Hughes de Vermandois, Archevêque de Reims

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Hugh de Vermandois (De Roucy), Archbishop of Reims

Birthdate: (42)
Birthplace: Vermandois, Normandy, France
Death: 962 (42)
Dourdan, Essonne, Ile-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Héribert II, count of Vermandois and Adèle de France
Brother of Adele of Vermandois; Adalbert I the Pious, count of Vermandois; Luitgarde of Vermandois; Heribert Iii "le Vieux", comte d'Omois, Comte de Meaux et Troyes; Eudes, count of Vienne & Amiens and 1 other
Half brother of Godehilde de Vermandois and Count Robert de Vermandois, comte de Meaux et de Troyes

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About Hughes de Vermandois, Archevêque de Reims

From the French Wikipedia page on Hugh de Rheims:

Hugues de Vermandois, né vers 920, mort à Meaux en 962, fut comte et archevêque de Reims de 925 à 931, puis de 940 à 946. Il était fils d'Herbert II, comte de Vermandois, et d'Adèle de France.

Son père lui procura le siège épiscopal à la mort de Séulf, alors qu'il n'avait pas cinq ans, mais le roi Raoul reprit le diocèse en 931 pour le confier à Artaud. Il reçut peu après les ordres mineurs et fut ordonné prêtre en septembre 940 par Gui, évêque d'Auxerre. Herbert II avait repris la ville de Reims en juillet 940, chassa Artaud et replaça son fils comme archevêque. Le roi Louis IV d'Outremer lui confirma sa charge en 941, mais le destitua en 946. En 948, le légat du pape le débouta définitivement du diocèse, le pape ratifie les décisions du synode d'Ingelheim. À la mort d'Artaud, en 961, il se porta candidat pour sa succession, mais ne fut pas choisi. Il mourut pendant un pèlerinage à Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.


Christian Settipani, La Préhistoire des Capétiens (Nouvelle histoire généalogique de l'auguste maison de France, vol. 1), éd. Patrick van Kerrebrouck, 1993 (ISBN 2-9501509-3-4)

In English:

Hugh de Vermandois, born about 920, died at Meaux in 962. He was Count and Archbishop of Rheims from 925 to 931, and again from 940 to 947. He was the son of Herbert II, Comte de Vermandois, and Adela of France.

His father gave Hugh the bishopric on the death of Seulf, when he was only 5 years old, but King Raoul said that the diocese would be entrusted to Artaud (Artoldus) in 931. He obtained the diocese again shortly after going into the orders and being ordained a priest in September 940 under Guy Bishop of Auxerre. Herbert II had retaken the town of Rheims in July 940, driving out Artaud and replacing him with his son as Archbishop.

King Louis IV d'Outremer confirmed the office in 941, but dismissed him in 946. In 948, the papal legate permanently dismissed him from the diocese after the Pope ratified the decision of the Synod of Ingelheim.

After Artaud's death in 961, Hugues was a candidate to succeed him, but was not chosen (Pope John XII decided in favor of Odelricus). Hugues died during a pilgrimage to St-Jacques (or Santiago) de Compostela. (The English Wikipedia page says that he was also excommunicated as a result of his contesting for the bishop's seat, which could explain why he might have been on pilgrimage.)

For reference, the pilgrimage to Santiago typically takes place in July, culminating on July 25 or St. James Day in Santiago. From the Wikipedia page on the Way of St. James:

The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to St. James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 8th century, in the time of the Kingdom of Asturias. The pilgrimage to the shrine became the most renowned medieval pilgrimage, and it became customary for those who returned from Compostela to carry back with them a Galician scallop shell as proof of their completion of the journey. This practice was gradually extended to other pilgrimages.[citation needed]

The earliest recorded pilgrims from beyond the Pyrenees visited the shrine in the middle of the 10th century, but it seems that it was not until a century later that large numbers of pilgrims from abroad were regularly journeying there. The earliest records of pilgrims that arrived from England belong to the period between 1092 and 1105. However, by the early 12th century the pilgrimage had become a highly organized affair.

