Eustace II of Boulogne
Eustace II, also known as Eustace aux Gernons (with moustaches) was count of Boulogne
Count of Boulogne
The county of Boulogne was a historical region in the Low Countries. It consisted of a part of the present-day French département of the Pas-de-Calais , in parts of which there is still a Dutch-speaking minority....

 from 1049–1087, fought on the Norman side at the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings occurred on 14 October 1066 during the Norman conquest of England, between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army under King Harold II...

, and afterwards received a large honour
Honour (land)
In medieval England, an honour could consist of a great lordship, comprising dozens or hundreds of manors. Holders of honours often attempted to preserve the integrity of an honour over time, administering its properties as a unit, maintaining inheritances together, etc.The typical honour had...

 in England. He is one of the few proven Companions of William the Conqueror
Companions of William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror had men of diverse standing and origins in France, under his command at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, along with others completing his Norman conquest of England until after the Harrying of the North and before the Anarchy....


He was the son of Eustace I
Eustace I of Boulogne
Eustace I, count of Boulogne, was a son of Count Baldwin II of Boulogne and Adelina of Holland. He held the county from 1046 until his death in 1049.-Family and children:...

. His first wife was Goda
Goda of England
Goda of England or Godgifu; was the daughter of King Ethelred the Unready and his second wife Emma of Normandy, and sister of King Edward the Confessor...

, daughter of the English king Æthelred the Unready, and sister of Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

. Goda died circa 1047, and he quickly married again (about 1049). From his second marriage with Ida of Lorraine
Ida of Lorraine
Ida of Lorraine was a saint and noblewoman.She was the daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine and his wife, Doda. Ida's grandfather was Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine and Ida's brother was Godfrey IV, Duke of Lower Lorraine.-Family:In 1057, she married Eustace II of Boulogne...

 (daughter of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Godfrey III , called the Bearded, was the eldest son of Gothelo I, duke of Upper and Lower Lorraine. By inheritance, he was count of Verdun and he became margrave of Antwerp as a vassal of the duke of Lower Lorraine...

), Eustace had three sons, Eustace III, the next count of Boulogne, and Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon
Godfrey of Bouillon was a medieval Frankish knight who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death. He was the Lord of Bouillon, from which he took his byname, from 1076 and the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1087...

 and Baldwin
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

, both later monarchs of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....


In 1048 Eustace joined his father-in-law's rebellion against the Emperor Henry III
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...

. The next year Eustace was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX for marrying within the prohibited degree of kinship
Prohibited degree of kinship
In law, a prohibited degree of kinship refers to a degree of consanguinity between persons that results in certain actions between them becoming illegal. Two major examples of prohibited degrees are found in incest and nepotism. Incest is a taboo across all cultures worldwide, but which specific...

. 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
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 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
Godwin, Earl of Wessex
Godwin of Wessex , was one of the most powerful lords in England under the Danish king Cnut the Great and his successors. Cnut made him the first Earl of Wessex...

, had recently married his son Tostig to the daughter of Eustace's rival the count of Flanders. Furthermore Godwin's son Sweyn
Sweyn Godwinson
Sweyn Godwinson , also spelled Swein, was the eldest son of Earl Godwin of Wessex, and brother of Harold II of England.- Early life :...

 had been feuding with Eustace's stepson Ralph the Timid
Ralph the Timid
Ralph the Timid, also known as Ralf of Mantes, died 1057, was Earl of Hereford between 1051 and 1055 or 1057. His mother was Godgifu, the daughter of King Æthelred the Unready and his second wife Emma. His father was Drogo of Mantes, Count of the Vexin, who died on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in...


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
William of Talou
William of Talou was the son of duke Richard II of Normandy and Papia from Envermeu. His brother was Mauger, who became archbishop of Rouen in 1037...

 rebelled against his nephew William
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 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
Philip I of France
Philip I , called the Amorous, was King of France from 1060 to his death. His reign, like that of most of the early Direct Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time...

. 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.

These events evidently caused a shift in Eustace's political allegiances, for he then became an important participant in the Norman conquest of England in 1066. He fought at Hastings, although sources vary regarding the details of his conduct during the battle. Sources suggest that Eustace was present, with William the Bastard at the Malfosse incident in the immediate aftermath of the battle, where a Saxon, feigning death leapt up and attacked him, and was presumably cut down before he could reach William.

Eustace received large land grants afterwards, which suggests he contributed in other ways as well, perhaps by providing ships.

In the following year, probably because he was dissatisfied with his share of the spoil, he assisted the Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

ishmen in an attempt to seize Dover Castle
Dover Castle
Dover Castle is a medieval castle in the town of the same name in the English county of Kent. It was founded in the 12th century and has been described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history...

. The conspiracy failed, and Eustace was sentenced to forfeit his English fiefs.

Subsequently he was reconciled to the Conqueror, who restored a portion of the confiscated lands.

Eustace died circa 1087, and was succeeded by his son, Eustace III
Eustace III of Boulogne
Eustace III, was a count of Boulogne, successor to his father Count Eustace II of Boulogne. His mother was Ida of Lorraine.His father Eustace II appeared at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as an ally of William the Conqueror, and is listed as a possible killer of Harold II; he is also believed to...


It has been suggested that Eustace was the patron of the Bayeux Tapestry
Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth—not an actual tapestry—nearly long, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings...


Eustace has been portrayed on screen by Leslie Bradley
Leslie Bradley
-Selected filmography:* The Way of Youth * Holiday's End * Atlantic Ferry * The Young Mr. Pitt * Time Flies * Candlelight in Algeria * Slaves of Babylon * The Iron Glove...

 in the film Lady Godiva of Coventry
Lady Godiva of Coventry
Lady Godiva of Coventry is an American historical film, directed by Arthur Lubin and released in 1955. It starred Maureen O'Hara in the title role.-Synopsis:...

(1955) and by Joby Blanshard in the two-part BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 TV play Conquest (1966), part of the series Theatre 625
Theatre 625
Theatre 625 is a British television drama anthology series, produced by the BBC and transmitted on BBC2 from 1964 to 1968. It was one of the first regular programmes in the line-up of the channel, and the title referred to its production and transmission being in the higher-definition 625-line...

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