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Alianore
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PostSubject: The Last Capets   Thu Oct 04, 2007 6:22 pm

This thread is for discussions or information about Queen Isabella's family, the Capets.

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:17 pm

Isabella was the sixth of seven children of King Philip IV of France (1268-1314) and Queen Jeanne/Juana I of Navarre (1271/73-1305). Her two elder sisters Marguerite and Blanche died young, before 1299.

Isabella had a younger brother, Robert, probably born in 1297, who died in the summer of 1308. Her three elder brothers all became kings of France: Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV. Only Louis' date of birth is known, 4 October 1289. Isabella herself was probably born in late 1295 or the beginning of 1296, before 25 January (as she was 12 when she married Edward II on 25 January 1308).

Louis X married Marguerite of Burgundy in 1305, and his brothers Philip and Charles married her cousins, the sisters Jeanne and Blanche of Burgundy. The women are notorious for the 'adultery scandal', which was discovered (possibly by Isabella) in 1314. Marguerite and Blanche were imprisoned. Jeanne was not, probably because she was innocent of actual adultery.

Isabella's brothers didn't live long. Louis X died age 26 in June 1316, Philip in January 1322 at about 28 or 30, and Charles in 1328, in his early to mid thirties. Although the brothers had many daughters between them, they had no living sons, and the death of Charles IV marked the end of the Capet dynasty. He was succeeded by Philip VI, son of Philip IV's brother Charles de Valois - who thus founded the line of Valois kings of France.

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:14 am

Ah, yes, the last Capetians. A topic near and dear to my heart, lately, as I'm readying to begin writing my own novel(s) set at that court in its final 21 years...

During the adultery scandal you mentioned, Alianore, it is indeed widely believed that Isabella is the one who "blew the whistle" on her sisters-in law (Marguerite, Jeanne, and Blanche, married to Louis, Philip, and Charles, respectively), reporting her concerns to her father King Philip the Fair when she was home visiting at Easter-time in 1314. She'd already suspected problems, apparently, when she'd been home visiting the year before.

The guilty men involved in the adultery were two brothers named Philippe and Gauthier d'Aunay; they also happened to be household knights to one of the Princes being cuckholded, which added additional insult to the scandal. It seems that Isabella's suspicions were well and truly sparked a year prior to that fateful Easter when she noticed that both of the men were carrying specially emboidered purses while they were in attendance at a court feast....which wouldn't have been of concern except that the purses were one-of-a-kind items Isabella had given as gifts to her sisters-in-law Blanche and Marguerite less than a year earlier.

The d'Aunay brothers were arrested and tortured before they confessed, at which point Marguerite and Blanche confessed and begged forgiveness as well (particularly Blanche, who was only 19 when the scandal broke and who had reportedly been led down the path of sin by her older, more vivacious, and less moral cousin Marguerite, who was 25 or 26). Their pleas were ignored, and both were made to have their hair shorn and all their temporal rights and honors stripped from them before they were cast into prison at Chateau Gaillard.

At the time of the arrests, Jeanne had been separated from her sister and cousin and put into a more moderate confinement at Dourdan - accused not of actual adultery but rather of covering up the illicit activities of the others. She was eventually exonerated (in no small part thanks to her mother's efforts on her behalf - her mother was Mahaut d'Artois, a powerful noblewoman in her own right and a cousin to King Philip the Fair); Jeanne eventuallywas allowed to return to her husband, but her unfortunate sister and cousin would see their ends in prison - Marguerite a little more than a year later, under mysterious circumstances (she was only 28, and rumor had it that her husband, by then Louis X, gave orders that she be smothered between two mattresses) and Blanche in 1326, just one year after she was finally allowed to leave her hateful prison (where she had been subjected to brutality and borne a child by her jailor) and take the veil.

The two brothers who had "soiled the royal bed of France" were tortured horrendously in public and flayed alive, before finally being put to death - within weeks of the scandal coming to light in 1314.