One of the great proponents of the pilgrimage in the 12th century was Calixtus II who started the Compostelan Holy Years.[7] The official guide in those times was the Codex Calixtinus. Published around 1140, the 5th book of the Codex is still considered the definitive source for many modern guidebooks. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina. From there, a well-defined route crosses northern Spain, linking Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, and Compostela.

The daily needs of pilgrims on their way to and from Compostela were met by a series of hospitals and hospices.[citation needed] These had royal protection and were a lucrative source of revenue. Romanesque architecture, a new genre of ecclesiastical architecture, was designed with massive archways to cope with huge devout crowds. There was also the sale of the now-familiar paraphernalia of tourism, such as badges and souvenirs. Since the Christian symbol for James the Greater was the scallop shell, many pilgrims wore one as a sign to anyone on the road that they were a pilgrim. This gave them privileges to sleep in churches and ask for free meals, but also warded off thieves who dared not attack devoted pilgrims.

The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela was possible because of the protection and freedom provided by the Kingdom of France, where the majority of pilgrims originated. Enterprising French people (including Gascons and other peoples not under the French crown) settled in towns along the pilgrimage routes, where their names appear in the archives. The pilgrims were tended by people like Domingo de la Calzada who was later recognized as a saint himself.

Pilgrims walked the Way of St. James, often for months, to arrive at the great church in the main square of Compostela and pay homage to St. James. So many pilgrims have laid their hands on the pillar just inside the doorway of the church that a groove has been worn in the stone.

The popular Spanish name for the astronomical Milky Way is El Camino de Santiago. According to a common medieval legend, the Milky Way was formed from the dust raised by travelling pilgrims.[8] Compostela itself means "field of stars". Another origin for this popular name is Book IV of the Book of Saint James which relates how the saint appeared in a dream to Charlemagne, urging him to liberate his tomb from the Moors and showing him the direction to follow by the route of the Milky Way.

As penance

The Church employed a system of rituals to atone for temporal punishment due to sins known as penance. According to this system, pilgrimages were a suitable form of expiation for some temporal punishment, and they could be used as acts of penance for those who were guilty of certain crimes. As noted in the Catholic Encyclopedia,

“ In the registers of the Inquisition at Carcassone… we find the four following places noted as being the centres of the greater pilgrimages to be imposed as penances for the graver crimes: the tomb of the Apostles at Rome, the shrine of St. James at Compostella [sic], St. Thomas' body at Canterbury, and the relics of the Three Kings at Cologne.[9] ”

There is still a tradition in Flanders of freeing one prisoner a year[10] under the condition that this prisoner walk to Santiago wearing a heavy backpack, accompanied by a guard.


Pilgrims on the Way of St. James walk for weeks or months to visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. They follow many routes (any path to Santiago is a pilgrim's path) but the most popular route is Via Regia and its last part - the French Way (Camino Francés). Historically, most of the pilgrims came from France, from Paris, Vézelay, Le Puy and Arles and Saint Gilles, due to the Codex Calixtinus. These are today important starting points.

The Spanish consider the Pyrenees a starting point. Common starting points along the French border are Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port or Somport on the French side of the Pyrenees and Roncesvalles or Jaca on the Spanish side. (The distance from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostella through León is about 800 km.). Another possibility is to do the Northern Route that was first used by the pilgrims in order to avoid travelling through the territories occupied by the Muslims in the Middle Ages. The greatest attraction is its landscape, as a large part of the route runs along the coastline against a backdrop of mountains and overlooking the Cantabrian Sea.

However, many pilgrims begin further afield, in one of the four French towns which are common and traditional starting points: Paris, Vézelay, Arles and Le Puy. Cluny, site of the celebrated medieval abbey, was another important rallying point for pilgrims. Some pilgrims start from even further away, though their routes will often pass through one of the four French towns mentioned. Some Europeans begin their pilgrimage from the very doorstep of their homes just as their medieval counterparts did hundreds of years ago.

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Hughes de Vermandois, Archevêque de Reims's Timeline

Vermandois, Normandy, France
Age 42
Dourdan, Essonne, Ile-de-France, France