Sir Geoffroy de Botevile (youth)


From various documentary sources on the internet, in England, and in France, Hugh Jones and I have managed to piece together the following brief life history of the progenitor of the Botevyle family in England. Note that the surname was yet to become "fixed" and I have tried to keep the surname as spelt on the original documents wherever possible:

Bouteville, Poitou

Sir Geoffroy de Bouteville was born in Bouteville in Poitou, France, in 1185. His parents are as yet unknown, but he may be the son of another Geoffroy. Hugh Jones suspects that Geoffroy senior's fathers name was Olivier (some families in France used names in a traditional manner). In the translation from French to English the clue is bypassed, Geoff-roy like in royal the one to inherit, the first born.

His history seems to be linked in to the history of the Taillefer and Lusignan families and in particular, Isabelle Taillefer, the Countess of Lusignan, better known in England as Queen Isabelle, wife of King John.

Isabelle de Taillefer

The story begins with Richard the Lionheart who it is known laid siege to Bouteville Castle at some stage (unclear precisely when). However as King Richard died in 1199 this would be prior to our story. The first mention in history of Sir Geoffroy de Bouteville is in September of the year 1200. The two brothers, seigneurs Olivier and Geoffroy de Bouteville, accompanied Isabelle Taillefer to Chinon, Bordeaux, for her wedding to John Lackland. She had been born in 1188, daughter of Aymer de Taillefer and his wife Alice de Courtenay, making Isabelle only 12 when she married and just three years younger than Sir Geoffrey. After the wedding the Bouteville brothers proceeded on with the wedding party to England for the honeymoon. If the dates are correct Geoffroy would then only have been about 15, Olivier even younger.

Two years later in 1202 they return on the request of Isabelle's father, Count Ademar (alias Aldemar, also alias Aymer de Taillefer), due to the pressure exerted by the Lusignan family. Prior to John Lackland's abduction of Isabelle, Hugues Lusignan (later Hugues X) had asked to marry this (by all accounts) very good looking girl, Isabelle Taillefer. However Count Ademar didn't want the two families, Lusignan and Taillefer to be linked by marriage. This betrothal between Isabelle and Hugues had originally been done in front of an altar and set the seen for a true romance later between Isabelle and Hugues X. In that same year, 1202, on the death of the Ademar ,Count of Angoulême, Olivier and Geoffroy returned to France.

Knights of King John

In 1203 the honest Barthelemy becomes the first Mayor of Angoulême and holds the title Seneschal of Angoulême and is intermediary of King John in the area. This gives the overall relationship to King John - Olivier and Geoffroy are King John's devoted knights. John gives them ground in the region and also in England, as well as significant military commands.

Lusignan family stop hostilities

In the following years, King John and Queen Isabelle made frequent trips to Bouteville castle. On 25th of May 1214 at Parthenay King John did a deal with Hughes IX of Lusignan in exchange for Hugues IX being John's man and acting as the Count of Le March the Lusignans agreed to stop the hostilities towards Angoulême and leave Bouteville Castle alone. This agreement enabled the return to England of Olivier and Geoffroy in the following year.


The family motto in England was J'ay bonne cause, but before that while the family was based in Angouleme, France, the definition of the family was La Cour de Vars. This is important because it indicates the origins of the family before they came to Bouteville. This would have been well known to Sir Geoffrey de Botevile and his contempories. For instance one of Sir Geoffrey de Botevile's descendants was a lady by the name of Marie de la Vars. Vars is just above Toulon on the Mediterranean coast.