by Michael Anne Guido[1] and John P Ravilious


This paper supports the Polish theory of descent for Agatha, the mother of St Margaret of Scotland, which was first published by John Ravilious in 2009. The issues of conflicting chroniclers, onomastics, and the political context of the Hungarian connection are all explored. New documentation is presented to establish a link between the Piast, Ezzonen and Arpad families as well as evidence that Mieszko had three daughters who survived to adulthood and married.

Foundations (2012) 4: 81-121    © Copyright FMG and the author

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In 2009 John Ravilious published “The Ancestry of Agatha, Mother of St Margaret of Scotland,”[2] establishing a Polish theory of descent. In this hypothesis Agatha was presented as the daughter of Mieszko II Lambert of Poland by his wife Richenza, daughter of Ehrenfried Count Palatine of Lotharingia and Matilda of Saxony, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu.

Since the publication of John Ravilious’s 2009 article, additional evidence has been found in the chronicles of medieval Poland and Hungary, and in the annals of certain continental European monasteries and abbeys, which lend further credence to this hypothesis of Agatha’s origins. Taken in conjunction with English chronicles, this material supports the proposed Ezzonen-Piast lineage for Agatha, giving her descendants a direct link to the Ottonian Emperors. This diverse material will here be presented in several sections. In the first section, a detailed political narrative is laid out, based partly on Continental sources, which provides a plausible scenario for Edward’s contracting marriage with a Polish wife through a Polish-Hungarian connection. The second section reviews the evidence of the English chroniclers for Agatha’s origin and offers commentary on reconciling their statements with the hypothesized Polish-Hungarian-Ottonian scenario. After consideration of other evidence (including the adoption of imperial imagery by Agatha’s son Edgar), a final section reviews a plausible onomastic milieu for antecedents for Agatha’s name and the name of several in her claimed family of origin and English family, centred partly around the old Carolingian monastic foundation of Nivelles.

The ancestry of Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile, has been debated since the seventeenth century. Theories giving Agatha a Hungarian, German, Bulgarian, Byzantine, or Russian background have all been advanced, based essentially on statements found in English chronicles. While English chronicles are the largest source of information on Agatha and her family, they appear to contradict each other. These inconsistencies have in turn been explained with material not always historically valid: children have been given to individuals documented as being childless; proper names have been translated into other languages where they do not work; onomastics, which cannot fully justify a lineage, has been used to substantiate several of the Eastern Empire suppositions,[3] even to the point of stating that the name Agatha was not used in Western Europe prior to the end of the first Millennium, which can easily be refuted.[4] The earliest theory of Agatha’s origin was of Hungarian descent.

A Polish – Hungarian Connection

It has been theorized since the medieval period that Agatha was the daughter of Stephen I of Hungary and his wife Gisela of Bavaria, sister of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II. This theory was promoted by Daniel Cornides in 1778,[5] Sandor Fest[6] and G Andrews Moriarty[7] in the twentieth century. If this were possible it would easily fit the majority of reports of the English chroniclers. Using Occam’s razor this would be the preferred interpretation of the British narratives presented about St Margaret of Scotland’s maternal ancestry. However, the problem has consistently remained that St Stephen left no surviving issue; he was succeeded by his nephew Peter Orseolo in 1038. His only son, Imre, died on 2 September 1031,[8] gored by a wild boar in a hunting accident.[9]

There is an overlooked route by which a Polish Agatha could have become closely linked to St Stephen and the Hungarian royal family in this generation, for which it is important to look at Polish and Hungarian annals from the 11th to 14th centuries.Stephen of Hungary was the stepson of Adelajda of Poland, a half-sister of Mieszko I. Adelajda was the second wife of Geza [Iesse] of Hungary. This marriage is documented in one of the oldest annals in Poland, the Annales capituli Cracoviensis, as well as De cronica Polonorum (taken from this source), and two Silesian annals, Annales Kamenzenses and Annales Silesiaci compilati, copied in the 14th and 15th centuries respectively.[10] It is stated in ES[11] that Adelajda was first married to Mihaly, brother of Geza, and when he was killed Adelajda was taken as the wife of Geza according to custom. The De gestis Hungarorum calls Sarolt, the 1st wife of Geza, St Stephen’s mother. Stephen is mentioned in the Polish and Silesian chronicles as being born in 975.[12] These chronicles also call Stephen the ‘consobrinus’[13] [usually cousin] of Boleslav the Brave. Stephen came to the throne in 997 and was baptized by St Adalbert of Prague. St Adalbert was also the spiritual father of Boleslav the Brave as well as Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor.[14] These men were connected in Otto III’s Imperial plan.[15]

Fig 1    The house of Arpad


If Stephen had been the son of Adelajda of Poland, he would have been a cousin of Boleslav as was King Cnut of England.[16] There is also the possibility that Adelajda may have been the mother of Vasul, son of Mihaly, who in turn was the father of three sons, two of whom became Kings of Hungary: Andrew I and Bela I.

The idea that Imre of Hungary had a Polish wife was strongly supported by Janos Karacsonyi. His seminal work on Imre from the beginning of the twentieth century is still regarded as definitive. Karacsonyi argued against two alternate identities for a wife of Imre: a Byzantine wife, as well as a betrothal to a daughter of Krešimir III of Croatia, which is found in some late medieval sources.[17] As the Annales Sanctae Crucis Polonici were written in the early thirteenth century, they are the oldest recorded information on the wife of Imre. There is no documentation to support the theory of the Byzantine wife. It is a supposition based on implications in the founding charter of the Greek Orthodox Monastery at Veszprem. This theory states Imre’s wife was a daughter of Romanus III. As Romanus III was a member of the Argyros family, who were not an important element of the nobility before Romanus assumed the purple in 1028, this contradicts itself. There would be no reason for Stephen to have arranged a marriage between his son and a lesser noble family in Constantinople before 1028. The negotiations alone would have taken years, as in the case of Otto I.[18] And the fact that Stephen I of Hungary became a Roman Catholic, not a member of the Orthodox Church, as the first Christian King of Hungary, would definitely have worked against such an alliance in the Byzantine court.

Stephen had only one surviving male heir.[19] In 1018, Stephen allied himself with Boleslav against Kiev.[20] The Annales Sanctae Crucis polonici record the following:

Iste vero Stephanus rex genuit filium dictum Emerich. et post decem annos contraxit amicitias cum Meszkone rege Polonie. ita quod Emerichus duxit filiam Meszkonis, quasi compulsus vi per patrem et per nobiles terre, qui veniens in Gneznam et Poznaniam cum uxore virgine virgo mansit. Tandem eundo de Polonia e converso Ungariam cum Meszkone. venerunt in Ciliciam causa venationis cervorum, qui orastina die instinctu Spiritus sancti et visione angelica veniens personaliter ad Calvum montem, donavit sanctam crucem, quam in pectore deferebat, ipsam ecclesie et fratribus beauti Benedicti.[21]

 Fig 2.    The house of Piast


The name of the daughter of Mieszko II betrothed to Imre was unfortunately not recorded by the annalist. Given this missing detail, it could be argued that she was one of the two daughters already known. Richenza (or Adelheid), the eventual wife of Bela of Hungary, would make an unlikely candidate given the complication of consanguinity which is discussed further below. The known marital history of Gertrude, wife of Iziaslav of Kiev, provides no similar problem, but her longevity does. The Polish wife of Imre was born some time before 1018, and perhaps as early as 1014 assuming she was a young child and the eldest daughter (or child) of Mieszko and Richenza. If this had been Gertrude, she would have been aged between 90 and 94 when she died on 4th January 1107/08.[22] This cannot be stated to be impossible: however, the probability indicated by these dates is that Gertrude was a younger daughter of Mieszko II, perhaps born between 1025 and 1030 – she would then have been aged between 78 and 83 when she died. It therefore appears more likely that there was another daughter, probably older than either Richenza/Adelheid or Gertrude, that was betrothed to Imre of Hungary. This record of the betrothal of Imre to a daughter of Mieszko II of Poland has received scant attention, but this act, and subsequent events in the history of Poland and Hungary, provides a possible context for Agatha which would reconcile English and other sources in a new way.

If Agatha were the same daughter of Miezsko II and Richenza of Poland who married Imre, heir to his father Stephen I of Hungary and his mother Gisela of Bavaria, she would be called their daughter, according to the manner of this era, in written documents. This would explain the several English Chroniclers that call Agatha ‘daughter of the King of Hungary.’This relationship could also explain the reference to Agatha as the ‘niece’ of Holy Roman Emperor, as Henry II was Gisela of Bavaria’s brother.

This daughter of Miezsko II was not the same daughter, Ryksa, who married Bela I of Hungary. This is easily shown by the relationship between Bela I and Imre’s widow. Imre was the second cousin of Bela. Imre’s grandfather Geza and Bela’s grandfather Mihaly were brothers. The question of affinity comes into play as Bela and Imre’s widow would have been related in the fifth degree which certainly would have been noticed by the clerics. The other complication is that Mihaly’s widow, Bela’s grandmother, married Geza and became Stephen of Hungary’s step-mother. In this case the affinity between Imre’s widow and Bela is reduced to the third degree, which would never have been acceptable.On the other hand, the relationship between Bela I and Ryksa was in the seventh degree of consanguinity, creating no impediment.

Another factor in establishing that Imre’s widow and Ryksa were two separate individuals is that no mention of this marriage between Bela I and Imre’s widow is made in the Gesta Hungarorum or any other annal of Hungary or Poland. This marriage would have been documented as it would have made Bela I very unpopular with his barons. Imre was detested by this faction as was his father Stephen I. After the reign of Stephen this section of the nobility was upset over the puppet kingship of Peter I, Stephen’s nephew.[23] These events led to the major revolt of 1046. Imre’s widow would never have been accepted as Queen of Hungary after 1047. She was seen as a representative of the old regime and as in other noble marriages of this period politics was the deciding factor.

The political context behind a marriage between Imre and a daughter of Miezsko II lies in the relations between Hungary, Germany and Russia in this generation — a complex narrative which can be seen reflected in snippets in the same English chronicles which mention Agatha.In the first place, Stephen was aligned against his brother-in-law, Emperor Henry II,[24] at the time of the Kievan invasion: he was allied with Boleslav against his old enemy Yaroslav.[25] Stephen granted his son the title of Dux Ruizorum, Duke of the Russians, as Stephen claimed part of Russia held by Yaroslav. This betrothal was arranged at the time of this alliance, with Boleslav pledging his infant granddaughter to Stephen’s son Imre. Such a bride may have been additionaly desirable to the Hungarians for the Ottonian ancestry she bore through her mother Richenza.[26]

The Annales Sanctae Crucis polonici records that Mieszko II was rex Polonie at the time of the invasion; it does not mention Boleslaw. In 1018 Mieszko was ruling Poland in his father’s place because Boleslaw was in Russia fighting Yarolslav. Mieszko was also Duke of Cracow as well as heir to his father.[27]

Subsequent Events

Ten years after this Polish-Hungarian alliance, in 1027-1028 King Cnut, who exiled the sons of Edmund Ironside to obtain the English crown, was in the company of Emperor Conrad,[28] who had declared that he would govern Hungary.[29] Conrad invaded Stephen’s kingdom in 1030.[30] Miezsko’s daughter must have lived with her future in-laws[31] and about 1031, around the customary age of 13, she would have married Imre.[32] As she was so young it was common to wait until the bride reached 15 or 16 to consummate the marriage although some did not heed this warning losing many young women to premature childbirth. Imre indeed waited, as is apparent by the statement recorded by Florianus in his history of Hungary: “corpore dissoluto, sponsa sua testimonium virginalis vite ei perhibuit et familiaris minister, qui viderat frequenter et audierat ultra non abscondit.[33] With Imre’s death his young bride was a widow at 14, and her homeland was in chaos. In 1032, according to Gallus the Anonymous, when Mieszko II fled to the Bohemians, he was castrated.[34] Her mother, brother and sisters had fled to Brauweiler Abbey in Cologne and she had no place to return. She most likely remained in Hungary under the care of her in-laws.

By 1034, Mieszko II had returned to Poland and died.[35] Kasimierz became king but was forced to flee in 1037.[36] He chose to seek refuge in Hungary.[37] Stephen kept Kasimierz and his men until his death on 15 August 1038. At that time Peter Orseolo became King of Hungary. Peter immediately set the hostages free telling the Bohemians he would not be their jailer.[38] Kasimierz was probably joined by his sister, Imre’s widow, when he returned to Germany and the safety of his mother and Uncle Hermann, Archbishop of Cologne. By 1039-1040 Kasimierz was re-armed and invaded Poland to retake his throne. It was also at this time that Bela, son of Vasul, joined with him, met and married Ryksa, the youngest of Kasimierz’s sisters. They were married and their eldest son Ladislaus was born in Cracow. The year after his return to Poland, Kasimierz negotiated a treaty with Kiev. To seal it, Kasimierz took a Kievan wife, Dobronega, and his sister Gertrude was sent to Kiev to marry Iziaslav.[39] Andrew, brother of Bela, may have accompanied Gertrude to the Kievan court, as one year later he married Anastasia, a daughter of Yaroslav I. Bela remained in Poland.[40]

It was also in 1035 that King Cnut’s daughter Gunhilda married Emperor Conrad’s son, the future Henry III.[41] She took the name Cunigunda as empress, by which she was known until her death in 1039.[42] Henry then married Agnes, daughter of William V of Aquitaine and Agnes of Burgundy, who was the mother of his heir, Henry IV. The situation in Hungary grew worse and in 1046 there was a pagan revolt that left the country without a king. At this point Andrew and his wife returned from Kiev to Esztergom and he was crowned Andrew I of Hungary in 1047. His brother Bela and other loyal Hungarians rejoined Andrew in their homeland.[43]

Edward Ætheling was a very small child when he left England in 1017 with his brother Edmund.[44] As John Ravilious showed in 2009, they were sent to King Cnut’s uncle Boleslav I the Brave.[45] During this time, as we have seen, Boleslav was at war with Kiev and allied with King Stephen of Hungary.[46] Boleslav’s eldest son and heir Mieszko [II] was then Duke of Cracow and was the likely candidate for the guardian of Edward and his brother. Mieszko and Richenza’s children would have been similar in age.[47] It is likely that King Cnut found out that the children were still alive. This information probably came from Conrad I who allied himself with Cnut. In 1027, Cnut attended the coronation in Rome of Conrad I as Holy Roman Emperor and then visited Cologne where he donated to an abbey a set of Gospel Books and Psalters made in England.[48]

It was at this time that Conrad had declared his supremacy over King Stephen of Hungary. When Miezsko’s betrothed daughter was transported to Esztergom by her father’s men is unknown, but it seems highly plausible that if Mieszko II was the guardian of Edward Ætheling and his brother (who may have died before this point) to prevent them from falling into Conrad’s or Cnut’s hands he would have sent him to safety with his daughter’s entourage to Hungary. Once the Ætheling had arrived in Hungary, Stephen would have kept him safe as a wedge against Conrad and his imperial ambitions. Having the rightful Prince of England in his custody would certainly damage the alliance between England and Germany. This would concur with several English chronicles which state that Edward grew up in Hungary.[49]

Edward at Rèkavàr

It appears that Edward the Exile was granted the castle that is now called Rèkavàr in southern Hungary. A deed of 1235 establishes that the estate surrounding Rèka Castle was called lands of the Britons of Nádsd.[50] This castle stood at a point 12 km from Pècs, the most important city in southern Hungary. Pècs was on the Amber Road, and had been established as a city by the Romans in their province of Pannonia. Pècs retained its significance after the fall of the Western Empire and was raised to great importance also by Stephen I. It was in Pècs that Salomon negotiated with his cousin Ladislaus at Easter 1064, and they both attended Easter mass at the cathedral. Whoever held Pècs held the door to the Balkans. Halfway between Pècs and Rèkavàr was the castle of Pècsvàrad[51]. A duchy, including most of Baranya County, was granted by Andrew I to his brother Bela in 1048[52]. The fact that this area was under the authority of Andrew’s brother, the future Bela I, shows its importance.

A 1235 deed named terrae Brittannorum de Nadasth as a landmark along with several other boundary markers[53]. The deed, which exists only embedded in a 1404 dispute settlement, has been alleged to be a forgery, but even if so, the “land of the Britons” was still well-enough known to be a boundary marker in the fifteenth century.[54] Why would the land have been called this, when (as has been pointed out), the term was not used in England in the eleventh century? Ronay proposed that the term Brittanorum was still in use by central European scribes at this time.[55] Indeed, Thietmar of Merseburg used the term Britannis in an near-contermporary annal for 1016 dealing with Cnut and the overtaking of the English forces of Æthelred the Unready, Edward Ætheling’s grandfather.[56]Ronay also presented the fact that as a non-English speaker Edward Ætheling would not know the current phrases in use in England.[57] There is no way of knowing what title his father used, as Edmund Ironside died without a charter listing his title as King of England. Also no coinage of Edmund Ironside has ever been located anywhere. The closest Anglo-Saxon monarch who used Britanniæ in his title was Æthelstan. Coins minted in his reign from 924-939 bear the legend ‘Rex to[ius] Brit[anniæ]’(King of all Britain).[58] Æthelstan overcame obstacles to become one of the greatest early English kings, so Edward Ætheling patterning himself on this regent, and forbearer, may not just be coincidence.

Szabolcs de Vajay raised the question of whether the deed might have actually read terris bisanorum, which would have referred to the Pechenegs, a frontier people who began to migrate into the area after their destruction by the Byzantines at the Battle of Levounion in 1091.[59] But this theory was refuted by an authority on the Pechenegs, György Györffy, who pointed out that the migration of the Pechenegs was not in the area of Násasd.[60] Ronay judged, from the manuscript, that the phrase in question was clearly not “bisanorum,[61] but said it was not possible conclusively to read the phrase in question.[62] For the deed to have referred to ‘Britons’ the reference point would have had to predate 1057, when Edward’s family returned to England, a long time lapse but still more plausible than referring to the migratory presence of an essentially nomadic Pecheneg people, especially given the way Edward’s stay in the area appears to have been remembered locally.

The derivation of the name Rèkavàr itself is a puzzle. Local folklore of this region describes various sites connected with Edward Ætheling and his family.[63] Rèka is not a native Hungarian word. According to local tradition this land originally belonged to Rèka, a legendary daughter of Stephen I. It is possible that the daughter of Stephen I myth that grew around the castle was in respect to the widow of Imre, Stephen’s son, who married Edward the Exile. The castle could have been a dower property she held in her own right and inhabited with a second husband. A number of theories have tried to tie ‘Rèka’ with the Slovene word for river. There is a Rèka River, which flows from Croatia into Western Slovenia to merge with the Timavo River near Trieste, emptying into the head of the Adriatic. There is no link between this river and the Pècs area. The first excavation of Rèkavàr in 1937 revealed a castle mound next to woodland stream; no substantial river is in this vicinity. ‘Rèka’ may then have come from another language, neither Magyar nor Slovene. One overlooked possibility is ‘Wrecan’, the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘banished’ or ‘exile’.[64] Two examples are found in Beowulf: the first example, Fundode wrecca, gist of geardum [‘Longing woke in the cooped-up exile’], shows the status of Hengest, a king forced to spend the winter with his enemy Finn.[65] The second example is in a narrative about Weohstan, father of Wiglaf, who became a ‘friendless exile’ because of deeds he committed while in the service of the king of Sweden: þām æt sæcce wearð, wræccan wine-lēasum, Wēohstān bana mēces ecgum [‘the one Weohstan had slain when he was an exile without friends’].[66] The word ‘wræcca’ was also spelled as ‘ræcca’ and in use as late as the twelfth century.[67] The word was also found in texts of Bede and Alfred the Great, and is now often rendered ‘recka’, meaning banished one. There was a double entendre using this word as the alternate meaning was ‘avenge or revenge’. It was understood that those banished or exiled wrongly could often become the avenger and take their revenge on those who had precipitated the situation. The use of this word ‘[W]ræcca’ with the Hungarian word ‘Var’ (castle) could be construed as ‘Castle of the Exile’, or in another interpretation ‘Castle of the avenger’. Both of these terms would be unique to Edward Ætheling, expelled from England as a child, who was certainly the rightful heir to his uncle Edward the Confessor.

Edward's Polish Wife and the English Chroniclers

In this section we will address some of the traditionally used English sources and their consistency with the Polish hypothesis.

John of Worcester

One of the most problematic of the English chroniclers in his description of Agatha is John of Worcester. He states:

Eaduuardus uero Agatham filiam germani[68] imperatoris Heinrici in matrimonium accepit ex qua Margaretam Scottorum reginam, et Cristinam sanctimonialem uirginem, et clitonem Eadgarum suscepit.

The crux of this passage relies on the definition of the word germani, and the interpretation of which emperor was referred to in the passage, whether it was Henry II who died in 1024, or Henry III, who was Holy Roman Emperor when Ealdred came to Germany to request the return of Edward Ætheling to England in 1054. If this was the wife of Imre of Hungary it can be interpreted in both the scenarios of Henry II and Henry III as a close relative. Henry II was the brother of Gisela of Bavaria, the wife of Stephen I of Hungary and Imre’s mother. By marriage to Imre, Agatha would have been, legally, a filia germani imperatoris Heinrici. There is no question that John of Worcester identified the rulers of each year he recorded accurately. There would be no reason for an entry recorded under 1017 to be referring to Emperor Henry III who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1046. As 1046 was likely the year of St Margaret’s birth, her parents were married before this point.

Others have pointed out that John of Worcester added Regalis prosapia Anglorum, a collection of genealogies, as an appendix to his Chronicon ex Chronicis. In this work Henry III is specified as the emperor in the passage identifying Agatha. Yet this carries less weight in identifying the emperor as Henry III because John of Worcester did not compose this section of the Chronicon: it was added by a scribe from Gloucester who is also thought to have completed John’s annals from 1117 to 1141. The date of this composition was c.1146-1147. Because of this it is considered, like other interpolations, as a later addition with no known source.[69]

William of Malmesbury and John of Fordun

In his chronicle, written c.1125 for Empress Matilda and David of Scotland,[70] both of whom were related to Agatha, William of Malmesbury relates:

Filii ejus Edwius et Edwardus, missi ad regem Swevorum ut perimerentur, sed miseratione ejus conservati, Hunorum regem petierunt; ubi, dum benigne aliquo tempore habiti essent, major diem obiit, minor Agatham reginæ sororem in matrimonium accepit.[71]

If Agatha were a sister of Adelaide [Ryksa] wife of Bela I of Hungary, queen of Hungary, this would explain the passage about her sibling. John of Fordun recorded a large amount of information from William of Malmesbury that strengthens the case for this presumed descent for Agatha. He directly states that William declaimed Margaret was cuius sororem pro antique memoria nobilitatis jugalem sibi fecerat (whose sister [of Edgar] he [Malcolm III] had married because of her long line of noble descent).[72] Fordun also calls Margaret de regio semine simul et imperali genitam (of royal and imperial descent).[73] Both of these statements can apply to Agatha being the daughter of Richenza of Poland who was the granddaughter of Otto II and Theophanu. The only possible imperial descent for Margaret was from the Ottonian line as the Salian line has no viable options. Fordun also recorded that Edward the Exile was not only heir to Edward the Confessor but also that quem eciam ipse Romanus imperator Henricus (sicut ante Paulo prediximus) non minimis honoratum muneribus in Angliam misit [‘The Roman Emperor himself (as we mentioned a little before) sent him [Edward] to England, and presented him with generous gifts’]. Margaret brought a large portion of these gifts to Scotland as well as several relics including the Black Cross of Scotland (sancta crux quam nigram vocant) which was feared, loved and revered by the Scottish people (omni genti Scotorum non minus terribilem quam anabilem pro sue reverencia sanctitatis[74]). These relics may have come from Agatha’s family if indeed she were the granddaughter of Theophanu as in this hypothesis. Theophanu had brought numerous relics with her from Byzantium which were later passed down to her heirs. The exact nature of the Black Rood of Scotland is debated but a scholarly consensus agrees that the cross contained a piece of the true cross exactly like the cross of Theophanu which is still in the Treasury at Essen Cathedral.

Aelred of Rievaulx

The histories of Aelred of Rievaulx contain much that is not recorded elsewhere. As he was reared in the court of King David of Scotland, Aelred may well have heard stories of St Margaret and her family that were unknown to other writers. He records the following:

Hanc religiosa regina Margareta, hujus regis mater, quæ de semine regio Anglorum et Hungariorum exstitit oriunda, allatam in Scotia quasi munus hæreditarium transmisit ad filios.

[The devout Queen Margaret, the king’s mother, who sprang from the royal seed of the English and Hungarians passed on to her sons as a hereditary gift this cross that she had brought to Scotland].[75]

This claims that St Margaret of Scotland was both of Anglo-Saxon and Hungarian descent. It also specifies that the Black Rood of Scotland was brought with her when she came to England in 1057 as a girl. Aelred further writes:

At puerulos filios Edmundi ferire metuens præ pudore, ad regem Suavorum eos interficiendos transmisit. Rex vero Suavorum nobilium puerorum miseratus ærumnam, ad Hungariorum regem eos destinat nutriendos. Quos ipse benigne accepit, benignius fovit, benignissime sibi in filios adoptavit. Porro Edmundo filiam suam dedit uxorem; Edwardo filiam germani sui Henrici imperatoris in matrimonium junxit. Sed paulo post Edmundus de temporalibus ad æterna transfertur: Edwardus sospitate et prosperitate fruitur.

[But being afraid out of very shame to strike down the young sons of Edmund, he [Cnut] sent them to the King of the Swedes to be killed. The King of the Swedes, however, pitied the sufferings of the noble boys and directed them to the King of Hungary to be brought up. He received them kindly, cherished them even more kindly, and with the greatest kindness adopted them as his sons. To Edmund he gave his daughter as wife. Edward he joined to the daughter of his brother, the Emperor Henry in marriage. Shortly afterwards Edmund passed from things temporal to things eternal: Edward enjoyed health and prosperity]. [76]

Aelred may have heard a muddled version of this story but one much closer to the actual events than anyone else knew at the time. We have theorized that King Cnut sent the sons of Edmund Ironside to Poland to be killed. One of the sons, Edmund, died there and Edward went with Miezsko II’s daughter to Hungary. Edward must have grown up in the royal Hungarian household and from the above account must have been a favourite of King Stephen.This account perhaps confuses Edmund, Edward’s brother, with Imre the actual son of King Stephen. Imre married Miezsko II’s daughter and she became the daughter [-in-law] of the King and the niece of Emperor Henry II. The fact that this is King Stephen is proven in that Stephen married the emperor’s sister Gisela of Bavaria. Stephen is referred to as brother not brother [-in-law] which was common in this period. Imre died shortly after the marriage leaving his wife a young widow. If this widow married Edward Ætheling this would solve the issue presented.

Aelred may have misinterpreted the passage from Simeon of Durham, Eadwardus vero Agatham filiam germani imperatoris Henrici in matrimonium accepit.[77]It is possible that he mistranslated this as “Edward accepted in marriage Agatha daughter of the German Emperor Henry,” instead of “Edward accepted in marriage Agatha the daughter of the sister of Emperor Henry.” This would also explain why the genealogical tables[78] produced by Freeland & Dutton show Agatha as the daughter of Emperor Henry II.

Bishop Ealdred and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, MS D

Ealdred, bishop of Worcester (later also of York) was identified by Atkins, and subsequently by Cubbin, as the direct source of the record now known as MS D of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.[79] This is based in part on the intimate knowledge of the writer concerning events at Worcester, and particularly those involving Ealdred. Regarding the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle MS D’s interest in St Margaret and her family, Cubbin wrote that “of all the versions, D is alone in showing interest in Margaret of Scotland.[80] He noted a divergence of opinion as to why this interest is displayed in D. Perhaps Margaret was of interest due to her association with Bishop Wulfstan; or perhaps these details were introduced later because of Margaret’s daughter, Matilda, becoming Henry I’s queen.[81] It does appear that the source of the interest in Margaret and her parents was clearly Bishop Ealdred himself. This was made evident by Atkins, following whom Cubbin wrote “the interest follows Aldred so precisely that he clearly emerges as the person responsible for the creation of D.” Even if it is possible that much was delegated to members of his household, both general considerations and details are evidence of his dominant role.[82]

Ealdred was a trusted counsellor of King Edward ‘the Confessor’, and was selected as his emissary to Germany seeking the return of Edward Ætheling to England from Hungary. Although Ealdred was likely not in direct contact with Edward Ætheling during his diplomatic visit, he was in a position to know about Margaret and her parentage based on his own personal experience. Bishop Ealdred’s embassy to Germany (1054-5) and extended stay in Cologne was hosted by Hermann, Archbishop of Cologne,[83] himself not only a kinsman to the Emperor but perhaps more importantly the uncle of Miezsko II’s daughter that married Imre. This was not unusual given that Ealdred was a noted cleric himself, but is all the more significant given Hermann’s relationship to the Emperor, and presumably to Edward Ætheling’s wife Agatha, his proposed niece as she was the daughter of Mieszko II, duke of Poland, by his wife Richenza - the elder sister of Archbishop Hermann. Ealdred was perhaps fortunate, but more likely was directed to the best and most intimate contact that could have been found in Germany to deal with Edward and Agatha: her uncle, Archbishop Hermann.

Bishop Ealdred was no mere bystander, or distant cleric writing about people and events unknown to him. Ealdred did not merely know about Agatha, Margaret and their family: he knew them. His involvement and contact did not end with the embassy of 1054-5, for while we have little to go on for the following 10 years in this regard Ealdred was closely involved with the succession crisis of 1066. It was he who crowned Harold Godwinsson at Westminster on 6 January 1066. Following Harold’s death at Hastings, Ealdred was a supporter of Edgar Ætheling’s right to succeed to the crown, until William of Normandy successfully overawed any significant opposition in late 1066. Bishop Ealdred accompanied Edgar Ætheling to Berkhampstead where they submitted to William; following this, Ealdred crowned William at Westminster on 25 December 1066.[84]

It is in light of the direct knowledge and involvement of Bishop Ealdred that the evidence set forth in MS D should be evaluated. In this record Agatha is called the Emperor’s cousin, and it is separately stated that her daughter Margaret’s maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome.[85] Cubbin transcribes the passage from MS D ascribed to the year 1057 as:

Her com Eadward æþeling to Englalande se wæs Eadwerdes broðor sunu kynges Eadmund ‘cing’; Irensid wæs geclypod for his snellscipe. Þisne æþeling Cnút hæfde forsend on Ungerland to beswicane. Ac he þær geþeh to godan men, swa him God uðe, & him wel gebyrede. swa þ. he begeat þæs caseres mága to wife, & bi þære fægerne bearnteam gestrynde, seo wæs Agathes gehaten.[86]

[Here the Ætheling Edward came to England; he was the son of King Edward’s brother, King Edmund, [who] was called ‘Ironside’ for his bravery. King Cnut had sent this Ætheling away into Hungary to betray, but he there grew to be a great man, as God granted him and became him well, so that he won the emperor’s relative for a wife, and by her bred a fine family; she was called Agatha.][87]

Using this theory, Agatha was a cousin of Henry III. Henry III was the grandson of Gerberga of Burgundy. She had a half-sister named Gisela of Burgundy who was the grandmother of Imre. Henry III and Imre were second cousins and by marriage so was Agatha. The first wife of Henry III was Gunhilda, daughter of King Cnut of England.[88] Agatha’s father Mieszko was the first cousin of Cnut, making Agatha a second cousin of Gunhilda. In this case the marriage would make Agatha Henry III’s second cousin.

Recognition of Agatha’s Kinship in the English chronicles

It is important to consider the precise consanguinity between Agatha and Henry III under the Polish hypothesis.In discussing the history of Edward the Exile and his wife Agatha, much has been made as to uncertainty concerning the relationship of Agatha to ‘the Emperor’. The Anglo-Saxon chronicle states that Edward Ætheling “obtained the emperor’s cousin in marriage” [he begeat þæs caseres maga to wife].[89] It has been suggested that Agatha was a daughter of Mieszko II of Poland by his wife Richenza, a niece of the Emperor Otto II: as a daughter of Richenza of Lotharingia, Agatha would have been a 3rd cousin of the Emperor Conrad II, and 3rd cousin once removed to his son Henry III. Stewart Baldwin has written that he found this unconvincing, stating that “it is unlikely that a relationship that distant would be mentioned in the sources.[90]

On the other hand, in the Vita sancti Edwardi regis et confessoris, Aelred of Rievaulx wrote (c.1162-3) of affairs following the accession of King Edward to the English throne in 1042:

The report of this felicity, as Edward began to govern, was carried to certain neighboring kingdoms. Kings and princes, moved by admiration at such a shift in affairs, were happy to enter a pact with such a king, to join him in friendship, and to establish peace. The Roman Emperor, rejoicing in the king’s great prosperity, sent messengers north and joined him to himself in friendship and confederation; the king’s nephew, Edmund Ironside’s son - one of the two whom Cnut had condemned to exile - had married the emperor’s kinswoman. The king of the Franks, a near relative in blood, became still nearer by the intervention of peace.[91]

To date, a single relationship has been identified which would show Henri I of France and Edward ‘the Confessor’ of England to have been 3rd cousins - ‘near relatives’ in Aelred’s view – through their common descent from Rollo, founder of the Norman ducal dynasty (see Fig 3).

 Fig 3    Relatedness of Edward the Confessor and King Henri I of France



This relationship, which Aelred called “near relative in blood”, was one remove closer than that shown under our hypothesis for Emperor Henry III and Agatha. It is also worth noting that Aelred identified Agatha as being related to the Emperor Henry III, but at the same instant did not note any connection of Agatha to King Henri I of France, the husband of Anna of Kiev, and King Henri would have been the brother-in-law of Edward Ætheling according to the Russian hypothesis of Agatha’s origin. An example of recognition of a slightly more distant relationship, involving both the English and Imperial (German) families, is that of Æthelweard, author of the Chronicon of Æthelweard. Written c.975, it is dedicated to his cousin Matilda, Abbess of Essen. With regard to the sons of King Æthelwulf (d.858), he wrote:

The fourth was Æthelred, who succeeded to the kingdom after the death of Æthelbyrht, and who was my great-great-grandfather. The fifth was Ælfred, successor after all the others to the entire kingdom, who was your great-great-grandfather. Accordingly, sweet cousin Matilda, having gathered these things from remote antiquity, I have made communication to you, and above all I have given attention to the history of our race as far as these two kings, from whom we derive our descent. To you, therefore, I dedicate this work, most beloved, spurred by family affection. [92]

Æthelweard and the Abbess Matilda were 4th cousins: Matilda’s paternal grandmother Eadgyth (first wife of the Emperor Otto I) was a daughter of Edward I ‘the Elder’, King of England (d.924). While the exact descent of Æthelweard from King Æthelred I has been debated,[93]his identity as a great-great grandson of King Æthelred should be taken at face value, especially as he narrates how his own sister Ælfgifu was married to King Edwy, but was divorced on grounds of consanguinity (Fig 4).

 Fig 4.    Relatedness of Æthelweard and the abbess Matilda




By these examples at least, it cannot be denied that during the 10th and 11th centuries, individuals as distant as fourth cousin could be recognized as cousins in England and Central Europe. It should not then be surprising for an annal produced by Bishop Ealdred or under his supervision to describe a third cousin (once removed) of the Emperor Henry III, as the Emperor’s cousin or kinswoman.

Edward's sojourn in Russia in the Western chronicles

We have already seen how the career of Edward Ætheling from his exile from England as an infant until his appearance in Hungary as a married man with children has been the subject of significant disagreement. One dispute concerns Edward’s alleged presence in the lands of Rus, with special emphasis on his possible relationship with Yaroslav of Kiev. There are several sources, none of them contemporary with Edward’s life, which place the Ætheling as living at least part of his life in exile in Rus.

Leges Edwardi Confessoris and Roger de Hoveden

One of the compilations of English historical and legal records of the early twelfth century, the Leges Edwardi confessoris provides interesting if somewhat late evidence concerning Edward’s exile. This account gives Edward as fleeing to the ‘land of the Rugorum, which we call Russia’, where he was retained by the king of the land, named ‘Malesclodus’:

Iste supradictus Edmundus habuit filium quendam qui uocatus est Ædwardus, qui mortuo patre timore regis Canuti aufugit de ista terra usque ad terram Rugorum, quam nos uocamus Russeiam. Quem rex ipsius terre, Malesclodus nomine, ut audiuit et intellexit quis esset et unde esset, honeste retinuit eum. [94]

The foregoing has been used by Liebermann and subsequent authors in part to support a Kievan origin for Agatha, equating ‘Malesclodus’ with Yaroslav, velikiy knyaz (Grand Duke) of Kiev and inferring that Agatha was his daughter.[95] Evidence in a twelfth-century chronicle of St Denis has been cited in which Anna of Kiev, daughter of Yaroslav and wife of Henri I of France, was called ‘the daughter of the king of Russia named Bullesclot.[96] It is understandable that the error in this chronicle could be drawn upon to explain an error in another record, but unfortunately appears to be further evidence of the confusion among Western writers with regard to rulers in eastern Europe and the lands they ruled. That ‘Bullesclot’ was an error for Yaroslav in the chronicle of St Denis is evident, but the nature of the error seems to have been misinterpreted. It appears that the chronicler misunderstood that either Boleslaw Chrobry,[97] a powerful ruler in Poland in the early eleventh century, was the father of Anna, or that Boleslaw Chrobry and Yaroslav were the same individual.

A version of the Leges Edwardi Confessoris was used by Roger de Hoveden in the early thirteenth century when he wrote that Edward fled ‘to the kingdom of the Dogorum’ [‘ad regnum Dogorum’]. Gerard Labuda suggested that the regnum Dogorum in Roger’s account was a reference to Poland, having its root in the name assigned to Mieszko I (‘Dagome’) in the obscure document Dagome iudex.[98] It is possible that Roger de Hoveden had access to a manuscript of the Leges Edwardi Confessoris that is not extant from which this variation was drawn, but this is not currently in evidence.

Regardless, as noted above, Boleslaw Chrobry of Poland was in fact not the same individual as Yaroslav of Kiev. Further, ‘Malesclodus’ was not an alternate name for Yaroslav, but evidently a Western rendering into Latin of the Polish name Mieszko. The phonetic similarity of ‘Malesclodus’ to ‘Mieszko’ cannot be dismissed in favour of seeing it as a variant or corruption of ‘Yaroslav’.[99] In this light, the error of the chronicler of St Denis with regard to the parentage of Anna of Kiev is best understood as exactly that, and has no bearing on the interpretation of the Leges Edwardi Confessoris.

Adam of Bremen

Adam is a useful source both as a younger contemporary of Agatha, and as a writer with access to unusual informants, including Sweyn II Estrithsson (d.1075), king of Denmark and nephew of Cnut. Adam did not name Agatha or her husband, but stated briefly that King Edmund was killed by poison, and that his sons were condemned to exile in Russia.[100] In the Gesta Hammaburgensis, Adam stated that Sweyn I of Denmark married the widow of Eric of Sweden (d.994) and mother of Olaf Skotkonung, by whom he had Cnut.[101] This is one of several errors made by Adam with regard to relationships and marriages occurring between 60 and 80 years before his recording of same.[102] In the case of Cnut’s parentage, this particular error was evidently due to confusion on Adam’s part. Sweyn II Estrithsson, king of Denmark (d.1075) is known to have been one of Adam’s sources: in relating certain accounts of Danish history, Sweyn II doubtless told Adam that Cnut of Denmark and Olaf Skotkonung of Sweden were his uncles (Sweyn’s mother Estrith, baptized as Margaret, was Sweyn’s daughter by his second wife Sigrid, the mother of Olaf). Adam, not knowing of the first marriage of Sweyn I to Cnut’s mother (whom he had repudiated), made a logical if incorrect assumption that Cnut and Olaf Skotkonung were half-brothers, sons of the same mother.[103]

With regard to the family of Edward Ætheling, Adam identified his father Edmund ‘Ironside’ in error as the brother of Æthelred II.[104] The errors made by Adam as to these individuals and their relationships makes reliance upon certain of his other statements problematic.[105] Whether this translates to his geographic identifications is as yet unproven, but his statement that Edward Ætheling and his brother had been condemned to exile in Russia could reasonably be viewed with some skepticism.

Geoffrey Gaimar

Geoffrey Gaimar’s L’estorie des Engles provides an account that intersperses facts with apparent legends and errors. One particular part of his account places Edward and his brother (both incorrectly named) as living in exile in Denmark for twelve years, following which they fled indirectly (some say via Russia) to Hungary:

Od sul treis nefs se mist en mer;
Si espleita son errer,
Ken sul cinc iurs passat Susie,
E vint en terre de Hungrie.[106]

Hardy & Martin used the Royal MS. of Geoffrey Gaimar’s history in their edition due to the fact that it was the version with an epilogue written by Gaimar.[107] The editor noted that none of the manuscripts was original, but stated that “the Royal is nearer the original, containing verses which the other MSS omit, though it is not free from the same faults of omission.” This manuscript states that ‘Susie’ was passed during the journey. In its place ‘Russie’ is given in the other manuscripts, noted by Hardy as farther removed from the lost original. It would indeed be significant if ‘Susie’ were in fact the original reading: ‘Susie’ is not necessarily another term for ‘Russie’, but instead could be seen as a Francophone’s rendering of Suecia, the Latin word for Sweden.[108]

Gaimar’s account as given above says in part that Edward ‘accomplished his journey, so that he passed Sweden in five days, and came into the land of Hungary.’ Translations based on the other manuscipts have this journey passing Russia in five days, and arriving in Hungary – geographically impossible; yet this could describe the journey of a ship sailing up the Vistula through Poland, heading more directly to lands subject to Hungarian rule. Possible details of Edward the Exile’s career with regard to Poland have been previously noted.

These three sources, the Leges Edwardi Confessoris, Adam of Bremen, and Gaimar’s Histoire have been invoked to support the Kievan origin proposed for Agatha by Rene Jetté, Norman Ingham and others. But it must be noted that Gaimar’s manuscript might originally have mentioned Sweden instead of Russia; Adam’s account is inaccurate in several details; and the Leges cannot be considered to point exclusively to Russia, especially given doubts about the identity of ‘Malesclodus’, who could well have been the Polish duke Miezsko II. The possibility of Edward Ætheling having spent part of his youth and early manhood in the lands of Rus seems unlikely based on the sources noted here. The evidence for his passage through or residence in Kiev or any lands subject to Rus rule is not proven.

Other Evidence Considered

Basileus, Cataseistae and the Holy Crown of Hungary

The imperial ancestry of St Margaret of Scotland was reflected on the seal of her fourth son, Edgar I of Scotland.[109] Edgar became king before 1095. He was called probus, meaning ‘valiant’.[110] He spent time in England under the influence of William II ‘Rufus’.[111]

Fig 5    Seal of Edgar I, king of Scotland


Public domain image from


The legend appearing on Edgar’s seal was [Y]MAGO EDGARI SCOTTORUM BASI[LEI] and the image portrayed shows Edgar sitting on a throne holding a sword and a sceptre. Edgar wears an unusual crown that has cataseistae[112] (also called pendilia) which are the jewelled chains often seen on the crowns of Byzantine rulers.


There were two known Western crowns containing the pendilia: the Ottonian crown of the Holy Roman Emperors and the Holy Crown of Hungary.[113] It was the Ottonian crown that Edgar I of Scotland was trying to depict. William the Conqueror also copied the high arched crown of Otto I[114] on his coinage. Due to this the crowns of both rulers appear similar (Figs 5 & 6).

Fig 6    Silver coin of William I of England


Coin is property of the British Museum.
Photograph reproduced under Creative Commons licence



Though it would be interesting if the Holy Crown of Hungary had been the model used for Edgar’s coinage, it is not plausible. The Holy Crown was created in stages. The oldest portion of the crown (corona graeca) was a female crown and a gift from the Byzantine Emperor, Michael VII (1071-1078) to the wife of King Geza of Hungary (1074-1077). It is inscribed ΓΕΩΒΙΤZΑC ΠΙΣΤΟC ΚΡΑΛΗC ΤΟΥΡΚΙΑC (‘Géza faithful kralj of the land of the Turks).[115] The upper portion of the crown (corona latina) was made during the reign of Bela III (1173-1196). As the crown was not complete before the end of the twelfth century it would have been impossible for it to have been the model used for the seal of Edgar.[116]

Edgar uses the term Basileus used also by the Ottonian Emperors. The term was used in England by Æthelstan, Edgar the Peaceful, and Cnut on charters.[117] Edward the Confessor used it on his seal (Sigillum Eadwardi Anglorum Basilei). The difference in usage before Edgar is immense, as all of the above-mentioned monarchs ruled in an England that was a composite of different lordships or kingships placed under one total ruler.[118] Edgar was reclaiming a throne that had been held by his uncle, and it was Edgar’s great-grandfather, Malcolm II, and his father, Malcolm III, that had solidified Scotland into a kingdom.[119]

It has been suggested by Duncan that Edgar simply chose eclectic devices on his seal,[120] but it can be argued that Edgar was trying to show his imperial ancestry and fitness for the throne of Scotland. Edgar had to fight for the throne in 1097, and succeeded because of his uncle Edgar Ætheling and the support he received from William Rufus.[121] Edgar was also seen as a vassal to William Rufus, as he carried his sword when William wore his crown at Westminster and attended a feast in the new hall opened there in 1099.[122] Use of the imperial title and insignia was likely meant to strengthen Edgar’s claim to the throne, showing him as a powerful ruler like his father. Edgar was insecure as he was the fourth son[123] and two of his elder brothers were still living: Edmund, who was kept imprisoned until his death after 1107,[124] and Æthelred the Abbot of Dunkeld who remained a cleric. Edgar retained his monarchy until 8 January 1107 when he died and the throne passed to his younger brother Alexander.[125]

Bishop Ealdred and the embassy of 1054/5 based on Agatha’s postulated descent

In 1054, King Edward of England had determined that his nephew Edward the Ætheling should be sought out and brought back to England.[126] Bishop Ealdred of Worcester was sent as his emissary sometime after 18 July 1054, and was greeted by Archbishop Hermann of Cologne, possibly together with the Emperor Henry III.[127] Bishop Ealdred was hosted by Archbishop Hermann for as much as a year at Cologne.[128] The details of Ealdred’s activities in seeking contact with the Hungarian royal court, and with Edward in particular, are unfortunately unknown.

The relationships of Archbishop Hermann to the Emperor, and of Edward Ætheling to King Edward of England, were critical elements of the origin and course of Bishop Ealdred’s embassy and residence in Cologne. However, other relationships were as significant or possibly more so in ensuring that the embassy was ineffective, if not actively thwarted by imperial action or inaction. While Archbishop Hermann’s place as counsellor to the Emperor was strong, he was the uncle of Duke Conrad of Bavaria and of the wife of Bela, the Hungarian dux Ruizorum. Duke Conrad was frequently in rebellion against the Emperor, likely emanating from his being the senior male claimant descending from the Emperor Otto II: his ally in these efforts was the Hungarian king Andrew, elder brother and suzerain of Duke Bela. Archbishop Hermann was devoted and loyal to the Emperor, for which he was accorded the honor of crowning the young prince Henry as Henry IV, King of Germany at Aachen on 17 July 1054.[129]

Henry III was preoccupied with affairs in Flanders in 1054, mounting an expedition against Baldwin of Flanders shortly after his son’s coronation at Aachen. Later his attention was consumed with events in Italy in 1055, campaigning there from March 1055 - he eventually captured Beatrice, widow of Boniface of Canossa and brought her and her children back to Germany later in the year (probably in or before November). On his southeastern frontier, differences existed between Emperor Henry III and Andrew I of Hungary at the time of Ealdred’s embassy in 1054-55. There was an uneasy peace between Germany and Hungary following hostilities in 1052, punctuated by raids and skirmishes along the border. It is certainly possible that Emperor Henry III saw Ealdred’s mission as an opportunity to change the situation in his favour, if only modestly. If Edward the Ætheling could be persuaded to relocate to England as desired by King Edward, this would remove a capable lieutenant from King Andrew’s service, possibly creating some weakness or dissension in Hungary. The potential may also have been noted of establishing a positive relationship with Edward in Germany before his departure for England, providing for a continuance of amicable relations between the English and German courts for years to come.

At the time of Ealdred’s return to England, the effort was evidently a failure. As Barlow noted, Edward almost certainly spoke no English,[130] and would have looked upon an appeal for his return to England with little interest.[131] It can be theorized that the outlook in Hungary in 1054-55 was a positive one for Edward if his wife, Agatha, was the sister-in-law of Bela, heir to his brother Andrew and presumably the next king of Hungary. Further, the situation between Hungary and Germany was such that Edward’s awareness of the embassy of Ealdred, or his inclination toward seeing England as a positive opportunity, is unknown but likely negative.

The Return of the Ætheling in 1057: Possible Causes

By early 1057, the situation in Hungary had changed. The German emperor Henry III had died in October 1056 and was succeeded by his 5 year old son, Henry IV. The regency of Henry’s widow Agnes was troubled, one result of which was the lack of a plan or effort to sustain the border warfare with Hungary. This situation culminated in 1058 with the Empress Agnes and Andrew I of Hungary reaching an agreement to maintain the peace, including plans for the marriage of Agnes’ daughter to Salomon, Andrew’s son. Prior to this, in 1057, Andrew identified Salomon as the heir to the Hungarian throne, alleged by some writers to have been a requirement in obtaining the Emperor Henry IV’s sister in marriage.[132]

Andrew’s brother, Bela, hitherto the heir presumptive to the Hungarian throne, found himself in an uncertain and precarious position. A traditional account states that Bela was made fully aware of his situation when he was summoned to meet his brother Andrew at Varkony: Andrew was claimed to have given Bela the choice of either becoming King after him or accepting the position of Duke and subordinate himself to his young son Salomon. Bela (according to this account) was warned prior to the meeting to ‘choose the sword’ and the duchy, or lose his life: he accepted the situation to the satisfaction of his brother Andrew,[133] but eventually rebelled, likely after 4 June 1057.[134]

Bela’s future prospects in Hungary were limited at best. Past history in Hungary indicated that those in power had a tendency toward eliminating or exiling those who might seek to supplant them. The dimming of Bela’s prospects in Hungary would have had a similar impact on those of Agatha and her husband: Agatha as the postulated sister of Bela’s wife, and the identification of Agatha’s family as supporters of Bela’s position would have portended an uncertain future for them in Hungary after Bela’s rebellion.

At this point the desire of the English king for Edward’s return to England may have become known to him, or the Ætheling now found reason to think better of it. He may have not been strongly inclined to accept under the status quo ante, but the situation facing Edward and his family in 1057 was far different. Andrew had the young Salomon crowned as co-ruler and his successor, supplanting his brother Bela. Bela made his plans to flee and fight Andrew either directly from within Hungary, or to obtain support from Poland; he may then have counselled his proposed sister-in-law and her husband Edward so that they would not fall afoul of Andrew’s anger when the insurrection became known.  If this were the case, then Edward and Agatha had a choice: either leave Hungary with Bela, presumably for Poland and her brother Kasimierz’s court, or seek their fortune in yet another foreign realm.

The Kievan theory of Agatha’s origin, which places her as a daughter of Yaroslav, Grand Duke of Kiev (d.1054), would make her sister of Anastasia, wife of King Andrew and mother of Salomon.[135] The evidence concerning the departure of Agatha and Edward Ætheling for England in fact argues against this filiation. Had Agatha been the sister of Anastasia, the events surrounding Salomon’s elevation as heir apparent and Bela’s demotion in 1057 would have made a future life for Edward in Hungary appear more secure than before.

It is against this backdrop that we should see the departure of Edward Ætheling and his family from Hungary in 1057. There was no new embassy from England, and nothing materially had changed in England in the intervening years as to the succession. It is unknown what if anything Edward had learned as to the situation there; but much had changed for Edward and his family in Hungary. We can reasonably conjecture that Edward (and Agatha) thought the eventual succession to the English throne a better choice than accepting service under yet another eastern European ruler. Aged 40, or perhaps slightly older, Edward had been fighting much of his adult life. Whatever Edward thought of the choice between England and Hungary in 1054/5, in 1057 the choice had been made for him.

Onomastics: Agatha and Nivelles

One strain of argument over Agatha’s origin has been the evidence of names. It has been overlooked that one important current of usage of the name Agatha in the Carolingian heartland is connected with the abbey of Nivelles. To fully understand this unique scenario it is necessary to look at the history of Nivelles.

 Fig 7.    The reliquary of St Gertrude at Nivelles

This 13th century monument was photographed c.1940 before it was destroyed by bombing. The figures, from left to right, are: St Thomas, St Bartholomew, St Simon, St Matthias, St Gertrude (centre), St John, St Agatha (with sword), St Jude, St Catherine of Alexandria.


Photograph © copyright IRPA-KIK, Brussels

The beginning: Nivelles and the Cult of St Gertrude

St Gertrude was the daughter of St Ida and Pepin of Landen. After Pepin’s death, Ida and her daughter, Gertrude, founded the abbey of Nivelles, with Gertrude as the first Abbess; she died on 17 March 659. The original abbey was a double monastery for both men and women built by St Ida in 639. Like other Merovingian double monasteries it contained three buildings: the church of St Paul,[136] an oratory dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and the church of St Peter, which also had a cemetery attached to it. St Gertrude died in the portico of St Agatha,[137] in the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin, and was buried in the cemetery attached to the Church of St Peter.[138] A chapel was built over her tomb. A ninth-century abbess, Agnes, built a new church over Gertrude’s tomb and the old church of St Peter,[139] which housed the relic of St Gertrude’s bed.[140] This church was rebuilt in the subsequent century with an expanded west work including chapels to both St Agatha and St Gertrude, and was consecrated in 1046 in the presence of Emperor Henry III and the bishop of Liège. In the 13th century a magnificent gold and silver reliquary was built to encase St Gertrude’s remains.[141] Among the ornament were four female saints — Agatha, Agnes, Gertrude and Catherine of Alexandria.[142] Three of these female saints had a special connection with Nivelles: Agatha was the patron saint of St Gertrude; Agatha and Agnes were both virgins who protected the girls in the convent;[143] and Gertrude was of course the royal foundress and first abbess.

The Collegiate Church of St Gertrude was a Damenstift. In these colleges the Abbess or Canoness did not renounce their titles or give up their property. The Lay Abbess[144] and the Canonesses were not committed to stay at the Abbey, as they did not follow the rule of St Benedict.[145] They were free to leave to marry so the retention of her lands and titles were very necessary.[146] Some Abbeys had special chambers where the Canoness (or Abbess) met outside officials for personal purposes, such as dealing with their estates, or matters concerning the Abbey.[147] Most noble women entered as Canonesses at the age of seven as they had been betrothed as infants. They remained at the abbey until their thirteenth year when they were considered to be of marriageable age.[148]

Fig 8.    The Abbesses of Nivelles and Gandersheim



Blessed Richenza of Poland and Nivelles

The Collegiate Church of St Gertrude in Nivelles was firmly connected with both the maternal and paternal lines of Richenza of Poland, whom our hypothesis makes mother of Agatha.[149] Her paternal aunt and namesake Richenza[150] was abbess of Nivelles. Her younger sister, Ida, may have been the first in the family to have received a name originally associated with Nivelles — that of the foundress Saint Ida, wife of Pepin of Landen. The younger Richenza was educated at Nivelles as was her sister Adelheid, who would become abbess of Nivelles. Richenza was adept at her studies, and has been suggested as the author of Polish chronicles during the period of her exile in Germany and her regency for her son Kasimierz.[151] She was a nun at the abbey of Brauweiler, founded by her parents and a family burial place, in her last years. Richenza left Nivelles at the age of thirteen to become the wife of the heir to the Polish Kingdom, Mieszko II Lambert. Richenza was married to Mieszko II in 1013.[152] It can be argued that her attachment to Nivelles is evident in the names given to her daughters — including one theorized to be Agatha,[153] as well as Gertrude[154] and Adelheid (called Ryksa).[155] Her eldest child and only son Kasimierz was named for Charles the Great (Charlemagne)[156] perhaps commemorating both her imperial (Ottonian) descent and her affiliation with the Carolingian foundation of Nivelles.

The name Agatha and its connection to Nivelles

In addition to Agatha, mother of St Margaret of Scotland, there are four other noble women in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries with the Christian name Agatha, who were either directly or indirectly linked to Nivelles.[157]

Agatha d’Aubigny

In the eleventh century Nivelles was governed by the counts palatine of Lotharingia and the counts of Louvain. In addition to the relationship between the Essonen line and Nivelles, the counts of Louvain had a special relationship with the Abbey.[158] Lambert II (d. 21 Sep 1062), his son Henry II, Count of Louvain (d.1077/8) and Henry’s wife Adela (d.1086) were buried in the crypt of the church. Henry II, Count of Louvain, and Adela, had a son Godfrey I Count of Louvain who by his wife Ida de Chiny had a daughter Adeliza de Louvain. Adeliza de Louvain was the second wife of Henry I of England. In their fifteen-year marriage she bore him no children. After his death she married William d’Aubigny, who in right of the dowager queen held the huge estate of Arundel in Sussex, England. They had seven children, one of the daughters being named Agatha d’Aubigny.[159] Adeliza de Louvain became a nun at the end of her life at Affligem Abbey[160] in Belgium, dying there in 1151.

Agatha of Normandy

The Capetian family was connected to the church of St Gertrude at Nivelles. This was proven in the archaeological digs of the 1950s when a lead child’s coffin bearing the name of Ermentrude was uncovered in the crypt of the church. She was buried in the section with the canonesses and princess-abbesses of Nivelles. Ermentrude’s parents are named on the coffin and they were Hedwig, daughter of Hugh Capet by Adelaide of Aquitaine, and Regnier IV, Count of Hainault. She was born in 990 and died in 993.[161]

The only reason for a child this young to be buried in the crypt of St Gertrude’s church was that she had a connection with the abbey. Hedwig, her mother, was in all likelihood a former student and sent Ermentrude to live there among the canonesses. Unlike many other women in the Frankish realm, Hedwig’s mother, Adelaide of Aquitaine, was educated. She was left to act as regent for her husband, Hugh Capet, and also to negotiate on his behalf with the Empress Theophanu when she was acting regent for her son Otto III.[162] Adelaide, upon becoming Queen of France, like Theophanu, would have educated her daughters in the damenstift tradition.[163] Hedwig’s brother Robert II of France had a daughter, Adela of France, who was also educated in this method. It appears that she attended Nivelles as did her aunt.[164] Adela of France married Baldwin V Count of Flanders and was the mother of Matilda of Flanders. She also started many religious institutions herself, including the Collegiate Church of Aire in 1049, Collegiate Church of Lille in 1050, and the Abbey of Messines [Messen] in 1057. Adela became a nun at Messines in 1064 after the death of her husband. She died there on 8 January 1079. She was later canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and her feast day is celebrated on September 8th.Adela’s daughter Matilda was also educated in the same tradition.[165] She is referred to by Orderic Vitalis as a well-educated woman. Matilda of Flanders, like her great grandmother, Adelaide of Aquitaine, was regent for her husband William the Conqueror when he was away. She also handled matters in Normandy for William when she was there.[166] Matilda founded the Abbey–aux – Dames of Holy Trinity Abbey in Caen, Normandy in 1062. She was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity at the Abbey on 4 November 1083. William and Matilda had four sons and six daughters. Most of the children had family names with the exception of Agatha and possibly Cecilia,[167] both of whom carry saints’ names. According to Orderic Vitalis, Agatha, the eldest daughter, was betrothed to King Alfonso VI of Leon and Galicia. She died en route to her wedding in Spain. Her body was returned to Bayeux Abbey where she was buried.

Agatha of Lorraine

The third Agatha was the daughter of Simon I, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Adelaide of Louvain. She was the granddaughter of Henry III, Count of Louvain, and Gertrude of Flanders. Her great grandparents included Gertrude of Saxony and Henry II, Count of Louvain and his wife Adela, who were buried at the church of St Gertrude in Nivelles.Agatha of Lorraine was not only connected to Nivelles through her family, but also connected to women named after St Gertrude. The sister of Gertrude of Flanders was abbess of Messines (founded as mentioned above by Adela of France).Agatha married Renaud III, Count of Burgundy. Their daughter Berthe de Burgundy was Countess of Burgundy in her own right and married the emperor Frederick ‘Barbarossa’.

Agatha of Lorraine, Abbess of Remiremont

The last notable Agatha of this period was also known as Agatha of Lorraine. She was the daughter of Frederic I, Duke of Lorraine[168] by his wife Wierchoslawa[169] of Poland. Through her mother’s Piast ancestry,[170] Agatha was a descendant of the Ottonian family.[171] Agatha, like many of her predecessors[172] was an aristocratic abbess: she became abbess of Remiremont in 1231 and served until 1239 (she was also abbess of L’Entanche and Bouxières). Agatha died in 1242.

Given the role of an aristocratic abbey like Nivelles in the lives and families of aristocratic women, it is not implausible that the name of an important patron saint like Agatha could have been used, and transmitted, as token of such a connection.

Onomastics and the Children of Agatha and Edward Ætheling

Agatha and Edward Ætheling appear to have used the naming patterns of the Piasts because the wives of the rulers determined a majority of the children’s names.[173] In all likelihood Margaret[174] was named for Saint Margaret of Antioch,[175] one of the protectors of the girls at Nivelles.[176] As Saint Margaret was usually called upon during childbirth, Agatha may have had a difficult labour and delivery. The passion of Saint Margaret was read to women in labour to ease their pain.[177] In many cases a replica of the girdle of Saint Margaret or a copy of her life was placed on the stomach of the mother. Saint Margaret also protected the child from demonic possession and deformity.[178] No evidence of the use of the name Margaret for a sibling or child of Mieszko II has been noted, but he had a near connection to one so named. His first cousin Cnut, king of Denmark and England, had a sister Estrith or Astrid, the mother of Sweyn II of Denmark and sometime wife of a duke of Normandy, probably Robert. It is significant that, just as Cnut had the baptismal name Lambert (the same as his cousin Mieszko II), his sister or half-sister Estrith had the baptismal name Margaret.[179]The source of the name for the Danish royal family was quite possibly the same for their kinsmen of the house of Piast.

Agatha named her second daughter Christina. If Agatha were indeed the widow of Imre, then the name would have been in honour of her sister Ryksa, wife of Bela the heir presumptive of the Hungarian throne. Ryksa also would conceivably have been the godmother of Christina as well. Ryksa was baptized as Adelaide. The diminutive ‘Ryksa’ is a nickname for Christina.[180] There is one case where Christina has been documented as a variant name of Adelaide in the low countries. This is recorded in the case of Adela[181] of Holland, the wife of Baudouin I of Guines and the daughter of Floris, Duke of Holland by Gertrude of Saxony. The Historia Comitum Ghisnensium shows:

Duxit autem in uxorem summi et incomparabilis viri Lotharie et milicie ducis florigeri Florentini filiam, Adelam propria apellatione vocatum sed non sine altioris reimisterio ob meritorium videlicet insignia et mirifica virtutum magnilia suppressa appellatione propria certiore vocabulo Christianam nuncupatem.[182]

By naming her daughter Christina another connection could have been shown with the Ottonian house and the abbesses of Gandersheim, which had been founded by Liudolf,[183] count of Saxony, and his wife Oda, the paternal grandparents of Henry I ‘the Fowler’ and also ancestors of Richenza. Three daughters of Liudolf and Oda served as the first abbesses of Gandersheim in succession: Hathumoda (d.874), Gerberga (874-897), and Christina (897-919).[184]It is quite likely that Richenza and her family enjoyed the support and protection of her aunts Sophia (d.1039) abbess of Gandersheim, and Adelheid (d.1045), abbess of Quedlinburg,[185] during their tenure at the abbey of Brauweiler. Richenza’s mother, Matilda of Saxony, was originally slotted by her aunt and namesake Matilda, abbess of Quedlinburg (966-999) to succeed her at the abbey. Empress Theopanu, Richenza’s grandmother, decided against this and married Matilda to Ehrenfried of Lotharingia. There was an unusually good relationship between the abbeys of Gandersheim and Quedlinburg and the Piast dynasty. Though Ottonian in descent through her father Wladyslaw I Herman of Poland,[186] a later Agnes was the Princess-Abbess [Reichsäbtissin] of Gandersheim and superior of Quedlinburg 1110-1126.[187] This Agatha’s staunch support of her cousin Henry V against Pope Calixtus II would cost her position.[188]

There is an additional source which could have readily have influenced the choice of the name Christina for the daughter of Edward and Agatha: Saint Christina was a popular saint in Flanders,[189] whose relics were kept at the collegiate church of Dendermonde.[190] This region was placed under the control of Baldwin of Flanders in 884. Dendermonde was the site of a famous béguinage[191] of the twelfth century.

So the girls born to Agatha and Edward appear to have been given names of saints consistent with affiliations with monastic centres in the greater Ottonian landscape; on the other hand the son Edgar was given a name both saintly and pertaining to his paternal royal heritage — Edward’s great-grandfather Edgar ‘the Peaceful’, King of England. Edgar was declared a saint after his death, in 975, at Glastonbury. In his brief reign he managed to solidify England into a cohesive kingdom that would remain united, not a series of semi-autocratic provinces melded under one sovereign. Edgar was the sole ruler of England and even styled himself ‘Imperator’. By naming their son Edgar, his parents may well have hoped that he would become, like his namesake, not just a king but an imperial figure — as would have befitted his Ottonian heritage.

Fig 9.    Proposed relationship of Agatha to the children and kindred of Mieszko II and Richenza



In summation, this paper has shown the following: the evidence presented from the Annales Sanctae Crucis Polonici shows that a daughter of Mieszko II of Poland married Imre, son and heir of Stephen I of Hungary. This daughter has been shown to have been related to the Ottonian and Hungarian royal families such that, if she were Agatha, the apparent discrepancies in the accounts of the English Chroniclers have been reconciled. This appears to be more consistent with the sources than the hypothesized Kievan origin. Furthermore, the life of Agatha’s apparent mother, Richenza of Poland, reveals her attachment to Nivelles and the collegiate church of St Gertrude. This aristocratic monastic connection may be considered as the source of the names for Richenza’s sister Ida, for her known daughters, and hypothetically for Agatha. Nivelles is the only location in Europe during this period where the names Agatha and Gertrude were previously connected.

Ealdred, Archbishop of York, knew Agatha, Edward and their children. He also was acquainted with Agatha’s presumed uncle Hermann, Archbishop of Cologne, with whom he lodged in Cologne for over a year. It is for this reason that MS D of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle may be considered to have more weight in relating facts about Agatha’s ancestry. Other writers — Aelred of Rievaulx, William of Malmesbury, and later John of Fordun and Simeon of Durham, all relate portions of the Agatha narrative and some possible context has here been provided toward reconciling divergent statements.

It can be reiterated that there is no substantiation for Edward the Exile and his brother to have been in Kiev at any time. The chroniclers who were stated to have made these remarks may have been mistranslated, or — in the case of Adam of Bremen — of questionable trustworthiness. On the other hand, the tangled political history of Hungary and Poland in the period of Edward’s exile, as related in their early annals, reveals a framework into which our narrative of Agatha and Edward fits precisely.


The authors would like to thank Angela Currie-Clark of the Office du Tourisme de Nivelles, Belgium for an in depth look at the history of St Gertrude and her pilgrims, an astounding tour of the college and its relics as well as her continuing invaluable knowledge about the College, Nivelles and the Counts of Louvain throughout the duration of this work; Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels, Belgium for providing pre-World War II photos of the 13th century Reliquary of St Gertrude; Olim Library Cornell University for allowing access to their European History stacks and original articles from Hungarian pre-World War II publications.


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[1]    Corresponding author, contact email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[2]    John P Ravilious, “The Ancestry of Agatha, Mother of St Margaret of Scotland”, The Scottish Genealogist 55 (2009): 70-84.

[3]    For example, Margaret’s youngest sons were named Alexander and David. At the time of Alexander’s birth c.1078 two logical possibilities arise for his name. He was either named for Pope St Alexander I who standardized the Eucharistic prayer in the Roman rite, an issue which Margaret was aggressively pursuing with the Culdee churches in Scotland, or Pope Alexander II who died in 1073. Although it was Pope Alexander II who sanctioned William the Conqueror’s action to become King of England and subordinated the Anglo-Saxon clergy to him, against her own brother’s right to the throne, he also fought against simony and upheld clerical celibacy an important issue for Margaret and later her son David. The name David was in reference to King David of Israel with whom the Ottonian Emperors identified themselves. The theory of Pope Alexander II and King David is expressed by A A M Duncan, Scotland: the Making of the Kingdom (2000), 124.

[4]    One noted example would be St Agatha of Wimborne (d. 12 December 790), a Benedictine nun from Wessex, who accompanied St Boniface from England to Germany as his aide. She was revered in the area around Mainz where St Boniface was prominent.

[5]    Kázmér Nagy, St Margaret of Scotland and Hungary (1973), 39.

[6]    Alexander Fest, “Political and Spiritual Links between England and Hungary,” The Hungarian Quarterly I.1 (1936): 71-78, at p.75.

[7]    G A Moriarty, “Agatha, Wife of Atheling Eadward,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 106 (1952): 52-60.

[8]    The year is recorded by Bethany Hope Allen, The Annals of Hildesheim (2007), 88-89; Phyllis G Jestice, Holy People of the World: a Cross-cultural Encyclopedia (2004), 257, shows the entire date.

[9]    Zoltan T Kosztolnyik, “The Negative Results of the Enforced Missionary Policy of King Saint Stephen of Hungary: The Uprising of 1046,” The Catholic Historical Review 59.4 (1974): 569-86, at p.577, suggests that Imre was murdered by the barons to stop the continuation of Stephen’s policy toward the church which was a disadvantage to them. Stephen had made it known that he was about to withdraw and turn over the reins of power in Hungary to Imre. As Imre had recently married, his elimination before he could procreate seemed a viable plan. Stephen avoided an assassination attempt the year before in 1030. Stephen’s intention to give the throne to Imre is also recorded in the Gesta Hungarorum.

[10]  George H Pertz, ed., Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in Usum Scholarum Ex Monumentis Germaniae Historicis, Vol.19, (1866): Annales Kamenzenses, c.14th century, p.581; Annales Silesiaci Compilati c.15th century, p.537.

[11] Europäische Stammtafeln 2:153.

[12] Pertz, op.cit. (1866) Annales Kamenzenses:Anno 975 Stephanus rex Ungarie nascitur.

[13] Pertz, op.cit. (1866) Annales Kamenzenses: Anno 1025 Bolezlaus Magnus obit. Iste dictus animosus, cum esset unicus patri Mesconi primo et nepos ducis boemie consobrinusque regis Ungarie, ….

[14] Pertz, op.cit. (1866) Annales Silesiaci Compilati, p.537.

[15] Peter Laszlo, “The Holy Crown of Hungary,” The Slavonic and East European Review 81.3 (2003): 421-510 at p.430; Gerd Althoff, Otto III (2003), 97-103.

[16] Michael Hare, “Cnut and Lotharingia: Two Notes.” Anglo-Saxon England 29 (2000): 261-78, at p.272; Hare also shows (pp.261-8) that both Mieszko II and Cnut bore the same baptismal name of Lambert, a name which was used by the Piasts as well as the Arpads after the marriage of Bela I to Adelheid (Ryksa), daughter of Mieszko II.

[17] Chronicle of Joannes Archidiaconus Goricensis cited by Charles Cawley Medieval Lands, sub Imre of Hungary,

[18] Although he negotiated in good faith for a princess born in the purple, John Tzimisces, the Byzantine Emperor, sent him a niece by marriage, Theophanu, as a bride for his son and heir. (Friedrich Kurze & J M Lappenberg, eds.,Thietmar of Merseburg, 1889, 103).

[19] Allen op.cit. (2007), 77, states ‘After the king captured Stephen, his wife, and his two sons through violence, he forced his kingdom to become Christian.’ This entry was for 1003 and in an earlier portion of the passage Stephen is identified as King of the Hungarians. This passage mirrors a statement in the Gesta Hungarorum that Stephen had many sons but Imre was the most excellent of them.

[20] Thietmar of Merseburg (Kurze op.cit., 1889, 382-384); Paul W Knoll Gallus, & Frank Schaer, Gesta Principum Polonorum [The Deeds of the Polish Princes] (2003), 41-47. Both sources specify that Hungarians fought in 1018 for Boleslav, and Thietmar sets their number at 500 men. Boleslav led an expedition to Kiev in 1018 where he placed his son-in-law, Swietopolk, on the throne expelling Yarolslav. Though Swietopolk’s reign only lasted for a brief tenure, Boleslav regained the alliance he needed with Stephen I of Hungary to counteract the influence of Emperor Henry II and later Conrad I. Jan Steinhubel, “The Duchy of Nitra,” in Slovakia in History (2010), 19, states the original alliance between Poland and Hungary abruptly ended in 1002-4 due to Boleslav’s aggression.

[21] Richard Ropell & Wilhelm Arndt, eds. Annales Sanctæ Crucis Polonici, 966-1410, In Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in Usum Scholarum Ex Monumentis Germaniae Historicis Recusi 19 (1866), 678.

[22] Nestor, 1107. Samuel Hazzard Cross & Olga P Sherbowitz-Wetzor, transl. & eds., The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text (1953), 204, is the source for Gertrude’s date of death:
On January 4 of this year, the princess, Svyatopolk’s mother, passed away.

[23] The Barons were angry that Emperor Henry III supported Peter Orseolo as their king and used force to keep him on the throne. They rebelled against the church and Stephen’s enforced Christianity which they saw as a foreign invasion in their country. The barons supported Andrew, son of Vazul, as king in 1046. Jan Steinhubel, op.cit. (2011), 23-25; Kosztolnyik, op.cit. (1974), 582-585.

[24] Henry II died 13 July 1024 and was succeeded by Conrad I who began the Salian line of Emperors. Seán MacAirt, & Gearoid MacNiocaill, eds., The Annals of Ulster (to AD 1131) (2004), 460-461.

[25] Stephen was at the height of his power in Hungary. He also sent troops to Basil II in 1018 to help in Basil’s conflict with the Bulgarians. Kosztolnyik, op.cit. (1974), 578.

[26] As Stephen was married to the Emperor’s sister, Gisela, only a marriage with the daughter of Richenza, the niece of Otto III, would have interested the Hungarian monarch for his son. The relationship between Hungary and Germany deteriorated rapidly after Conrad assumed the throne upon Henry II’s death.

[27] Gallus & Schaer, op.cit. (2003), 42-43. Thietmar of Merseburg attests to Mieszko’s military prowess and success as a strategist from 1014 until the end of his chronicle in 1018. Mieszko was also versed in both Latin and Greek as presented in the letters of Matilda of Swabia.

[28]  Hare, op.cit. (2000), 272; R R Darlington & P McGurk, eds. The Chronicle of John of Worcester: The Annals from 450 to 1066, (2004), 512-9; Frank Barlow, “Cnut’s Second Pilgrimage and Queen Emma’s Disgrace in 1043,” The English Historical Review 73.289 (1958): 650; Benjamin T Hudson, “Cnut and the Scottish Kings,” The English Historical Review 107.423 (1992): 357-358.

[29] Janos Karacsonyi, “Velemeny Szent Imre Herczeg Nejerol,” Szazadok, Etudes Critiques Sur Divers Textes Des X. et XL Siècles 36 (1902): 108-109.

[30] Allen, op.cit. (2007), 88; Bela Malcomes, “The Hungarian Birthplace of St Margaret of Scotland,” The Hungarian Quarterly III.4 (1937): 707; Kosztolnyik, op.cit. (1974), 575. Conrad was defeated by the Hungarians.

[31] This daughter, as well as her sisters, was probably educated in Nivelles before her journey to Hungary. Osterrieder states that Gertrude was likely educated there [Gertruda wurde entweder in Nivelles…ausgebildet, / “Gertrude was either trained in Nivelles…,” Markus Osterrieder, “Kulturverbindungen Zwischen Regensburg Und Kiev (10.-13. Jh.) Und Die Rolle Der Iren.” Bayern Und Osteuropa... (2000), 68] and Ryksa was safely away when the rebellions occurred in Poland during the reign of her father Mieszko II and her brother Kasimierz.

[32] The issue of consanguinity was not through Stephen, as he was a stepson of Mieszko I’s sister, but his wife, Gisela of Bavaria. The common ancestor of Imre and Miezsko II’s daughter was Henry I Fowler who, using the Germanic method which only counted directly back from the person to the common ancestor, was in the sixth degree to the bride and the fifth degree to Imre. As Nathaniel Taylor pointed out: However, before & after 4th Lateran there was some disagreement in the use of the “Roman” vs. the “Canon” or “Germanic” system of counting, as well as difference of opinion about how to count people descended in an unequal number of generations from a common ancestor (Canon Law and Consanguinity., 1997. accessed 15 June 2011). The church only formally installed the Germanic method of counting degrees in 1065. As this marriage occurred before this it wasn’t debated. The church also had much to gain from this union as Stephen was the first Christian king of Hungary and Mieszko II was also a devoted Catholic.

[33] M Florianus, Vita Sanctorum Stephani Regis Et Emerici Ducis... (1881), 135.

[34] Gallus & Schaer op.cit. (2003), 74-75. This is the only source to mention this fact. Steinhubel, op.cit. (2011), 23, states that Mieszko fled to Bohemia and stayed with Duke Ulrich. There he met with his cousins: Domoslav [son of Ladislaus the Bald], Bela, Levante and Andrew [sons of Vazul].The exile is also mentioned by Henry Joseph Lang, “The Fall of the Monarchy of Mieszko II, Lambert,” Speculum 49.4 (1974): 635; and by Allen, op.cit. (2007), 89.

[35] The Necrology of Merseburg shows Mieszko II Duke of the Poles died 10 May, Przemysław Wiszewski, Domus Bolezlai: Values and Social Identity in Dynastic Traditions of Medieval Poland (c. 966-1138) (2010), 492.

[36] Lang op.cit. (1974), 638.

[37] Gallus & Schaer, op.cit. (2003), 74-7; Wiszewski, op.cit. (2010), 217-8.

[38] Wiszewski, op.cit. (2010), 222. Stephen I kept the hostages at the request of the Bohemians with whom he was then an ally.

[39] Dobronega was the daughter of Vladimir I of Kiev and Iziaslav was the son of Yaroslav I of Kiev.

[40] Steinhubel, op.cit. (2011), 25.

[41] Allen op.cit. (2007), 95; Walter Bower, Scotichronicon, Books V and VI (1995 edition), 25. Their daughter Beatrix was the Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim 1045-1061.

[42] Allen op.cit. (2007), 99.

[43] Steinhubel op.cit. (2011), 25.

[44] Darlington & McGurk, op.cit. (2004), 502-505.

[45] Laurence Marcellus Larson, Canute the Great, 995 (circ)-1035, and the Rise of Danish Imperialism during the Viking Age. Vol.4, (1912), 126, states that the Æthelings were sent to the court of Boleslav. He interprets the phrase written by John of Worcester, ad regem Suanorum as a copying error or misinformation for the phrase ad regem Sclavorum.

[46] Thietmar of Merseburg (Kurze, op.cit., 1889, 382-384); Gallus & Schaer, op.cit. (2003), 41-47.

[47] The birth date of Kasimierz is in the old annals. Wiszewski, op.cit. (2010), 108; Daughters of Mieszko II were identified with their husband’s families and were not included in the annals. Gertrude is such an example as is shown in her Prayer Book, Wiszewski, 76-82; Even the Brauweiler Abbey annals, in a section written later, only list Kasimierz as the son of Richenza and her daughters remain nameless Wiszewski, 497-503.

[48] Hare, op.cit. (2000), 271-273; Vanessa King, “Ealdred, Archbishop of York: The Worcester Years,” Anglo-Norman Studies 18 (1995): 128.

[49] This is also presented by Fest, op.cit. (1936), 75.

[50] Malcomes, op.cit. (1937), 710-715; Nagy, op.cit. (1973), 13-15. Both sources state Rèkavàr was the home of Edward and Agatha.

[51] There was also an ancient monastery at Pècsvàrad. Tradition states this is where Stephen I ascended to be king and also Astrik, the first abbot, brought the apostolic crown from Pope Sylvester in Rome to Stephen.

[52] Steinhubel, op.cit. (2011), 25-27.

[53] St Ladislas church in Násasd was another marker which remains as the foundation under the present St Stephen’s church built in the 14th century. The town is now named Mecseknádasd. The archaeological dig was headed by Dr Mária Sándor. In the deed Andrew II of Hungary grants the land of Máza to Bishop Bartholomew of Pècs. The original was lost but the text exists in a 1404 copy which was used to settle a land dispute: see Gabriel Ronay, The Lost King of England: the East European Adventures of Edward the Exile (2000), 92-96.

[54] Ronay, op.cit. (2000), 94.

[55] Ronay, op.cit. (2000), 96-99.

[56] Dani [tunc], quamvis imbecilles, socias tamen naves visitant et intelligentes urbi solatium ab Aethelsteno superstite et Britannis venientibus afferri truncatis* obsidibus fugiunt. Et destruat eos atque disperdat protector in se sperantium Deus, ne umquam solito hiis vel aliis noceant fidelibus! [Though weakened, the Danes managed to return to their own ships. When they realized that Æthelstan, who has survived the recent battle, and the Britons who had just arrived, had each brought aid to London, the Danes put their hostages to the sword and fled. May God, protector of all who place their trust in him, destroy and utterly ruin these men]. Thietmar of Merseburg (Kurze, op.cit., 1889, 218; Warner, 2001, 336).

[57] Ronay, op.cit. (2000), 96-99.

[58] The British Museum has one of these coins.

[59] Vajay drew his information from the 1897 study of the region by Dr Dezsö Czánki who insisted the deed stated ‘Bisanorum’ not ‘Brittannorum’: Ronay, op.cit. (2000), 94-95.

[60] Ronay op.cit. (2000), 95. Dr. Györffy’s (1917-2000) expertise dated to his 1940 doctoral dissertation on the Pechenegs, ‘Besenyők és magyarok’ [the Pechenegs and the Hungarians].

[61] Ronay op.cit. (2000), 95-96.

[62] Ronay op.cit. (2000), 96, supposing that the word had been spelled ‘Brisanorum’.

[63] Ronay, op.cit. (2000), 99-100.

[64] J R Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (2000), 422.

[65] Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: a New Verse Translation (2000), 78-9 (line 1137b).

[66] Heaney op.cit. (2000), 176-7 line 2613.

[67] It appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

[68]  Darlington & McGurk, op.cit. (2004), 504, note that perhaps ‘germani’ is a slip for ‘germane’, so that Agatha was niece to Henry II. This orthographic interpretation fits the evidence surrounding Agatha well. It is entirely possible that the original manuscript had the ending as an ‘e’ instead of the ‘i’ which now appears in modern copies of this passage.

[69] Darlington & McGurk, op.cit. (2004), lxiv.

[70] Bjorn Weiler, “William of Malmesbury, King Henry I and the Gesta Regum Anglorum,” Anglo-Norman Studies 31 (2008):160.

[71] R A B Mynors, R M Thomson & Michael Winterbottom, eds., William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, the History of the English Kings, Vol.1 (1998), 218.

[72] Bower, op.cit., 52-53.

[73] Bower, op.cit., 52-53.

[74] Bower, op.cit., 52-53.

[75] Jane Patricia Freeland, transl., Marsha L Dutton, ed., Aelred of Rievaulx: the Historical Works / Aelred of Rievaulx, (2005), 63.

[76] Freeland & Dutton, op.cit. (2005), 113.

[77]  John Hodgeson-Hinde, Symeonis Dunelmensis Opera Et Collectanea. Vol. 2, Surtees Society Publications 51 (1868), 155.

[78] Freeland & Dutton, op.cit. (2005), 141.

[79] Ivor Atkins, “The Origin of the Later Part of the Saxon Chronicle Known as D,” The English Historical Review 55 (1940): 8-26; G P Cubbin, ed., The Anglo Saxon Chronicle A Collaborative Edition MS D, Vol.6 (1996), lxxii-lxxix.

[80] Cubbin, op.cit. (1996), lxxii.

[81] Cubbin, op.cit. (1996), lxxii.

[82] Cubbin, op.cit. (1996), lxxii.

[83] Frank Barlow, Edward the Confessor, (1997), 215-7. Ealdred also resided with Hermann, Archbishop of Cologne during his stay.

[84] David Charles Douglas, William the Conqueror; the Norman Impact upon England, (1964), 204-6.

[85] J Ingram, The Anglo Saxon Chronicle: a History of England from Roman times to the Norman Conquest (2009), 121,131.

[86] Cubbin, op.cit. (1996), 75.

[87] Michael J Swanton, transl. & ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1996), 187-188.

[88] Simon Keynes, “Giso, Bishop of Wells,” Anglo-Norman Studies 19 (1996): 206.

[89] Cubbin, op.cit. (1996), 75.

[90] Stewart Baldwin, “Agatha, Wife of Eadweard the Exile,“ The Henry Project. accessed 31 May 2011.

[91] Freeland & Dutton, op.cit. (2005), 141.

[92] Alistair Campbell, ed., Chronicon Aethelwerdi: The Chronicle of Aethelweard (1962), 21.

[93] Ann Williams, “Some Notes and Considerations on Problems Connected with the English Royal Succession, 860-1066,” Anglo-Norman Studies 1 (1978): 156, 227.

[94] Bruce R O’Brien, God’s Peace and King’s Peace: the Laws of Edward the Confessor (1999), 195-196.

[95] F Liebermann, Über Die Leges Edwardi Confessoris, (1896), 37-8; René Jetté, “Is the Mystery of the Origins of Agatha, Wife of Edward the Exile, Finally Solved?” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 150 (1996): 417-32; Norman W Ingham, “Has a missing daughter of Iaroslav Mudryi been found?” Russian History 25 (1998): 253-255.

[96] George H Pertz, ed., Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in Usum Scholarum Ex Monumentis Germaniae Historicis, Vol.9 (1851), 404: Anna, filia regis Russie nomine Bullesclot.

[97] Gallus & Schaer op.cit. (2003), 64, show clearly that the name Boleslav was rendered into Latin as Bolezlauus.

[98]  Gerard Labuda, Fragmenty Dziejów Słowiańszczyzny Zachodniej, 2 (1960), 179. The Dagome iudex is discussed at length in Wiszewski op.cit. (2010), 3-11; Zygmunt J Gasiorowski (“The Conquest Theory of the Genesis of the Polish State,” Speculum 30 (1955): 555-558) cites the history of scholarship of the theory that Dagome is actually D as a chrismon, ego for I, and Me the first two letters of Mezsko.

[99] Ravilious op.cit. (2009), 75-76; Ingham op.cit. (1998), 255, Malesclodus might recall Polish Mieszko or East Slavic Mstislav (the name of Iaroslav’s brother).

[100]         Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum(1876 edition), 76, Frater Adelradi Edmund, vir bellicosus, in gratiam victoris veneno sublatus est; filii eius in Ruzziam exilio dampnati.

[101]         Adam of Bremen op.cit., 67.

[102]         Adam of Bremen op.cit., 77, e.g. the confused account of the marriage of Margaret/Astrid of Denmark to Richard of Normandy.

[103]         Adam of Bremen op.cit., 76. Adam discusses the pact made by Cnut with his [alleged] brother Olaf, the son of Eric, who reigned in Sweden [cum fratre Olaph, filio Herici, qui regnavit in Suedia].

[104]         Adam of Bremen op.cit., 76, Frater Adelradi Emund, vir bellicosus.

[105]         Michael Anne Guido, (“Pagan Son of a Saint: Olaf Cuaran and St Edith: A View of Tenth Century Ties between Northumberland, York and Dublin”, Foundations 2 (2008): 458) shows another error of Adam of Bremen in relationship to the family of Godfrey Hardacnutsson, King of Northumbria.

[106]         T D Hardy & C T Martin, eds. & transl., Lestorie des Engles solum la translacion Maistre Geffrei Gaimar, 1 (1888): 194; Thomas Wright,ed.,The Anglo-Norman Metrical Chronicle of Geoffrey Gaimar, Vol.9 (1850), 157. There is some similarity to the account of Orderic Vitalis, who likewise described Edward as living in Denmark before fleeing to Hungary.

[107]         Hardy & Martin op.cit. (1888), xlii.

[108]         William Smith & Theophilus D Hall. A Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary (2000), 1007.

[109]         Bower op.cit., 54-55; Duncan op.cit. (2000), 124.

[110]         Alan O Anderson, ed., Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers, A.D. 500 to 1286 (1908), 141.

[111]         A A M Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots, 842-1292: Succession and Independence (2002), 56-7.

[112]         Duncan op.cit. (2002), 57.

[113]         Duncan op.cit. (2002), 57.

[114]         Percy Ernst Schramm,“Die Bügelkrone, ein karolingisches Herrschaftszeichen. Mit einem Anhang: die Lobwörter decus imperii und spes imperii”. in Wilhelm Wegener, Festschrift für Karl Gottfried Hugelmann (1959), 561-579. The crown has changed since the Ottonian period as Henry IV incorporated the cross of Henry II into the crown and made a hoop over the top.

[115]         Kralj is the Slavic word for king. ΤΟΥΡΚΙA was the Byzantine word for Hungary.

[116]         Lazlo op.cit. (2003), 425.

[117]         Index Society. Report of the First-second Annual Meeting (1879), 53-55.

[118]         Alfred the Great was the first king to unite England under the Wessex Kings. There were still rulers in Mercia until after Æthelstan, and the Danelaw continued into the eleventh century. John of Worcester relates Edgar the Peaceful’s regal ambitions of 973 (Darlington & McGurk, op.cit. 2004, 422-425).

[119]         Duncan op.cit. (2002), 27-28, 44-46.

[120]         Duncan op.cit. (2002), 57.

[121]         Anderson, op.cit. (1908), 119.

[122]         Duncan, op.cit. (2002), 58.

[123]         Duncan, op.cit. (2000), 124.

[124]         Bower, op.cit., 86-87; Duncan, op.cit. (2002), 55-56. Edmund had sided with Donald Ban in the civil War after Malcolm III’s death and was a traitor to his brothers. Æethelred as a member of the clergy was by-passed in the succession.

[125]         Duncan, op.cit. (2002), 60.

[126]         King, op.cit. (1995), 126-127.

[127]         Barlow, op.cit. (1997), 215.

[128]         Keynes, op.cit. (1996), 207; King, op.cit. (1995), 127. It was during this year that Ealdred became enamoured of German liturgical practices and brought a copy of the Pontificate Romano-Germanicum with him on his return to England.

[129]         Ian S Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106 (1999), 23 [cites ‘Lampert, Annales 1054, p.66; cf. 1073, p.168. See Reinhardt (1975) 235-8; Boshof (1978) 36-43.’].

[130]         Latin must have been used as the language of mutual understanding not only in speaking with Ealdred but also when Edward and his family reached England in 1057/8. Agatha would have learned Latin in the Damenstift as would Margaret, who was about 11 at the time. Margaret continued her education at Wilton Abbey, the Quedlinburg of England, and the Alma Mater of Queen Edith (Elizabeth M Tyler, “The Vita Aedwardi: The Politics of Poetry at Wilton Abbey,” Anglo-Norman Studies 31 (2008): 153-154). Queen Edith was recorded to have spoken Danish, French and Gaelic as well as Anglo-Saxon. Latin was taught at Wilton and the abbey was known to excel in this subject (Rebecca Rushforth, St Margaret's gospel-book (2007), 63-4).

[131]         Discussing the situation between Germany and Hungary in 1054, Frank Barlow wrote in part: Moreover, it is impossible to believe that the Ætheling was anxious to return to the land from which he had been separated in infancy. Edmund Ironside had married Sigeferth’s widow in the late summer of 1015 and if Edward and Edmund were the children of that marriage, the elder cannot have been more than six months old when his father died. In 1054 Edward was about thirty-six, a married man with three children. He, like his family, probably spoke no English. Although it was believed at Worcester that King Edward had decreed that his nephew should be appointed his heir, this may be too simple a story. Neither Edward nor his counsellors could have bound themselves in advance, before they had even seen the exile. And if Ealdred had to make conditional offers and half-promises through a chain of messengers and interpreters it is no wonder that nothing was achieved at first (Barlow op.cit. (1997), 217).

[132]         Ian S Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056-1106 (1999), 34-35. On the same subject, Anthony Endrey wrote, “In 1052, Andrew’s wife presented him with a son, Solomon, whom he wanted to succeed him on the throne, in spite of his previous promise to Bela.  As Andrew’s intentions were gradually revealed, the relations between the two brothers became understandably strained.  In 1057, a year after Henry III’s death, Andrew felt confident enough to have his five year old son crowned with St Stephen’s crown.  He no longer had to fear an attack from Germany and his brother’s services did not seem all too important to him.  His actions, however, created a great deal of dissatisfaction in Hungary.  Sensing that Solomon’s position was none too secure, Andrew was looking around for a substantial ally.  This he found in the dowager empress who on her part also needed the goodwill of her powerful eastern neighbour and was anxious to make peace with Hungary.” Anthony Endrey, Hungarian History I (1978): 68.

[133]         István Lázár, Hungary: A Brief History (1993), 66: “Andrew, though he did not hand his rule over, crowned his son Salomon king in 1057, and betrothed him to a princess of the Holy Roman Empire in 1058. Yet, as if the question were still open, Andrew placed the crown and the sword before Prince Bela at Varkony along the River Tisza: choose between the throne and the sword. The machination was obvious. But the astounded Bela reached for the sword only at an emphatic sign from one of his councilors. His fate would have been sealed if he had chosen otherwise....”

[134]         Pál Engel, The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526 (2005), 31.   Whenever Bela determined to leave Andrew and rebel, this did not happen openly until after 4 June 1057 when he [called by his Christian name Adalbert] was party to a grant of Andrew I in favour of the palatine Rado: Ego autem Andreas rex, et frater meus dux Adalbertus dilectus, quia audiuimus et scimus.... Datum secundo nonas Iunii, indictine X. anno incarnationis domini millesimo quinquagesimo septimo, regni nostri anno duodecimo. (István Katona, Historia Critica Regvm Hvngariae Stirpis Arpadianae (Pest: Johann Michael Weingand and Johann Georg Köpf, 1779), II: 130-1, chap. CLXV.)

[135]         René Jetté op.cit. (1996), 417-32.

[136]         The smallest of the three buildings which was intended for the monks, Dunn pp.178-179.

[137]         Marilyn Dunn, The Emergence of Monasticism: from the Desert Fathers to the Early Middle Ages (2003), 178-179. St Gertrude was devoted to St Agatha and identified with her as she also refused to marry, only in St Agatha’s case it led to her martyrdom.

[138]         Jo Ann McNamara, Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns through Two Millennia (1996), 126.

[139]         St Gertrude of Nivelles was said to be put under the protection of St Peter.

[140]         Dunn, op.cit. (2003), 178-9. McNamara, op.cit. (1996), 230-1, states the bed was housed in the Church of St Paul and her chair was housed in the Church of St Peter. McNamara states the bed was removed after a miracle, the healing of a blind girl who touched the bed, in procession to the new building incorporating St Peter’s Church and what became known as St Gertrude’s Church.

[141]         J Lestocquoy, “The Reliquary of St Gertrude at Nivelles.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 77(452) (1940): 163. The reliquary, made 1272/1298, was destroyed by a German bomb in 1940. Pieces of the original remain on display at Nivelles, while after the war an exact replica was commissioned by the German government in gold and silver from William Ibens, an Antwerp goldsmith, and presented to the abbey.

[142]         Catherine of Alexandria was depicted as standing on the Emperor. This was unusual as she is usually shown holding a wheel which was her method of Martyrdom. This may have been a direct reference to the defeat of Conradin, the last Hohenstaufen ruler, by Charles of Anjou in 1268. Lestocquoy, op.cit. (1940), 163, relates that Colard de Douai, who along with Jacques de Nivelles were goldsmiths of the reliquary, worked for Robert I and Robert II, Counts of Artois, the brother and nephew of Charles of Anjou respectively.

[143]         St Margaret of Antioch was the other protector. As she was delivered from inside a dragon that had eaten her, she protected women in childbirth, which was a very dangerous thing for these young women who left the convent to marry. Many died in this process especially the younger girls.

[144]         This is in opposition to the resident Abbess who was committed to stay living under monastic rule. McNamara, op.cit. (1996), 179. The lay Abbess known as Princess-Abbess (Reichsäbtissin or Fürstäbtissin) was from the Royal House and paired with a resident abbess. Adalbertine was resident Abbess at Nivelles, 966-992.

[145] Marla Carlson, “Impassive Bodies: Hrotsvit Stages Martyrdom,” Theater Journal 50(4) (1998): 485; McNamara, op.cit. (1996), 185-187. All three vows were rejected by the canonesses of Nivelles. They refused claustration as they ministered among the poor, they refused virginity as they were free to leave and marry and they refused the vow of poverty as they retained their estates and lands.

[146]         Johanna Maria Van Winter, “The Education of the Daughters of the Nobility in the Ottonian Empire,” in The Empress Theophano Byzantium and the West at the Turn of the First Millennium, ed. Adelbert Davids (2002), 90.

[147]         The Imperial Room in the College of St Gertrude in Nivelles was discovered during the renovation after the Second World War. This room was used for such a purpose and spans a vast area on the upper floor of the tower.

[148]         Carlson, op.cit. (1996), 476.

[149]         Jean-Jacques Hoebanx, “Nivelles est-elle brabançonne au Moyen-Âge?”Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire. 41(2)(1963): 366-367. The Imperial abbey of Nivelles was a portion of the dower between Theophanu and Otto II. Theophanu exerted some influence over the abbey until her death in June 991. Two notable examples were in 976 and 980.

[150]         Richenza was lay abbess of Remiremont just before 1000. She held the title of Princess of The Empire (Reichsäbtissin) and was appointed by Otto III. In this position she governed Remiremont and its estates. Shortly after 1000, Otto III appointed her Princess Abbess (Reichsäbtissin) of Nivelles who governed Nivelles and surrounding properties. Richenza remained there until her death.

[151]         Wiszewski, op.cit. (2010), 98-103. It is debatable whether Richenza wrote the annals of the Polish Court during this period, but she definitely took them with her to Germany when she was exiled from Poland, and the entries continued about Kasimierz even after he fled the country in 1037.

[152]         Gallus & Schraer, op.cit. (2003), 72-73.

[153]         The fact that there is a third daughter is proven in Annales Sanctae Crucis Polonici (Ropell op.cit., 678). This daughter could have been named Agatha as it certainly would agree with the names of the other two daughters in reflecting the influence of Nivelles Abbey.

[154]         That Richenza and her husband Mieszko named their daughter Gertrude for St Gertrude of Nivelles was first noted by Jean-Jacques Hoebanx, L’abbaye De Nivelles Des Origines Au XIVe Siècle (1952), 118. Following on his work, Markus Osterrieder (op.cit. (2000), 67-8) noted that the naming of Gertrude showed that the influence of the monastery of Nivelles in Brabant even reached to Poland. (Seine Tochter wurde Gertruda getauft, auf den Namen der grossen Heiligen aus dem 7. Jh., was zeigt, dass die Ausstrahlung des Klosters Nivelles in Brabant bis nach Polen reichte./His {Mieszko II Lambert} daughter was christened Gertrude, with the name of the great Saint of the 7th century, which shows that the influence of the monastery of Nivelles in Brabant even reached to Poland.) The connection to the cult of St Gertrude is also mentioned in Wiszewski, op.cit. (2010), 372 and in Gertrud Thoma, “Namensänderungen in Herrscherfamilien Des Mittelalterlichen Europa, (1985), 45: der Name Gertrud bei einer Tochter Mieszkos II. und Richezas, der auf Nivelles verweist, wo eine Schwester Richezas Abtissin war; die Trierer Herkunft des Psalters, in das Gertrud, nach Russland verheirater, ihre Gebete einschrieb;.. (The name Gertrude by a daughter of Mieszko II and Richeza, referring to Nivelles, where a sister of Richeza was abbess;…).

[155]         Adelheid [as well as Gertrude] is the daughter’s baptismal name. In all likelihood she was named after her aunt Adelheid, abbess of Nivelles who probably stood as her godmother. This theory was proposed by Kazimierz Jasiński, Rodowód Pierwszych Piastów (1992), 144-145. The Slavic names of these women are unknown.

[156]         Gallus & Schaer, op.cit.(2003), 72-3; Wiszewski , op.cit.(2010), 371-2.

[157]         Marjorie Chibnall (The World of Orderic Vitalis, Norman Monks and Norman Knights (2001), 52-5) relates the primary reasons for families allying themselves with certain abbeys they either founded or endowed in some way. These became family mausoleums in many cases, were a place of education and in many instances provided future careers for their children.

[158]         The complex historical relationship between St Gertrude and the Counts of Louvain in the twelfth century and the Abbey of Nivelles is discussed in length by Hoebanx, op.cit. (1963), 366-9. There was a chapel dedicated to St Agatha in the Church of St Peter. St Peter’s Church is the cathedral of Louvain.

[159]         Monasticon Anglicanum Vol. IV, Boxgrove Priory, 645: William D’Aubigny donates two properties for the soul of Queen Adeliza, his sister Olivia, his daughters ‘Filiae Meae’ Olivia and Agatha who lie there. At Boxgrove on the East side of the church, inside the window, can be seen the heads of William D’Aubigny and his wife Adeliza de Louvain.

[160]         Affligem Abbey is 12 miles north-west of Brussels. Nivelles is twenty miles south-east of Brussels. The distance between between these two abbeys is about 32 miles. Affligem was founded in the Benedictine tradition by Hermann II Palatine Count of Lotharingia, first cousin of Richenza Queen of Poland, and Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, successor to Hermann Archbishop of Cologne, Richenza’s brother.

[161]         Marcel Renard, “Inscription latine de Nivelles,” in Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 33(2) (1955): 324 - note 7 shows the actual inscription à l’avers, VI :/ KL· / SEPTBR / OBIIT / ERMENTRVDIS/ IN / XPO ; au revers, FILIA / REI / NERI / COMITIS MATERQ / EIVS HATVIDAN FI / LIA / HVGO / NIS / REGIS.

[162]         Perceiving your benevolence and good will towards us, we wished to receive the hostages from K[arl, Charles of Lorraine] and lift the siege according to your will, desiring to preserve that most trusted association and holy friendship. But K[arl], scorning the legates and your jurisdiction, does not agree to this, does not let the queen go, does not accept any hostages from the bishop. But he will see what good his stubbornness does him. Desiring to confirm your friendship to us in perpetuity, we have determined that our companion and participant in the kingdom, A[delaide] will meet you at Stenay the 11th kalends of September and those things which you establish between you as good and equitable, we will preserve in perpetuity between us and your son without deception or fraud.MGH BDKz 2 ep.120 p.147-48; Epistolae letter 171.

[163]         See footnote 149 as Nivelles was part of Theophanu’s dower from Otto II.

[164]         Adela of France founded two colleges for the education of women. At the time of her schooling, Nivelles would have been the premier college of its kind outside the German empire. As her aunt Hedwig had a relationship with Nivelles, Adela certainly would have been enrolled there as a canoness.

[165]         As the first of Adela’s Collegiate Church’s was built in 1049 and Matilda was born c.1031, Matilda likewise would have attended school in high probability at the Collegiate Church of St Gertrude in Nivelles as it was the foremost educational institution in the low countries.

[166]         William, by the grace of God king of the English, to queen Matilda, his dear spouse, perpetual health/greeting. I want you to know that I grant to St Martin at Marmontier the church of Ste. Marie des Pieux and the lands that depend on it, free of all rents, as priest Hugh held them on the day of his death. Furthermore, I charge you to render, as is just, all the land in Normandy belonging to St Martin, free and secure from all those who would wish to burden it, as well as from the demands of the foresters; above all forbid Hugolin de Cherbourg to meddle further with the affairs of this house. L Couppey, “Encore Héauville! Supplément aux notes historiques sur le prieur, conventuel d’Héauville la Hague,” Revue catholique de Normandie X (1900-01), 348-49; Epistolae letter from William King of the English to Matilda, Duchess of Normandy, Queen of England.

[167]         Cecilia was omitted by Orderic Vitalis in Book V (Marjorie Chibnall, ed., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis (1980)).

[168]         Frederic was the nephew of the previous Agatha of Lorraine. His wife Erszbet was a descendant of Bela I, King of Hungary and his wife, Ryksa of Poland.

[169]         Her baptismal name was Ludmilla.

[170]         Wierchoslawa was the great-granddaughter of Wladislaw I Herman, Duke of Poland.

[171]         Wladislaw I Herman was the son of Kasimierz I of Poland and grandson of Mieszko II King of Poland by his wife Richenza, daughter of Matilda of Saxony sister of Otto III.

[172]         Agatha’s family was connected to the College at Nivelles for many generations before her birth as is shown in the previous discussion of the third Agatha.

[173]         Wiszewski (op.cit., 2010) offers a lengthy discourse on this matter pp.365-375.

[174]         Margaret was purported to be born c.1046. We have proof of age only of Edgar Ætheling as his birth date was noted by Orderic Vitalis who stated that Edgar was the same age as Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror, born 1054-5.

[175]         Mary Clayton & Hugh Magennis, The Old English Lives of St Margaret (1994), 3-4. This saint was known as St Marina in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was in the west where she became known as St Margaret.

[176]         Sherry L Reames, Middle English Legends of Women Saints (2003), 5. Clayton (op.cit. (1994), 4) relates that St Margaret was known by women as a protector in childbirth. As the cult of the Saint grew she became one of the ‘fourteen Holy helpers’ of the medieval period. St Margaret was also one of the voices heard by St Joan of Arc.

[177] Sancta Margareta sic orante et dicente, draco apperuit os suum super caput beate Margarite et lingua eius pertingens usque ad calcaneum beate Margarete et deglutivit eam. Sed facto signo crucis draco ille terribilis permedium est divisus et ipsa exivit de utero eius illesa sine dolore aliquo. [St Margaret praying and chanting in this manner, the dragon opened its mouth above the saint’s head and stretching out its tongue as far as St Margaret’s heel it swallowed her. But once the sign of the cross had been made that fearful dragon split open in the middle and she came forth (exivit) from its womb unharmed and without any pain.]

[178]         Reames op.cit. (2003), 5-7.

[179]         Adam of Bremen op.cit., p.86 No.52: Chnud regnum Adelradi accepit, uxoremque eius Immam nomine, quae fuit soror comitis Nortmannorum Rikardi. Cui rex Danorum suam dedit germanam Margaretam pro foedere. The problems with the accounts of Adam of Bremen and others have been discussed by Edward A Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest of England: Its Causes and Results (1977), 522, and more recently by Stewart Baldwin, The Henry Project (see footnote 90).

[180]         Ryksa is still occasionally used as a shortened form of Christina in Slavic countries today.

[181]         Adelaide was from the common Germanic root ‘Adal’ meaning noble as was Adela. These names in northern Germany and Poland were often interchangeable as is the case of Adelheid [Adela] of Meissen (1160-1211) wife of Ottokar I of Bohemia.

[182]         Georg Waitz, Annales Aevi Suevici: supplementa Tomorum XVI Et XVII (1975), 573.

[183]         Wiszewski op.cit. (2010), 510.

[184]         Valerie L Garver, Women and Aristocratic Culture in the Carolingian World (2009), 138-139.

[185]         Adelaide sought to unite Gandersheim and Quedlinburg after her sister’s death with little success.

[186]         Agnes was also Salian in lineage through her mother Judith of Swabia.

[187]         Wiszewski op.cit. (2010), 510-512.

[188]         Wiszewski op.cit. (2010), 511-512; Both Henry V and Agnes abbess of Gandersheim and Quedlinburg were excommunicated at the Synod of Rheims in 1119. She was replaced by Gerberga of Kappenberg at Quedlinburg and Bertha I at Gandersheim.

[189]         Agnes B C Dunbar, A Dictionary of Saintly Women, Vol.1 (1904), 175-176, iterates St Christina was reported to be the daughter of a pagan English King, Migranimus, and his Scottish wife Marona. This may have had an impact on the choice of names.

[190]         Dendermonde is 15 miles north west of Brussels.

[191]         The béguinage was the abbey of lay women called beguines that started in the Low Countries in the twelfth century. Like the canoness of the Damenstift these were lay women and took no vows.

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