The World of Grandpa Don

The Royal Line
Page Five
Charlemagne and his Ancestors

This page traces our ancestors from Matilda, the mother of Henry I of England back to Charlemagne and his ancestors

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

This is their story, as I know it.

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Pedigree Chart Matilda Countess of Flanders


Matilda of Flanders (c. 1031 – 2 November 1083) was the wife of William the Conqueror and, as such, Queen consort of the Kingdom of England. She bore William eleven children, including two kings, William II and Henry I.

Matilda, or Maud, was the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and Adèle Capet, herself daughter of Robert II of France. According to legend, when Duke William II of Normandy (later known as William the Conqueror) sent his representative to ask for Matilda's hand in marriage, she told the representative that she was far too high-born, to consider marrying a bastard. After hearing this response, William rode from Normandy to Bruges, found Matilda on her way to church, and dragged her off her horse by her long braids, threw her down in the street in front of her flabbergasted attendants, and rode off. Another version of the story states that William rode to Matilda's father's house in Lille, threw her to the ground in her room (again, by the braids), and hit her (or violently battered her) before leaving. Naturally, Baldwin took offense at this but, before they drew swords, Matilda settled the matter by agreeing to marry him, and even a papal ban on the grounds of consanguinity did not dissuade her. They were married in 1053.

There were rumors that Matilda had been in love with the English ambassador to Flanders, a Saxon named Brihtric, who declined her advances. Whatever the truth of the matter, years later when she was acting as Regent for William in England, she used her authority to confiscate Brihtric's lands and throw him into prison, where he died.

Some doubt exists over how many daughters there were. This list includes some entries which are obscure.
1.Robert Curthose (c. 1054–1134), Duke of Normandy, married Sybil of Conversano, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversano
2.Adeliza (or Alice) (c. 1055 – ?), reportedly betrothed to Harold II of England (Her existence is in some doubt.)
3.Cecilia (or Cecily) (c. 1056–1126), Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen
4.William Rufus (1056–1100), King of the English
5.Richard, Duke of Bernay (1057 – c. 1081), killed by a stag in New Forest
6.Adela (c. 1062–1138), married Stephen, Count of Blois
7.Agatha(c. 1064 – c. 1080), betrothed to (1) Harold of Wessex, (2) Alfonso VI of Castile
8.Constance (c. 1066–1090), married Alan IV Fergent, Duke of Brittany; poisoned, possibly by her own servants
9.Maud (very obscure, her existence is in some doubt)
10.Henry Beauclerc (1068–1135), King of England, married (1) Edith of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III, King of Scotland, (2) Adeliza of Louvain

Gundred (c. 1063–1085), wife of William de Warenne (c. 1055–1088), was formerly thought of as being yet another of Matilda's daughters, with speculation that she was William I's full daughter, a stepdaughter, or even a foundling or adopted daughter. However, this connection to William I has now been firmly debunked.
Matilda was a seventh generation direct descendent of Alfred the Great. Her marriage to William strengthened his claim to the throne. All sovereigns of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom have been descended from her, as is the present Queen Elizabeth II.


Adela Capet, Adèle of France or Adela of Flanders[1], known also as Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines; (1009 – 8 January 1079, Messines) was the second daughter of Robert II (the Pious), and Constance of Arles. As dowry to her future husband, she received from her father the title of Countess of Corbie.

Adèle’s influence lay mainly in her family connections. On the death of her brother, Henry I of France, the guardianship of his seven-year-old son Philip I fell jointly on his widow, Ann of Kiev, and on his brother-in-law, Adela's husband, so that from 1060 to 1067, they were Regents of France.

Adèle had an especially great interest in Baldwin V’s church-reform politics and was behind her husband’s founding of several collegiate churches. Directly or indirectly, she was responsible for establishing the Colleges of Aire (1049), Lille (1050) and Harelbeke (1064) as well as the abbeys of Messines (1057) and Ename (1063). After Baldwin’s death in 1067, she went to Rome, took the nun’s veil from the hands of Pope Alexander II and retreated to the Benedictine convent of Messines, near Ypres. There she died, being buried at the same monastery. Honored as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, her commemoration day is 8 September.

She was a member of the House of Capet, the rulers of France. As the wife of Baldwin V, she was Countess of Flanders from 1036 to 1067.

