Matilda, abbess of Barking

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About Matilda, abbess of Barking

From Stewart Baldwin's Henry Project

Henry II of England had, by an unknown mistress:

Matilda, fl.1175-1198, abbess of Barking, Essex.

Weir (1989), 63, lists Matilda as an illegitimate daughter of Henry II, but without documentation. Matilda should not be confused with her niece of the same name (daughter of king John), who was also an abbess of Barking (listed with a question mark by Weir [p. 72] under John's bastards, also without documentation). These two Matilda's have often been overlooked in listings of royal bastards. On 7 September 1998, John Carmi Parsons, in a list of some bastards of John overlooked in Given-Wilson & Curtis (1984), pointed out in the soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup that VCH Essex 2, 120 and Monast. Angl. 1, 437, 441 named abbess Matilda, daughter of king John, and on 14 January 2003, Douglas Richardson pointed out in the same newsgroup that VCH Essex 2, 120 and Monast. Angl. 1, 437, 441 name Henry II's daughter abbess Matilda. VCH Essex 2, 120 cites Charter Rolls for 7-8 Richard II [1383-5] as the source for abbess Matilda, daughter of Henry, and that appears to be the earliest clearly dateable source for the present Matilda (the sources quoted in Monast. Angl. 1, 437, 441 both being later lists). However, Henry's daughter abbess Matilda is mentioned in a possibly earlier note of uncertain date, quoted in Monast. Angl. 1, 442, which was written sometime after the abbess Anne de Vere (fl. 1295), who is mentioned there. Although more contemporary documentation would be desirable, there does not appear to be any good reason to doubt these later sources regarding the existence of these two abbess Matildas.


King Henry II had four possible illegitimate children by Mistresses (6) - (8): 

13.       [MATILDA (-before 1202, bur Barking).  Dugdale´s Monasticon names "Maud natural daughter of King Henry II" as successor of “Mary the sister of Thomas Becket archbishop of Canterbury” as abbess of Barking[546].  He does not provide the date of her appointment but states that her predecessor became abbess in 1173.  The primary source which confirms her parentage has not yet been identified.  Abbess of Barking, Essex.  A manuscript (presumably dated to the 15th century) records the burials of the abbesses of Barking and includes "Dame Maud la file le Roy Henry qe gist en la chapele de Salue”[547].] 

  • 546. Dugdale Monasticon l, Barking Monastery, p 437
  • 547. Dugdale Monasticon l, Barking Monastery, X, p 441
  • Wikipedia
    • Barking Abbey is a former royal monastery located in Barking, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It has been described as "one of the most important nunneries in the country".
  • 'Houses of Benedictine nuns: Abbey of Barking', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 2, ed. William Page and J Horace Round (London, 1907), pp. 115-122 [accessed 8 January 2016].
    • Abbesses Of Barking:
      • Mary, (fn. 76) appointed 1173.
      • Maud, daughter of Henry II, appointed circa 1175, (fn. 77) occurs 1198. (fn. 78)
      • Christiana de Valoniis, (fn. 79) occurs 1202, 1205.
        • 77. By charter of her father. (Ibid.)
        • 78. Ibid. Her brother Richard I released a rent formerly paid for Becontree hundred.
  • Daniel Lysons, 'County of Essex: Barking', in The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent (London, 1796), pp. 55-110 [accessed 8 January 2016].
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Matilda, abbess of Barking's Timeline

Barking, Essex, England
Barking Abbey, Barking, Essex , England, United Kingdom