Here is the essay on the Plantagenets written by my late friend, Ben Toney, whose ancestor was Margaret De Toeny, the mother of Rosamond Clifford.
The Royal Plantagenets
Much has been said by various historians about the connection of Ralph de Toney III and the royal family of William the Conqueror and the royal family of Jerusalem. Ralph’s daughter Godehildis had married as her second husband Baldwin the Crusader. Baldwin, Godehildis, and their two young children were members of the First Crusade. They were accompanied by Baldwin’s brothers, Godfrey de Bouillon and Eustace of Boulogne and other notables. When the entourage arrived at Antioch in Asia Minor, Baldwin made a warring expedition against the Saracens, and upon his return to Antioch he found that Godehildis and his two children had died of heat prostration in the scorching summer of 1097. Baldwin continued on to Jerusalem with his brothers where Godfrey for a short time ruled as Protector of the Holy Sepulcher. He would not accept the title of king in a place where his Lord had died wearing a crown of thorns. After Godfrey’s death, Baldwin was crowned King of Jerusalem in the year 1100. In the year 1104, two years after Ralph de Toney III’s death, his son Ralph IV married Alice de Huntingdon, daughter of the late Earl Waltheof and his wife Countess Judith. Alice had rather important connections. Her father, Waltheof, was the son of Siward, Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland who was immortalized in the Shakespearean drama Macbeth. Siward’s father was Earl Beorn of Denmark, brother of King Sweyn Ethrithson 1047-1076. Alice’s mother, Countess Judith was the daughter of Lambert de Boulogne, Count of Lens. Count Lambert was the uncle of Godfrey and his brother Baldwin who were both rulers of Jerusalem. Not to mention the fact that Countess Judith’s mother, Countess Adelaide was the sister of William the Conqueror. Furthermore, Alice’s sister, Maud, married David of Scotland who became Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland and in 1124 became king of Scotland. And to add fuel to this royal fire, David’s sister, Matilda, married Henry I, King of England. The common ancestors of the Royal Plantagenets and the Toneys came from two lines. The first line came down from Godehildis, wife of Roger de Toney I, the mother of Ralph de Toney III and his Toney siblings. After the death of Roger de Toney I in May 1040, Godehildis married Richard, Count of Evreux ca. 1041. Not long after this union, their daughter Agnes was born. It was through her that the line to the Plantagenets would continue. The second line emanates from a powerful Frenchman, Simon de Montfort l’Amaury. This line can only be claimed by descendants of Ralph de Toney III and his wife Isabel (de Montfort) de Toney.
Between 1058 and 1063 Ralph de Toney III was banished from Normandy. No one seems to know the reason for this banishment, but it could have been that Ralph followed in the footsteps of his father Roger and raided the territory of his neighbors. Nonetheless, it was probably during this time that Ralph ventured to the Ile de France and became acquainted with Simon de Montford l’Amaury and his daughter Isabel. Isabel and her sister Eve, wife of William I, Count of the Vexin, were issues from Simon’s first marriage to Isabel de Bardoul, daughter of Hugh, Seigneur of Broyes. Simon had been married one other time after Isabel’s demise, but she too had passed on leaving Simon unmarried. Simon de Montfort has been reported as the son of Almeric de Montfort, a natural son of King Robert the Pious. Others have said that Almeric de Montfort was the son of William of Hainault. Nonetheless, Simon was a very powerful magnate who held the manor of Montfort l’Amaury which lies just west of Versailles. Regardless of his ancestry, Simon apparently had some influence with William, Duke of Normandy, and in 1063 Ralph de Toney was reinstated to his possessions in Normandy. It must have been only a short time after Ralph III’s return to Normandy in 1063 that he ventured to Evreux and kidnapped his half sister Agnes and took her to Montfort l’Amaury to be the third wife of Simon de Montfort. Agnes was the daughter of Count Richard and his wife Countess Godehildis. In return, Ralph III received in marriage Lady Isabel, Simon’s daughter by Isabel de Bardoul. As a part of Isabel’s dowery, Ralph III received Nougent le Roi, SW of Montfort l’Amaury.
