Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 24 – Margaret of Flanders

This is the twenty-fifth post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In the last post, I proved that my twentieth great-grandfather Duke John II of Brabant was the son of Margaret of Flanders and John I, Duke of Brabant.


Margaret of Flanders was born in 1251 as the eldest daughter of Guy of Dampierre, count of Flanders, by his first wife Matilde of Béthune. On 1273 she married John I Duke of Brabant, after his first wife had died in childbirth. They had four children together, including John II (generation 23). Margaret of Flanders died in 1284.

Marriage of John I of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders1

John I of Brabant was not born to be Duke of Brabant. When his father died, his older brother Henry was supposed to follow in his footsteps. However, Henry had physical and mental disabilities and was deemed unfit to rule. John succeeded their father in 1267, and was already a duke when he married Margaret in 1273.

Henry IV transferring the duchy to John I2

John I Duke of Brabant was an ambitious man who expanded his territories by conquest and diplomacy. He purchased the rights to Limburg from the heirs of its deceased countess, which he reflected by quartering his Brabant coat of arms of a gold lion on a black shield with the Limburg coat of arms of a red lion on a silver shield. The widower of the countess contested his claim to Limburg but was defeated in the battle of Woeringen in 1288, one of the largest European battles in the 1200s.

John I of Brabant during the battle of Woeringen3

John I Duke of Brabant frequently participated in tournaments, both on the continent and in England. He died while fighting in a tournament in Bar in 1294. His son John II succeeded him as Duke of Brabant.

Margaret of Flanders, daughter of Guy of Dampierre

Margaret of Flanders in chronicles

As described in more detail in the article for John II of Brabant, several chronicles mention his second wife Margaret of Flanders as the daughter of Guy, duke of Flanders:

  • The Brabantsche Yeesten, volume IV, names John of Brabant’s second wife as Margaret, who was Count guy of Flanders’ daughter.5 Volume V says his son John was procreated with Margaret, who was daughter of count Guy in Flanders.6
  • The Genealogia illustrissimorum ducum Lotharingie et Brabantie describes how John duke of Lorraine and Brabant took Margaret daughter of Guy count of Flanders as his wife, with whom he procreated two sons John and Geoffrey.7
  • The Hertogenboek (book of Dukes), a book about the Dukes of Brabant printed in 1565 based on older manuscripts names John and Margaret, daughter of Guy count of Flanders, as the parents of John II, fourth duke of Brabant.8
  • The Historia Rerum Gestatum a Brabantiæ Ducibus (History of the deeds and acts of the dukes of Brabant) states that John I married Margaret, the daughter of Guy, count of Flanders.9

Genealogia illustrissimorum. Ms. 10953, Royal Library of Belgium. Photo by author, shared with permission.

Margareta, wife of John of Brabant

On 29 June 1280, John I confirmed donations to the abbey at Oudergem, with consent of “coniugis et consortis nostre domine Margarete ducisse Brabantia” [wife and consort our lady Margaret duchess of Brabant].10

The original does not survive, but a copy was entered into the cartulary of Brabant, now kept at the National Archives of Belgium in Brussels. While the record does not list her origins or parentage, it confirms John I of Brabant’s spouse in 1280 was named Margaret.

John II of Brabant, nephew of John of Namur and Guy and Robert of Flanders

Margaret’s son, John II duke of Brabant, referred to his uncles in several charters:

  • On 11 March 1298, John, duke of Lorraine, Brabant and Limburg, discharged his uncle, John of Namur, son of Guy, count of Flanders and marquis of Namur, of his caution against Amadeus V, count of Savoy, on the occasion of the marriage contract between the latter and Mary, sister of the duke.11
  • On 13 June 1306, Robert, count of Flanders, and John, duke of Lorraine, Brabant and Limburg, name John of Flanders, count of Namur and Guy of Flanders, their respective brothers and uncles, as arbiters in their dispute with William, count of Hainaut, Holland, and Zeeland and Lord of Friesland.12
  • On 18 April 1309, John, duke of Lorraine and Brabant, discharged his uncle, John I count of Namur, of the caution for the sum of 12,000 Parisian pounds due to Berthold and Simon Philippe, merchants in Pistoia.13
  • On 30 April 1311, John, duke of Lorraine and Brabant, discharged his uncle, John I, count of Namur, of the caution against the Lombards of Brabant.14

These records show that John [II] duke of Brabant was the nephew of John count of Namur, who was the son of Guy, count of Flanders. That is consistent with John II of Brabant’s mother being the daughter of Guy of Flanders.  The records showed that John of Namur acted as bondsman for his nephew on several occasions, and that John II of Brabant was heavily in debt.