She married first 1027 Richard III Duke of Normandy (997 † 1027). They never had children. As a widow, she remarried in 1028 in Paris to Baldwin V of Flanders (1012 † 1067). Their children were:
Baldwin VI of Flanders, (1030 † 1070)
Matilda of Flanders (1032 † 1083). In 1053 she married William Duke of Normandy, the future king of England
Robert I of Flanders, (1033-1093)
Henry of Flanders (c. 1035)
Sir Richard of Flanders (c. 1050-1105)


Baldwin V of Flanders (c. 1012 – 1 September 1067) was Count of Flanders from 1035 until his death. He was the son of Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders, who died in 1035.

In 1028 Baldwin married Adèle of France in Amiens, daughter of King Robert II of France; at her instigation he rebelled against his father but in 1030 peace was sworn and the old count continued to rule until his death.

Baldwin and Adèle had five children:
Baldwin VI, 1030-1070
Matilda, c.1031-1083 who married William the Conqueror
Robert I of Flanders, c.1033–1093
Henry of Flanders c.1035
(possibly) ... Sir Richard of Flanders c. 1050-1105


Baldwin IV of Flanders (980 – May 30, 1035[1]), known as the Bearded, was Count of Flanders from 988 until his death. He was the son of Arnulf II, Count of Flanders. His mother was Rozala of Lombardy.

Baldwin first married Ogive of Luxembourg, daughter of Frederick of Luxembourg, by whom he had a son and heir Baldwin V.

He later married Eleanor of Normandy, daughter of Richard II of Normandy, by whom he had at least one daughter Judith who married Tostig Godwinson and Welf I, Duke of Bavaria.

His granddaughter, Matilda of Flanders, would go on to marry William the Conqueror, therefore starting the line of Anglo-Norman Kings of England.


Arnulf II of Flanders (960 or 961 – March 30, 987) was Count of Flanders from 965 until his death. He was the son of Baldwin III of Flanders and Mathilde Billung of Saxony, daughter of Herman, Duke of Saxony

He married Rozala of Lombardy, daughter of Berengar II of Italy, and was succeeded by their son, Baldwin IV.


Baldwin III of Flanders The Young (940 – January 1, 962) was Count of Flanders, who briefly ruled the County of Flanders (an area that is now northwestern Belgium and southwestern Holland), together with his father Arnulf I.

Arnulf I had made Baldwin co-ruler in 958, but Baldwin died before his father and was succeeded by his infant son Arnulf II, with his father acting as regent until his own death. In 961 Baldwin had married Mathilde Billung of Saxony, daughter of Herman, Duke of Saxony, by whom he had a son, his heir Arnulf II.

During his short rule, Baldwin established the weaving and fulling industry in Ghent, thus laying the basis for the economical importance of the county in the centuries to come.


Arnulf of Flanders (c. 890 – March 28, 965), called the Great, was the third Count of Flanders, who ruled the County of Flanders, an area that is now northwestern Belgium and southwestern Holland.

Arnulf was the son of count Baldwin II of Flanders and Ælfthryth of Wessex, daughter of Alfred the Great. He was named after his distant ancestor, Saint Arnulf of Metz; this was intended to emphasize his family's descent from the Carolingian dynasty.

Arnulf I greatly expanded Flemish rule to the south, taking all or part of Artois, Ponthieu, Amiens, and Ostravent. He exploited the conflicts between Charles the Simple and Robert I of France, and later those between Louis IV and his barons.

In his southern expansion Arnulf inevitably had conflict with the Normans, who were trying to secure their northern frontier. This led to the 943 murder of the Duke of Normandy, William Longsword, at the hands of Arnulf's men.

The Viking threat was receding during the later years of Arnulf's life, and he turned his attentions to the reform of the Flemish government.

In 934 he married Adele of Vermandois, daughter of Herbert II of Vermandois. Their children were:
Liutgard, married Wichmann IV, Count of Hamaland
Egbert, died 953
Baldwin III of Flanders
Elftrude, married Siegfried, Count of Guînes
Hildegarde (d.990); married Dirk II, Count of Holland

He also had a previous daughter, Hildegard.

Arnulf made his eldest son and heir Baldwin III of Flanders co-ruler in 958, but Baldwin died untimely in 962, so Arnulf was succeeded by Baldwin's infant son, Arnulf II of Flanders.


