Sir Geoffroy de Botevile (maturity)

Belvoir Castle

In the same year as Magna Carta, 1215, Sir Geoffroy de Buteville, now aged about 30, was made Governor of Belvoir Castle. This was probably a favour for assisting the King in various battles. However it is interesting that King John was awaiting armies from the continent in September 1215 prior to the siege of Rochester Castle.

We understand that Sir Geoffroy arrived from Gascony with Knights and Crossbowmen under his command. So within a year after the peace treaty of Parthenay in Poitou Sir Geoffrey may have relocated into Gascony. This another indication of status of course, a bit more than just Knightly. The rebels who had siezed Rochester were led by William de Albini of Belvoir, so the implication is that Sir Geoffrey was at the siege of Rochester and presumably in a position of some significance.

We think that Sir Geoffroy remained in the court of King John for a couple of years after that until about 1217 before returning to France.

In 1217 William had a son baptised, William Botevyle. However the name of Sir Geoffrey’s wife or the details of their supposed marriage are unknown. If the documentation is correct about the marriage date then we need to consider that this is a second marriage. Marriage at thirty was a very late age in that time.

Sir Geoffrey’s family would have been domiciled in Shropshire for their own protection, well away from Belvoir Castle. An extra benefit would have been to keep his wife away from King John, the King did have a custom re. Wives and Daughters and Kingly attentions! Of course the times were very violent with any castle subject to attack at any time.

La Mothe, Charente

Nothing much more is heard of Sir Geoffroy then until in the year 1240 when Geoffroy was aged about 55. In the interim period the best guess is that he was in France fighting the Lusignans. However in 1240 The chateau at La Mothe Charente was given as a gift to Sir Geoffroy by Isabelle Taillefer. This would have been a “service rendu” by Isabelle. As a chevalier his confiance to her was paramount thereby upholding the oath of a knight. Because they were similar ages its likely that their relationship over the years was very special and their trust was mutual. Its likely too that he stayed with her until her death (which is not recorded). The King's sister was the Abbess at Fontrevauld and its likely that maybe she took them both in for protection.

Other Lands held in France

It seems that Sir Geoffroy held his principal land at Saint-Estephe (Roullet), Marthon, Lacouronne, Nersac (La Mothe) plus also at Boursac. He also had Dimes of Champagne which could be a church leasehold property (vineyards). King John paid in land to his commanders, including Sir Geoffroy, money was a precious commodity at that time (still is of course!). Rather than use money it was much better if you could give someone else's land away or return to them their land for services rendered. 

Confiscation of Property in Lusignan

In 1241 Isabelle Taillefer instructed her husband not to pay homage to Alphonse at Poitiers, this was effectively a declaration of war. Alphonse had been installed here as Count of Poitou by his brother the King of France. Subsequently Saint Louis ordered the confiscation of Taillefer and Lusignan property. In reaction Isabelle sends Geoffroy de Bouteville, a faithful chevalier, to England with a demand to her son Henry III to bring aid. Sir Geoffroy was therefore the Envoy between Isabelle and her son Henry III. 

Routiers always took their families with them as they couldn`t afford to leave them behind. Sir Geoffrey would also had retainers and
family members in tow and some these through their actions may reveal themselves in time. Geoffroy junior would have travelled with his father but not necessarily William the second son.

The Battle of Tallenbourg

The following year, 1242, Henry III arrived in South Western France with 30 tons of gold (to hire solders) to assist his mother against the King of France. This gold would have cleaned out England's Treasury and therefore it's very plausible that he would have brought Geoffroy back to assist (Geoffroy being one of his Governors). Unfortunately the battle of Tallenbourg (Taillebourg) undid Henry. After the defeat at Tallenbourg Isabelle, seeing all her hopes reduced to nothing, addresses letters of submission for Geoffroy de Bouteville to take to the camp of Saint Louis. On Saint Louis accepting these letters Hugues X of Lusignan and the Queen of England Isabelle Taillefer go to Saint Louis camp and throw themselves at their monarchs feet and ask for mercy (begged in plain English). Isabelle's role is now finished. She settles with Hugh X, the attribution of her assets to her children in 1243, and retires to Fontevrault, taking with her knight Geoffroy. She died there on 31 May 1246 and is buried alongside members of the crown, Alienor d'Aquitaine, Henry 2 and Richard I (Boissonade).

Church Stretton

The descendants of the Bouteville brothers lived and settled in England at the manor at Stretton in Shropshire afterwards known as Botevyle. This land had been given to Sir Geoffroy by the Earl of Arundel (William d'Abini). The land at Church Stretton was land the Earl of Arundel gave Geoffrey for doing a fair job as Governor of Belvoir and it seems that it was in two parts. The bulk of the land had to be in France.

Nowadays Botevyle is a small hamlet just north of Church Stretton, easily missed as you speed by on the main road to Shrewsbury.

Sir Geoffroy de Botevile, deceased in 1250, was succeeded by his first born son Geoffroy making William his second son. Geoffroy the younger died 29 Nov 1290. Little could Sir Geoffroy have guessed that some of his descendants would still be alive 750 years later.




For more about the siege of Rochester refer to M.W.Cook’s Rochester Castle