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Recent identification of the seal of Matilda of the Perche

Une identification récente du sceau de Mathilde du Perche

Kathleen Thompson

Honorary Research Fellow
University of Sheffield

La découverte récente, dans les archives de la cathédrale de Cantorbery, d’un nouvel acte de Mathilde du Perche, nous invite à proposer un nouveau catalogue des actes de Mathilde et à modifier l’article « Matilda, countess of the Perche (1171-1210) : the expression of authority in name, style and seal » publié dans Tabularia « études », n˚ 3, 2003, p. 69-88, 18 juillet 2003, sur les points suivants :

[La pagination indiquée est celle de la version PDF de notre précédent article]

p. 71, ligne 5, au lieu de « twenty seven », lire « twenty eight » ligne 6, au lieu de « nine », lire « ten » ; au lieu de « (n˚s 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18), lire « (n˚s 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19) » ligne 9, au lieu de « (n˚s 2, 5, 9, 13, 21, 25) », lire « (n˚s 2, 5, 9, 14, 22, 26) ligne 11, au lieu de « (n˚s 1, 4, 12, 15, 268) », lire (n˚s 1, 4, 13, 16, 278) ligne 13, au lieu de « (n˚s 19, 20 », lire (n˚s 20, 21) » ligne 14-15, au lieu de « (n˚s 14, 22, 23, 24) », lire « n˚s 15, 23, 24, 25 » ligne 15, au lieu de « (n˚ 27) », lire « (n˚ 28) » ligne 19, au lieu de « nine », lire « ten »
p. 72, ligne 10, au lieu de « (nos 1, 7, 10, 11, 20) », lire « (nos 1, 7, 10, 11, 21) » ligne 25, au lieu de « (n˚ 21) », lire « (n˚ 22) » ligne 30, au lieu de « (n˚ 19) », lire « (n˚ 20) »
p. 73, ligne 8, au lieu de « (nos 2, 4, 6, 22, 26) », lire « (nos 2, 4, 6, 23, 27) » ligne 9, au lieu de « Eight of the nine acts », lire « Nine of the ten acts » ligne 10, au lieu de « (nos 3, 5, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 27), lire « (nos 3, 5, 9, 13, 14, 16, 18, 28) ». ligne 11, au lieu de « (nos 3, 13) », lire « (nos 3, 14) » ligne 16, au lieu de « (nos 5, 17) », lire « (nos 5, 18) » ligne 25, au lieu de « (no 27) », lire « (no 28) » ligne 28, au lieu de « (nos 14, 15) », lire « (nos 15, 16) » ligne 32, au lieu de « (nos 23, 24) », lire « (nos 24, 25) » 
p. 76, ligne 3, au lieu de « (no 21) », lire « (no 22) » ligne 19, au lieu de « (nos 16, 18, 25) », lire « (nos 17, 19, 26) » ligne 25, au lieu de « (no 16) », lire « (no 17) » 
p. 77, ligne 18 à 26, supprimer de « No impressions… » à « …cords », remplacer par : There are references to Matilda’s seal in eighteen acts and the impression survives, associated with an act preserved in the Cathedral Archives in Canterbury (no. 12). In addition the seal is depicted in a seventeenth-century abstract of a joint act by Count Geoffrey and the countess in favour of Fontevraud. The pointed oval seal shows a standing lady, full face, dressed in an elegant close-fitting dress with tight sleeves and her head is apparently bound with a fillet. She holds a bird in her left hand a rod topped with a fleur de lys in her right hand. There is a counterseal made up of three chevrons, the conventional arms of the counts of the Perche. The Canterbury impression was made on uncoloured wax, mounted on red and yellow cords, while the Fontevraud impression was apparently made on green wax, mounted on white silk cords [1] .
p. 77, ligne 28, après « wax32. », ajouter : The legend of the Canterbury impression reads S MATIL…COMITISSA… REGIS ANGLI. The lower section of the seal is worn, so a crucial word is missing, but in the context of the description of Matilda in no. 22 as the niece of King Richard, it seems likely that the missing word is NEPTIS. In either the sense of niece or grand-daughter, Matilda’s relationship to the kings of England would be accurate.
p. 78, ligne 7, au lieu de « n˚ 17 », lire n˚ 18. ligne 15, après France, ajouter :At this period it would be wise to invoke the authority of both the Capetian and the Angevin families, so the use of Matilda’s seal with its reference to her link with the king of England would be particularly appropriate.
p. 80, ligne 30 à p. 81, ligne 2 : supprimer depuis « The countess… » à « …disposition. », remplacer par :It must have been made after the count’s return from the Holy Land in late 1192 or early 1193. Then the countess was the joint donor in an act restoring the Maison Dieu at Mortagne, which signalled the end of fighting across the Norman border during King Richard’s captivity (no. 13). In the period of reconciliation after the king’s return her royal connections are specifically mentioned in the benefaction to Southwick Priory (no. 22), when she is described as niece of King Richard in precisely the same terms as her seal describes her as the king of England’s niece, and she acted with her husband in the foundation of Sandleford Priory (no. 20). Geoffrey’s claims to the English property that was given to Sandleford, together with that confirmed to Bradenstoke and La Couture, were all derived from his English grandmother, Hawise of Salisbury, and it would be wise to associate his wife, the king of England’s niece, in its disposition. The deployment in the mid 1190s of a seal designed to show the countess’s royal connections, then, would be very useful as Count Geoffrey sought to recover his standing with the newly returned King Richard. It was a clever and precocious exploitation of the developing use of women’s seals.

