The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Stephen, Count of Blois

Stephen II Henry (c. 1045 - May 19, 1102), (French, Etienne Henri) Count of Blois and Count of Chartres , was the son of Theobald III , Count of Blois, and Garsinde du Maine .

In about 1080, in Chartres, France, Stephen married Adela of Normandy, a daughter of William the Conqueror. Their eldest son, Guillaume, was disinherited, supposedly for mental weakness; he was made Count of Chartres instead. Blois then passed to the second son, Theobald. Their third son Stephen of Blois became king of England after Henry I of England died without a male heir and the English did not think Henry I's daughter Empress Maud a suitable ruler because of her sex. Stephen and Adela's youngest son was Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester. A daughter, Lucia-Mahaut de Blois, perished in the White Ship disaster.

Count Stephen was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, often writing enthusiastic letters to Adela about the crusade's progress. He returned home in 1098 during the lengthy siege of Antioch, without having fulfilled his crusading vow, which would have been completed only if he had made it all the way to Jerusalem. He was pressured by Adela into making a second pilgrimage, and along with others who faced the same pressures after returning home prematurely, he joined the minor crusade of 1101. In 1102, Stephen was killed in battle at the age of 57, during the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem's siege of Ascalon in what is now Israel.

Preceded by:
Theobald III
Count of Blois Succeeded by:
Theobald IV

Last updated: 05-18-2005 00:33:38