Baldwin II (c. 865 – September 10, 918), nicknamed Calvus (the Bald) was the second count of Flanders. He was also hereditary abbot of St. Bertin from 892 till his death. He was the son of Baldwin I of Flanders and Judith, a daughter of Charles the Bald. Through his mother, Baldwin was a descendant of Charlemagne.

The early years of Baldwin's rule were marked by a series of devastating Viking raids. Little north of the Somme was untouched. Baldwin recovered, building new fortresses and improving city walls, and taking over abandoned property, so that in the end he held far more territory, and held it more strongly, than had his father. He also took advantage of the conflicts between Charles the Simple and Odo, Count of Paris to take over the Ternois and the Boulonnias.

In 884 Baldwin married Ælfthryth, a daughter of King Alfred the Great of England. The marriage was motivated by the common Flemish-English opposition to the Vikings, and was the start of an alliance that was a mainstay of Flemish policy for centuries to come.

In 900, he tried to curb the power of Archbishop Fulk of Rheims by assassinating him, but he was excommunicated by Pope Benedict IV.

He died at Blandinberg and was succeeded by his eldest son Arnulf I of Flanders. His younger son Adalulf was (the first) count of Boulogne.

He married Ælfthryth, a daughter of Alfred the Great, King of England. They had the following:
Arnulf I of Flanders (c. 890-964), married Adela of Vermandois
Adalulf (c. 890-933), Count of Boulogne

His fifth child however, was illegitimate.
Albert (d. 977)


Judith of Flanders (or Judith of France) (October 844 – 870) was the first daughter of the Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald and his wife Ermentrude of Orléans. Through her marriage to two Kings of Wessex, Judith was twice a Queen, and through her third marriage to Baldwin, she became the first Countess of Flanders. She was ancestress of the later Counts of Flanders, and was the stepmother and later the sister-in-law of King Alfred the Great.

Following the death of her second husband, Judith sold her properties in Wessex and returned to France. According to the Chronicle of St. Bertin, her father sent her to the Monastery at Senlis, where she would remain "under his protection and royal episcopal guardianship, with all the honour due to a queen, until such time as, if she could not remain chaste, she might marry in the way the apostle said, that is suitably and legally."[2] Presumably, Charles may have intended to arrange another marriage for his daughter. However, around Christmas 861, Judith eloped with Baldwin, later Count of Flanders. The two were likely married at the monastery of Senlis at this time. The record of the incident in the Annals depict Judith not as the passive victim of bride theft but as an active agent, eloping at the instigation of Baldwin and apparently with her brother Louis the Stammerer's consent.[3]

Unsurprisingly, Judith's father was furious and ordered his bishops to excommunicate the couple. They later fled to the court of Judith's cousin Lothair II of Lotharingia for protection, before going to Pope Nicholas I to plead their case. The Pope took diplomatic action and asked Judith's father to accept the union as legally binding and welcome the young couple into his circle - which ultimately he did. The couple then returned to France and were officially married at Auxerre in 863.

Judith was first married to King Ethelwulf of Wessex, then to his heir, Ethelbald of Wessex (her stepson). Her first two marriages produced no issue.

By her third husband, Baldwin I of Flanders, Judith's children included:
Charles (born after 863, died young) - ostensibly named for Judith's father, Charles the Bald
Baldwin II - (c. 864/866 - 918). Succeeded his father as Count of Flanders. Married Ælfthryth, daughter of Alfred the Great
Raoul (Rodulf) - (c. 869 - 896). Became Count of Cambrai around 888, and was killed by Herbert I of Vermandois in 896


Charles the Bald (13 June 823 – 6 October 877), Holy Roman Emperor (875–877, as Charles II) and King of West Francia (840–877, as Charles II, with the borders of his land defined by the Treaty of Verdun, 843), was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.

Besides family disputes, Charles had to struggle against repeated rebellions in Aquitaine and against the Bretons. Led by their chiefs Nomenoë and Erispoë, who defeated the king at Ballon (845) and Juvardeil (851), the Bretons were successful in obtaining a de facto independence. Charles also fought against the Vikings, who devastated the country of the north, the valleys of the Seine and Loire, and even up to the borders of Aquitaine. Several times Charles was forced to purchase their retreat at a heavy price. Charles led various expeditions against the invaders and, by the Edict of Pistres of 864, made the army more mobile by providing for a cavalry element, the predecessor of the French chivalry so famous during the next 600 years. By the same edict, he ordered fortified bridges to be put up at all rivers to block the Viking incursions. Two of these bridges at Paris saved the city during its siege of 885–886.

