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Henry I, Count of Champagne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry I (December 1127 – March 16, 1181), known as the Liberal,[1] was count of Champagne from 1152 to 1181. He was the eldest son of Count Theobald II of Champagne, who was also count of Blois, and his wife, Matilda of Carinthia.[1]

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The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Laodiceans 1 Paul, an apostle not of men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, unto the brethren that are at Laodicea. 2 Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I give thanks unto Christ in all my prayers, that ye continue in him and persevere in his works, looking for the promise at the day of judgement. 4 Neither do the vain talkings of some overset you, which creep in, that they may turn you away from the truth of the Gospel which is preached by me. 5 And now shall God cause that they that are of me shall continue ministering unto the increase of the truth of the Gospel and accomplishing goodness, and the work of salvation, even eternal life. 6 And now are my bonds seen of all men, which I suffer in Christ, wherein I rejoice and am glad. 7 And unto me this is for everlasting salvation, which also is brought about by your prayers, and the ministry of the Holy Ghost, whether by life or by death. 8 For verily to me life is in Christ, and to die is joy. 9 And unto him (or And also) shall he work his mercy in you that ye may have the same love, and be of one mind. 10 Therefore, dearly beloved, as ye have heard in my presence so hold fast and work in the fear of God, and it shall be unto you for life eternal. 11 For it is God that worketh in you. 12 And do ye without afterthought whatsoever ye do. 13 And for the rest, dearly beloved, rejoice in Christ, and beware of them that are filthy in lucre. 14 Let all your petitions be made openly before God, and be ye steadfast in the mind of Christ. 15 And what things are sound and true and sober and just and to be loved, do ye. 16 And what ye have heard and received, keep fast in your heart. 17 And peace shall be unto you. 18 The saints salute you. 19 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit. 20 And cause this epistle to be read unto them of Colossae, and the epistle of the Colossians to be read unto you.


Henry took part in the Second Crusade under the leadership of Louis VII of France.[2] He carried a letter of recommendation from Bernard of Clairvaux addressed to Manuel I Komnenos, Byzantine Emperor; he is listed among the notables present at the assembly held by Baldwin III of Jerusalem at Acre on 24 June 1148.[3]

On his father's death, Henry chose to take Champagne, leaving the family's older holdings (including Blois, Chartres, Sancerre, and Châteaudun) to his younger brothers. At the time this may have been surprising, for the other territories were richer and better developed. Henry must have foreseen the economic possibilities of Champagne, and it is during his rule that the county achieved its high place as one of the richest and strongest of the French principalities.

Henry established orderly rule over the nobles of Champagne, and could fairly reliably count on the aid of some 2,000 vassals, which just by itself made him a power few in France could equal. This order in turn made Champagne a safe place for merchants to gather, and under the count's protection the Champagne Fairs became a central part of long-distance trade and finance in medieval Europe.

In addition, the count's court in Troyes became a renowned literary center.[4] Walter Map was among those who found hospitality there. The scholar Stephen of Alinerre was among Henry's courtiers, becoming chancellor of the county in 1176.[5]

In 1179, Henry went to Jerusalem again[6] with a party of French knights including his relatives Peter of Courtenay (brother of Louis VII) and Philip of Dreux, bishop of Beauvais.[7] Henry returned towards Europe by the land route across Asia Minor, and was captured and held to ransom by Kilij Arslan II, Seljuk sultan of Rüm.[7] The ransom was paid by the Byzantine Emperor.[7] Henry died on 16 March 1181.[8]

Henry's tomb in the church of Saint-Étienne (Troyes)
Henry's tomb in the church of Saint-Étienne (Troyes)

In 1164, Henry married Marie of France, daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine.[1]

They had four children:

Henry built the collegiate church of Saint-Étienne in Troyes between 1157 and 1171, which he planned as a necropolis for the House of Blois. He was buried there, as was his son Theobald III, but most of his descendants were buried elsewhere.[9]

He died in 1181 and was succeeded by their elder son Henry. After Henry became king of Jerusalem his younger brother, Theobald, became count.


  1. ^ a b c Cline 2007, p. 501.
  2. ^ Berry 1969, p. 469.
  3. ^ Evergates 2016, p. 25.
  4. ^ Benton 1961, p. 551.
  5. ^ Benton 1961, p. 559.
  6. ^ Evergates 2007, p. 24.
  7. ^ a b c Hamilton 2000, p. 150.
  8. ^ a b c d e Benton 1961, p. 554.
  9. ^ Baudin, Arnaud (2006). "Saint-Etienne de Troyes" (in French). Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-21.


  • Benton, John F. (October 1961). "The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center". Speculum. 36 (4).
  • Berry, Virginia G. (1969). "The Second Crusade". In Setton, Kenneth M. (ed.). A History of the Crusades. I. The University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Cline, Ruth Harwood (July 2007). "Abbot Hugh: An Overlooked Brother of Henry I, Count of Champagne". The Catholic Historical Review. 93 (3).
  • Evergates, Theodore (2007). The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Evergates, Theodore (2016). Henry the Liberal: Count of Champagne, 1127-1181. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Hamilton, Bernard (2000). The Leper King and His Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press.
Henry I, Count of Champagne
Born: December 1127 Died: 17 March 1181
Preceded by
Theobald II
Count of Champagne
Succeeded by
Henry II
This page was last edited on 5 July 2021, at 15:20
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