My genealogical researches have uncovered dozens of devout ancestors. This is the sixth installment of a series of posts titled “Doing God’s Work: Our Families’ Faithful”, documenting the lives of those who served God.
In the previous post of this series, I focused on family members who served either as Abbott of Abernethy or Abbott of Dunkeld. Now, I will discuss the life of Ebles I de Roucy, my 30th great-grandfather, who died on 11 May 1033.
Nothing is known about Ebles I de Roucy’s childhood. It has been surmised that his father might have been Gilbert, Count of Roucy and Reims, although it has also been suggested that his father might have been Ebles de Poitiers, while Giselbert was his matrilineal great-uncle. (After reviewing the arguments/sources for both claims, I am more inclined to go with Giselbert as his father.)
What is known is that starting in the year 1000, Ebles I held the title of Count of Roucy.
Ebles I de Roucy married Béatrice de Hainault, daughter of Regnier IV de Mons and Hedwig de France, who was the daughter of Hugues Capet. Together, the couple had two known children: Alix (my 29th great-grandmother) and Hedwig.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that theirs was a happy marriage, because circa 1020, Ebles I de Roucy and Béatrice de Hainault separated and eventually divorced. Afterward, Ebles I was ordained and entered the clergy.
Obviously, Ebles I was a successful clergyman because within a year of taking his orders, Ebles I was elected Archbishop of Reims in 1021. (Meanwhile, Béatrice de Hainault was married to Manasses de Ramerupt.)
As Archbishop, Ebles I oversaw the Archdiocese of Reims, France. His home parish was located at the site of today’s Reims Cathedral (also known as Notre-Dame de Reims). This cathedral has replaced Ebles I’s church, which was destroyed by fire circa 1211. Ebles I’s church had been erected on the site of the basilica where Clovis I was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in the year 496. And that original structure itself had been erected on the site of a Roman bath.
In 1023, Ebles I became the Count of Reims. Additionally, the Roman Catholic church made Ebles I a prince-bishop–a bishop who is also the civil ruler of a secular principality and sovereignty.
Ebles I de Roucy remained the Archdiocese of Reims until his death on 11 May 1033.