The re-united kingdom : Henry I Beauclerc

An old enemy, the comté of Anjou

The Viscount of Angers, Fulk Rufus, was, at the end of the 9th century an agent of the Marquisate of Neustria established on behalf of the family of Robertiens to defend it against the Seine and Loire Normans, and against the Bretons.

The first castle of Langeais was built by the count of Anjou in 994 against his neighbours and enemies the counts of Blois. Photo G. Coppola.Although created under different circumstances from Normandy, the Angevin principality had experienced a parallel destiny. It was freed from the power of the Robertiens and then from that of the Capetian kings and began to pursue its own policies directed at the neighbouring regions of the Brittany, Maine, and the County of Blois. The last named was often in competition with the Duchy of Normandy and supported in its efforts by the Kings of France who were hostile to Norman power.

In order to consolidate their frontiers and isolate the rebellions which often formed around the house of Bellême, the Dukes of Normandy had always tended to pursue the expansion of a form of protectorate to include Maine. They were thus opposed to the identical ambitions of the Counts of Anjou.

On these territories William the Conqueror, and subsequently his son William Rufus, confronted the Counts Geoffrey Martel (1040-1060) and Fulk the Surly (1068-1109). Under the reign of Fulk the Younger (1108-1128), Anjou tried to take advantage of the conflict between Henry I and Robert Curthose. After Tinchebray Fulk devised the plan of making William Clito, son of Robert, the new Count of Maine.

Loches (Indre-et-Loire), one of the favourite residences of the counts of Anjou, disputed by the Plantagenets and the kings of France. Ph. G. Coppola.Finally, in 1112-1113, the Count of Anjou accepted the peace negotiated by Henry I who had just established himself in the Duchy of Normandy. Matilda, daughter of the Count of Anjou, was then betrothed to William, Henry's son. The marriage was celebrated in 1119, but the heir to the Duke-King drowned in 1120. However, the alliance was renewed in 1128 by the marriage of another Matilda, daughter of Henry I, with Geoffrey the Fair, known as 'Plantagenet'.

The first marriage could have given the Dukes of Normandy rights to Anjou; after the second marriage the prospects were favourable to the Angevin count.

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