that Philip II was already married, which was true.
Beatrice was the tenth of fourteen children born to her
parents. Her siblings included: Amadeus IV, Count of
Savoy, Thomas II of Piedmont, Peter II, Count of Savoy,
Philip I, Count of Savoy, Boniface of Savoy, Archbishop
of Canterbury, Avita the Countess of Devon and
Margherita of Savoy wife of Hartmann I of Kyburg.
Beatrice betrothed on 5 June 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV,
Count of Provence; they married in December 1220. She
was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty
was likened to that of a second Niobe by Matthew Paris.
Ramon and Beatrice of Savoy had four daughters, who all
lived to adulthood, and married kings. Their only son,
Raymond died in early infancy.
Margaret, Queen of France (1221–1295), wife of Louis
IX of France
Eleanor, Queen of England (1223–1291), wife of Henry
III of England
Sanchia, Queen of Germany (1228–1261), wife of
Richard, Earl of Cornwall
Beatrice, Queen of Sicily (1231–1267), wife of
Charles I of Sicily
Raymond of Provence, died young
Beatrice came to England to see her third daughter
Sanchia wedded to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall,
brother-in-law of Eleanor and did much to strengthen the
bond between Richard and Henry III. She further
strengthened the unity of the English royal family by
convincing Henry III to help pay the debts of his sister
Eleanor and her husband Simon de Montfort, who had
previously often be at odds with Henry. Beatrice's
husband Ramon Berenguer IV was detained by state
difficulties which his wife solved by getting a loan
from her son-in-law Henry III of four thousand marks.
When Ramon Berenguer had died on 19 August 1245, he left
Provence to his youngest daughter. Beatrice's daughter
and namesake then became one of the most attractive
heiresses in medieval Europe. Various suitors had tried
to seize her, so Beatrice of Savoy placed the younger
Beatrice in a safe fortress, secured the trust of its
people then went to the Pope for his protection. In
Cluny during December 1245, a secret discussion, between
Pope Innocent IV, Louis IX of France, his mother Blanche
of Castile and his brother Charles of Anjou, took place.
It was decided that in return for Louis IX supporting
the Pope militarily, the Pope would allow Charles of
Anjou, youngest brother to the French King, to marry
Beatrice of Provence. But Provence was to never go to
France outright through Charles. It was agreed that if
Charles and Beatrice had children, the county would go
to them; if there was no issue, then the county would go
to Sanchia of Provence. If Sanchia died without an heir,
Provence would go to the King of Aragon.
The generally good relationship between the four sisters
also did much to improve the relationship of the French
and English kings. It brought about the Treaty of Paris,
where differences were resolved. Beatrice and all her
four daughters participated in the talks.
Beatrice of Savoy was granted the usufruct of the county
of Provence for her lifetime, according to her husband's
will. Beatrice outlived her third daughter Sanchia and
came close to outliving her youngest daughter Beatrice,
who died months after her mother (Beatrice the elder
died in January, Beatrice the younger died in
September). Beatrice of Savoy died on 4 January 1267.
Beatrice and Ramon Berenguer were my 23 great
To follow this line of ancestors see
Provence, Aragon, & Barcelona