The 1306 record names John II of Brabant as the nephew of John of Flanders count of Namur and of Guy of Flanders, and names John of Namur and Guy of Flanders as the brothers of Robert, count of Flanders. This indicates that John of Flanders count of Namur, Guy of Flanders, and Robert count of Flanders were all brothers and siblings to John II duke of Brabant’s mother.

In November 1290, “Guido comes Flandrie et marchio Namurcen:” [Guy, count of Flanders and marquis of Namur] made a marriage contract for John, named of Namur, our son, to marry Blanche, sister of Philip, king of France.15 This confirms John of Namur was the son of Guy of Flanders.

Marriage contract of John of Namur, November 1290

A charter from 1296 confirms that Guy and Robert were also the sons of Guy count of Flanders. On 20 July 1296, Guy count of Flanders and Guy, his son, quitclaimed the late Floris V count of Holland and his son John I of Holland for their rights in Zeeland. The charter was confirmed by Guy’s son Robert.16

Charter of 20 July 1296

All these charters are consistent with the information from the chronicles that John II was the son of Margaret, daughter of Guy, count of Flanders.

Margaret, wife of the Duke of Brabant, daughter of Guy of Flanders

The Annales Blandiniensis, the annals of the St. Peter Abbey in Ghent, contain an entry for 1284:

Anno Domini 1284. M duxissa Brabantie, filia Guidonis comitis Flandrie, moritur et sepelitur Bruxelis, relictis quatuor liberis, quorum maior natu duxit filiam regis Anglie in uxorem.17

[In the year of our lord 1284. M countess of Brabant, daughter of Guy count of Flanders, died and was buried in Brussels, leaving four children, of whom the oldest born took as his wife the daughter of the king of England.]

This chronicle was started around 1060 and then kept up-to-date to 1292.18 

This entry matches the known information: it gives the countess’ initial as M, consistent with Margaret, names her as the daughter of county Guy of Flanders, and the information that her oldest son married the daughter of the King of England matches the betrothal of John II Duke of Brabant to Margaret of England in 1279.19

Guy of Dampierre, count of Flanders

Several documents show that Guy, count of Flanders was also known as Guy of Dampierre.

In July 1246, Louis, King of France, and the papal legate passed judgement in the dispute between William, Guy, and John of Dampierre with their brothers John and Baldwin of Avesnes. John of Avesnes would succeed their mother as count of Hainaut, and William of Dampierre would succeed her as count of Flanders.20 William died in 1251, leaving Guy to succeed their mother.21

Charter of July 1246


A combination of evidence proves that Margaret, the wife of John I Duke of Brabant, was the daughter of Guy of Flanders.

The Annales Blandiniensis named M, countess of Brabant, as the daughter of Guy count of Flanders. Several later chronicles stated that John I of Brabant married Margaret, daughter of Guy count of Flanders.

This is confirmed by charters that mention John of Namur, Robert of Flanders, and Guy of Flanders as uncles of Margaret’s son John II duke of Brabant. Other charters mention these men as sons of Guy, count of Flanders. This count was called Guy of Dampierre.

The combination of this evidence proves that Margaret, the wife of John I duke of Brabant was the daughter of Guy of Dampierre.

That’s twenty-four generations down, four to go!

Next up: Generation 25 – Guy of Dampierre.