Catalogue révisé des actes de Mathilde du Perche

28 actes dont :


1 Bradsole

Geoffrey [count of the Perche] and his wife Matilda's confirmation of benefactions made by Walter Haket and his wife Emma, with the consent of William of Poltone and his heir Stephen, to the Premonstratensian abbey of St. Radegund at Bradsole (Kent) is recorded in the confirmation of their son, Count Thomas, 1189-1202.

B=Oxford. Bodleian Library ms. Rawlinson B461, f. 20. Pd. Monasticon, vi, 941.

2 Chartres. Grand Beaulieu

Count G[eoffrey] and the Percheron countess M[atilda] grant for their anniversaria to the leperhouse of Grand-Beaulieu at Chartres an annuity of 60s. from the prepositura of Nogent and if the prepositus fails to pay at the appointed time he shall be liable to a weekly penalty of 10s., 1192-1202.

Pd. Beaulieu, no. 153.

3 Chartres. Cathedral

Matilda, the Percheron countess, grants to the cathedral of Chartres 60s. angevin to endow her own anniversarium and 60s. to endow that of her late husband, Geoffrey the Percheron count. These sums are to be taken annually on the feast of the Purification of the Virgin from the revenues of Marchainville, which she and Geoffrey acquired together, Chartres, June 1202.

A=Chartres AD Eure-et-Loir G1459. Parchment 213mm x 96mm + 19mm. Endorsed, s.xiii De anniuersariis Gaufridi comitis Perticensis et Matildis uxoris eius. Two central slits for sealing in a single queue, substantial amounts of green and cream silk?/linen? remain, no trace of seal. Joined to an act of Stephen of Sancere, assigning the annual 60s and dated 1236.

B=Chartres AD Eure-et-Loir G134, caisse LXVII B16 (indexed)
Pd. NDC, no. CLIX.

4 Chêne Galon

Geoffrey the Percheron count and the countess M[atilda] grant the priory of Chêne Galon a penny a day from the revenues of the castles at Mortagne, Longpont, Mauves, Maisonmaugis, Bellême, Le Theil, La Perrière, Montisambert, Nogent, Rivray, Montlandon, La Ferrière, Nonvilliers and Montigny. They add the sum of 4s. to be paid every Saturday from the prepositura at Mortagne and a payment at Easter of 60s. to fund their anniversaria to be paid from the prepositura of La Perrière by the serving praepositus without delays, 1192-1202 probably March 1202.

B=Duchesne 54, p. 460. Pd. i) Bry, Perche, 206 (in part). ii) Murs, Comtes, 500-501 (French translation). iii) Courtin, Perche, 218-9 (French translation).

5 Clairets

Matilda, the Percheron countess, notifies the wish of her late husband, Geoffrey the Percheron count, to found an abbey at Boveria (?Bouvereau, Eure-et-Loir, cant. Thiron, cme Marolles-les-Buis) and her promise to him as he lay on his deathbed that she would carry out his intention. After consultation with both ecclesiastical and lay advisers the countess decided to build the abbey in the woods at Les Clairets and chose to grant it to nuns of the Cistercian order, who were established in the religious life by Reginald bishop of Chartres. The countess then granted the nuns Boveria with all its appurtenances and added an annual sum of ten marks payable on the feast of St. Rémy from her manor of Haughley in England, half the mill of Saint Victor [?de Réno], the medietaria of Ponte and two arpents of meadow at Le Theil, a burgher at Nogent free from all dues, and the rents from two properties held by Robert Aie and William which lie inside the nuns boundaries. The countess also granted rights to timber, firewood, pasture and pannage for the nuns' pigs in all woodlands except those of Perchet, La Loupe, July 1204.

Pd. Clairets, no. IV.

