The life of Hughes Count of Champagne summarized

Born around 1074, Hughes was the third son of Thibaud I and Adèle of Valois. In 1089, his half-brother Etienne-Henri succeeded Thibaud I as the head of the Counties of Blois and Meaux. Four years later, on 1 January 1093, Hugh inherited his other brother's Eudes IV Counties of Troyes, Vitry and Bar-sur-Aube. Hughes in 1102 was the first to officially take the title of Count of Champagne. He also was the first to settle in Troyes. Hughes was to play an important role in Templar history.

In 1093 (or 1094), Hugues married Constance of France, Dame d'Attigny, daughter of King Philip I and Queen Berthe of Holland. This union was canceled on Christmas 1104 (or 1105), because the couple had not had children. In 1104, he suffered an attack on his life.

Having not participated in the First Crusade, Hughes left for his first three year stay in Palestine (1104-1107).

Back in Champagne in 1107, Hughes married again in 1110 a young girl, Isabelle de Bourgogne-Comté, Dame de Champlitte, daugther of Étienne Ier of Bourgogne and Béatrice of Lorraine. Soon, however, he sought to repudiate it. At this point the Countess mobilised the help of the Bishop of Chartres, Yves, who made the count understand that a husband can not be separated from his wife without the consent of her, not even to enter religion.

In August 1114, Hughes de Champagne traveled overseas again with his vassal Hughes, lord of Payns, who was to stay in the Holy Land and establish in 1118 the Order of the Temple.

Back in Troyes in 1116, the count again governed his principality some ten years, promoting the expansion of the new Clairvaux Abbey founded by St Bernard in 1115 and turning his affection on his nephew, Thibaut IV de Blois, whom he considered as his heir.

But then in 1120 (or 1123), Isabelle gave birth to a son named Eudes. The child was only two years old when Hughes took advantage of a quarrel with his wife to be declared incapable of child bearing by doctors. Considering himself now free of wedlock, he sent away Isabelle and Eudes, abdicated (1125) and sold his heritage to Thibaut IV of Blois who became Count of Champagne under the title of Thibaut II of Champagne. Hughes traveled to the Holy Land where he joined the juvenil Order of the Temple, lead by his once vasal Hughes de Payns.

Usually Hughes' death is indicated June 14, 1126. But a charter of the Abbay of Notre-Dame at Josafat indicates that in September 1130 Hughes was still alive. At that time he witnessed, at the side of Guillaume Sénéchal of the Temple in the Holy Land, the donation of an oven and various tithes to the Josafat Abbey. This means that Hughes was still alive when the Templars lead by Hughes de Payns received their first Rule at the Council of Troyes, France (January 13, 1129). However, his name is lacking on the list of those attending that meeting but that of his successor count Thibaut II of Champagne is.

This is a French-English translation by TN of a paper which was once published on the website of Now the link is broken. Some additional information was added found on this webpage. The information on the 1130 events in the last paragraph came from Hugues de Payns - La naissance des Templiers by Thierry Leroy (2011). Illustration shows the seal of Hughes de Champagne, source Wikipedia.

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