Blessed Humbert III, count of Savoy

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Count Humbert III of Savoy, the Blessed

Italian: conte Umberto III di Savoia, il Beato, French: comte Humbert III de Savoie, le Bienheureux, German: graf Humbert III. von Savoyen, der Heilige
Also Known As: "le Saint", "de Maurienne"
Birthplace: Avigliana, Province of Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Death: March 04, 1189 (52)
Chambery, Savoy, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Amadeus III, count of Savoy "the crusader" and Mahaut of Albon, countess of Savoy
Husband of Faidide Of Savoy; Clementia von Zähringen and Béatrice de Savoie, de Mâcon
Ex-husband of Gertrude de Lorraine, gravin van Vlaanderen
Father of Alicia of Savoy; Eleonore de Savoie; contessa Sophie de Savoie, de Maurienne and Thomas I, count of Savoy
Brother of John of Savoy; Peter of Savoy; Guillaume de Savoie; Agnès de Savoie; Marguerite de Savoie and 2 others
Half brother of Alix Elise de Savoie Maurienne and Mafalda de Saboia, rainha consorte de Portugal

Occupation: Count of Savoy 1148-1189
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Blessed Humbert III, count of Savoy

-,_Count_of_Savoy (ENG draft, IT & FR better)

Humbert III (1136, Avigliana, Piedmont – 4 March 1189, Chambéry, Savoy), surnamed the Blessed, was Count of Savoy from 1148 to 1188. His parents were Amadeus III of Savoy and Mathilde d'Albon the daughter of Guigues III of Albon. He ceded rights and benefits to monasteries and played a decisive role in the organization of Hautecombe Abbey. It is said that he would rather have been monk than a sovereign. On the death of his third wife he retired to Hautecombe, but then changed his mind and, by his fourth wife finally had son, Thomas. He sided with the Guelph party of Pope Alexander III against the Ghibelline Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The result was an invasion of his states twice: in 1174 Susa was set on fire, and in 1187 Henry VI banished him from the Holy Roman Empire and wrested away most of his domains, of which he was left only with the valleys of Susa and Aosta. He died at Chambéry in 1189. He was the first prince buried at Hautecombe. His memorial day is March 4.

Life and reign

Early life

Humbert III was born around 1136 in the castle of Avigliana, near Turin, to Count Amadeus III and Mathilde d'Albon, Countess of Albon and Vienne. He is an important figure in medieval society, as attested in the history of House of Savoy. His life was characterized by certain key features, including mysticism, borne of a vocation and tradition of the contemplative life, which came about in the events of his time as warrior and politician, which he undertook exclusively for dynastic reasons.

He inherited from his father, as well as from his grandfather, Humbert II, the dream of reconstituting the fragmented Kingdom of Burgundy, in stark opposition to the centralizing policy of the French royal family. In his efforts he was supported by Frederick I Barbarossa, and found himself induced to play a shrewd political subjugation of neighboring feudal lords or settled among his domains. Like his father, Humbert II, who died young when he was still a minor, Amadeus III entrusted the education of his son, Humbert III, to St. Amedeus of Lausanne, former abbot of Hautecombe, and under his guidance the young Humbert made great progress in studies and spiritual formation, despising the apparent splendor of worldly things, and giving himself to prayer, meditation and penance.[1] To better achieve his lofty goals, he frequently withdrew Hautecombe Abbey, on the banks of Lake Bourget in Savoy, founded by his father. He always left the abbey with regret, every time the family and the Savoyard nobility called him back for occupy himself with political matters.


Amadeus III was a pilgrim in the Holy Land in 1122. He went there through the offices of Pope Callixtus II, and in 1146 he participated in the Second Crusade, and died on the island of Cyprus in Nicosia on 1 April 1148, where he was buried, leaving the twelve-year old Humbert as heir. Although still at an early age, in 1151 Humbert was bethrothed to Faidiva, daughter of Alphonse Jourdain, Count of Toulouse. She soon died without issue. He later married Gertrude, daughter of Thierry, Count of Flanders and Sibylla of Anjou. This second marriage was annulled.

In 1164, Humbert married Clementia of Zähringen,[2] by whom he had two daughters: Alice and Sofia. She died in 1173, and he decided to retire to Hautecombe, but not for long. In 1177, the nobility in 1177 convinced him marry for the fourth time. As wife, he took Beatrice, daughter Géraud I of Mâcon and Maurette de Salins. At last he had a male heir, Thomas, to continue the dynasty. Beatrice also bore him a daughter who died at the age of seven.