Bertrade de Montfort l’Amaury Queen of France, Niece of Ralph de Toney III, and Sister of Ralph’s Wife Isabel Bertrade (sometimes called Bertrada) was the daughter of Ralph de Toney III’s half sister Agnes, and a half sister of Ralph’s wife Isabel. She had the distinction of being double half kin to the descendants of Ralph and Isabel. When Bertrade’s father, Simon de Montfort, died in 1087, she fell under the influence of her uncle, William Count of Evreux. William at one time had gained some land at Gace when his cousin, Robert de Gace, died without issue. For some reason William the Conqueror had deprived Count William of these lands, and upon the death of the king in 1087, the count devised a plan to get his lands returned. Using Bertrade as a pawn, Count William arranged a marriage between her and the aging Fulk IV le Rechin (the Surly), Count of Anjou. Fulk was born in 1043 and Bertrade was born ca. 1067, an age difference of about 24 years. Apparently Fulk IV had some influence with the Duke of Normandy and Count William had his lands returned. However, Bertrade found herself married to a man that she had no attraction to or love for.
Fulk IV had previously been married to Hildegarde de Beaugency, but this union did not produce a male heir. Fulk IV and Bertrade were married in 1090-91 and by 1092, their son Fulk V was born. The medieval kings of France made their residence at Melun, a city on the Seine River just south of Paris. It was shortly after the birth of her son that the beautiful and vivacious Bertrade found herself at the court of King Philip I at Melun. She was well received by the court and especially by the king who immediately fell in love with her, and she with him. One account of their involvement is outlined in the following text: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. VII, Ready Reference Vol. VII, page 940 Because of his firm determination to retain control over all ecclesiastical appointments, Philip was eventually drawn into conflict with the papacy. The conflict was exacerbated when in 1092 Philip abducted Fulk IV of (s/b “the”) Rechin’s wife Bertrada of Montfort. He next demanded the annulment of the marriage of his wife Bertha (of Holland), and of Fulk’s with Bertrada; before long he had found a complaisant bishop, and the king and Bertrada went through a marriage ceremony of dubious legality. Pope Urban II and later his successor Pascual II repeatedly excommunicated Philip, and not until 1104, after Philip and the papacy had settled some of their political differences, did Pascual II turn a blind eye to his relations with Bertrada. By this time Louis VI, Philip’s son by Bertha, had taken over the administration of the kingdom, Philip having been rendered inactive by his extreme obesity. Another account of this dramatic story tells us that after 12 years of marriage to Bertrada, Philip felt the need to have his excommunication rescinded. It was said that Philip made a deal with Pope Pascal II which amounted to Philip remaining apart from Bertrade for the rest of his days if the Pope would reinstate him in the church. This account may well have been true, and his sadness at the loss of Bertrade could have resulted in Philip’s turn to gluttony in his final years. Philip was born in 1052 and died July 29/30 1108 at Melun, France. One other reason for the Pope’s opposition to the marriage of Philip and Bertrade could have been their closeness of kinship. Philip’s father, Henry I, and Bertrade’s grandfather, Almeric de Montfort, could have been half brothers.
Fulk V Count of Anjou and Maine and King of Jerusalem; Grand nephew of Ralph de Toney III and nephew of Ralph’s wife Isabel. Fulk V was born in 1092 and died on 10 November 1143. Upon the death of his father in 1109, he became heir to Anjou at 17 years of age. In the following year, 1110, with the permission of his stepfather King Philip, Fulk married Erembourg, heiress of Maine who died in 1126.
In 1120 Fulk made an expedition to Jerusalem where he met King Baldwin II and his daughter Melisend du Bourg. Baldwin II had become King of Jerusalem in 1118 upon the death of his cousin King Baldwin I. And of course, Baldwin I was the son-in-law of Ralph de Toney III. In 1129, after the death of his wife Erembourg, Fulk returned to Jerusalem and married Melisend du Bourg. Upon this marriage, Fulk and Melisend became heirs to the throne of Jerusalem, and only two years later in 1131, King Baldwin died and Fulk was crowned King of Jerusalem. At the time Fulk became king, his 18 year old son by Erembourg, Geoffrey, became Count of Anjou and Maine. Fulk’s reign as King of Jerusalem can best be described in the following text: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. VII, Ready Reference Vol. IV, p. 352 Fulk…spent the first year of his reign settling a dispute in Antioch (Turkey) and putting down a revolt led by his wife’s lover, Hugh de Puiset. In 1137 he allied himself with the Bysantines against a Turkish leader ‘Imad ad-Din Zangi of Mosel (Iraq), and in 1140 helped the Muslims of Damascus ward off Zangi’s armies. He protected Jerusalem in the south by constructing a series of fortresses, including Krak of Moab.
