Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History' - Chapter 47 - The Girls

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Chapter 47

"Blood will have blood" Lady Macbeth according to William Shakespeare

The Girls & later Merovingians

One's curiosity is piqued by the lack of information about wives generally. What was Louise le Bailly like? What was Mary Perry like? Suzanne Massiene? We know what Fredegunde was like.


The early records of the family were largely kept by churchmen or church-educated bureaucrats. For a Catholic priest, the idea of any woman wielding power was anathema, then as now, so any woman who did was sure of a bad press. Patrick’s tree (below) took us back to Clothaire II, a bad king, not because he was strong but because he was weak. Fredegunde was the mother of Clothaire II & regent during his early years. His father was Chilperic I, King of Neustria & therein lies the tale of the Merovingian weakness & ultimate downfall.

Perhaps Fredegunde added the most suspect genes to the Delaforce pool. Her parents were Branulphe I d’ Ardennes (503? - ?), who was married to Crotechilde the Ostrogoth (508? - ?). Beautiful, intelligent & utterly ruthless, Fredegunde had the necessary survival skills to live from 545 to 597, a good innings for the time. She was not having any rivals around & easily pursuaded Chilperic to have Galswintha strangled, to stop messing about and marry her, which he did. Later, Audovera was murdered & while there is nothing to tie this to Fredegunde, who would be surprised? Fredegunde was an explosive addition to the sibling rivalry of Siegbert & Chilperic, because Brunhilda was cut from the same cloth as Fredegunde.

Sigebert (535 Metz - 575 murdered by Fredegunde) King of Austrasia = (567 Metz) Brunhilda (545 - 613 executed horribly by Clotaire II) dau. of Athanagilde I, King of the Visigoths see chapter 44

Childebert II King of Austrasia and Burgundy (570 - 595 poisoned) = Faileuba

Theudebert II King of Austrasia (585 - 612 executed by his brother) = Bilichild

Theuderic II King of Burgundy and Austrasia (587 - 613) = Ermenberta div. after 1 year at Brunhilda's insistance. She was either the daughter of Reccared Balt (see chapter 45) or Witteric.

Sigebert II King of Burgundy and Austrasia (600 - 613 killed by Clotaire II, see below)

Childebert = ?NN

Phigberta = Bertrand, see this link

Oda = Boggis, see this link

Ingund = Herménéghild II of the Visigoths, see chapter 44


Chlodosind = Reccared I BALT (? - 601) King of Visigothic Spain 3rd wife see chapter 45

Liuva II King of the Visigoths (? - 603 killed by Witteric, see chapter 44)

Ermenberta See 3rd column left

The war between the brothers was driven by their brilliant wives, the Hitler & Stalin of their time but without the scruples of the 20th century tyrants. Siegbert was murdered by Fredegunde in 575 & Brunhilda promptly married Fredegunde’s step-son Merovech (son of the discarded Audovera, who owed Fredegunde no favours) but he was murdered in 583 by persons unknown. However, intelligent guesses are possible. Brunhilda returned Fredegunde’s compliment by murdering Chilperic in 584. This left the girls to rule alone through their sons:-

In Brunhilda’s case, Childebert II whom someone (any guesses?) poisoned in 595. He had been left Burgundy by the dubious ‘St.’ Guntram when he died in 592. The kingdom was then divided between Brunhilda’s grandsons, Theudebert II got Austrasia, while Theuderic II ruled Burgundy. Doubtless at Brunhilda’s insistance, Theuderic killed Theudebert in 613 but himself died the same year & was succeeded by his son, Sigebert II. Theuderic had married Ermenberta but Brunhilda demanded he divorce her the next year, when Sigebert was born & what Brunhilda wanted, Brunhilda got. Some sources say Ermenberta was the daughter of Chlodosind and Recarred I Balt (? - 601) an important Visigoth Delaforce ancestor (see chapter 44) but not by Chlodosind, who was Recarred’s third wife & herself, the daughter of Brunhilda. Others say Ermenberta was the daughter of Witteric the Visigoth King (see chapter 45) & this may be right, as if Theuderic had married her, Brunhilda would probably have wanted him to remarry someone politically linked more usefully. As the Arian usurper Spanish King, Witteric looked like having an early sell-by date, as indeed, he did. Either way, there were two Ermenbertas. Brunhilda is routinely described as a ‘great statesman’ & lived from 545 to 613, long after her rival but she did not die a natural death. What Brunhilda & Fredegunde share, apart from personality, is that they are Delaforce Grannys.