Lots of horrible stuff - but great material for a novelist like myself. Wink I know Maurice Druon already covered some of what happened in his series "The Accursed Kings" - but I think my take on it all will be a bit different and naturally be told from an entirely different voice. So I hope there will still be interest in the story or stories that I end up writing about those people and times. Smile

That said, if anyone knows of any good reference works (in English - or that someone is willing to translate for me if they're in French, LOL) about the last Capetians, I'd love to hear of it. I think I've exhausted all avenues when it comes to reading English texts on the subject and I've still never been able to learn, for example, the exact date of Jeanne or Blanche's marriages, the dates of birth for Jeanne and Philip's children etc. Frustrating, that, when trying to write an historical fiction piece that I'd like to see turn out to be more weighty on the "historical" aspect and less "fiction" part!
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:13 am

I suppose you've seen this book?

http://www.amazon.com/Capetians-Kings-France-987-1328/dp/1852855282/ref=sr_1_2/002-8283145-2984055?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191640308&sr=8-2
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:33 am

Legend has it that Marguerite of Burgundy had more than one lover and that she used to bring them to the Nesle Tower, have her way with them and then have them killed... Is that right?

Also, did Mahaut d'Artois steal her nephew Robert d'Artois's lands that he inherited from his father? And is it true that she poisoned King Louis's infant son Jean (by his second marriage to Clemence of Hungary) in order for her son-in-law Philip to ascend to the throne?
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:08 am

Terrific, very informative post, Mary - thank you! Very Happy

Elflady: I wonder if the legend that Margeuerite had other lovers arose because it caused doubts about the paternity of her daughter, Jeanne? Jeanne was born in January 1312, and when her half-brother King Jean I died at the age of 5 days in November 1316 (he was the posthumous son of Louis X and his second wife Clemence of Hungary) she was next in line to the throne. However, she was disinherited because of the alleged doubts over her paternity, and her uncle became Philip V. There were also rumours that Philip V had little Jean killed, or had him abducted and a dead baby substituted in his place - the theory put forward in the Druon novels, I believe. Whether this is true, and whether Mahaut was involved, I don't know. (Sounds more like fiction to me, but then most of the real events sound like fiction, too.) Wink

Jeanne was conceived in the spring of 1311, and it seems very unlikely to me that her mother Marguerite could have been committing adultery for a full three years or more before she was discovered - given the lack of privacy at the time. But I suppose it's not totally impossible...

Jeanne inherited the kingdom of Navarre in 1328, when her uncle Charles IV died. His cousin Philip VI de Valois had no claim to it.

Mahaut inherited Artois from her father Robert II, who died in 1302. Her brother Philip had died in 1298, and Mahaut inherited instead of her nephew, Philip's brother Robert - because she was closer in blood to her father than her nephew was. This seems a little odd to me, as normally male heirs were favoured, but the same situation applied to Edward II's mother Eleanor of Castile, who inherited Ponthieu from her mother, despite the fact that she had a nephew, the son of her dead brother. In this situtation, the nephew challenged Eleanor's claim (and the future Edward II's, when he inherited Ponthieu in 1290) but several courts upheld the rights of Eleanor and Edward - as they also did in Mahaut's case. So Mahaut didn't steal the lands.

Mahaut was the first cousin of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who was also Edward II's first cousin. Thomas's mother was Blanche of Artois, elder sister of Robert II of Artois. Blanche was also the grandmother of Queen Isabella, Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV.

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:31 pm

Boswellbaxter - thanks for the tip! I do indeed have that book (just purchased over the summer). It has some good info on the last Capetians, but as usual, far more on Philip IV than on any of his sons or their wives. Still, with each book I obtain (my husband has learned to shake his head when yet another box or envelope is delivered, asking ruefully, "Another book?" LOL) I've learned another detail and had some others confirmed (or dispelled).

elflady: the rumors about Marguerite and the Tower of Nesle were almost certainly untrue (regarding the multiple lovers, thrown from the walls after her "use" of them...whether the Tower was the actual scene of some of her meetings with her d'Aunay paramour is less clear). One of the texts I read (I can't recall the title at the moment, and I don't have my stack of books in front of me) commented that the rumor of an "evil queen" who had her lovers bound in sackcloth and thrown into the Seine from the Tower of Nesle was attributed to various French royals from the hundred years prior to Marguerite. One source even named Philip IV's wife Jeanne of Navarre as the culpable queen!

As for the number of years the affairs with the d'Aunay brothers was going on...under torture they supposedly confessed to more than three years, "at various places and times, even on holy days." I tend to think it was expedient for that to be claimed, since it would then call into question the legitimacy of Marguerite and Louis's daughter. Blanche and Charles never had a child together (they were both only 13 when they married in 1308). And then after Louis died, Philip V invoked the ancient Salic Law (which applied to lands, really, and had nothing to do with succession of title) to prevent any female from inheriting the throne of France. That was a turning point for the country, as prior there had been no need to examine anything, since every Capetian King since 928AD had presented a male heir. That decision by Philip, of course, eventually led to the Hundred Years War.

