Although this blog site will not focus on Kings & Queens and châteaux ~ their role has to be covered to some degree ~ for example to understand how the institution of Medieval chivalry and knighthood, and its decline, impinged upon the lives of the populace as a whole, shaped the nation states of Europe and influenced the personal lives and belief systems of social shakers from Joan of Arc to Descartes.
In 1044, Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, captured the town Tours and took control of the county of the Touraine (1). His family, the Angevins, took control of the Touraine and ruled from their castle at Chinon. Geoffrey Martel was a ruthless soldier, known as ‘the Hammer’, who swept aside all who opposed him. Over the next 16 years he fought against the Duke of Aquitaine, the Count of Blois and the Duke of Normandy. When he died in 1060 Geoffrey Martel had no children so he had divided his lands of Anjou and Touraine between his nephews, the brothers Fulk Rechin and Geoffrey the Bearded. It was Fulk who took over the rule of the Touraine while Geoffrey inherited Anjou. Typically of this Medieval period, the noble brothers fought amongst themselves and in 1066 Fulk captured and imprisoned Geoffrey and in 1068 became overlord of both Anjou and the Touraine. (N.B. This was, of course, at the time that the Norman lords were conquering England.)……….
In 1128 fifteen year old Geoffrey Plantagenet, son of the Count of Anjou, married Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I of England. They had a son, Henry, who became King Henry II of England. In the tradition of the family’s fraternal embattlement, Geoffrey fought with his brother, Elias, when he rebelled and threatened to capture the area of Maine.
1135 saw the death of King Henry I of England. Geoffrey’s wife claimed the throne but
Henry’s cousin, Stephen of Blois, demanded the English throne for himself with the help of the Norman barons. A civil war between Stephen and Matilda broke out in England while in Normandy the conflict continued between Stephen and Geoffrey Plantagenet who both had a claim to duchy.
1154 saw the accession of Henri ‘Plantagenet’ d’Anjou, Maine and Touraine, to the English throne. Thus, Henry II began the Plantagenet dynasty in England and held claim to
Normandy. In 1152, he had also become duke of Aquitaine by marriage to the heiress, Eleanor. This meant that, as a duke, the English king, Henry II held far more French land in direct vassalage than did the actual French king.
When Henry II died in 1189 he was buried at Chinon Castle, the original power base of the Angevins of 1044.(1) The Touraine is a former French province of France. With its capital in Tours, the Touraine was once the seat of the Plantagenets, became a royal duchy and eventually a province in 1584. Finally, in 1790, as part of the wholesale reorganisation of France resulting from the republican revolution, the Touraine was divided between the departments of Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and Indre.