Several of Fulk’s descendants were also kings of Jerusalem: Baldwin III, b. 1131 – d. February 10, 1162; King of Jerusalem (1143-62). Baldwin III was the son of Fulk and Melisend. Amalric (Amaury) I, died July 11, 1174; King of Jerusalem (1163-74). Amalric was the brother of Baldwin III and was named for his father’s uncle Amalric or Amaury de Montfort, Count of Evreux who was the nephew of Ralph de Toney III. Amalric was the son of Fulk and Melisend. Baldwin IV, b. 1161 – d. March 1185, son of Amalric I and Agnes Courtenay. Baldwin IV was only 13 years of age at the time of his father’s death. His kinsman, Raymond III, Count of Tripoli, acted as his regent until 1177. Baldwin died at the age of 24 of leprosy. Baldwin V, b. 1177 in Jerusalem, died August 1186. He was the nominal King of Jerusalem who reigned from March 1185 until his death a year and a half later. Baldwin V was the son of William de Monferrat and Sybille, the sister of Baldwin IV. He was succeeded by Guy de Lusignan, Sybille’s second husband. It is thought that Guy may have poisoned Baldwin V in order to gain the throne; however, Guy’s reign was short lived because on October 2, 1187 Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, conquered Jerusalem, ending the kingdom founded by Godfrey de Bouillon during the First Crusade (1096-99).
Geoffrey Plantagenet Count of Anjou and Maine and later Duke of Normandy; Grandson of Bertrade de Montfort, Queen of France. Geoffrey Plantagenet was born in 1151, the son of Fulk V and Erembourg, Countess of Maine. In 1128, the year before Fulk V made his last sojourn to Jerusalem, he arranged a marriage between his son Geoffrey and the Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. At the time Geoffrey was 15 years of age while Matilda was 26 years, eleven years his senior. At eight years of age, Matilda had been sent to Germany in betrothal to Henry V, King of Germany and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. They were married when she was only twelve years old. In all, Matilda lived in Germany for 15 years. As a result, she spoke German better than French. It was said that she spoke French with a German accent. In 1125 Henry V died and Matilda returned to England. Upon her return, she brought with her a young girl, Gertrude, daughter of Baldwin III Count of Hainault. At the time Hainault was a part of Germany, so Gertrude spoke German. Matilda and her young friend Gertrude very often carried on conversations in German rather than French, which was the language of the nobility in England at the time. Nine years after Gertrude’s arrival in England in 1125, she met and married Roger de Toney II in 1134. Roger was the son of Ralph IV and the grandson of Ralph III, and the not too distant cousin of Geoffrey Plantagenet. Upon the marriage of Roger and Gertrude, King Henry I gave them a present of the royal lands at E. Bergholt in Suffolk. Geoffrey gained his sobriquet “plantagenet” because he wore a sprig of broom plant in his helmet. In French, the phrase would be plante de genet, but shortened to “plantagenet” in English. All the kings of England from Geoffrey’s son Henry II to Richard II (d. 1399) bore their ancestor’s nickname “plantagenet”. These kings were also called Angevin kings because they were not only kings of England, but also counts of Anjou in France. The marriage of Geoffrey and Matilda was likely very tranquil during the first few years. However, in 1135 Matilda’s father Henry I died, and although she was the legitimate heiress to the throne and to the Duchy of Normandy, her cousin Stephen of Blois challenged her right. Geoffrey immediately began fighting for his wife’s right to Normandy, and after nine years in 1144, he took the title of Duke of Normandy. He passed this title on to his son Henry in 1150, the year before his own death. Matilda’s fight for her right to the English throne was even more prolonged than her husband’s fight for Normandy. At the time of Henry’s death, the English lords resented Matilda’s ascension to the throne on the basis that she was a woman, and also that she had married an Angevin. Angevin’s had had a long history of fighting the Normans and they were not very popular in the NormanEnglish court.