6 Fontevraud

Count Geoffrey and his wife the Percheron countess Matilda give to the abbey of Fontevraud to fund their anniversaria £20 from the prepositura of Nogent-le-Rotrou to be paid twice yearly and if the prepositus fails to pay at the appointed times he shall be subject to a weekly penalty of 20s., 1192-1202.

A=AD Maine-et-Loire 101H56, no. 56. B=BN ms. lat 5480, p. 352. C=BN ms franc. 24133, p. 302.

7 Geoffrey fitz Perdriz

Geoffrey count of the Perche and Matilda his wife grant to Geoffrey Perdris property at Eastwood, (Essex): two acres formerly held by Solomon, four acres formerly held by Sych' and five acres formerly held by Robert for 14s. 4d. and the marsh formerly held by Alurichus Havoc for 60s. and 6s. for tithes, due at Easter and the feast of St. Michael. Geoffrey received nine marks of silver de gersum for his confirmation and Matilda one mark of silver, 1192-1202.

A=BL ms. Harley charter 54.g.26

8 La Trappe

Matilda, by the grace of God, countess of Perche notifies the gift to the abbey of La Trappe made by Gerald of Les Apres of his property and rights in the land called Barres (Orne, ct. Moulins-la-Marche, cme. Les Genettes) which lies between Fretay (Orne, ct. Tourouvre, cme. Bresolettes) and Heris'uneaiam. For this concession Gerald received £20 angevin, his eldest son Arnold a chicken, his sons Warin 6s. dunois, Hugh 5s. and Waleran 5s., while his wife Mary received two sextaria of grain and his daughter in law, Agnes, the wife of Arnold, a cow. Gerald placed this gift in the countess's hand and she handed it over to the vicecomes, giving the monks 100s. in alms herself, Mortagne 1191.

A=Alençon. AD Orne H1846. Endorsed, xii s? de bosco de barris. Parchment 190 x 154 +26 mm. One set of double slits for tag, tag intact, no seal.

B=Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale ms. lat. 11060. Cartulaire de la Trappe, foliation unknown.

Pd. La Trappe, p. 458.

Second act

A=Alençon. AD Orne H1846. Endorsed, twice Testes de dono Girardi de Aspris. Parchment 121 x 50 + 12mm. One single slit for tag, tag and seal missing.

9 Lawrence Flaaut

Matilda countess of the Perche settles with Lawrence Flaaut the outstanding debts of her late husband Geoffrey count of the Perche, granting him £300 angevin in the forest of Bellême. She releases him from the obligation he incurred at the count's instruction to the Maison-Dieu at Mortagne, unless she herself is pressed for the same amount which she owes to the abbot and monks of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. If she is not released from her debt then she and Stephen of the Perche will transfer Lawrence's obligation to the house at La Chaise [a priory of Saint-Benoît], 1202.

B=AD Loiret H22, p. 185-6, no. 290

10 Lawrence fitz Jordan

Geoffrey count of the Perche and his wife, the countess Matilda, give and concede to Lawrence fitz Jordan of Paglesham the whole hundred of Rochford (Essex) to be held for an annual rent of £8 due on the octave of Easter and the octave of St. Michael. The count and the countess will warrant the hundred to Lawrence and his heirs against all people (gentes), 1192-1202.

A=Canterbury Dean & Chapter archives, carta antiqua R. 62.

11 Lawrence fitz Jordan

Geoffrey count of the Perche and the countess Matilda, his wife, give and concede to Lawrence fitz Jordan of Paglesham the land known as Turkelland, with all its appurtenances including the marsh, and the great marsh called Alfladenas to be held for an annual rent of £6 payable in two instalments at the octaves of Easter and Saint Michael. The count and countess will warrant the property to Lawrence and his heirs against all men and all women, 1192-1202.

A=Canterbury Cathedral Archive, DCc, CHAnt/T/ 27

12 Lawrence fitz Jordan

Countess Matilda of the Perche grants her whole marsh called Wethereswerde in Foulness to Lawrence fitz Jordan of Pagelsham for an annual payment of 20s, payable in two instlments at St Michael’s day and Easter, and 4 marks gersum paid as a fine. April 1202-April 1205 or Feb 1207-Jan 1210, likely to be earlier.

A=Canterbury Cathedral Archive, DCc- ChAnt/F/155. Pointed oval seal 72 x 52 cm, uncoloured but varnished greenish brown, red and yellow cords, enclosed by a modern metal rim, full-length figure of a woman, holding a hawk in her left hand and a rod topped with a fleur de lys in her right hand. A large plant or small tree in the field on either side. Seal legend: S MATIL…COMITISSA… REGIS ANGLI, with counter seal of shield charged with three chevrons 25 x 20 cm.