Charles married Ermentrude, daughter of Odo I, Count of Orléans, in 842. She died in 869. In 870, Charles married Richilde of Provence, who was descended from a noble family of Lorraine.

With Ermentrude:
Judith (844–870), married firstly with Ethelwulf of Wessex, secondly with Ethelbald of Wessex (her stepson) and thirdly with Baldwin I of Flanders
Louis the Stammerer (846–879)
Charles the Child (847–866)
Lothar (848–865), monk in 861, became Abbot of Saint-Germain
Carloman (849–876)
Rotrud (852–912), a nun, Abbess of Saint-Radegunde
Ermentrud (854–877), a nun, Abbess of Hasnon
Hildegard (born 856, died young)
Gisela (857–874)

With Richilde:
Rothild (871–929), married firstly with Hugues, Count of Bourges and secondly with Roger, Count of Maine
Drogo (872–873)
Pippin (873–874)
a son (born and died 875)
Charles (876–877)


Louis the Pious (778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire,[1] was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor (as Louis I) with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. As the only surviving adult son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position which he held until his death, save for the period 833–34, during which he was deposed.

During his reign in Aquitaine, Louis was charged with the defence of the Empire's southwestern frontier. He reconquered Barcelona from the Muslims in 801 and re-asserted Frankish authority over Pamplona and the Basques south of the Pyrenees in 813. As emperor he included his adult sons—Lothair, Pepin, and Louis—in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm between them. The first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew Bernard of Italy, for which Louis atoned in a public act of self-debasement. In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons, only exacerbated by Louis's attempts to include his son Charles by his second wife in the succession plans. Though his reign ended on a high note, with order largely restored to his empire, it was followed by three years of civil war. Louis is generally compared unfavourably to his father, though the problems he faced were of a distinctly different sort.

By his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye (married ca 794-98), he had three sons and three daughters:
Lothair (795–855), king of Middle Francia
Pepin (797–838), king of Aquitaine
Adelaide (b. c. 799)
Rotrude (b. 800), married Gerard
Hildegard (or Matilda) (b. c. 802), married Gerard, Count of Auvergne
Louis the German (c. 805–875), king of East Francia

By his second wife, Judith of Bavaria, he had a daughter and a son:
Gisela, married Eberhard I of Friuli
Charles the Bald, king of West Francia

By Theodelinde of Sens, he had two illegitimate children:
Arnulf of Sens


Charlemagne; possibly 742 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800. This temporarily made him a rival of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. His rule is also associated with the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne helped define both Western Europe and the Middle Ages. He is numbered as Charles I in the regnal lists of Germany, the Holy Roman Empire, and France.

The son of King Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, a Frankish queen, he succeeded his father in 768 and co-ruled with his brother Carloman I. The latter got on badly with Charlemagne, but war was prevented by the sudden death of Carloman in 771. Charlemagne continued the policy of his father towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in Italy, and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain, to which he was invited by the Muslim governor of Barcelona. Charlemagne was promised several Iberian cities in return for giving military aid to the governor; however, the deal was withdrawn. Subsequently, Charlemagne's retreating army experienced its worst defeat at the hands of the Basques, at the Battle of Roncesvalles (778) (memorialised, although heavily fictionalised, in the Song of Roland). He also campaigned against the peoples to his east, especially the Saxons, and after a protracted war subjected them to his rule. By forcibly Christianizing the Saxons and banning on penalty of death their native Germanic paganism, he integrated them into his realm and thus paved the way for the later Ottonian dynasty.

Today he is regarded not only as the founding father of both French and German monarchies, but also as a Pater Europae (father of Europe): his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans, and the Carolingian renaissance encouraged the formation of a common European identity.

