MALE Hugues du Perche

ca. 1000.

Hugues du Perche is mentioned in a charter of Franco, bishop of Paris, dated 26 May 1028, which states that count Aubry of Gâtinais (son of a deceased count Geoffroy of Gâtinais) had two brothers and heirs Geoffroy and Liétaud, sons of Hugues du Perche ["... Albericum, illius supradicti Gosfredi filium et heredem, et insuper, faventibus fratribus ipsius Alberici, filiis Hugonis Pertice, scilicet Gosfredo et Letoldo, ..." Cart. Notre-Dame de Paris, 1: 326-7 (#19); Devaux (1885), 81-2 (Pièces justificatives II); see the page of Geoffroy (III) for a quote of the entire charter]. There is no information about whether Hugues was still alive on that date, and Hugues is not identified beyond his desgnation of "du Perche" (Pertice). This otherwise obscure individual is notable as being the earliest well-documented direct male-line ancestor of the "Plantagenet" dynasty.

Date of birth: Say 970?
Place of birth:
This is Settipani's estimate [Settipani (2000), 249]. Any attempt to estimate a birthdate for Hugues is subject to major uncertainty. A birth a decade or so later could not be ruled out on the known evidence, but the date given would put him closer to the estimated age of Béatrix (also subject to much uncertainty). If the conjecture that Hugues was a son of Melisende (still living 1031×2) is correct, then it would be very difficult to place his birth much earlier. If that conjecture is wrong, then the birth could be placed earlier.

Date of death: After 993.
Place of death: Unknown.
As count Geoffroy of Gâtinais, the first husband of Béatrix, was still alive in 991, and Hugues du Perche had two sons by Béatrix born apparently after Geoffroy's death, the death of Hugues can be placed after 993 with reasonable confidence.

Possible father: Fulcois, count [of Mortagne?].
Possible mother:
Melisende, still living 1031×2.
Although these are the principal candidates for the parents of Hugues du Perche who have emerged in discussions of his parentage, and no likelier candidates have been put forward, it is still difficult to accept these with any more confidence than the qualification of "possible" given here. This possible origin of Hugues will be discussed in detail in the Commentary section below.

Spouse: Béatrix, d. prob. after 1028, daughter of Aubry II, count of Mâcon, and widow of Geoffroy (II), count of Gâtinais.
The 1028 charter mentioned above proves that count Geoffroy (II) of Gâtinais and Hugues du Perche were successively married to the same woman. The proof that this woman was Béatrix de Mâcon is discussed in detail on the page of her son count
Geoffroy (III) of Gâtinais.

The above 1028 charter makes Hugues the father of two sons Geoffroy and Liétaud. These two sons are sometimes given incorrectly as children by the first marriage of Béatrix to Geoffroy (II). See the page of
Geoffroy (III) for details.

MALE Geoffroy (III), d. 30 April 1042×5, count of Gâtinais;
Ermengarde, d. 18 March 1076, heiress of Anjou.

MALE Liétaud (Letaldus), living 26 May 1028, lord of Yevre, viscount of Gâtinais.
[See Estournet (1928) for his descendants.]

Possible brother: Geoffroy (II), d. ca. 1038×9, viscount of Châteaudun.
See the Commentary section.


Who was Hugues du Perche?

Hugues du Perche is mentioned without further details as the father of Geoffroy and Liétaud in the 1028 charter noted above, and tracing him further is hindered by the fact that there is no other known early document unambiguously mentioning the same person. Thus, the investigation of his parentage depends almost exclusively on whatever information can be gleaned from the name "Hugo Perticae". As Béatrix was a daughter from a significant comital family, her second husband would presumably have been from a notable family himself. If Hugues had an origin that can be discerned from the designation Perticae, this would likely indicate that he belonged to the family of the counts of the Perche. Unfortunately, this family only emerged from obscurity itself in the eleventh century, so this attempt to trace the ancestry of Hugues du Perche runs into the uncertain origin of the counts of the Perche. The well documented continuous genealogy of that family begins with a certain Melisende and her son Geoffroy, viscount of Châteaudun (d. ca. 1038×9), his wife Helvide, and their sons Hugues, viscount of Châteaudun, and Rotrou, viscount of Châteaudun and count of Mortagne, a title which gradually evolved into the title "count of the Perche". It is easy to see that chronology rules out the possibility that Hugues du Perche was the same person as this Hugues, viscount of Châteaudun (living 1039×40) [e.g., Devaux (1885), 76]. Nor would Hugues du Perche be the same person as the Hugues de Mortagne who is mentioned by André de Fleury as a nephew of Odalric, bishop of Orléans ["... Hugo Mauritaniensis, vir admodum strenuus in rebus bellicis et genere nobilis, nepos prætaxati antistitis, ..." André de Fleury, Miracula Sancti Benedicti, iii, 18, Mirac. S. Ben., 244], as this Hugues de Mortagne was almost certainly the same person as Hugues, viscount of Châteaudun (1039×40) [see the page of viscount Geoffroy (II) of Châteaudun for further details]. Hugues du Perche should clearly be placed a generation or two earlier.

