Eustace II of Boulogne

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Eustace II, (c. 1015-1020 – c. 1087) [1][2] was count of Boulogne from 1049–1087, fought on the Norman side at the Battle of Hastings, and afterwards received a large honour in England. He is one of the few proven Companions of William the Conqueror.

He was the son of Eustace I. His first wife was Goda, daughter of the English king Æthelred the Unready, and sister of Edward the Confessor.[3] Goda died circa 1047,[4] and he quickly married again (about 1049[4]). From his second marriage with Ida of Lorraine (daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine), Eustace had three sons, Eustace III, the next count of Boulogne, and Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin, both later monarchs of Jerusalem.

In 1048 Eustace joined his father-in-law's rebellion against the Emperor Henry III. The next year Eustace was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX for marrying within the prohibited degree of kinship.[5] It's likely the pope's action was at the behest of Henry III. The rebellion failed, and in 1049 Eustace and Godfrey submitted to Henry III.

Eustace paid a visit to England in 1051, and was honourably received at the Confessor's court. Edward and Eustace were former brothers-in-law and remained allied politically. On the other hand the dominant figure in England, Earl Godwin, had recently married his son Tostig to the daughter of Eustace's rival the count of Flanders. Furthermore Godwin's son Sweyn had been feuding with Eustace's stepson Ralph the Timid.

A brawl in which Eustace and his servants became involved with the citizens of Dover led to a serious quarrel between the king and Godwin. The latter, to whose jurisdiction the men of Dover were subject, refused to punish them. His lack of respect to those in authority was made the excuse for outlawing himself and his family. They left England, but returned the next year (1052) with a large army, aided by the Flemish.

In 1052 William of Talou rebelled against his nephew William of Normandy. Eustace may well have been involved in this rebellion, although there is no specific evidence, for after William of Talou's surrender he fled to the Boulonnais court.

The following years saw still further advances by Eustace's rivals and enemies. Count Baldwin of Flanders consolidated his hold over territories he had annexed to the east. In 1060 he became tutor of his nephew Philip I of France. In contrast Eustace's stepson Walter of Mantes failed in his attempt to claim the County of Maine. He was captured by the Normans and died soon afterwards in mysterious circumstances.

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