Humbert's reign was long. It lasted forty years, and was characterized by struggles with the Holy Roman Emperor, various lords and count-bishops. The main reason for conflict consisted in the patronage of the Bishop of Turin by Frederick Barbarossa, who dreamed of undisturbed dominance of the capital of Piedmont. This led to a gradual reduction of the possessions and authority of Humbert III on the Italian side, leaving him with the rump territories of the valleys of Susa and Aosta. In 1187, he was banished from the Holy Roman Empire by Henry VI, for supporting the emperor's opponents. He did not retire, as has been said, to his Alpine domains, devoting himself in particular to the practice of personal virtues and fraternal charity. He also promoted the foundation of Precettoria of St. Anthony of Ranverso at Buttigliera Alta, not far from the town of Avigliana, entrusting it to Antoniani from Vienne, France.


The death of Humbert III, March 4, 1189 in Chambéry, at the age of fifty-two, was mourned sincerely by all the people. He was the first prince of Savoy to be buried in Hautecombe Abbey, which has since become a burial place for the dynasty.


The spirituality of Humbert undoubtedly blossomed in an environment of ancient Christian traditions, favored especially by the example of his father, a pilgrim and crusader in the Holy Land, and of his tutor, St. Amadeus, Bishop of Lausanne. However, Humbert's life was full of contradictions: He was a lover of peace, but had frequent hostilities and wars. He was penitent, ascetic, contemplative, but was forced to take the reins of government, during which time he had a life of action, and found himself forced in marriage in order to have an heir. However, he let unmistakable signs of great moral balance, severity with himself and indulgence and love of neighbor. He was a benefactor to churches, monasteries, and charitable causes, the care of the poor. Throughout his life, he supported Hautecombe Abbey. In 1188 he founded the Monastery of Sant'Antonio di Ranverso.

Humbert was venerated by many immediately after his death. Miracles were reportedly wrought through his intercession. In Aosta, he is depicted on the facade of the city's cathedral. He is mentioned by St. Alphonsus Ligouri as a particularly pious monk.[3]

In 1838, Charles Albert, King of Sardinia and his descendant, tried and failed to have him beatified by Pope Gregory XVI. The king's efforts on behalf of Boniface of Savoy, Archbishop of Canterbury, also failed.[citation needed] In Italy, Humbert is still remembered in particular at Racconigi, where the Royal Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie houses a picture of him.


Humbert had four wives:

1.Faidiva of Toulouse (Italian) (d. c.1154) daughter of Alphonse Jourdain, Count of Toulouse[4]

2.Gertrude of Flanders (m. abt 1155). The marriage was annulled, she was confined to a convent, later freed, and returned to the court of her brother, Philip of Flanders[5]

3.Clementia of Zähringen (married 1164), daughter of Conrad I, Duke of Zähringen.[2] They had 2 daughters:

  • Sofia, (1165–1202), married Azzo VI of Este[6]
  • Alicia, (1166–1178), betrothed to John of England[7]

4.Beatrice of Viennois[6] and had one son:

  • Thomas, (born 1178)[6]


HUMBERT de Savoie, son of AMEDEE III Comte de Maurienne et de Savoie & his second wife Mathilde d'Albon [Viennois] (Avigliana 4 Aug 1136-Chambéry 4 Mar 1189, bur Abbaye de Hautecombe). Robert of Torigny names "Humbertus comes Moriennæ" as "filius Amati comitis"[226]. "A. comes et marchio cum uxore sua M." donated property to the monastery of Ripalta, with the support of "eorum filio Umberto", by charter dated 9 Jan 1137[227]. "Amedeus comes et marchio et Maies comitissa uxor eius et Umbertus eorum filius" donated property to the monastery of Saint-Maurice by charter dated 30 Mar 1143[228]. "Amedeus comes et marchio et Majes comitissa uxor eius et Umbertus eorum filius" confirmed the rights of the monastery of Saint-Maurice d´Agaune by charter dated 30 Mar 1148[229]. He succeeded in 1150 as HUMBERT III Comte de Maurienne et de Savoie. "Humbertus Mauriacensis comes et marchio" donated "locum de Tyneres" {Tinières} to the abbey of Hautcrêt by charter dated 1150[230]. He established close relations with Henry II King of England, negotiating the marriage of one of his daughters with the king's son John[231]. He attempted to regain control over Turin and the surrounding lands, but came into conflict with Emperor Friedrich I "Barbarossa" who was also extending his power in northern Italy. Although the emperor was obliged to withdraw in 1168, he returned in 1174, burned the town of Susa in revenge for its opposition during his first Italian expedition, and deprived Comte Humbert of supremacy over the bishoprics of Turin, Belley and Tarentaise, placing them under the direct control of the empire. Comte Humbert continued to fight and, after refusing a summons to attend an imperial tribunal, was condemned in his absence to banishment from the empire and confiscation of his lands. Heinrich VI King of Germany was attempting to enforce the sentence on behalf of his father the emperor, when Comte Humbert died. "Umbertus comes de Morienna" granted privileges to the monastery of Santa Maria di Staffarda by charter dated 28 Jun 1172, witnessed by "Rodulfus Alaman, Poncius de Confluent…"[232]. The dating clause of a charter dated 20 Oct 1188, which records an agreement between the bishop of Maurienne and the canons of his cathedral, names "Humberto comite presidente"[233]. The necrology of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne records the death "IV Non Mar" in 1189 of "dognus Humbertus…comes Maur. et marchio Italie"[234]. He was beatified in 1836.

