About Paradoxplace


The Norman and Plantagenet Monarchs of England

and the Age of the Crusades


Link to Insight Page on the Crusades





Geoffrey, Count of Anjou (1113 - 1151 (38)) liked to wear a sprig of broom in his hat Broom is known as planta genesta in Latin, genęt in French - which was how come Geoffrey got known as Plantagenet.  He married Henry I's daughter Matilda (c1102 - 1167 (65)) (widow of Emperor Henry V) in 1127.  She was 11 years older than Geoffrey and an (ex) Empress), and was a bit grumpy about being fobbed off onto a mere count, albeit a bit of a stud. 


Matilda was Henry of England's nominated successor, and went to the west of England to assemble an army to enforce the dead King's wishes, but she was opposed by her cousin Stephen who after several years of conflict managed to see her off back to Anjou.


Geoffrey and Matilda parented three kids, the oldest of whom succeeded where Matilda had failed, and became Henry II of England - the first of the Plantagenet Kings of England, husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, ruler of over half of Western Europe (see below) and father of Kings Richard and John.  Geoffrey's tomb is supposed to be in Le Mans Cathedral, but when we went there to look for him nothing was signed and the priest we asked had never heard of him - notwithstanding this the cathedral (but not Le Mans itself) is well worth a visit.  Matilda was buried in the Abbey of Bec and later transferred to Rouen Cathedral.


The dynasty (and some others the county spawned across Europe) is also known as Angevin (as are the citizens of Angers, its medieval capital).


When you come across a large area of Broom, enjoy its honey perfume and spare a thought for Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and the hat habit that bred one of the iconic dynastic names in medieval European history.




Geoffrey in Limoges style in the Le Mans Municipal Museum

















Buy from Amazon USA



 Buy from Amazon USA

 Buy from Amazon UK




 Buy from Amazon USA

 Buy from Amazon UK













More books about the Plantagenets including Eleanor of Aquitaine


More books about the Plantagenets from Amazon USA

More books about the Plantagenets from Amazon UK






Gisants of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II (along with the nasty Richard - below) in the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud




The only ray of sunshine for the day falls on the face of Richard I in the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud




King John, lying on his tomb in Worcester Cathedral




Copy of the Westminster Abbey tomb sculpture of Henry III in the V & A Museum, London


Edward I was buried in a plain effigy-less marble tomb in Westminster Abbey.


For this and many other genealogies of European Royal Houses by Ed Stephan, follow this link


The reason why John was nicknamed "Lackland" ("Sans Terre") was that the long reigned Henry, struggling to handle the landlust of his sons, organized initially to divide his huge domains amongst William, Henry, Richard and Geoffrey, leaving out little John - maybe on the basis that he was pencilled in for Ireland when his dad got round to conquering it, which he did not.



1066 - William I beats Saxon King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings and the Normans take over Saxon England


1100s and 1200s

The Age of the Crusades




First Crusade - 1095

Pope Urban II 1042 - 1088 - 1099 (57)


Second Crusade - 1147

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux 1090 - 1153 (63)

Norman King Roger II of Sicily 1093 - 1113? - 1130 - 1154 (61)

Eleanor of Aquitaine c1122 - 1204 (82)


Murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral 29 December 1170


Third Crusade - 1189

Featuring Richard I 1157-1189-1199 (42) v Saladin 1137 - 1193 (56)


Ghengis Khan 1160 - 1227 (67)

Pope Innocent III 1161 - 1198 - 1216 (55)

Saint Francis of Assisi 1182 - 1226 (44)


Fourth Crusade - 1203

Venice loots and destroys Constantinople


Fifth Crusade - 1213 / 1228

Emperor Frederick II ("Stupor Mundi")

1194 - 1215 - 1250 (56)

negotiates the return of Jerusalem


1291 - The End

Egyptian Mameluk armies close down the last of the crusader towns in the Levant, having previously sent the

Mongol Armies of Hulagu Khan packing


Space constraints make the full showing of large medieval families impossible!!  Henry II and Eleanor, for example, had 3 daughters in addition to the 5 sons shown above. 


Matilda (1156 - 1189 (33)) became a Bavarian Duchess.  That's all about her.


Leonora (1162 – 1214 (52)), the most savvy of the three, was Queen Consort of Alfonso VIII of Castile.  Leonora had around 11 children of whom 5 survived childhood to become a King, a Queen and 3 Queen Consorts.  The Queen was Berenguela, who married (another) King Alfonso - this time number IX of León - thus eventually uniting the Kingdoms of Leon and Castile under their son King Ferdinando III ("The Saint").  Eleanor of Castile (and Eleanor Crosses) was one of Ferdinando's kids.  Is all that clear?


