Thomas de Marle, seigneur de Coucy

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Thomas de Coucy (de Marle), comte d'Amiens

Also Known As: "seigneur de Marle", "de Vervins", "de Boves en de La Fère-en-Tardenois"
Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Coucy
Death: 1131 (54-62)
Place of Burial: Nogent-sous-Coucy
Immediate Family:

Son of Enguerrand I de Boves, comte d'Amiens and Adèle, dame de Marle
Husband of Ida de Hainaut; Mélisende de Corbeil and Ermengarde de Montaigu
Father of Beatrix de Coucy; Mathilde de Coucy; Enguerrand II de Coucy; Robert de Coucy, baron de Boves; Melisende de Gournay and 2 others
Brother of Béatrix de Boves; Adélaïde de Coucy and Robert DeCoucy
Half brother of Agnès de Coucy and Foulques de Beaumont

Occupation: Baron, de Coucy, de Marle, Sieur, de Boves, de la Fère, de Crépy, de Vervins, Comte, d'Amiens, Went on the 1st Crusade, seigneur de Marle
Managed by: Joanna Helen Roper
Last Updated:

About Thomas de Marle, seigneur de Coucy

OCCU Sire de Coucy" Out of this vicious family situation came that 'raging wolf' (in the words of another famous abbot, Suger of St. Denis), the most notorious and savage of the Coucys, Thomas de Marle, son of the repudiated Adele. Bitterly hating the father who had cast his paternity in doubt, Thomas grew up to take part in the ceaseless war originally launched against Enguerrand I by the discarded husband of Sybil. These private wars were fought by the knights with furious gusto and a single strategy, which consisted in trying to ruin the enemy by killing or maiming as many of his peasants and destroying as many crops, vineyards, tools, barns, and other possessions as possible, thereby reducing his sources of revenue. As a result, the chief victim of the belligerents was their respective peasantry.

Abbot Guibert claimed that in the 'mad war' of Enguerrand against the Lorrainer, captured men had their eyes put out and feet cut off with results that could still be seen in the district in his time. The private wars were the curse of Europe which the crusades, it has been thought, were subconsciously invented to relieve by providing a vent for aggression. When the great summons of 1095 came to take the cross and save the Holy Sepulcher on the First Crusade, both Enguerrand I and his son Thomas joined the march, carrying their feud to Jerusalem and back with mutual hate undiminished.

From an exploit during the crusade the Coucy coat-of-arms derived, although whether the protagonist was Enguerrand or Thomas is disputed. One or the other with five companions, on being surprised by a party of Moslems when out of armor, took off his scarlet cloak trimmed with vair (squirrel fur), tore it into six pieces to make banners for recognition, and thus equipped, so the story goes, fell upon the Moslems and annihilated them. In commemoration a shield was adopted bearing the device of six horizontal bands, pointed, of red on white, or in heraldic terms, 'Barry of six, vair and gules' (gules meaning red).As his mother's heir to the territories of Marle and La Fere,Thomas added them to the Coucy domain to which he succeeded in 1116.

Untamed, he pursued a career of enmity and brigandage, directed in varying combinations against Church, town, and King, 'the Devil aiding him,' according to Abbot Suger. He seized manors from convents, tortured prisoners (reportedly hanging men up by their testicles until these tore off from the weight of the body), personally cut the throats of thirty rebellious bourgeois, transformed his castles into 'a nest of dragons and a cave of thieves,' and was excommunicated by the Church, which ungrdled him -- in absentia -- of the knightly belt and ordered the anathema to be read against him every Sunday in every parish in Picardy.

King Louis VI assembled a force for war upon Thomas and succeeded in divesting him of stolen lands and castles. In the end, Thomas was not proof against that hope of salvation and fear of hell which brought the Church so many rich legacies through the centuries. He left a generous bequest to the Abbey of Nogent, founded another abbey at Premontre nearby, and died in bed in 1130. He had been married three times. Abbot Guibert thought him 'the wickedest man of his generation. 'What formed a man like Thomas de Marle was not necessarily aggressive genes or father-hatred, which can occur in any century, but a habit of violence that flourished because of a lack of any organ of effective restraint."

REGN @N4921@

DATE 24 NOV 1997

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Thomas de Marle, seigneur de Coucy's Timeline

Age 27
Age 36
Rhone-Alpes, Loire, France
Age 37
Boves, Somme, Picardie, France
Age 47
Age 49
Boves, Somme, France
Age 51
Boves, Somme, France
Age 53
Crecy, Ardennes, France