Within the Angevin family, there was a tradition that the Counts of Anjou were descended from the Devil’s daughter. When referring to the “Devil”, they were likely pointing to their ancestor Fulk III Nerra (or the Black) who went about the countryside destroying various abbeys and other church property. As Fulk became older, he became very repentant of his evil deeds and made three pilgrimages to the Holy Land in search for forgiveness. On his return from his last journey, he died in the year 1040. Upon his death, his son Geoffrey Martel became Count of Anjou for a time. When Geoffrey died, he left no heir, so the county fell to the son of his sister Ermengard (the daughter of the Devil). Her son Fulk IV le Rechin (the Surly or the Arrogant) assumed the title Count of Anjou. He of course was the grandfather of Geoffrey Plantagenet. Upon Stephen’s usurpation of the crown, Matilda positioned herself at Rouen and waited for an opportunity to make a strike at England and seize the crown that was legitimately hers. Her opportunity arrived when Stephen became embroiled with the church following his arrest of Bishop Roger of Salisbury. So, in September of 1139 Matilda crossed the English Channel and met Stephen who made a display of chivalry and escorted her to Bristol where she won over most of western England. Early in 1141 the Angevins captured Stephen in a battle at Lincoln. At this point things were going well for Matilda. It was her trip to London for her coronation that became her downfall. She arrived in the capital city with a very arrogant attitude (probably something she picked up from her Angevin in-laws) and the Londoners rebelled against her. In November of 1141 Stephen was exchanged for Matilda’s half brother Robert, Earl of Gloucester who had taken his sister’s side and who had been captured by the opposing side. From the time of Stephen’s release from captivity, he gained the upper hand and as a result, Matilda returned to Rouen in 1148 where she remained until her son Henry took the throne as Henry II in 1154. Stephen had envisioned his son Eustace becoming his successor; however, in January 1153, Henry invaded England to claim his inheritance as king. When Eustace died in August of that year, Stephen designated Henry as his successor. Upon Stephen’s death in 1154, Henry took the throne.
Henry II Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy and First Plantagenet King of England Henry II was born in 1133 at Le Mans, France and died July 6, 1189 near Tours, France. When he was only 20 years of age, he married the divorced former queen of France, Eleanor of Aquitane. Louis III of France repudiated Eleanor for misconduct and through a papal decree divorced her March 21, 1152. Of course the divorce was probably enacted because Eleanor had not borne an heir for Louis. Nonetheless, on 18 May 1153 Henry II married Eleanor who was 11 years his senior. However, Eleanor was not a disappointment to Henry for between 1153 and 1167 she bore him eight children, among them were four sons, Henry, Geoffrey, Richard, and John who lived to adulthood. As was often the case with political marriages, there was not a great fulfillment between the parties involved. So, it was not surprising that Henry went searching for love in the arms of other women. In his search he found many willing young maidens who shared his love and his bed. Some years before he became king, Henry was a friend of his distant cousin Ralph de Toney V. It was likely through Ralph that he was introduced to Ralph’s first cousin the enchanting and lovely damsel……… Fair
Rosamond de Clifford, daughter of Walter and Margaret (de Toney) Clifford. Henry II, Ralph, and Rosamond were all descendants of Godehildis de Toney d’Evreux. They were also descended from Simon de Montford l’Amaury (thought by some to have been the grandson of Robert the Pious, King of France). It was Rosamond who became the love of Henry’s life. He placed her in a beautiful castle at Woodstock, which is about 9 miles NW of the city of Oxford. (Woodstock is where Blenheim Palace was later built, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill). Unfortunately, this historic love affair ended in 1176 when Rosamond fell ill and died with a lung ailment at the age of 36 years. It seems that Henry was well taken with the Toney women. One of his other mistresses was one Ida de Toney. Gertrude de Toney was sometimes confused with this Ida because she was on occasion known as Ida herself. Gertrude’s daughter-in-law was Ida de Chaumont who was married to her son Roger de Toney the younger, her husband being Roger de Toney II. Some writers have been tempted to assert that Gertrude was one of Henry II’s mistresses. This, however, is unlikely because Gertrude was 16 or 17 years older than Henry, and a woman of that age would not have appealed to Henry’s taste. He preferred the younger damsels. It was probably a misinterpretation of the following text that led to the notion that Gertrude had an amorous connection with Henry II: The Victoria History of the County of Oxford p. 137 (Garsington Manor)