Leonora's elegant sarcophagus is beside Alfonso's in the Cistercian Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos, which she founded in 1187.  Berenguela's  sarcophagus is nearby but Ferdinand's and that of his son Alfonso X have disappeared.


Joan 1165 - 1199 (36), the youngest and favourite sister of the awful King Richard I, became Queen Consort of William II's Sicily and owner inter alia of San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia (Padre Pio fans note), was a ring-in to the 3rd crusade and then married the nasty Raymond VI of Toulouse.  She died after fleeing from her abusive hubby to the Abbey of Fontevraud and having to undergo a caesarean operation (pretty much a sentence of death for mothers in those days).  Her surviving son Count Raymond VII was a leading figure in the Albigensian Crusade.  More about Richard and Joan ....



King Henry II and Queen Eleanor plus King Richard I at Fontevraud Abbey


King John arm-wrestles Innocent III


Magna Carta - 1215


King John's Tomb in Worcester Cathedral


Henry III and Edward II or III in Bolton Abbey


Henry III's tomb in Westminster Abbey


Edward I's Queen - Eleanor of Castile - and Eleanor Crosses (c1290)


King Edward II's Tomb in Gloucester Cathedral


Robert Curthose's Tomb in Gloucester Cathedral



Next:  Monarchs from the Houses of Lancaster and York



The 100 Years' War



All this AND a King of the Romans


King John's son Richard, Earl of Cornwall, 1209 - 1272 (63), was inter alia the only Englishman to make it to be elected as King of the Romans, and could have upgraded to Holy Roman Emperor but never made it to Rome to see the Pope about this ........ more to come ........ 



Medieval tile at Hailes Abbey (endowed by Earl Richard) showing the double eagle symbol of the King of the Romans


The map shows the Plantagenet domains (red) in 1154 - you can see why the "English" court spoke French until as late as 1362 !



Copy of the Westminster Abbey tomb sculpture of Eleanor of Castile (c1240 - 1290 (50) Queen Consort of Edward I) in the V & A Museum, London (link to Eleanor Crosses pages).

There is a further copy (sans gilding) on Eleanor's reconstructed visceral tomb in Lincoln Cathedral.  

Edward I's Westminster Abbey tomb is (and was) effigy-less.




Head of Edward II on his tomb in Gloucester Cathedral



Edward III was buried in Westminster Abbey, who also have his death mask.



image source unknown





Edward III and his son the Black Prince



Chantry Chapel of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, Christchurch Priory



The Last Plantagenet


The last Plantagenet (and Yorkist) King was Richard III 1452-1483-1485 (32) who fell at the Battle of Bosworth (22 August 1485) when his army was defeated by that of Henry Tudor (Henry VII) 1457-1485-1509 (52).  Extraordinarily, his body was located under a car park in Leicester late in 2012.




On  the left is the fan vaulted ceiling of the Chantry Chapel built for (but never occupied by) Margaret, Countess of Salisbury - the Last Plantagenet - in Christchurch Priory.  She was executed, aged 67, in the Tower of London on the 27 May 1541, in one of the most paranoid acts of the paranoid Henry VIII, and buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower. 


The cause of Henry's antagonism was her son, Reginald Cardinal Pole, who had opposed "the divorce" but whom Henry could not get his hands on directly, being as how he had sensibly gone overseas to help run the Council of Trent.  Pole later returned to England after Henry was safely dead and buried, and was the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury - inter alia helping Queen Mary to burn Protestants.  In the end he and Mary died on the same day - 17 November 1558.  Margaret was later recognized as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church and was beatified in 1886, but her body never got to enjoy her chantry.  Cardinal Archbishop Reggie's unarresting tomb is in Canterbury Cathedral.



More books about the Plantagenets including Eleanor of Aquitaine


More books about the Plantagenets from Amazon USA

More books about the Plantagenets from Amazon UK


Link to Insight Page on the Crusades



on to

English Monarchs from the Houses of Lancaster and York



For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page ...


Latest Updates Site Map Travel Services Insight Pages Artists Cathedrals Abbeys France Spain Portugal Britain Italy Venice,  N Italy Tuscany Umbria Rome, Central Italy Sicily, South Italy Book Pages Middle Ages-1350 Renaissance-1600 Map Pages Information


All original material © Adrian Fletcher 2000-2015 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission.