Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

Saint Guilhem (Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, marquis 'au Cort Nez', Comte de Toulouse

Saint Guilhem (Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, marquis 'au Cort Nez', Comte de Toulouse[1]

Male Abt 780 - Bef 815  (~ 35 years)

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  • Name Saint Guilhem (Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, marquis 'au Cort Nez'  
    Suffix Comte de Toulouse 
    Born Abt 780 
    Gender Male 
    History Knight and Benedictine monk, the son of Count Thierry of Toulouse. William was a member of the famed court of Charlemagne (r. 768-814). He was named duke of Aquitaine and chosen to lead a campaign against the Saracens in southern France. He defeated the Islamic Saracens in this campaign. Throughout his military career, he displayed exemplary chivalry and was honored as the ideal knight. However, he gave up the sword and became dedicated to the promotion of the faith. William founded a monastery at Gellone, near Aniane, and with Charlemagne\'s permission, entered the cornmunity as a monk. The abbey was later renamed SaintGuilhem-du-Desert in his honor. William was also the subject of several medieval romances, including La Prised Orange and Aliseans. He was canonized in 1066.  [2
    History Saint Guilhem of Gellone, in his own day Guilhem, also known as Guillaume d\'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, and the Marquis \'au Court Nez\', was the second count of Toulouse from 790 until his replacement in 811.

    He is the hero of the _Chanson de Guillaume,_ an early _chanson de geste_ (song of heroic deeds), and of several later sequels, which were categorised by thirteenth-century poets as the _geste_ of Garin de Monglane. Another early product of oral traditions about Guilhem is a Latin _Vita_ (biography), written before the 11th century, according to Jean Mabillon, or during the 11th century according to the Bollandist Godfrey Henschen.

    Guilhem was born in northern France in about 755, the son of Theuderic (Thierry) I, comte d\'Autun et Toulouse, and Alda or Aldana. He was a cousin of Charlemagne (his mother Alda was daughter of Charles Martel). As a kinsman and trusted comes he spent his youth in the court of Charlemagne.

    Guilhem\'s first seven children (four sons including Bernard and Guillaume) were most likely by his first wife Kunigunde, and the youngest four by his second wife Guitburgis. (Later troubadours made his second wife a Muslim princess by the name of Oriabel, who was then baptised as Guibourg/Guitburgis. However, contemporary records do not indicate this to be true.)

    When Guilhem was made count of Toulouse in 790, Charlemagne placed his young son Louis \'the Pious\', who was to inherit Aquitaine, in his charge. As count he successfully subdued the Gascons.

    In 793 Hisham I (called Hescham by the Franks), the successor of Abd ar-Rahman I, proclaimed a holy war against the Christians to the north. He amassed an army of 100,000 men, half of whom attacked the kingdom of Asturias while the other half invaded Languedoc, penetrating as far as Narbonne.

    Guilhem met this force and defeated it. He met the Muslim forces again near the river Orbieux, at Villedaigne, where he was defeated, though his obstinate resistance exhausted the Muslim forces so much that they retreated to Spain. However, Narbonne was garrisoned and remained under Muslim control. In 803 Guilhem took part in the campaign that took Barcelona from the Moors.

    In 804 he founded the abbey of Gellone (now Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert) near Lodève in the diocese of Maguelonne, and dedicated it to Saint Benedict of Aniane, whose abbey was nearby. His second wife Guitburgis died in 804, and he retired as a monk at his abbey in 806, where he eventually died between 812 and 815. The date of his death is most likely 28 May 812 as it derives from a necrology dating from the 11th century. The latter date is a confirmation by Louis \'the Pious\', of his possession of the priory at Aniane. In 1066 he was canonised. His tomb at Santiago de Compostela is a place of pilgrimage.

    Among Guilhem\'s gifts to the abbey he founded was a piece of the True Cross, a gift from his cousin Charlemagne, who reportedly wept at his death. Charlemagne had received the relic from the Patriarch of Jerusalem according to the _Vita_ of Guilhem. When he died, it was said the bells at Orange rang on their own accord. He mentioned both his family and monastery in his will. He granted property to Gellone and placed the monastery under the control of the abbot of Aniane. It became a subject of contention however as the reputation of Guilhem grew. So many pilgrims were attracted to Gellone that his corpse was exhumed from the modest site in the narthex and given a more prominent place under the choir, to the intense dissatisfaction of the abbey of Aniane. A number of forged documents and assertions were produced on each side that leave details of the actual history doubtful. The abbey was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The Sacramentary of Gelloner, dating to the late 8th century, is a famous manuscript. Its late 12th century Romanesque cloister, systematically dismantled during the French revolution, found its way to The Cloisters in New York. Guilhem\'s faithful service to Charlemagne is portrayed as an example of feudal loyalty. Guilhem\'s career battling Saracens is sung in epic poems in the 12th and 13th century cycle called _La Geste de Garin de Monglane,_ some two dozen _chansons de geste_ that actually centre on Guilhem, the great-grandson of the largely legendary Garin.

    One section of the cycle, however, is devoted to the feats of his father Theoderic, there named Aymeri de Narbonner, who had received Narbonne as his seigniory after his return from Spain with Charlemagne. Details of the \'Aymeri\' of the poem are conflated with a later historic figure who was truly the viscount of Narbonne from 1108 to 1134. In the chanson he is awarded Ermengart, daughter of Didier, and sister of Boniface, king of the Lombards. Among his seven sons and five daughters is Guilhem.

    The defeat of the Moors at Orange was given legendary treatment in the 12th century epic _La prise d\'Orange._ There, Guilhem was made count of Toulouse in place of the disgraced Chorso, then king of Aquitaine in 778. He is difficult to separate from the legends and poems that gave him feats of arms, lineage and titles: Guillaume Fièrebras, Guillaum au Court-Nez (his nose broke in a battle with a giant), Guillaume de Narbonne, and Guillaume d\'Orange.  [3
    History Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (\"The most beautiful villages of France\"), and the Abbey of Gellone, along with the nearby Pont du Diable were designated UNESCO World Heritages sites in 1999.[1]  [4
    Died Bef 21 May, 815 
    Person ID I1556  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 14 Feb 2018 

    Father Theuderic I, Comte d\'Autun,   b. Abt 750,   d. Bf 804  (Age ~ 54 years) 
    Mother Alda,   b. Bef 804 
    Family ID F945  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Kunigunde,   d. yes 
    +1. Bernard, Comte d\'Autun, Margrave of Septimanie,   b. Abt 795/800,   d. 844, Aachen Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 44 years)
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2018 
    Family ID F944  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Saint Guilhem of Gellone
    Saint Guilhem of Gellone
    Saint William of Gellone
    Abbey at Gellome
    Abbey at Gellome
    Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert map
    Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert map

  • Sources 
    1. [S12] Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Gellone.

    2. [S88] Catholic Online, http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2134.

    3. [S64] Genealogics, Leo Van de Pas, http://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00201698&tree=LEO.

    4. [S12] Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.