As for the rumors that Mahaut killed little King John (Louis's son, born posthumously) - again anything is possible, but I tend to think it was likely "crib death". Some accused Philip V himself of poisoning his nephew (either himself, or through his mother-in-law Mahaut, who'd held the baby in public at his "presentation" the night before his death). Lots of rumor circulating around, naturally, after that kind of tragedy, considering the timing etc.

But I look at it this way: Philip had declared himself (and been accepted as) regent for the baby king already. That meant he'd be "in charge" for all intents and purposes until his nephew attained legal age, at which point Philip would have had a significant influence and probably continue to have a significant influence on his decisions, policies, etc. Philip wouldn't have grown up thinking of himself as the future king, because he'd have had his older brother Louis (who was reportedly very healthy and athletic) in the role. Unless he was exceptionally grasping (which is possible, of course...medieval documents don't give much insight into his character except through his decision-making etc). I don't see why he wouldn't have been content in the role of regent. One text I do know of that provides a bit of insight into Philip V's character is TALES OF THE MARRIAGE BED from Medieval France (1300 - 1500) by R.C. Famiglietti. The chapter on the adulterous affair scandal comments that Philip asserted in later documents and letters that he was never completely estranged from Jeanne during the scandal, even when she was removed from court and imprisoned at Dourdan, and that he loved her with his whole heart. That doesn't strike me as the kind of man who would murder his own infant nephew.

I suppose Mahaut is more of an enigma, as potential murderess - but again, I'd think that little baby would have been extremely protected and watched at all times, considering the circumstances of his birth, with his father the king already dead. It seems it would have been difficult for Mahaut to commit the deed without anyone knowing.

As to your note, Alianore re: Mahaut's inheritance of Artois: <<This seems a little odd to me, as normally male heirs were favoured, but the same situation applied to Edward II's mother Eleanor of Castile, who inherited Ponthieu from her mother, despite the fact that she had a nephew, the son of her dead brother. >> I'd have to respond by saying the male heirs bit wasn't really in force in France in the way we think of it being until after Philip invoked Salic Law in the circumstance of his taking the throne. Prior to that, it was understood and accepted that title was inherited by the nearest relative, be it male or female. It's just that when it came to the actual throne of France, it had never been an issue, and when it became one, patronimy won out. Smile

Ok, have to dash, but I'll pop back in later and make sure I haven't missed any of the queries/points I had intended to address. Sorry again for the length of this post! It's difficult to explain all the ins and outs without going into some details... Wink
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:17 pm

That's interesting about inheritance laws in France. What's always puzzled me is that although Eleanor of Castile inherited Ponthieu, her nephew inherited the county of Aumale, which had been Eleanor's grandfather's (Simon de Dammartin, father of Jeanne, mother of Eleanor). The nephew was Jean of Aumale, son of Eleanor of Castile's brother Fernando. So I don't really know why Ponthieu passed to the heir closest in blood (Eleanor) but Aumale passed to the next male heir. Perhaps Eleanor came to an arrangement with her nephew - but then, if lands automatically passed to the closest heir, i.e. her, would she have needed to?

But I'm getting wildly off-topic here. Wink

Re: rumours about queens taking lovers - this reminds me of Isabelle of Angouleme, wife of King John. John was meant to have hanged one of her lovers from her bedpost. But nobody ever questioned the fact that her children were John's. And Henry VI's wife Marguerite of Anjou was said to have taken a lover, who fathered her son Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales. Personally, I doubt that these stories are true - I suppose it's easy to throw accusations of adultery at royal women and question the legitimacy of their children. There are other examples too - Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, is said to have had an affair with an archer named Blaybourne, I think, allegedly the father of Edward IV.

Back on-topic: it's ironic that Isabella almost certainly exposed the adultery of her sisters-in-law, and committed adultery herself with Roger Mortimer a few years later. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:59 pm

Alianore wrote:
Isabella had a younger brother, Robert, probably born in 1297, who died in the summer of 1308. Her three elder brothers all became kings of France: Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV. Only Louis' date of birth is known, 4 October 1289. Isabella herself was probably born in late 1295 or the beginning of 1296, before 25 January (as she was 12 when she married Edward II on 25 January 1308).