13 Mortagne. Maison Dieu

Geoffrey count of the Perche and Matilda his wife grant to the Maison Dieu at Mortagne £32 of revenue from their demesne in Mortagne to rebuild the house after the recent warfare and another 25s. from the same source for lighting to celebrate divine service in the hospital chapel of St. Nicholas, to be paid in the following way: £10 on the Saturday after the Purification of the Virgin, £10 on the Saturday after Ascension and £10 on the Saturday after St. John the Baptist's day with the rest payable on St. Nicholas' day. If these sums are not paid on these days the prepositus or the receiver shall pay the Maison Dieu 10s. tournois for each week during which he defaults. The count establishes a prior, two priests and four nuns of the order of St. Elizabeth to care for the poor of the hospital and builds a lodging close to it. He grants rights of inspection of all leather and shoes sold in Mortagne and possession of all confiscations of unsatisfactory work. He establishes the confraternity of Mortagne shoemakers in the chapel of Maison Dieu and they are to feed the poor people resident in the hospital on St. Nicholas' day. He also grants calfagium to the poor of the hospital in his forest of Bellême. Several other lords make benefactions by the same charter, Mortagne, 1195.

Pd. Bart, Antiquitéz, 156-9.

14 Mortagne. Toussaints

Notice of the lost foundation charter of the college of Toussaints, Mortagne, given by Countess Matilda, is preserved in an inventory of the college's charters. The countess gave a site at Mortagne for the construction of a collegiate church and established there two chaplains to pray for the soul of her husband, Geoffrey. She endowed it with £12 from each of the prepositure at Moulins-la-Marche and Mortagne and the profits of the fair on St. Andrew's day at Mortagne. A witness list is provided by reference to the act in Gallia Christiana, Longpont, March 1203.

C=AD Orne IG1071/3, p. 1. Pd. (in part) i) Bart, Antiquitéz, 160-1. ii) GC, xi, col. 692.

15 Nogent-le-Rotrou. Collège de Saint-Jean

Matilda [2] , countess of the Perche’s confirmation of the donations made to the collège de Saint-Jean by the clerk, Warin, is recorded in the college’s obituary, ?1202-10.

C=AD Eure-et-Loir, G3485. Pd. Obits…Sens, p. 389.

16 Osanna

Matilda countess of Perche notifies that her domicilla Osanna has bought the land of Meslair from Gervase of Mauchenai and William Flauut and has been granted seisin of it by Thomas of Fai. She and her son, Thomas, bear witness to it. Mauves, July 1203.

C=BN Duchesne 54, p. 454.

17 Perseigne

Geoffrey the Percheron count and his wife Matilda give to the abbey of Perseigne 100s. percheron from the revenues of of their prepositura of La Perrière which is to be paid annually on the first Sunday after St. Rémy's day. The sum of 10s. is payable by the count and his heirs if these payments are not made by his prepositus, 1192-1202.

A=AD Sarthe H930.
Pd. Perseigne, no. LXVII (in part).

18 Perseigne

Matilda countess of the Perche notifies that her husband Count Geoffrey of the Perche granted to the abbey of Perseigne a burgher, Baldwin Bovet of Nogent-le-Rotrou, who was exempt from all comital exactions, but the count had failed to confirm this gift because of an oversight of the monks[propter negligentiam eorum]. The countess, who had been present when the gift was made and consented to it, confirms it, 1202-10.

A=Le Mans. AD Sarthe H930. Parchment 130 x 74 + 18mm. Endorsed sxiii? carta Matildis comitissa Pertici de eo quod dedit burgensem unum apud Nogentem ecclesie Persenie. Double set of slits for tag, tag remains, approx 20mm of queue has been cut away. Pd. Perseigne, no. CCCLXV.

19 Saint-Evroul

Geoffrey count of the Perche and Matilda his wife notify their grant to the abbey of Saint-Evroul of the church of Saint-Nicholas of Moulins-la-Marche (Orne, ch. l. du ct.) and two thirds of all tithes and offerings, while the other third is to go to the priest who ministers there. Geoffrey adds the chapel of Saint-Pierre within the castle of Moulins, the upkeep of which is to be paid for from his woods of Moulins. Two monks are to be sent from Saint-Evroul to staff the chapel of Saint-Pierre, together with a priest, and they are to receive the revenues of Saint-Nicholas on the advice of the prior of Saint-Laurent. Geoffrey also concedes his land of Putrel, estimated at about twenty acres, and a fair in the town of Moulins on the feast of St Nicholas according to the customs of the fair of St. Lawrence whereby the monks receive the profits of justice and all tolls in the town of Moulins for the nine days preceding the feast, 1195-1202.