m firstly (before 3 Jan 1151) FAYDIVE, daughter of --- (-[1154]). "Umbertus comes, Amedei comitis filius…cum uxore sua…Faidiva" donated property by charter dated 3 Jan 1151[235]. The origins of Faydive are not known. Her unusual name suggests that she was Faydive de Toulouse, daughter of Alphonse I Jourdain Comte de Toulouse & his wife Faydive [Faydide] d'Uzès (-[1154]). However, she was not the only noble recorded with this name in south-western France during the early 12th century so this co-identity is not without doubt.

m secondly ([1155], divorced before 1162) as her first husband, GERTRUDE de Flandre, daughter of THIERRY I Count of Flanders & his second wife Sibylle d'Anjou (-3 Mar after 1186). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names (in order) "Philippum, Matheum, Petrum et tres filias" as the children of "Theodericus filius ducis Alsatie [et] Sibillam", not naming the daughters but specifying that "quarum primogenita nupsit Amico comiti Intermontano"[236]. The Flandria Generosa names (in order) "Gertrudem et Margaretam" as the two daughters of Count Thierry & his second wife[237]. The Flandria Generosa, in a later manuscript, names "Gertrudis primogenita" and her first husband "comiti de Moriana", from whom she was separated, and her second husband "Hugoni de Oisi", specifying that she later became a nun at "Mencinis"[238]. She married secondly (after 1158) as his first wife, Hugues [III] d'Oisy Châtelain de Cambrai, and became a nun at Messines in [1177]. Philippe Count of Flanders, on the point of leaving on crusade, declared that "sororis mee Gertrudis quondam Morianensis comitisse" had renounced her inheritance before becoming a nun, by charter dated [24 Apr/12 Jun] 1177[239].

m thirdly (1164) as her second husband, KLEMENTIA von Zähringen, divorced wife of HEINRICH “der Löwe” Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, daughter of KONRAD Herzog von Zähringen & his wife Clémence de Namur (-[1173/75]). The Chronicon Sancti Michaelis Luneburgensis names "filiam ducis Zaringie, Clementiam" as wife of "Heinricus dux"[240]. The Chronicon Hanoniense refers to "filiam [uxorem]…dux Saxonum Henricus" as the daughter of "ducissam…Ciringiorum [filiam Godefridi comitis Namurcensi]"[241]. Heiress of Badenweiler, although her first husband sold these Swabian estates to Friedrich I "Barbarossa" King of Germany in 1158, receiving in exchange Herzberg, Scharzfels and Pöhlde south of the Harz[242]. Her first marriage was arranged to confirm her father's alliance with the Welf party in southern Germany[243]. The Annales Palidenses record the repudiation by "Heinricus dux" of his first wife "Bertoldi ducis Zaringe sorore"[244]. Her first husband repudiated Klementia because of the growing difficulties between her brother Duke Berthold IV and Emperor Friedrich I "Barbarossa", with whom Duke Heinrich was by then in close alliance[245]. Her second marriage is confirmed by Ralph de Diceto´s Ymagines Historiarum which record in 1173 the betrothal of “Henricus rex Angliæ, Johanni filio suo cognomento sine terra” and [her daughter] “septenni filiam primogenitam Humberti comitis de Moriana...ex relicta Henrici Saxonis ducis”[246].

m fourthly ([1175]%29 BEATRIX de Vienne, daughter of GERARD Comte de Mâcon et de Vienne [Bourgogne-Comt%C3%A9] & his wife Maurette de Salins (-8 Apr 1230). The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines refers to one of the unnamed sisters of "comitem Guilelmum Matisconensem sive Viennensem et Galterum de Salins et quemdam Gerardum et Stephanum Bisuntinensem electum" as mother of "comes Thomas de Sabaudia"[247]. "Thomas…Mauriannensis comes et marchio Italiæ" confirmed the donations made by "pater meus…[et] domini comitis Humberti…abavi mei" to the canons of Saint-Jean de Maurienne, with the advice of "B. matris mee et…tutore meo Bonifacio marchione Montisferrati", by charter dated 12 Jun 1189[248]. The necrology of Hautecombe records the death of "Beatrix comitissa" 8 Apr 1230[249].

  • Comte Humbert III & his third wife had two children:
  • Comte Humbert III & his fourth wife had [two] children:
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Blessed Humbert III, count of Savoy's Timeline

August 4, 1136
Avigliana, Province of Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Age 11
Count of, Savoy
Age 11
Count of Savoy
Age 11
Count of, Savoy
Age 11
Count of, Savoy
Savoy, France