I was just looking through my notes, Alianore, and though I was silly enough not to write down where I found this particular bit of information (I think it was on a French genealogy website that I had translated into English), I stumbled across what may be the actual birthdates of Philip V and Charles IV

According to the information there, Philip V (aka Philip the Tall) was born on November 17, 1293, while Charles IV was born on December 11, 1294.

These dates would fit it with your supposition about Isabella's birthdate begin either late 1295 or early 1296...though her poor mother would have had three children (who lived, miraculously!) in three years. Ouch.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:07 pm

Alianore wrote:
That's interesting about inheritance laws in France. What's always puzzled me is that although Eleanor of Castile inherited Ponthieu, her nephew inherited the county of Aumale, which had been Eleanor's grandfather's (Simon de Dammartin, father of Jeanne, mother of Eleanor). The nephew was Jean of Aumale, son of Eleanor of Castile's brother Fernando. So I don't really know why Ponthieu passed to the heir closest in blood (Eleanor) but Aumale passed to the next male heir. Perhaps Eleanor came to an arrangement with her nephew - but then, if lands automatically passed to the closest heir, i.e. her, would she have needed to?

But I'm getting wildly off-topic here. Wink

Perhaps in the case of Eleanor of Castile, it was (as happened in Mahaut's case as well, though settled in her favor) dependent upon whether or not any other relatives wanted to fight for the rights to the land - and how much energy she wished to expend in fighting them back. Or perhaps, because the county was already in her nephew's family, being his father's (who was Eleanor's brother) before him, she thought it best to leave it as it was, rather than to have rights revert to her.

I doesn't seem that any of the inheritance practices were handled 100% one way or the other...until Philip V invoked Salic Law, that is, and then it got pretty specific, at least in terms of the French throne (enough to make a hundred years of war worth fighting, anyway!).

It is indeed interesting to look at the individual cases of inheritance and how they panned out. Who got what seems to have been part and parcel of the politics of human nature, in many cases. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:14 pm

[quote="MaryReedMcCall"]
Alianore wrote:
According to the information there, Philip V (aka Philip the Tall) was born on November 17, 1293, while Charles IV was born on December 11, 1294.

These dates would fit it with your supposition about Isabella's birthdate begin either late 1295 or early 1296...though her poor mother would have had three children (who lived, miraculously!) in three years. Ouch.

I've seen varying birthdates for Philip V and Charles IV - Wikipedia in French gives a birthdate of 18 June 1294 for Charles, and 17 November 1291 for Philip. Interesting that 17 November is given twice, but two different years. And English Wiki now gives a date of 11 December 1295 for Charles, which makes no sense, unless he was Isabella's twin!

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:34 am

Alianore wrote:
.... Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, is said to have had an affair with an archer named Blaybourne, I think, allegedly the father of Edward IV.......
I remember a tv programme about that in England starting off saying that Edward IV's parents were apart 9/10 months before the future king's birth while Richard was fighting in France. From memory they were together at times which could have meant that Edward was premature but he was a perfectly normal sized healthy baby. Also mentioned was that at around 6ft he was considerably taller than his father and brothers and of differing appearance. Mind you that time was rife with Tudor rumour mongering but I believe Richard III claimed his brother was illegitamate in order to bar his sons from the throne and take it himself right?

The whole programme followed what would have been the line of succession to an Australian anti-monarchist living in the middle of nowhere.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:47 am

There was an interesting thread about this on the Richard III Society yahoo group recently: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/richardiiisocietyforum/message/8718

I always thought that Richard III was the only brother who resembled their father - that Edward IV, George of Clarence and Edmund of Rutland were taller and fairer than Richard III and their father.

Personally, I find it unlikely in the extreme that Cecily Neville would have committed adultery with an archer and passed off his son as the Duke of York's. Wink And even if she did, the Duke of York never disavowed Edward IV, so Edward was legally his son, even if he wasn't biologically (as children born to a married couple were assumed to be the husband's children, unless he disavowed them). So legally it made no difference to Edward IV's paternity. The situation with Edward IV's sons was different - nobody ever claimed that he wasn't their biological father, only that he hadn't been married to their mother Elizabeth Woodville at the time of their births, because he had already been married to another woman at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth.

