Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Chapter 3

How Count Matthew of Beaumont was forced to restore the castle of Luzarches to Hugh of Clermont when the Lord Louis had besieged that castle with powerful forces

Meanwhile, Count Matthew of Beaumont[1], inspired by long bitterness moved against his father-in-law Hugh of Clermont[2], a noble man but pliant and rather too trusting. He completely occupied the castle of Luzarches[3], half of which was his as a result of his marriage agreement, and planned to defend the tower with arms and armed men. What could Hugh do? Hastening to the defender of the realm[4], he prostrated himself at his feet in tears and begged him that he should help an old man, giving aid to one so seriously troubled. ‘I would rather,’ he said, ‘My gracious lord, that you should have all my land, since I hold it of you, than that my unworthy son-in-law should have it. If he takes it from me, I shall wish to die.’ Deeply moved by his sorrowful plight, Louis put out his hand in friendship, promised him help and sent him home in joyful hope. ‘And his hope was not misplaced.’[5]

At once messengers left the court to meet the count and order him, in the name of the king to return in the ordinary way the land he had surprisingly despoiled; the legal case would be discussed on a fixed day at the royal court. When Matthew refused to obey, the defender of the realm hastened to vengeance. Gathering together a large army, he set out and approached the castle. He fought both with sword and fire, took the castle with a great fight, put a garrison into the tower and returned it defended to Hugh, just as he had begged.

[1] Matthew I (c.1075-1152) was count of Beaumont-sur-Oise, son of Yves III de Beaumont-sur-Oise (1040-after 1083) and Adélaïde de Gournay (1055-1099). He married Beatrice or Emma de Clermont, one of the eight children of Hugh de Clermont before 1101. He was brother-in-law of Hugh de Grentmesnil who had married Adeliza de Clermont.

[2] Hugh de Clermont (c.1030-1102) was father-in-law of Matthew de Beaumont. Clermont is about twenty-one miles north of Beaumont.

[3] Luzarches is about six miles south-east of Beaumont and nineteen miles north of Paris. The events in this chapter occurred in 1102: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 19.

[4] This is the first occasion that Suger uses this phrase and it seems that Louis was already associated with the throne of his father Philip.

[5] St Paul Epistle to the Romans, v, 3

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