Saturday, 18 April 2009

Chapter 8

How Miles entered the castle of Montlhery

By these and other means the young prince grew in virtue. He sought to provide wisely for the royal administration and the state and, as opportunity allowed suppress the unruly and occupy or destroy by any means castles that menaced him Guy Trusseau was the son of Miles de Montlhery[1], a turbulent baron who often disturbed the kingdom. When Guy returned home from crusade, he was broken by the exhaustion of a long journey, by the pain of his various troubles, and by the memory of his extraordinary deed at Antioch, when he had, through fear of Kerboga, escaped by climbing down the wall, leaving the army of God besieged inside the city[2]. So he completely lost his health. Fearing disinheritance, by the will and persuasion of King Philip and his son Louis, who desperately wanted his castle he married his one and only daughter[3] to the son of King Philip by his second wife the countess of Anjou[4]. In order to cement his brother’s love more firmly, the elder brother Lord Louis, at his father’s request[5], confirmed to Philip the castle of Mantes[6] at his marriage.

When he received the castle of Montlhéry[7] on this occasion, the inhabitants rejoiced as much as if scales had been removed from their eyes or they had broken the chains that had held them captive. King Philip testified as much to his son Louis when, in my hearing, he recalled how seriously he had been wearied and troubled by it. ‘My son Louis,’ he said, ‘Beware of that tower which has exhausted me into premature old age; the treachery and bad faith of its castellans deprived me altogether of peace and quiet.’

Their disloyalty made the faithful faithless, the faithless totally treacherous. It attracted traitors from near and far and in the whole kingdom no evil occurred without their involvement or consent. Montlhéry stood halfway on the road between Corbeil on the Seine and Chateaufort[8]. It blocked the route to Paris and this caused such chaos and confusion between Paris and Orleans that men could not travel between one place and the other unless under strong guard[9], without the consent of those wicked men. But the marriage of which we have spoken broke the barrier and opened an agreeable route in each direction.

In addition, when Guy, count of Rochefort[10], a man of experience and an outstanding knight, who was Guy Trousseau’s uncle, returned from his Jerusalem journey full of fame and fortune, he freely adhered to King Philip, whose old friend he was, and whose seneschal[11] he had once been. Both the king and his son Louis invested Guy with the seneschalship for the benefit of the state, so that they might from then on possess the castle of Montlhery peacefully, and in order to obtain from his county (that is Rochefort, Chateaufort and the other nearby castles) that bordered on their lands, a peace and service to which they were unaccustomed. The mutual friendship[12] reached the point that, by his father’s persuasion, the son Louis agreed to wed Guy’s daughter[13], not yet of marriageable age. But his affianced did not become his wife; for before the consummation of the marriage some years later, the union was annulled on ground of consanguinity. Thus the friendship lasted for three years. Both father and son had unlimited confidence in Guy. In return, he and his son Hugh de Crecy put all their strength into the defence and honour of the realm.

But because ‘a vase retains for a long time the smell of anything that has one been poured into it,’[14] the men of Montlhery, faithful to their treacherous tradition, intrigued with the Garlande brothers, who had incurred the enmity of the king and his son. They arranged that Miles, viscount of Troyes[15] and younger brother of Guy Trusseau, should come with his mother the viscountess and a great band of soldiers; and he was received at the castle in defiance of their vow. In tears he reminded them of the benefits his father had often conferred on them. He praised their generosity and natural industry, admired their wonderful loyalty, thanked them for having recalled him, and at their knees humbly begged them to finish well a work so well begun. Swayed by seeing him prostrated by grief, they rushed to arms, ran to the tower, and hurled against its garrison swords, lances, torches, stakes and stones. They breached the outer wall of the tower in several places and mortally wounded many of the defenders. Within the tower were the wife of Guy and his daughter affianced to the Lord Louis, When seneschal Guy heard of it, as he was a magnanimous man, he hastened forth and with as many knights as he could gather, boldly approached the castle and sent ahead his fastest messengers to summon his followers from all around. Those who were besieging the tower saw him from the hill. As they had not yet captured it, and were afraid of the sudden advent of Lord Louis, they retired and began to debate whether they should stand fast or flee. But Guy, who was valiant and diplomatic, persuaded the Garlandes brothers to come out and swore that they should have the peace and grace of the king and Lord Louis. Thus he made them and their accomplices abandon their enterprise; with their defection, Miles also defected and fled away swiftly, totally frustrated, in tears and weeping.

