Person Sheet

Name Count Fulk IV(Rechin) of Anjou14, M
Birth Date 1043
Birth Place Anjou, France
Death Date 14 Apr 1109 Age: 66
Death Place Anjou, France
Father Count of Gastinais Geoffrey II de Gastinois , M (~1000-1046)
Mother Ermengarde of Anjou , F (~1001-1076)
Misc. Notes
Count Fulk IV known as Rechin. Count Fulk IV was born in 1043 in Chateau Landon, France. He died on 14 Apr 1109 in Angers, P ays de la Loire, France. He was also known as Count Foulques "Rechin" or "The Rude". From Encyclopedia Britannica Online, article titled "Fulk IV:" "byname FULK THE SURLY, FRENCH FOUL QUES LE R√¢ECHIN, count of Anjou (1068-1109). "Geoffrey II Martel, son of Fulk III, pursue d the policy of expansion begun by his father but left no sons as heirs. The countship went t o his eldest nephew, Geoffrey III the Bearded. But the latter's brother, Fulk, discontented o ver having inherited only a few small appanages, took advantage of the general discontent aro used by Geoffrey III's inept rule, seized Saumur and Angers (1067), and cast Geoffrey first i nto prison at Sabl√¢e and later in the confines of Chinon castle (1068). Fulk's reign then ha d to endure a series of conflicts against the several barons, Philip I of France, and the duk e of Normandy. He lost some lands but secured, through battle and marriage, the countship of Maine for his son, Fulk V."

In spite of its brevity, this is one of the most important texts of the early middle ages, partly because it deals with the history of one of the most powerful principalities in early Capetian France, but especially because it is one of the few texts (only one other is known to me) written (or more accurately, dictated) by a lay lord and not by a member of the clergy. The history was written by Count Fulk le Réchin in 1096, for reasons unknown. If we read it carefully, it should give a rare glimpse into the way an eleventh-century count actually thought (and spoke, though not necessarily in Latin: the scribe could have translated from the French).

I, Fulk, count of Anjou, who am the son of Geoffrey of Château-Landon and Ermengard, daughter of Fulk, count of the Angevins, and nephew of Geoffrey Martel, who was the son of the same man, my grandfather, Fulk, and brother of my mother, after holding the county of Anjou for twenty-eight years as well as the counties of Tours, Nantes, and Le Mans, desired to commit to letters how my ancestors gained their honor and held it up to my time, and then how with the aid of divine mercy I myself held the same honor.

And so, those ancestors of mine, as my uncle Geoffrey Martel told me himself, were the bravest of counts. Their names are as follows: first Ingelgerius; second Fulk the Red, his son; then Fulk, called the Good; afterwards his son, Geoffrey Greymantle. These four held the honor of Anjou, wresting it from the hands of the pagans and defending it from Christian counts. And Ingelgerius held this honor first from the king of France, not from the line of that impious Philip, but from the children of Charles the Bald, who was the son of Louis, son of Charles the Great .

We cannot give worthy commemoration to the virtues and deeds of these four counts, since they lived so far in time from us and since even the places where their bodies lie are unknown to us. We can only record those who are closer to us, that is, my grandfather Fulk, and his father Geoffrey Greymantle, and my uncle Geoffrey Martel.

So, this Geoffrey Greymantle, father of my grandfather Fulk, whose outstanding deeds we could not possibly list, seized Laudun from the hand of the count of Poitou and defeated him on the field of battle on the Roches, and pursued him all the way to Mirebeau. And he drove the Bretons to flight when they came to Anjou with a marauding army. Their dukes were sons of Conan. And later he was with Hugh in the siege of Marçon, where the illness from which he died seized him. And his body was brought to Tours and buried in the church of St. Martin.

He was succeeded by his son Fulk, my uncle, whose courage was great and admirable. He acquired the county of Maine and added it to the county of Anjou; and he built several castles on his land, which had remained deserted and reverted to woods on account of the savagery of the pagans. So in the county of Tours he built Langeais, Chaumont, Montrésor, Saint- Maur; in Poitou Mirebeau, Moncontour, Faye, Montreuil, Passavant, Maulévrier. In Anjou he built Baugé, Château-Gontier, Durtal, and many others which it would be tedious to list. He also began the castle of Saumur in that time when Count Odo came to Anjou with his army and built his castle on the Onglée between the same city and the river Loire. Fulk also fought two great battles in the open field: one on the plain of Conquereuil against Conan, count of Brittany, near the city of Nantes, which Conan tried to take from him. Conan himself died in this battle along with a thousand of his knights . He fought the other battle against the said Odo, a most powerful count, on the river Cher, at Pontlevoy. Here was great slaughter of Gauls and Angevins. Count Herbert called Wake- Dog fought with him in this battle of Le Mans, where by the grace of God he came away the victor. He built two abbeys: one in honor of St. Nicholas near the city of Angers, another at the castle of Loches, which is called Beaulieu, in honor of the Lord of the Holy Sepulchre. He went to Jerusalem twice. On his second trip he left human cares around the feast of St. John, in the year from the incarnation of the Lord one thousand forty. His body was brought to the said abbey of Beaulieu and was buried there in the chapter.