  1. Jan van Boendale, “Brabantsche Yeesten,” book IV, ms. IV 684, fol. 36v; Royal Library of Brussels; consulted as Koninklijke Bibliotheek Brussel (https://uurl.kbr.be/1065581 : accessed 12 November 2019).
  2. “Brabantsche Yeesten,” book IV, ms. IV 684, fol. 34r.
  3. Codex Manesse, fol. 18r, Duke John of Brabant; Col. Pal. germ. 848, Heidelberg University; consulted as “Heidelberg historic literature – digitized,” Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg848/0031/ : accessed 28 December 2019).
  4. The lives of the Dukes of Brabant and the Counts of Flanders are well documented. For Flanders, see Edward de Maesschalck, De Graven van Vlaanderen (861-1384) (Antwerp, Belgium: Davidsfonds, 2019). Also, Gerben Graddesz Hellinga, Graven van Vlaanderen (Zutphen: Walburg pers, 2013). For Brabant see R. van Uytven, et al, editors, Geschiedenis van Brabant van het hertogdom tot heden (Zwolle: Waanders,  2006), 103-109.
  5. “Brabantsche Yeesten,” book IV, fol. 36v.
  6. “Brabantsche Yeesten,” book V, fol. 279; ms. LTK 1019, Leiden University Library, Leiden, Netherlands; digitized at “Digital collections,” Leiden University Libraries (https://digitalcollections.universiteitleiden.nl/view/item/877816 : accessed 22 December 2019).
  7. “Genealogia illustrissimorum ducum Lotharingie et Brabantie, prosapia scilicet Karoli Magni Genealogia ducum Brabantiae ampliata,”;  ms. 10953, Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium; reproduced with permission.
  8. Jan Mollijns, Afcoemste ende genealogie der hertogen ende hertoghinnen van Brabant (Antwerp, 1565); consulted as “Hertogenboek,” Provincie Noord-Brabant (https://www.brabant.nl/subsites/het-nieuwste-brabant/eregalerij/1565-hertogenboek : accessed 28 October 2019).
  9. Adrianus Barlando, Historia Rerum Gestarum a Brabantiæ Ducibus (Brussels: Franciscus Foppens, 1665), 36-47; imaged at Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=kcwQT7tCvGoC : accessed 12 November 2019).
  10. Duchy of Brabant, cartulary XXII, fol. 323r+v, confirmation of donation by John of Brabant, 29 June 1280; call no. 8, Account Chamber of Brabant, National Archives of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium. Permission was not received to publish the photos.
  11. Jean II duke of Lorraine and Brabant to Jean of Namur, charter, 11 March 1298; call no. 292, charters of the counts of Namur, Record Group I87, National Archives of Belgium, Namur; consulted as finding aid and images, Archives in Belgium (http://search.arch.be : accessed 21 November 2019), accessible in reading rooms of the National Archives of Belgium. Unfortunately, permission to reproduce the charters in this blog post has not been received.
  12. Robert Count of Flanders, John Duke of Lorraine, William count of Hainaut, appointment of arbiters, charter, 13 June 1306;  call no. 208, Account Chamber, charters and cartularies of the Duchy of Brabant, Limburg, and Over-Meuse, Record Group I 282; National Archives of Belgium, Brussels.
  13. Jean II duke of Lorraine and Brabant to Jean I count of Namur, charter, 18 April 1309; call no. 348, RG I87, National Archives of Belgium, Namur.
  14. Jean II duke of Lorraine and Brabant to Jean I count of Namur, charter, 30 April 1311; call no. 376, RG I87, National Archives of Belgium, Namur.
  15. Guy of Dampierre and Isabella of Flanders, marriage contract for son John, charter, November 1290; “Archim,” digital images, Archives Nationales (http://www2.culture.gouv.fr/documentation/archim/exposition_florilege.htm : accessed 26 December 2020), section “Florilège : grands documents de l’histoire de France, du Moyen Age à nos jours”; citing “cote AE/III/89, cote origine J531/4.”
  16. Guy [sr] and Guy [jr] of Flanders to Floris and John of Holland, quitclaim, charter, 20 July 1296; call no. 192, Counts of Holland, Record group 3.01.01, National Archives, The Hague; consulted as finding aid and images, Nationaal Archief (http://proxy.handle.net/10648/744ed555-d523-48ff-f5bc-6d3839a2fb89 : accessed 22 December 2019).
  17. L.C. Brethmann, editor, “Annales Blandiniensis,” Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, 5 (Hannover, Germany: 1844),  33; digital version at dMGH Beta (https://www.dmgh.de/mgh_ss_5/index.htm#page/32/mode/1up : accessed 26 December 2020).
  18. “Annales Blandiniensis,” Narrative Sources (https://www.narrative-sources.be/naso_link_nl.php?link=63 : accessed 26 December 2020), ID A063.
  19. Edward, King of England, prenuptial agreement for his daughter Margaret to John Duke of Lorraine and Brabant, charter (22 January 1279); call no. 101, Account Chamber, charters and cartularies of the Duchy of Brabant, Limburg, and Over-Meuse, Record Group I 282; National Archives of Belgium, Brussels.
  20. Louis, King of France, charter about succession in Flanders and Hainaut, July 1246; imaged at Diplomata Belgica (https://www.diplomata-belgica.be/charter_details_en.php?dibe_id=23239 : accessed 27 July 2020), DiBe ID 23239; citing Lille, Archives départementales du Nord [AD], B 460/873.
  21. De Maesschalck, De Graven van Vlaanderen (861-1384), 324.
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Gonçalo Marques says

    It is back!
    So nice to read this again. 🙂

    I had a question on your comment on DNA evidence in your grandmother’s post:
    “My mother has a few DNA matches that share documented ancestors with Johannes Marijnissen. Unfortunately, none of these are close matches, and there are no two matches who share the same segment and both descend from the same ancestor (no triangulated matches).”
    Has this evolved? Can you now say that you have DNA evidence further up the line?

  2. I was excited to see another installment in this series. What beautiful illustrations for your family history!

  3. Amazing!

  4. Hi Yvette,
    Good to see you are back on track again with a new episode of the Eleonore saga. you / we had to wait a full year, but it was worth it. I hope you won’t experience any further roadblocks to finish the story.
    It is silly to see that you can reproduce pictures from every country, but from Belgium. The National Archives should really reconsider their strategies. Even though the history for this episode covers mainly nowadays Belgium, the documentation comes from other countries!

Leave comment