And that's a whole 'nother can of worms...Wink

Coming back to inheritance rights - Mary makes some interesting points. Primogeniture, the eldest son inherits everything, and the nearest male relative inheriting, became 'standard' in England in the 13th century, whereas it hadn't been before - John becoming king in 1199 in preference to Arthur, his elder brother's son, and William the Conqueror leaving Normandy to his eldest son and England to his second son, for example. And in Wales, there was no primogeniture - lands were divided between all a man's sons, and illegitimacy was no bar to inheritance. However, in Wales, women were not allowed to inherit lands.

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:50 pm

Technically, Valois and Bourbon are still considered Capetian branches. It's the main branch of Capets that ended with Phillippe IV's sons.

It seems that names of the medeival dynasties are quite arbitrary and more important to historians/genealogists rather than the subjects of their studies Smile I mean, did Edward II really call himself Plantagenet?
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:33 pm

Hi Natalie, and welcome to the forum!

No, the name Plantagenet wasn't used till the 15th century, when (I think) Richard, Duke of York used it. The royal family didn't use last names before that - Edward II, before he became king, was just called 'Lord Edward, son of the king' or similar, and from 1301 'Lord Edward, Prince of Wales'. I don't know if the Capets used the name, but somehow I doubt that Isabella thought of herself as 'Isabelle Capet'.

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:40 pm

Thanks, Mary mentioned it to me so I decided to stop by.

I bet she was Isabelle de France or something like that. Capet was a nickname, not even a last name of the founder of the dynasty (not that people had last names the way we have today at the time anyway)
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:55 pm

I didn't know Capet was a nickname, Natalie - how did it come about?

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:33 pm

It probably meant "cape" or "head" (from Latin "caput") or something like that.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:59 pm

Ah, I see...
the name Plantagenet is meant to come from the Latin for a sprig of broom, that Geoffrey of Anjou (father of Henry II) wore. That's from memory, so I hope it's accurate! Wink

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:21 pm

Yes Alianore you are correct, I think from Plante Genest the latin term for the sprig.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:45 pm

Just a brief note with regards to Mahaut succeeding in Artois - Salic Law was more often than not applied solely to the "royal" inheritance, espeically in France. Females could and still did succeed directly to fiefs of the French Crown, even when possible a male heir (ie: a nephew) was living.

Salic Law was used as a tool for maintaining a "male" line of descent for the French monarchy.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:39 pm

Wasn't the Salic Law "unburried" with the sole purpose of barring Edward III's ascension to the French throne?
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:17 pm

I think the arguement he used was descent through his mother, Isabella. However, with Salic Law in force in France, he really didn't have any hope. Just flexing his military muscle; a question of pride maybe ..... thoughts of "acquiring" a realm to equal that of William the Conqueror??
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:05 pm

Hello,

This is a great site and forum so I hope you don't mind if I stick my oar in on the subject of the Plantagenet name.



Quote :
From Oxford Journal’s NOTES AND QUERIES October 14, 1933

PLANTAGENET: ORIGIN OF NAME (clxv. 227).- There can be no doubt that the Angevin Kings of England received the name Plantagenet from the device of their house, the wild broom plant (cystisus scoparius), the planta genista of old writers. It was the device of the Counts of Anjou, the first of whom is said to have worn in his helmet, a sprig of the plant, the symbol of humility, when on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Fulke of Anjou, grandfather of Henry II, bore it as his personal cognizance: and it figures on the decoration of the tomb of Henry’s father Geoffrey, the eleventh count of Anjou. Henry himself bore it and it is seen on the Great Seal of Richard I.

St. Louis of France was also attracted to the broom as the symbol of humility, and on the occasion of his marriage (A.D. 1234) established a new order of knighthood, the “Cosse de Genest.” The collar of the order was composed of fleur-de-lys and the broom flower alternately; and its motto was Exaltat humiles. This order was for long in high esteem, and among its members we find the name of King Richard of England.
J.R.F.

However the same piece also cites Roger of Wendover who as I'm sure you are aware was an English Chronicler of the 13th century (died May 6, 1236):

Quote :
“A.D. 1127. Fulk, Count of Anjou, intending to go and settle for life in Jerusalem, gave up his county to his son Geoffrey, surnamed Plantagenet”. (Roger of Wendover’s Chronicle, Bohn’s Edition).
J.F.M.

So it was a 'surname' in use well before the 15th century.
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:44 am

Welcome, Charlie! And please feel free to stick your oar in wherever you like. Wink

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