When the Lord Louis heard this, he hastened to the castle, and on hearing the true account, rejoiced that nothing had been lost, but grieved that he could not find the rebels to hang them. As for the rest, since Guy had sworn peace with them, the Lord Louis preserved it; but in order to prevent any similar occurrence in the future, he demolished all the fortifications except the tower.[16]


[1] Miles I de Montlhery was born about 1050 in France. He married Lithuaise de Troyes d’Eu about 1069. Guy Trusseau was their son. Both father and son went on the First Crusade in 1096

[2] He escaped with two companions on the night of 10th-11th June 1098 from the siege of Antioch by Kerboga, emir of Mosul: see description in Gesta Francorum 23.

[3] The marriage with Elisabeth de Montlhéry, daughter of Guy I, Seigneur de Mantes eand de Montlhéry did not take place until 1104. This must have followed reconciliation between Louis and his stepmother but Suger does not mention this as he avoided mentioning the problems between them. Orderic Vitalis 4: 195-98 and 288 is more forthcoming.

[4] After the first reference to Bertrade in chapter 1, Suger avoids mentioning her by name and persistently refers to her as ‘superducta Andegavensis comitissa’ (in chapters 13 and 18 as well). The Latin word ‘superducta’ denoted a ‘wife who had been taken while her first husband still lived’ and which can be translated as ‘irregular union’.

[5] Tensions between Philip I and Louis appear to have been resolved by 1104 and their reconciliation included provision of Louis’ castle at Mantes for the young Philip, the eldest of Philip’s sons by Bertrada.

[6] Mantes is on the Seine thirty-five miles north-west of Paris on the southern border of the French Vexin. It is crucially located between the castles of Meulan and La Roche-Guyon.

[7] The castle of Montlhery was built by Theobald, forester for King Robert ‘the Pious’ and maternal grandfather of Miles ‘the Great’.

[8] Montlhery is abouth fifteen miles south of Paris on the road to Orleans. Corbeil is some ten miles south-east of Montlhery while Chateaufort is about the same distance to the north-west.

[9] This is a graphic illustration of the weakness of the French monarchy in this period.

[10] Guy I de Montlhery Count of Rochefort, castellan of Chateaufort and lord of Crecy was born in c.1049 in Montlhéry, Île-de-France, France and died in 1108. He married Adelaide de Crecy about 1080 in France. He was the brother of Miles I de Montlhery.

[11] Guy de Rochefort was seneschal from 1091 until he left for the crusades at the beginning of 1096. The seneschalate was then held by Gilbert called Pain de Garlande (died 1154) and then, very probably by Anselm de Garlande. Having recovered his office in 1104, Guy held it for two further years before his son Hugh de Crecy replaced him.

[12] The creation of an alliance by the projected nuptials of Louis and Guy’s daughter Lucienne de Rochfort indicated how far Guy had advanced in royal favour. Suger points out that she was not yet of marriageable age and in 1107 the Council of Troyes dissolved the betrothal on the grounds of consanguinity but there may have been other reasons. Ibid, La Chronique de Saint-Pierre-le-Vif de Sens, pp. 146-7 stated that Lucienne was not worthy of the royal dignity. Suger stated that Louis had agreed to the marriage at the request of his father but by 1107 the pattern of Louis’ alliances had changed.

[13] The growing rift between the de Rochefort family and the Crown can also be attributed to the intrigues of the Garlande brothers who were restored to royal favour on the accession of Louis VI.

[14] Horace, Epistles I, 2, v, 69-70

[15] Miles II, castellan of Bray-sur-Seine and viscount of Troyes, brother of Guy Trousseau was the nephew of Guy de Rocheford.

[16] These events probably took place in the course of 1105: ibid, Luchaire, Louis VI le Gros, Annales de son vie et de son règne, n° 34.

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