Baldwin I, Count of Flanders
Baldwin's father was named Audacer but little else is known of him. His family was related to the counts of Laon. Before holding Flanders Baldwin was already a count, probably at Ghent. Baldwin was in Senlis in 862. Somehow he decided to take Judith, the daughter of Charles the Bald, the king, for his wife. Judith, had been the wife of two English kings, Athelwulf († 858) and Athelbald († 860). On her return and still in her teens she was being held at the castle of Senlis by her father.[a] Baldwin took Judith, the twice widowed daughter of Charles the Bald,[b] and the couple fled to the court of Lothair II, king of Lorraine. He was Judith's cousin. Once they were safely out of her father's reach Baldwin married her. This was about 863. King Charles had his bishops excommunicate the couple. He also demanded that his nephew return Baldwin and his daughter Judith to him. At this point Baldwin and Judith fled to Rome. They asked Pope Nicholas I to intercede and legitimize their marriage. Baldwin made known his intent to join the Vikings if his marriage was not allowed. Vikings were a constant threat in northern France and Baldwin was needed to help fight them. The pope decided their marriage was valid and had the bishops withdraw their excommunication. Charles the Bald was forced to accept Baldwin as his son-in-law.[c] The couple was married a second time, in public. Her father did not attend but sent officials to witness the marriage. He gave Baldwin the honors the pope recommended.
Baldwin was given rule over Flanders with the title of margrave (count of a borderland) of Flanders. He protected Flanders for the next fifteen years from Vikings. He became known for his harsh treatment of anyone attacking Flanders. This later gave him the name "Baldwin Iron Arm". In 867 Baldwin built a castle at Ghent to protect from Viking raids. The city built up around the castle. Ghent became the seat of his countship. Baldwin also built a castle at Bruges, the port city on the North Sea. It too was for the purpose of stopping Viking plundering. When Charles the Bald died in 877, Baldwin faithfully supported his son, Louis the Stammerer, helping him become king of the Franks. Baldwin died in 879.
- The reason she was being held under close guard was that at about age thirteen she had become the wife of Ethelwulf who died two years later. She then became the wife of his son and successor, Æthelbald. He died two years after his father. She returned to France the widow of her own stepson. To avoid scandal her father was keeping her under close guard at his castle. He was looking for a new husband for her so she could be quietly married. When Charles the Bald came to visit his daughter he found she had escaped dressed as a peasant girl. And with one of his own counts. The king was furious.
- Judith was either taken willingly or unwillingly. What is at issue is the father did not give consent to the marriage. Several customs prevented Judith from marrying without the approval of her parents. If a husband was arranged for her she did not want, the Church did not allow the marriage to proceed sine voluntate mulieris (without the will of the woman). These rules applied to a first marriage. Judith was a widow but nothing says the laws did not pertain to widows either. The Franks did have very high fines for taking a woman from her parents. It was usually three times the marriage fee whether she had a hand in her own kidnapping or not.
- The pope wrote to Charles the Bald to be careful not to offend Baldwin. He warned the king that if Baldwin joined the Vikings it would open up northern France to them.
- David Nicholas, Medieval Flanders, (New York: Longman, 1992), p. 16
- Patricia Carson, The Fair Face of Flanders (Tielt, Belgium: Drukkerij Lannoo NV, 2001), p. 29
- Philip Grierson, 'The Relations between England and Flanders before the Norman Conquest', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fourth Series, Vol. 23 (1941), p. 84
- Eleanor Shipley Duckett, Carolingian Portraits; A Study in the Ninth Century (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1988), p. 220
- Medieval Women and the Law, ed. Noël James Menuge (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2003), p. 32
- Lisa M. Bitel, Women in Early Medieval Europe, 400-1100 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 168
- Thomas Colley Grattan, The Netherlands (London, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, 1833), p. 22
- Eleanor Shipley Duckett, Carolingian Portraits; A Study in the Ninth Century (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1988), p. 222
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, Vol. 1, ed. Clifford Rogers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 105
- Randall Fegley, The Golden Spurs of Kortrijk: How the Knights of France Fell to the Foot Soldiers of Flanders in 1302 (Jefferson, NC; London: McFarland, 2002), p. 78
- Randall Fegley, The Golden Spurs of Kortrijk: How the Knights of France Fell to the Foot Soldiers of Flanders in 1302 (Jefferson, NC; London: McFarland, 2002), pp. 5-6
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A., Stargardt, 1984) Tafel 82
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A., Stargardt, 1984) Tafel 68