In Fredegunde’s case, she continued to rule through her surviving son, Clothaire II. Those of her children who did not come up to scratch, she bumped off.

Chilperic I King of Neustria

Chilperic I (539 - murdered 584) = 1. (549 - 564 divorced) Audovera (? - murdered 580)

Richilde de Neustrie (560 - ?) = Leovegilde I King of the Visigoths (?531 - 586)
3rd wife - see the family tree after chapter 44

Theudebert (? - 575 in battle)

Merovech (? - 578 murdered) = Brunhilda (widow of Sigebert, see above & aunt of this husband)


Chilperic I (539 - murdered 584) = 3. (568) Fredegunde (545 - 8/12/597) regent for Clotaire below

5 previous others,
all died young or murdered by their mother

Clotaire II (584 - 628) after 613, King of all the Franks = 3 wives

See below

Clothaire II

Clothaire II must have been relieved when his mother died at the ripe old age, for then, of 53 but he was not to be left in peace by the on-going war of the siblings. He came under the influence of St. Arnulf (or Arnold), Bishop of Metz (patron saint of brewers...) & Pepin of Landen, Duke of Brabant. They pursuaded him to make an effort to overthrow Brunhilda, now manipulating her grandson, which he did, aided by the general irritation of her (male) aristocracy with her clinging to power for so long. He captured the 68 year old lady, tortured her for three days (details not available for the prurient), then had her dragged to her death over the dreadful roads of the time by a wild horse. What he did to Sigebert II, whom he also killed, we do not know but it probably does not bear thinking about. He was now King of Austrasia & Burgundy as well as Neustria but his savagery to Brunhilda was that of a weak man, not a strong one. Pepin of Landen ran the country as Mayor of the Palace (Prime Minister) but lost his grip when Clothaire’s son Dagobert I came of age. Pepin's daughter Begga married Arnulf’s son, Anseghisel, and they started the Carolingian dynasty. However, Arnulf was also the grandfather of Valtrude of Verdun, so he is multiply a Delaforce.

Dagobert I was the child of Bertrude (590 - 618), daughter of Ricomer de Bourgogne, Clothaire’s second wife, the first, Altrude or Ragentrude, had died in 600, possibly in childbirth. A much stronger character than his father, he patronised the arts & founded the abbey of Saint Denis, where he died in 639. In 631 he sent an army to help the Visigothic usurper in Spain. The royal line from Dagobert did not at first appear to be Delaforce ancestral but it did impinge on our history, see Eudes in the next chapter. However, his son Clovis II was of the line of Toulouse & so was Dagobert's unnamed daughter's family below.

Dagobert was a hard man & his equally tough son Clovis II, who inherited Neustria & Burgundy, married Balthilde, an English slave girl but of aristocratic family, bought by Grimoald, the Palace Mayor from pirates for the purpose. Balthilde continued to be a major political force after Clovis’ death. Clovis II put his foot down on the Palace Mayors. In 656, he executed both Grimoald & his son Childebert, whom Grimoald had placed on the Austrasian throne. Unfortunately, Clovis died the next year, leaving a two year old son to succeed & fall into the manipulating hands of Pepin of Heristal again. Apart from Chilperic II, Clovis II’s line of no-hopers were just tools of their Mayors of the Palace & Childeric III is where the Merovingians run into the sand, deposed by Pepin the Short in 751.

Dagobert's other son Sigibert, inherited the Kingdom of Austrasia & is not a Delaforce but his son, Dagobert II, had a legendary life until his murder. His adventures, being carried off to Ireland etc, are well, if not necessarily accurately, documented but the Catholic Church had tried to remove him from the record, as he seems to have been a sort of atheist.

The Delaforce line is also carried by Clothaire’s third wife, Sichilde d’Ardennes. She was the daughter of Brunulphe II Comte d’ Ardennes (550? - ?), Fredegunde’s brother. We descend from both Sichilde’s children:-

Charibert II (b. ?608 died 631 at St. Romain, Blaye, Gironde), married Gisela (abt 610 - ?) daughter of Amand, Duke of Gascony & brought the early Gascon dukes into our line. Amand is a shadowy figure & we do not know who his parents were. After the death of Charibert II, the children were raised by their grandfather Amand.

