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Adelaide of Normandy

Adelaide of Normandy

Half-sister of William the Conqueror, Countess of Aumale
The basics
A.K.A. Adeliza
Gender female
Birth Calvados
Father: Robert IDuke of Normandy
Spouse: Enguerrand IICount of PonthieuLambert IICount of LensOdoCount of Champagne
Children: Judith of LensStephen of AumaleGuy ICount of Ponthieu
The details

Adelaide of Normandy (or Adeliza) (c. 1030 – bef. 1090) was the sister of William the Conqueror and was Countess of Aumale in her own right.


She was a natural daughter of Robert the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy and born c.1030 Elisabeth Van Houts, in her article Les femmes dans l’histoire du duché de Normandie (or Women in the history of ducal Normandy) mentions Countess Adelaide as one of those notable Norman women who were known to have exerted a strong influence on their children especially with regard to passing on their own family history.

Adelaide's first marriage to Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu potentially gave then Duke William a powerful ally in upper Normandy. But at the Council of Reims in 1049, when the marriage of Duke William with Matilda of Flanders was prohibited based on consanguinity, so were those of Eustace II, Count of Boulogne and Enguerrand of Ponthieu, who was already married to Adelaide. Adelaide's marriage was apparently annulled c.1049/50 and another marriage was arranged for her, this time to Lambert II, Count of Lens, younger son of Eustace I, Count of Boulogne forming a new marital alliance between Normandy and Boulogne. Lambert was killed in 1054 at Lille, aiding Baldwin V, Count of Flanders against Emperor Henry III. Now widowed, Adelaide resided at Aumale, probably part of her dower from her first husband, Enguerrand, or part of a settlement after the capture of Guy of Ponthieu, her brother-in-law. As a dowager Adelaide began a semi-religious retirement and became involved with the church at Auchy presenting them with a number of gifts. In 1060 she was called upon again to form another marital alliance, this time to a younger man Odo, Count of Champagne. Odo seems to have been something of a disappointment as he appears on only one of the Conqueror's charters and received no land in England; his wife being a tenant-in-chief in her own right.

In 1082 King William and Queen Matilda gave to the abbey of the Holy Trinity in Caen the town of Le Homme in the Cotentin with a provision to the Countess of Albamarla (Aumale), his sister, for a life tenancy. In 1086, as Comitissa de Albatnarla, as she was listed in the Domesday Book, was shown as having numerous holdings in both Suffolk and Essex, one of the very few Norman noblewomen to have held lands in England at Domesday as a tenant-in-chief. She was also given the lordship of Holderness which was held after her death by her 3rd husband, Odo, the by then disinherited Count of Champagne; the lordship then passed to their son, Stephen. Adelaide died before 1090.


Adelaide married three times; first to Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu (died 1053) by whom she had issue:

  • Adelaide II, Countess of Aumale, m. William de Bréteuil, Lord of Bréteuil, son of William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford.
  • Helisende, m. Hugh I of Saint-Pol, mother of Hugh II of Saint-Pol

She married secondly Lambert II, Count of Lens (died 1054), they had a daughter:

  • Judith of Lens, m. Waltheof Earl of Huntingdon and Northumbria.

Adelaide married thirdly in 1060 Odo, Count of Champagne (d. aft. 1096), by whom she had a son:

  • Stephen, Count of Aumale.
  • George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant Extinct or Dormant, ed. Vicary Gibbs, Vol. I (The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., London, 1910), pp. 350–2
  • N. J. Higham, The Kingdom of Northumbria, AD 350 – 1100 (Alan Sutton Publishing, Ltd. , 1993), p. 226
  • ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 46

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