Marriages and heirs

Charlemagne had twenty children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Nonetheless, he only had four legitimate grandsons, the four sons of his third son, Louis. In addition, he had a grandson (Bernard of Italy, the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy), who was born illegitimate but included in the line of inheritance. So, despite twenty children, the claimants to his inheritance were few.
His first relationship was with Himiltrude. The nature of this relationship is variously described as concubinage, a legal marriage, or a Friedelehe. (Charlemagne put her aside when he married Desiderata.) The union with Himiltrude produced two children:
Amaudru, a daughter
Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769–811)

After her, his first wife was Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius, king of the Lombards; married in 770, annulled in 771.
His second wife was Hildegard (757 or 758–783), married 771, died 783. By her he had nine children:
Charles the Younger (ca. 772–4 December 811), Duke of Maine, and crowned King of the Franks on 25 December 800
Carloman, renamed Pippin (April 777–8 July 810), King of Italy
Adalhaid (774), who was born whilst her parents were on campaign in Italy. She was sent back to Francia, but died before reaching Lyons
Rotrude (or Hruodrud) (775–6 June 810)
Louis (778–20 June 840), twin of Lothair, King of Aquitaine since 781, crowned King of the Franks/co-emperor in 813, senior Emperor from 814
Lothair (778–6 February 779/780), twin of Louis, he died in infancy[39]
Bertha (779–826)
Gisela (781–808)
Hildegarde (782–783)

His third wife was Fastrada, married 784, died 794. By her he had:
Theodrada (b.784), abbess of Argenteuil
Hiltrude (b.787)

His fourth wife was Luitgard, married 794, died childless.

Concubinages and illegitimate children
His first known concubine was Gersuinda. By her he had: Adaltrude (b.774)

His second known concubine was Madelgard. By her he had: Ruodhaid (775–810), abbess of Faremoutiers

His third known concubine was Amaltrud of Vienne. By her he had:
Alpaida (b.794)

His fourth known concubine was Regina. By her he had:
Drogo (801–855), Bishop of Metz from 823 and abbot of Luxeuil Abbey
Hugh (802–844), archchancellor of the Empire

His fifth known concubine was Ethelind. By her he had:
Richbod (805–844), Abbott of Saint-Riquier
Theodoric (b. 807)


Pepin (or Pippin) (died 24 September 768), called the Short (Pépin le Bref)[1] or the Younger (Pippin der Jüngere), rarely the Great (Pippin der Grosse),[2] was the first King of the Franks (752–68) of the Carolingian dynasty. In 741 he and his brother Carloman succeeded their father, Charles Martel, as mayors of the palace and de facto rulers of the kingdom during an interregnum (737–43). After the retirement of Carloman (747), Pepin obtained the permission of Pope Zachary to depose the last of the Merovingian kings, Childeric III, and assume the throne (752). As he was named for his grandfather, Pepin of Heristal, in turn named for his grandfather, Pepin of Landen, both mayors of the palace, Pepin the Short has sometimes been numbered Pepin III.

In 741, Pepin married Bertrada of Laon. Her father, Charibert, was the son of Pepin II's brother, Martin of Laon. They are known to have had eight children, at least three of whom survived to adulthood:
Charles (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), (Charlemagne)
Carloman (751 – 4 December 771)
Gisela (757–810)
Pepin, died in infancy.
Chrothais, died young, buried in Metz.
Adelais, died young, buried in Metz.
Two unnamed daughters


Charles Martel (c. 688 – 22 October 741), literally Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum (737–43) at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the title of Consul by the Pope, but he refused. He is remembered for winning the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers) in 732, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.

A brilliant general, he lost only one battle in his career, (the Battle of Cologne). He is a founding figure of the Middle Ages, often credited with a seminal role in the development of feudalism and knighthood, and laying the groundwork for the Carolingian Empire. He was also the father of Pepin the Short and grandfather of Charlemagne.

Martel was born in Heristal, the illegitimate son of duke Pepin II and his concubine Alpaida. In German-speaking countries he is known as Karl Martell. Alpaida also bore Pepin another son, Childebrand.

Just as his grandson, Charlemagne, would become famous for his swift and unexpected movements in his campaigns, Charles was legendary for never doing what his enemies forecast he would do. It was this ability to do the unforeseen, and move far faster than his opponents believed he could, that characterized the military career of Charles Martel.

It is notable that the Northmen did not begin their European raids until after the death of Martel's grandson, Charlemagne. They had the naval capacity to begin those raids at least three generations earlier, but chose not to challenge Martel, his son Pippin, or his grandson, Charlemagne. This was probably fortunate for Martel, who despite his enormous gifts, would probably not have been able to repel the Vikings in addition to the Muslims, Saxons, and everyone else he defeated. However, it is notable that again, despite the ability to do so, (the Danes had constructed defenses to defend from counterattacks by land, and had the ability to launch their wholesale sea raids as early as Martel's reign), they chose not to challenge Charles Martel.