St. Oda (abt 625 - 720), married her nephew Boggis (626 - 688) Duke of Aquitaine from 637. He was the son of Charibert II. The story of their son, Eudes Duke of Gascony is in the next chapter.

Clothaire II King of Neustria

Clotaire II (584 - 628) after 613, King of all the Franks = 1. (600) Hadeltrude or Altrude (? - 600) daughter of Sigould I duke of Austrasia

Merove (? - 664 executed)

Emma = Eadbald King of Kent
this - oh no! it's too complicated!

Clotaire II = 2. (602) Bertrude (various spellings!) (590 - 618) daughter of Ricomer de Bourgogne

Dagobert I (602 - 19/1/639 Saint Denis) King of Austrasia 623-632 & France from 628 = 1. Ragentrude of Austrasia

Sigibert III King of Austrasia from 632 (629 - 656) = Inechilde (various spellings!) of Burgundy (?625 - ?670)

Dagobert II (652 - 23/12/679) = Matilda Princess of England

'St' Adela (? - 24/12/735) = Eudes Duke of Gascony in some accounts but Ken doubts this marriage


Berswinde (654 - ?) = Eticho I (Adalric) Duke of Alsace (645 - 20/2/690)


Bilichild = Childeric II (?658 - 675) son of Clovis II below

Childeric II (662 - 675)

?NN = Théodard de Tongres (620 - 673)

Irmina d'Oeron (?650 - ?706) = Hugobert of Austrasia

Bertrade de Baviere = Charibert Comte de Laon 743-744 (bfr 696 - aft 747)

See chapter 49

= 2. Nanthild de Bobigny (610 - 642)

Clovis II King of Neustria & Burgundy (633 or 4 - 31/10/657) =
Balthilde an English slave girl (love match!) (?627 - 30/1/680), later a nun

See below

a daughter

Berthe = Warnachar maire du Palais de Bourgogne

Clotaire II = 3. Sichilde d'Ardennes

Charibert II (?608 - 631 St. Romain, Blaye, Gironde) = Gisela (abt 610 - ?) daughter of Amand, Duke of Gascony

See the next family tree below

Charibert II (?608 - 631 St. Romain, Blaye, Gironde) King (vice-roi) of Aquitaine from 628 = Gisela (abt 610 - ?) daughter of Amand, Duke of Gascony.

Childeric (? - 637 killed by Dagobert I) Duke of Aquitaine 631-637

Boggis (626 - 688) Duke of Aquitaine from 637 = (abt 650) 'St' Oda or Odile (abt 625 - 720) back link

Eudes (665 - 735 murdered) Duke of Aquitaine from 714 = 1. Adela Princess of Austrasia or perhaps not
= 2. Valtrude of Verdun

See family tree next chapter


Bertrand co-Duke from 637 (619 - ?) = Phigberte

Clovis II King of Neustria & Burgundy (633 or 4 - 31/10/657) =
Balthilde an English slave girl (?627 - 30/1/680), later a nun

Clothaire III (655 - 661)

Childeric II (?658 - 675) = Bilichild

Chilperic II King of Neustria and Burgundy 715-716 (670 - 721 Soissons)

Theuderic (Thierry) III of Neustria (654 - 691) = Clothilde (650 - 692) dau of Ansigisel & St Begga

Bertrade l'Ancienne De Pruem (?675 - 721) = Martin de Laon (?655 - aft 696)

See chapter 49

Clovis III King of Neustria and Burgundy 690-694 (682-695)

Childebert III King of Neustria and Burgundy from 694 (683 - 14/4/711) = ?NN

Dagobert III King of Neustria and Burgundy (699 - 24/6/716) = ?NN

Theuderic IV King of the Franks from 721 (713 - 737) = ?NN

Childeric III "the Idiot" King of the Franks 743-751 (735 - 27/8/755 St Omer)

Clothaire IV King of Neustria and Burgundy 718-719 (684 - 719)

Berthe de Neustrie (676 - 740) = Huoching de Souabe (685 - ?727)

See chapter 49

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2005 Patrick Delaforce. All rights reserved Last revised 28/2/2005