Mabile de Bellême

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Mabile Talvas de Bellême († December 2, 1079 ) was the wife of the powerful Norman baron Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury .


Mabile was the daughter of Guillaume II. Talvas de Bellême and Hildeburge, consequently she belonged to the Bellême house , which was so loathed by the historian Ordericus Vitalis that one cannot expect hymns of praise from him. According to Vitalis, Mabile not only inherited her father's vices, but added the defects of her sex to them; by his description she was cruel, villainous, amoral, arrogant and talkative.

Extension of the Seigneurie Bellême around 1050

Around 1050 she married one of the most important barons of Normandy , Roger II. De Montgommery , a close advisor to Duke Wilhelm II . For Norman historians, this marriage was planned by the bride's father in order to gain allies after the loss of his property. Today's historians see the marriage more as an attempt by Duke Wilhelm to curtail the independence of the Bellême family. The connection between the heiress Bellêmes and his confidante Roger de Montgomerie secured Wilhelm peace in the south of the country. The historian Lucien Musset goes even further: "This is how the most powerful Maine family entered the orbit of Normandy".

In fact, the couple were loyal to the duke. Like the sovereign, they restored several monasteries: Almenêches , Troarn and Saint-Martin in Sées . On the other hand, they made opponents of some barons: Robert de Grandmesnil and his brother Hugues de Grandmesnil , Raoul II. De Tosny , Ernaud Fitz-Giroie . Ordericus Vitalis sees it as the work of Mabiles, which - according to him - is said to have tried to poison Ernauld Fitz-Giroie and thus added another episode to the struggle between the Giroie and Bellême families .

Around 1070, after the death of her uncle Yves de Bellême , Bishop of Sées , Mabile probably inherited the Bellême rule. In 1071 or 1074 she became the wife of Rogers Countess of Shrewsbury .

Death and appreciation

During Mabile's stay at her castle Bures near Caen , members of the Giroie family, Hugues de Saugei and his two brothers, managed to break into the castle and behead Mabile. This type of death was usually reserved for men. She was buried in Troarn in the monastery financed by her and Roger.

Her epitaph , handed down by Ordericus Vitalis, underlines the peculiarities of this woman: “Her character was energetic, her mind alert, her activity tireless, her eloquence convincing, her wisdom foresighted. Small in stature, she was great by her virtues; great and gorgeous, she loved the jewelry. She was the protective shield of her fatherland, the boulevard of his border, and for her neighbors sometimes pleasant, sometimes terrible. "


Roger and Mabile had twelve children, including:

  1. Robert de Bellême († after 1130), 1079 Lord of Bellême, Alençon and (until 1092) Domfront , 1094 Lord of Montgommery, Vice-Count of Hiémois, 1098 3rd Earl of Shropshire and Shrewsbury, 1101 Count of Ponthieu ; ∞ Agnès de Ponthieu († 1100/03), daughter of Count Gui I.
  2. Hugo (attested 1079, X 1098), 1094 2nd Earl of Shropshire and Shrewsbury
  3. Roger Poitevin († 1123), 1113 Count of La Marche ; ∞ Almodis, 1088 Countess of La Marche († 1117/29), daughter of Count Aldebert II.
  4. Philipp Grammaticus († 1099 before Antioch )
  5. Arnoul (Arnulf) , attested in 1079/1119, banished from England in 1102, went to Scotland, the progenitor of the Scottish Montgomery
  6. Emma († 1113), 1074 Abbess of Almenèches
  7. Mathilde († probably 1085); ∞ Robert , Earl of Mortain , Earl of Cornwall ( House of Conteville )
  8. Mabile; ∞ Hugues, lord of Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais
  9. Sibylle († after 1140), founder of Tewkesbury Abbey ; ∞I Robert FitzHamon de Torigni , Lord of Gloucester , Lord of Creuilly , Governor of Caen ; ∞ II Jean, Lord of Raimes († 1131)


  • François Neveux : La Normandie des ducs aux rois Xe-XIIe siècle. Ouest-France, Rennes 1998.
  • Jean-François Miniac: Les grandes affaires criminelles de l'Orne. de Borée, Paris 2008.
  • Ordericus Vitalis : Histoire de la Normandie. éd. Guizot, Mancel, 1826, Volume 2; online on Gallica

Web links


  1. ^ Wilhelm von Jumièges : Histoire des ducs de Normandie , éd. Guizot, Mancel, 1826, with notes by Ordericus Vitalis and Robert von Torigni , p. 188
  2. Lucien Musset: L'Etat normand. croissance et apogée. In: Michel de Bouard: Histoire de la Normandie. Private, Toulouse 1970, p. 135.
  3. son génie fut entreprenant, son esprit vigilant, son activité continuelle, son éloquence persuasive, sa sagesse prévoyante. Petite de taille, elle fut grande par ses vertus; magnifique et somptueuse, elle aimait la parure. Elle fut le bouclier de sa patrie, le boulevard de sa frontière, et pour ses voisins, tantôt agréable, tantôt terrible . Ordericus Vitalis: Histoire de la Normandie , éd. Guizot, tome 2, 1826, p. 398