Charles Martel married twice:

His first wife was Rotrude of Treves, (690-724) (daughter of Leudwinus, Bishop of Trier). They had the following children:
Hiltrud (d. 754), married Odilo I, Duke of Bavaria
Landrade (Landres), married Sigrand, Count of Hesbania
Auda, Aldana, or Alane, married Thierry IV, Count of Autun and Toulouse
Pepin the Short

His second wife was Swanhild. They had the following child:

Charles Martel also had a mistress, Ruodhaid. They had the following children:
Bernard (b. before 732-787)
Remigius, archbishop of Rouen (d. 771)


Pepin (also Pippin, Pipin, or Peppin) of Herstal, or Heristal, (635/45 – 16 December 714) was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia from 680 to his death and of Neustria and Burgundy from 687 to 695. He was also the first mayor of the palace to "reign" as Duke and Prince of the Franks.

Pepin, sometimes called Pepin II and Pepin the Middle was the grandson and namesake of Pepin I the Elder by the marriage of Pepin I's daughter Begga and Ansegisel, son of Arnulf of Metz. That marriage united the two houses of the Pippinids and the Arnulfings which created what would be called the Carolingian dynasty. Pepin II was probably born in Herstal (Héristal), modern Belgium (where his centre of power lay), whence his byname (sometimes "of Heristal").

Around 670, Pepin had married Plectrude, who had inherited substantial estates in the Moselle region. She was the mother of Drogo of Champagne and Grimoald II, both of whom died before their father. However, Pepin also had a mistress named Alpaida (or Chalpaida) who bore him two more sons: Charles and Childebrand. Just before Pepin's death, Plectrude convinced him to disinherit his bastards in favour of his grandson, Theudoald, the son of Grimoald, who was still young (and amenable to Plectrude's control). Pepin died suddenly at an old age on 16 December 714, at Jupille (in modern Belgium). His legitimate grandchildren claimed themselves to be Pepin's true successors and, with the help of Plectrude, tried to maintain the position of mayor of the palace after Pepin's death. However, Charles had gained favor among the Austrasians, primarily for his military prowess and ability to keep them well supplied with booty from his conquests. Despite the efforts of Plectrude to silence her rival's child by imprisoning him, he became the sole mayor of the palace -- and de facto ruler of Francia-- after a civil war which lasted for more than three years after Pepin's death.


Saint Begga (also Begue, Begge) (615 – 17 December 693) was the daughter of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, and his wife Itta. On the death of her husband, she took the veil, founded several churches, and built a convent at Andenne on the Meuse River (Andenne sur Meuse) where she spent the rest of her days as abbess. She was buried in Saint Begga's Collegiate Church in Andenne. Some hold that the Beguine movement which came to light in the 12th century was actually founded by St. Begga; and the church in the beguinage of Lier, Belgium, has a statue of St. Begga standing above the inscription: St. Begga, our foundress.

She married Ansegisel, son of Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, and had three children:
Pepin of Heristal
Martin of Laon
Clotilda of Heristal, who was married to Theuderic III of the Franks

She is commemorated as a saint on her feast days, 6 September and 17 December.


Ansegisel (c. 602 or 610 – murdered before 679 or 662) was the son of Saint Arnulf, bishop of Metz and his wife Saint Doda. He served King Sigbert III of Austrasia (634-656) as a duke (Latin dux, a military leader) and domesticus. He was killed sometime before 679, slain in a feud by his enemy Gundewin.

He married sometime after 639 to Saint Begga, the daughter of Pepin of Landen. They had the following children:
Pippin II (635 or 640-December 16, 714), mayor of the palace of Austrasia
Possibly Clotilda of Heristal (650-699), married King Theodoric III of Neustria


Saint Arnulf of Metz (c. 582, Lay-Saint-Christophe, Meurthe-et-Moselle — 640) was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont.

Arnulf was born to an important Frankish family at an uncertain date around 582. His father was Baudgise or Baudegisel II of Aquitaine or Carthage (d. 588), Palace Mayor and Duke of Sueve. His mother was Oda. In his younger years he was called to the Merovingian court of king Theudebert II (595-612) of Austrasia and sent to serve as dux at the Schelde. Later he became bishop of Metz. During his career he was attracted to religious life, and he retired to become a monk. After his death he was canonized as a saint. In French he is also known as Arnoul or Arnoulf. In English he is also known as Arnold.