A=AD Orne H721. B=BN ms lat 11055, f. 36.

20 Sandleford

Geoffrey count of the Perche and Countess Matilda endow the Augustinian priory of Sandleford (Berks.) with the church and all the land at Sandleford, together with the wood known as Brademore and with all the land on both sides of that wood that is, bounded by the watercourse known as Aleburn from the bridge at Sandleford to the Alburnegate, then by the road which runs from Alburnegate towards Newbury up to the croft of William the huntsman and on the third side from there along the road to the croft of Robert fitz Rembald and on the fourth side up to the bridge at Sandleford. The right to build a mill is granted together with an annual sum of thirteen marks of sterling to be taken from the mills of Newbury every four weeks. When the prior dies one of the remaining canons is to be chosen in his place, 1194-1202.

Pd. a) Monasticon, vi, 565 from an inspeximus by Stephen Langton of Hubert Walter's charter of confirmation. b) Acta Stephani Langton Cantuariensis archiepiscopi AD 1207-1228, ed. K. Major (Oxford, Canterbury and York Society, 50, 1950), no. 34.

21 Simon son of Odin

The grant made by Geoffrey of the Perche and his wife Matilda to Simon son of Odin of an island called La Ruwesand in Suffolk and rights in the wardenship of park of Haughley is recorded in a grant by Simon's descendant, Roger of Astwyk, 1189 x 1202.

B=PRO E40/3873. Pd Ancient Deeds, iii, A. 3873, p. 5.

22 Southwick

Geoffrey count of the Perche and his wife Countess Matilda, niece of King Richard and daughter of Henry duke of Bavaria and Saxony, grant the Augustinian priory of Southwick (Hants) two virgates of land at Aldbourne (Wilts), formerly held by Richard Anglicus and Robert Heiward, together with their associated property including the holdings (mansuagiis) in Weststret, to pay for the mass wine. The donors are accepted into confraternity by the priory and their anniversaries are to be celebrated at the house, 1192-9.

B=Southwick, I, f. 28v. Another version, III, f. 24v. Pd. The cartularies of Southwick Priory, ed. K.A. Hanna (Winchester, 1988), 87-8 (English translation only).

23 Tiron

Geoffrey count of the Perche and his wife grant and confirm to the abbey of Tiron a payment of £10 on the Saturday after All Saints' day from the market at Nogent, 1192-1202.

Pd. Tiron, no. CCCLXXVII, p. 160.

24 Tiron

Countess Matilda and Stephen of the Perche confirm the grant to the abbey of Tiron probably made by Count Geoffrey, which provided £10 a year from the prepositura of Mortagne, 100s. on the feast of St Remy to light the church at Tiron and another 100s. on the last Sunday....for the anniversarium of Geoffrey the Percheron count, April-June 1202.

Pd. Tiron, no. CCLXXVII, 164.

25 Tiron

Stephen of the Perche and M the countess of the Perche’s confirmation of Geoffrey of Beaumont’s grant of £4 to the abbey of Tiron is recorded in an abbey rental, April-June 1202 or 1190-2.

Pd. Tiron, no. CCLXXVII, 160.

26 Val Dieu

Geoffrey count of the Perche and Matilda his wife buy from Helois of Marches, by the hand of Prior William, the land which lay next to the grange of Boolai (?Boulay, Orne, ct. Mortagne, cme. Feings) on behalf of the charterhouse at Val Dieu. Helois, her mother Erembourg de Fracta and the lord of the fee, Arnold de Molendino received nearly £25 dunois for the sale, 1196-1202.

B=RCVD, f. 9.

27 Val Dieu

Geoffrey [count of the Perche], son of the founder Rotrou, and his wife Matilda grant to the charterhouse of Val Dieu three measures of wine to be taken each year from the prepositura at Nogent-le-Rotrou, 1192-1202.

C=Alençon. Bibliothèque Municipale, ms. 108, no. 256, f. 61. C2=BN Duchesne 54, p. 450.

28 William Marshal

A lost charter of Matilda countess of Perche, in which she undertakes her late husband's debt of 300 marks of silver to William Marshal, is recorded in letters patent of King John, before 22 April 1202.

Pd. Rot. Litt. Pat., 9b.


BN ms lat 5480, p. 352.


Matilda is mistakenly described in the obituary as the mother of Geoffrey and Stephen. Since Warin was given the property by Count Geoffrey and his brother, Stephen, and the act was later confirmed by the Countess Matilda, she must be Geoffrey’s wife, not his mother, who was dead by 1184.