On 23 February 943, Herbert II of Vermandois died. He was my 33rd great-grandfather.
Herbert II was the son of Herbert I of Vermandois and Bertha of Morvis. When Herbert I died in 907, Herbert II inherited his father’s estate, adding it to the holdings of the Abbey of St. Medard, Soissons. Herbert II then assumed the role of lay abbot, thereby entitling himself to the income of these combined estates.
Herbert II of Vermandois married Adela of France, daughter of Robert I of France. Adele’s dowry included Meaux, France. Together, Herbert II and Adele had eight children: Eudes, Adalbert I, Adela, Herbert “The Old”, Robert, Luitgarde, Hugh, and Guy I.
In 922, because of Herbert II’s wealth and power, the Archbishop of Rheims promised Herbert II that he could select his successor. In 925, the Archbishop of Rheims passed away. With the help of Rudolph of France, Herbert II acquired the archbishopric of Rheims for his second son Hugh, who was only five-years old at the time. Herbert II then sent emissaries to the Pope to gain his approval, which was granted in 926.
Also in 926, with the death of Roger of Laon, Herbert II demanded that Rudolph of France grant that vacant countship to Herbert II’s eldest son Eudes. Rudolph of France said no. In retaliation, Herbert II invaded and occupied Laon in 927. Using the threat of releasing Charles III, whom he had held in captivity since 923, Herbert II managed to retain control of Laon for four years. However, after the death of Charles III in 929, Rudolph of France once again attacked Laon. In 931, he successfully defeated Herbert II.
That same year, Rudolph of France entered Rheims and unseated Hugh as Archbishop of Rheims and then appointed a new archbishop.
Over the course of three years, Herbert II lost Château-Thierry, Laon, Soissons, and Vitry. Only through the intercession of Henry “The Fowler” of East Francia (my 32nd great-grandfather) was Herbert II able to restore many of his holdings, with the exceptions of Laon and Rheims. In exchange for the return of his estates, Herbert II swore fealty to Rudolph of France.
In 941, Herbert II allied with Hugues “Le Grand” of Neustria (my 32nd great-grandfather) and William I Longespée (my 32nd great-grandfather) against Louis IV of France (my 31st great-grandfather through his son Charles and my 35th great-grandfather through his daughter Matilda), who had allocated Laon to Roger II, son of Roger I of Laon. Herbert II and Hugues “Le Grand” seized Rheims, and Herbert II’s son Hugh was restored as Archbishop of Rheims.
When Herbert II died on 23 February 943 at Saint-Quentin, France, his vast estates and territories were divided between his four surviving sons. His two elder sons were granted Amiens and Vermandois, while his younger sons Robert and Herbert were willed valuable holdings in Champagne. Robert of Vermandois (my 32nd great-grandfather) thus became the Count of Meaux.