Arnulf gave distinguished service at the Austrasian court under Theudebert II After the death of Theudebert in 612 he was made bishop of Metz. The rule of Austrasia came into the hands of Brunhilda, the grandmother of Theudebert, who ruled also in Burgundy in the name of her great-grandchildren. In 613 Arnulf joined his politics with Pippin of Landen and led the opposition of Frankish nobles against Queen Brunhilda. The revolt led to her overthrow, torture, and eventual execution, and the subsequent reunification of Frankish lands under Chlothachar II.

Chlothachar later made his son Dagobert I king of Austrasia and he ruled with the help of his advisor Arnulf. Not satisfied with his position, as a bishop he was involved in the murder of Chrodoald in 624, an important leader of the Frankish Agilolfings family and a protégé of Dagobert.

From 623 (with Pippin of Landen, then the Mayor of the Palace), Arnulf was an adviser to Dagobert I. He retired around 628 to a hermitage at a mountain site in the Vosges, to realize his lifelong resolution to become a monk and a hermit. His friend Romaric, whose parents were killed by Brunhilda, had preceded him to the mountains and together with Amatus had already established Remiremont Abbey there. Arnulf settled there, and remained there until his death twelve years later.

Arnulf was married ca 596 to a woman whom later sources give the name of Dode or Doda, (born ca 584), and had children. Chlodulf of Metz was his oldest son, but more important is his second son Ansegisel, who married Begga daughter of Pepin I, Pippin of Landen. Arnulf is thus the male-line grandfather of Charles Martel and great-great grandfather of Charlemagne.

Arnulf was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In iconography he is portrayed with a rake in his hand.


Pepin of Landen  (also Peppin, Pipin, or Pippin) (c. 580 – 27 February 640), also called the Elder or the Old, was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia under the Merovingian king Dagobert I from 623 to 629. He was also the mayor for Sigebert III from 639 until his own death.

Pepin's father is named Carloman by the Chronicle of Fredegar, the chief source for his life. His byname comes from his probable birthplace: Landen, modern Belgium. He is sometimes called Pepin I and his other nicknames (Elder and Old) come from his position at the head of the family called the Pippinids after him. Through the marriage of his daughter Begga to Ansegisel, a son of Arnulf of Metz, the clans of the Pippinids and the Arnulfings were united, giving rise to a family which would eventually rule the Franks as the Carolingians

He left two daughters and two sons by his equally famous wife, Itta:
Begga, married the aforementioned Ansegisel and later canonized
Gertrude, entered the convent of Nivelles founded by her mother, also later canonized
Grimoald, later mayor of the palace like his father
Bavo (or Allowin), became a hermit and later canonized


Saint Itta (or Itta of Metz) (also Ida, Itte or Iduberga) (592–652) was the wife of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia. Her brother was Saint Modoald, bishop of Trier. Her sister was abbess Saint Severa. There is no direct record of their parents, but it has been suggested that she was daughter of Arnoald, Bishop of Metz, son of Ansbertus.

On the advice of the missionary bishop Saint Amand, bishop of Maastricht, after Pepin's death, she founded the Benedictine nunnery at Nivelles, with a monastery under the abbess. She herself entered it and installed as abbess her daughter Gertrude, perhaps after resigning the post herself.

She had by Pepin another daughter, Abbess Begga of Andenne who married Ansegisel, son of Arnulf of Metz. By Begga, she is the grandmother of Pepin of Herstal and one of the matriarchs of the great Carolingian family. Her only son was Grimoald, later mayor of the palace, and father of King Childebert the Adopted.

Both her daughters were later canonised, as was she. Her feast day is May 8.


Earlier Ancestors

Of course they existed ... All the way back to the first humans. But we found none who could be positively substantiated and so we end the list with these saints.


For Christmas of 2011 Marilyn Copeland created this triptych:

St Begga triptych 

There was also this information:

St Begga 


For the connection to our "common" and more recent ancestors in America see:
 Cudworth line and from there to join the Doolittle Family, then Thayer and finally Copeland Families.

The pages that cover our Royal Ancestors are:

Page One - Royal Heritage

Page Two -  Plantagenet Kings

Page Three - The House of Wessex

Page Four - William and the Normans

Page Five - Charlemagne and his Ancestors

Royal Research & Conclusion


© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
 May 18, 2011


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