And so his son, my uncle, that is Geoffrey Martel, succeeded him. His courage and skill in worldly matters were greatly praised throughout the entire kingdom of France. Already during his father's life he was a knight , and he tested his new knighthood against neighbors in two battles: one at Moncontour against the Poitevins, where he captured the count of Poitou, and another against the men of Maine, where he also captured the count, who was called Herbert Bacon. He also made war against his father, in which many bad things were done, for which he later did penance. But after his father left this life, upon returning from Jerusalem, as was already said, he took possession of the land of his father and the city of Angers, and he began a war against Theobald, count of Blois, that is, the son of Count Odo; and at the will of King Henry he received from the same king the city of Tours as gift. For this reason the war between him and Count Theobald worsened, and they engaged in battle between the city of Tours and the castle of Amboise, and Theobald was captured and with him up to a thousand of his knights . And so he received the city of Tours and the castles in his area: Chinon and Isle and Châteaurenault and Saint- Aignan. But the other part of the county of Tours belonged to him by paternal possession. After this he had a war with William, count of the Normans, who later gained the kingdom of the English, and was a great king ; and also with the Gauls, and with the men of Bourges, and with William, count of the Poitevins, and with Haimeric, viscount of Thouars, and with Hoël, count of Nantes, and with the counts of the Bretons who held the city of Redon, and with Hugh, count of Le Mans, who withdrew his fealty. Because of all these wars and because of the daring with which he fought them, he deserved his name of Martel, since he smashed his enemies. At the end of his life he girded me, his nephew, as a knight in the city of Angers on the feast of Pentecost, in the year of the Lord's incarnation one thousand and sixty, and he committed to me the county of Saintes with its city, on account of a war that he was waging with Peter of Didonné. I was seventeen years old when he made me a knight. Also, in the same year King Henry died, on the anniversary of St. John, and my uncle, G., died in a good end on the third day after the feast of St. Martin. In fact, on the night before his death, he put aside all cares of worldly knighthood and was made a monk in the monastery of St. Nicholas, which his father and he had built with much devotion and endowed with their property.

He resigned his honor, which he had defended from outsiders and held securely with great peace and wealth; and so it passed into considerable troubles, since a fight arose over it between me and my brother. We carried on this struggle for eight years, often making war and making truces in between. Finally, on the order of Pope Alexander , I released by brother from the chains in which I had held him; but he again attacked me, putting up a siege around a castle of mine called Brissac, where I rode against him with those barons whom the mercy of God had given me, and I fought him on the field of battle, where by the grace of God I defeated him. He himself was captured and handed over to me, and a thousand of his people with him. Then I received the county of Anjou and Tours and the castle of Loches and Loudun, which were the capitals of the honor of the counts of the Angevins.

I held that honor for twenty-eight years, up to the time when I decided to make this writing. In these twenty-eight years and in the other eight that preceded them, if you want to hear what I did, continue on with what I will write and you will know what happened . But before I go on with them, I want to recall some signs and prodigies that happened just this last year, not only those affecting our people, but those throughout the kingdom of Gaul, as matters afterwards revealed. For in that time stars fell from the sky onto the earth as if they were hail. Many of those who saw it were struck with wonder, and many with terror. This sign was followed by a great death among men throughout the entire kingdom of France, because the harsh weather left no food, so that even in our city of Angers a hundred of our barons died and more than two thousand of the lesser people .

At the end of this year, towards Quadragesima, the Roman pope, Urban , came to Angers and instructed our people that they should go to Jerusalem to fight the gentile people who had taken over that city and all the land of the Christians up to Constantinople. Then in Septuagesima, the church of St. Nicholas was dedicated by the same pope and the body of my uncle G. was translated from the chapter into the church itself. The pope also established and ordered by edict that on the date that he had performed the dedication, a public holiday be celebrated every year at Saint-Nicholas, and that a seventh of the penances of the people gathering for that feast should be remitted. Leaving there, he went to Le Mans and then to Tours; and there, after issuing decrees in an august council, in the middle of Quadragesima he was crowned and then led in solemn procession from the church of St. Maurice to the church of St. Martin. There he gave me a gold coin that he held in his hand, which I, in thanks and in memory and love of him, established should always be carried by me and my successors. After his departure, on the following day, Palm Sunday, the church of St. Martin was burned. The pope himself went on to Saintes and celebrated Easter there. .


1) Actually, only the first part of Fulk's history, that dealing with his ancestors, survives. The second part in which he spoke of his own reign has never been found.

2) Charles the Great, i.e., Charlemagne. In the tenth century, two kings ancestral to the later Capetian line ruled France in place of the Carolingians (Robert I and Raoul of Burgundy). Fulk's point is that the counts of Anjou received the county from the Carolingians, not these ancestors of the Capetians. The editors believe that Fulk's hostility to the reigning King Philip I and his ancestors reflected the fact that Philip had seduced Fulk's wife and was living with her. Other historians, however, believe that Fulk bore no hard feelings to Philip, since he had his own mistresses, but this makes Fulk's statement here puzzling.
1 Bertrade de Montfort, F
Birth Date abt 1060
Birth Place Montfort Amaury, lle de France, France
Death Date 14 Feb 1116 Age: 56
Death Place Fontevrault Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-et-Loire, France
Father Simon I de Montfort , M (~1025-~1087)
Mother Agnes D' Evreux , F (~1030-)
Marr Date abt 1089
Children Fulk V(the Young) , M (1092-1143)
2 Hildegard de Baugency14, F
Death Date bef 1070
Misc. Notes
Hildegard de Baugency was the daughter of Lancelin II de Baugency, Sire de Baugency. She died before 1070.
Children Ermisende , F (-1146)
Last Modified 3 Aug 2008 Created 3 Jun 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh

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