…In 1255, the jurors said that the avus (grandfather) of King Henry III gave his land to Ida de Tony pro servio suo (for her service). Ida presumably one of Henry II’s mistresses, was the daughter of Robert de Chaumont, and wife of Roger de Tony, a tenant-in-chief and member of a junior branch of the Tony family, the caput of whose barony was at Flamstead (Herts.). It is possible that she was given Garsington by Henry II as a maritagium (wedding gift ?). She was in possession in 1201, when Adam Buciute a London merchant quitclaimed his right to the property during her life. Ida was alive in 1203-4, but apparently dead by 1206 when her son Baldwin de Tony was trying to prove in the king’s court his father’s right to property in Garsington. It should be obvious to the casual observer that the preceding text refers to Ida the daughter-in-law of Gertrude rather than Gertrude herself. Gertrude was the daughter of the Count of Hainault, not Robert de Chaumont. Her husband Roger de Toney II was the tenant-in-chief of the main line of Toneys, not a junior line. Some have tried to tie in the death of Ida de Chaumont, shown in this text, with that of Gertrude. There is no evidence here of Gertrude’s time of death. One would conclude that this was the finish of Henry II’s affairs with the Toney women. There is more to be told. In the year 1162 Ralph de Toney V died leaving four year old Ida and her two year old brother Roger who would later become Roger III. These two children were made wards of Henry II. As time went on, Ida became Henry’s mistress, and in the year 1176, when she was eighteen years old she bore him a son who was later called William Longsword. For many years William was thought to have been the son of Rosamond Clifford; however, a London cartilary of the abbey at Bradenststoke (Wiltshire) found in 1979 in William’s own words said “Comitissa Ida mater mea” (Countess Ida my mother). Around Christmas of 1181 Ida de Toney was given in marriage by Henry II to Roger de Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk. This made Ida the Countess of Norfolk. She had several children from this marriage including Hugh, Ralph and Roger. One of these sons was cited in a later document by William Longsword as his brother. There is little doubt that Ida de Toney was the mother of William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury.
As time went on, the Toneys began to become more attached to their English possessions as opposed to their lands in Normandy. This had more to do with economics than anything else. Nonetheless, they had become well attached to their Plantagenet cousins and were often seen in their presence. As an example, when King Richard I joined the French King Philip August on the second crusade of 1192-93, Roger de Toney III became a member of Richard’s party rather than the party of Philip. Then when John became king in 1199, Roger III sided with John against Philip August. As a reward John gave Roger a manor in Norfolk called Saham which Roger attached his name to, and even today this manor bears the name Saham-Toney. Of course, Roger’s allegiance to John was not well placed because five years later in 1204, he lost all his Norman estates. Roger III died in 1209, leaving his estate to his 19 year old son Ralph de Toney VI. It is not likely that Ralph de Toney VI had the same warm feeling toward the Plantagenets as had his ancestors. When Ralph was only four years old, he was offered as one of the hostages for the release of King Richard I. Had it not been for the intervention of his kinsman Count Baldwin of Hainault (his grandfather’s first cousin), he would have been held for ransom. Baldwin detained the boy and his escorts at Maubeuge, France, near Belgium in February of 1194 and rescued the boy. As King John’s control tightened on the English barons, Ralph VI joined many of the other barons at Runnymede where they signed the Magna Charta. His later career included becoming General of the Poitevin Mercinaries in the Welsh Marches in the war against Llewellyn the Great and Richard le Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. Then later, signed with the cross, he went on a crusade to the Holy Land led by Theobald II, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne. Ralph VI died at sea on this crusade in 1239. The three final barons Toney were killed in wars while defending the rights of their king. Roger IV was engaged in the Baron’s War which started in 1263. He sided with the king over his distant cousin Simon de Montfort who for the lack of good luck almost became king of England. Roger IV was captured at Lewes in Sussex and is presumed to have died as a prisoner. Ralph VII participated in the Welsh Wars and was later in an expedition to Gascony where he died in 1295.
The final Baron Toney, Robert “Knight of the Swan”, fought at Caerlaverock in Scotland, and in 1309 went to Spain to fight the Saracens. In November of 1309 it was reported that Robert had died in battle. The same Saracens that Robert’s ancestor Roger I had fought almost 300 years before had claimed the life of the last Toney baron. After the fall of the House of Toney, the Plantagenets continued ruling England for another 90 years. During this period, many of the junior branches of the Toneys were involved with the Plantagenets at the time of the Hundred Years War, which lasted on past the Plantagenet’s reign. Many years have passed since the Toneys and Plantagenets shared the rich, royal blue blood that surged through their veins. Nowadays, the Toneys have been left with a not so royal, pale, sky blue blood that testifies to a more common stature in life. However, in the end, one must ask these important questions. Who and what am I and where do we go from here?