Thus, it is noteworthy that, other than the 1028 charter, the earliest source which would appear to refer specifically to Hugues du Perche would make him a brother of viscount Geoffroy of Châteaudun, nepos of archbishop Hugues (of Tours) ["... comes [Corbonensis] genuit alterum Goffridum, qui nepos Hugonis archiepiscopi dicitur anno 1008, et Hugonem Perticæ ..." Estournet (1928), 120 n. 6, citing Bibl. nat., ms. latin 17049, p. 211; Settipani (1997), 258 n. 229; Devaux (1892-6), 296 n. 2 attributes this manuscript to Gaignières]. This would be a valuable source if we could be more confident that the information was based on a sufficiently early source (and it would have been more helpful if Estournet had quoted the passage more extensively). Unfortunately, there does not appear to be adequate reason for much confidence in this source. Indeed, the phrase "qui nepos Hugonis archiepiscopi dicitur anno 1008" makes it appear that this is a secondary attempt to deduce a genealogy from various unknown sources, rather than being directly based on a primary source itself.

Nevertheless, there is a tantalizing charter, one interpretation of which would make Hugues du Perche a brother of viscount Geoffroy of Châteaudun. In this charter, between 1051 and 1060, count Rotrou of Mortagne mentions his avus count Fulcois, his avunculus Hugues, and his father viscount Geoffroy ["..., ego Rotrochus comes de Mauritania, et mea uxor Adeliz et filii nostri, Rotrochus, et ceteri nostri infantes, ... ut annuatim anniversarium avi mei Fulcuich, comitis, et avunculi mei Hugonis et patris mei vicecomitis Gaufridi faciant, ..." Cart. S.-Vincent du Mans, 350-1 (#609)]. So, who were Rotrou's avus Fulcois and his avunculus Hugues? Count Fulcois is otherwise unknown, but it seems likely that he was count of Mortagne, since that was Rotrou's title. Mortagne is one of the principal towns of the Perche, and there is therefore a good possibility that the avunculus Hugues was connected to the Perche. Chronologically, he makes an excellent candidate for identification with Hugues du Perche. Strictly speaking, the word avunculus means "maternal uncle", but in medieval usage it is also quite common to see the word used for a paternal uncle. As noted on the page of Geoffroy (II) of Châteaudun, the maternal grandfather of count Rotrou is otherwise accounted for, making it probable that his avus Fulcois and his avunculus Hugues were respectively his paternal grandfather and paternal uncle.

Thus, Hugues du Perche can be plausibly identified as a brother of viscount Geoffroy (II) of Châteaudun, which would make him a son of Melisende and probably of Fulcois. Since this involves the direct male line ancestry of the Plantagenets, there is a natural desire to trace the line even further, but unfortunately, this is the point at which the line fades into obscurity. Geoffroy (II) of Châteaudun was in all probability a grandson of viscount Geoffroy (I) of Châteaudun, but it is unknown whether the line of descent proceeded through his father or his mother. Geoffroy (I) can be conjectured to be a "Rorgonide" with some degree of plausibility, but even then any attempt to get an exact line of descent would be nothing but guesswork. The possible line of descent is discussed further on the pages of Geoffroy (II) of Châteaudun, Fulcois [of Mortagne?], Melisende, Hildegarde, and Geoffroy (I) of Châteaudun, possible (but unproven) relatives of Hugues du Perche.

Conjectured father (improbable): Albert, living 1044, abbot of Saint-Mesmin de Micy;
Conjectured mother (improbable): NN, probably sister of Hugues, viscount of Châteaudun and archbiship of Tours, and daughter of Hildegarde.
[Settipani (1997), 264] Settipani later abandoned this conjecture for the suggestion that Hugues was a son of Fulcois and Melisende [Settipani (2000)].


Cart. Notre-Dame de Paris = Benjamin Guérard, Cartulaire de l'église Notre-Dame de Paris, 4 vols. (Paris, 1850).

Cart. S.-Vincent du Mans = R. Charles & Menjot D'Elbenne, eds., Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Vincent du Mans (Ordre de Saint Benoît) (Mamers & Le Mans, 1886-1913).

Devaux (1885) = J. Devaux, "Étude chronologique sur les comtes de Gâtinais", Annales de la Société Historique & Archéologique du Gâtinais 3 (1885): 55-83.

Devaux (1892-6) = J. Devaux, "Origines Gâtinaises", Annales de la Société Historique & Archéologique du Gâtinais 10 (1892): 241-260; 14? (1896): 292-?.

Estournet (1928) = "Les origines historiques de Nemours et sa charte de franchises (1170)" (parts I-III), Annales de la Société Historique & Archéologique du Gâtinais 39 (1928): 105-158.

Mirac. S. Ben. = E. de Certain, Les Miracles de Sainr Benoit (Paris, 1858).

RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.

Saint-Phalle (2000) = Edouard de Saint-Phalle, "Les comtes de Gâtinais aux Xe et XIe siècles", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 230-246.

Settipani (1997) = Christian Settipani, "Les comtes d'Anjou et leur alliances aux Xe et XIe siècles", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 211-267.

Settipani (2000) = Christian Settipani, "Les vicomtes de Châteaudun et leur alliés", in Keats-Rohan & Settipani, eds., Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (Oxford, 2000), 247-261.

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 24 January 2011.

Minor changes made 27 January 2011.

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