Menu
RSS
The history of Dordrecht part 3

The history of Dordrecht part 3

Dordrecht

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht Part 3 From the year 1299…

Aelbert Cuyp Part 1

Aelbert Cuyp Part 1

Famous Painters

Famous Dutch Painters from Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland Part 6 The Cuyp family part 2 13. Aelbert Cuyp Part…

The history of Dordrecht part 2

The history of Dordrecht part 2

Dordrecht

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht Part 2 From the year 1222…

The history of Dordrecht part 1

The history of Dordrecht part 1

Dordrecht

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht Part 1 From the year 993…

The Dordrecht Minster 2

The Dordrecht Minster 2

Dordrecht

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht The Dordrecht…

Holland and pre English America

Holland and pre English America

Holland

Holland and America! Dutch history and the relation with pre English America A Brief Outline of Dutch History and the…

The Dordrecht Minster 1

The Dordrecht Minster 1

Dordrecht

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht The Dordrecht…

Davies Vol 1, Preface

Davies Vol 1, Preface

Holland

HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TENTH TO THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY …

The Story of Dordrecht

The Story of Dordrecht

Dordrecht

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht Coat of arms of the County…

Dordrecht Tourist Events 2013-2014

Dordrecht Tourist Events 2013-2014

Dordrecht

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht Tourist Events…

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

A+ A A-

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht

Part 1

From the year 993 to 1222


Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Origin of the name Holland

In the next parts of the history of Holland I will enfold the story of the formation of land, or rather its recovery from the waters, being only of recent date because after the, so called, third Dunkirk transgression the water level of the North Sea decreased and from the middle of the tenth century the area we know now as Holland became slowly suitable for habitation.

The first mention of Holland in any document is found in an imperial gift brief dated May 2nd 1064. In this the phrase omnis comitatus in Holiandi occurs, but without any further description of the locality indicated. A comparison with other documentary evidence, however, leads to the identification of Holland with the Merwe, or the bush-grown fenland lying between the rivers Waal, the Meuse and the Merwe. It is the district surrounding the city of Dordrecht.

The word Holland is indeed by many authorities thought to be a corruption of Holt-land (it was sometimes so spelt by 13th-century writers) and to signify wood-land. The earliest spelling is, however Hollandt and it is more probable that it means low-lying-land (hol = hollow), a derivation which is equally applicable to the district in Lincolnshire (UK) which bears the same name.

....Note : A strange phenomenon is that there are more sources about the history of Holland and its ancient Capital Dordrecht written by English writers than Dutch sources. It is obvious that English historians were aware of the importance of this part of the history of Holland. The name "Dort" for the city of Dordrecht is from English origin. Next follows some examples how English historians wrote about our history :

From CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, LONDON 1922, HISTORY OF HOLLAND BY GEORGE EDMUNDSON wrote :---- It was Dirk III who seized from the bishops of Utrecht some swampy land amidst the channels forming the mouth of the Meuse, which, from the bush which covered it, was named Holt-land (Holland or Wood-land). Here he erected, in 1015, a stronghold to collect tolls from passing ships. This stronghold was the beginning of the town of Dordrecht, and from here a little later the name Holland was gradually applied to the whole County. ----

From HOLLAND THE HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS BY THOMAS COLLEY GRATTAN WITH A SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER OF RECENT EVENTS BY JULIAN HAWTHORNE Lardner's ‘Cyclop.’ vol. x. 1830 CHAPTER IV : ---- The district in which Dordrecht is situated, and the grounds in its environs which are at present submerged, formed in those times an island just raised above the waters, and which was called Holland or Holtland (which means wooded land, or, according to some, hollow land). The formation of this island, or rather its recovery from the waters, being only of recent date, the right to its possession was more disputable than that of long-established Countries. All the bishops and abbots whose states bordered the Rhine and the Meuse had, being equally covetous and grasping, and mutually resolved to pounce on the prey, made it their common property. A certain Count Thierry, descended from the Counts of Ghent, governed about this period the western extremity of Friesland - the Country which now forms the province of Holland; and with much difficulty maintained his power against the Frisons, by whom his right was not acknowledged. Beaten out of his own territories by these refractory insurgents, he sought refuge in the ecclesiastical island, where he intrenched himself, and founded a town which is believed to have been the origin of Dordrecht. ----

From HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TENTH TO THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. Including an account of the municipal institutions, commercial pursuits, and social habits of the people. The rise and progress of the protestant reformation in Holland. The intestine dissentious foreign wars BY C. M. DAVIES. In Three Volumes Vol. I LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza,Covent Garden. MDCCCXLI. PART I CHAPTER I : ---By Ansfrid, predecessor of the present bishop, the domain of Utrecht had been enriched by the addition of Teisterband, (an ancient County, extending from Wyk te Duurstede to the old Meuse), and thus brought close to the territories of the Counts of Holland, over the whole of which, likewise, the Church of Utrecht had a spiritual jurisdiction; and this furnished the bishops with a pretext for laying claim to the temporal sovereignty of the County. Hence arose disputes of a nature easily exasperated into hostilities. On the present occasion, the Bishop Athelbald had encouraged his vassal, Theodore Bavo, margrave of that part of his diocese which bordered on the County of Holland, in his attempts to extend his authority within the confines of Count Theodore's territories. Theodore compelled Bavo to evacuate Bodegrave, of which he had possessed himself, and in order to provide a barrier against the encroachments of this restless neighbor, he built and fortified the celebrated town of Dordrecht, which became, and long remained, the capital of the County, and ever afterwards held the first rank in the assembly of the States. Here he levied tolls upon all vessels passing up or down the Waal. This excited great. discontent among the merchants, particularly those of Tiel, who earnestly petitioned the emperor to release them from the exactions of the Count of Holland, representing, that otherwise they would be forced to discontinue their trade to England, and consequently should be unable to pay him their accustomed tribute.----


NL1000

The Lowlands as it was in the 10th century

On the map you can see how The Netherlands looked like at the end of the 10th century with Dordrecht situated on an island at the North sea coast.

The first official written mention of Dordrecht dates from 980 AD, where it is called 'Thuredriht', a name most likely referring to a ford - 'driht' or 'drecht' being an evolution of 'trajectum' - in a certain river 'Thure', no longer in existence, most likely part of the present Voorstraat harbor also called the Old harbor, or for that matter near the dwelling of a fisherman, or whatever of that name. Even the old German thunder god 'Thor' has put forth a claim to the title. The name of the settlement, however, seems to have been in use for centuries before. Thor or Thur(e) - driht from the middle ages was named Dort by the English and Dordrecht by others.

Groote WaardA large part of the original Holland, later called the Groote or Hollandsche Waard submerged  by a great inundation in 1421 (the St-Elisabeth flood) and its modern appellation of The Biesbosch (reed-forest) is descriptive of what must have been the condition of the entire district in early times.

The Capital of Holland, Dordrecht, lost most of her hinterland to the west (parts of the Hoekse waard, to the south (the area from (Old) Strijen to Moerdijk and to the city of Geertruidenberg (now part of North-Brabant) and to the east (the area to the Land of Heusden and Altena (Heusden, Dussen).

After this flood the city of Dordrecht was for several decades fully surrounded by water before the north-eastern parts of the former Groote and Dordrechtsche waard were retaken from the water and the Island of Dordrecht and the Hoekse-waard were formed. See also the story of the St. Elisabeth flood of 1421.

Introduction to the County of Holland

The story that follows next describes the history of Holland, their Counts, their struggles for independence and last but not least the story of their Ancient Capital Dordrecht, the story of both can be seen as one because the surrounding lowlands of the city of Dordrecht called Holt-land was later given to the whole County of Holland, the area as mentioned above and last but not least because the Counts of Holland made Dordrecht their residence, about 200 years, from the beginning of the 11th until the beginning of the 13th century.

Dordrecht was founded in 1008 by Count Theodore or Diederic (Dirk) III of the house of Frisia/Holland and was given city rights in 1015, it was the residence of the Counts of Holland until 1203 and was chartered in 1220 and fortified in 1271, it was the capital of Holland and the leading town during the 11th to the 17th century and one of the most prosperous medieval ports in the Netherlands, although severely damaged by the St. Elisabeth flood in 1421, Dordrecht stayed the leading city of Holland until it was surpassed as residence by The Hague in the 17th century, as seaport by Rotterdam in the 18th century and as Capital of the Netherlands by Amsterdam in the 19th century.

It was the first not, however, till late in the 11th century that the Counts successors adopted the style "Hollandensis comes" as their territorial designation. It is found for the first time in 1083 on a seal of Count Theodore V (Dirk V), 1052-1091, the name Holland became gradually extended northwards to connote all the land subject to the rule of the Counts between the island Texel in the north and the river Meuse (Maas) to the south, the border with Guelders to the east and East-Frisia to the northeast.


Theodore (Dirk) II 932-988, Count of West-Frisia 939-988

Count Theodore II of Holland

Theodore II Count of West-Frisia, born 932 Egmond-Binnen, died 6 May 988, buried Abbey Egmond aan den Hoef, married with Hildegarde (daughter of Count Arnulf I (The Great) of Flanders 890-965) Countess of Flanders, born c. 940, Ghent Flanders, died 10 Apr 990, buried Abbey Egmond aan den Hoef, children :

  1. Arnulf, born 961, Ghent Flanders, died 18 Sep 993, Egmond aan den Hoef
  2. Hildegarde, born c. 961, probably Vlardinga
  3. Egbert, born c. 962, Egmond-Binnen, became archbishop of Treves (Trier), died 18 Sep 993 Treves Rheinland
  4. Erlinda, born c. 965, Egmond-Binnen

After the death of Arnoul I (889-964) Count of Flanders, Count Theodore II occupied Ghent and Waas, taking advantage of the weakness of the government of the County of Flanders during the minority of Count Arnoul II (951-987). In 960 he built a fortress at Flardinga (a name similar to Flandringa or Flanders), near modern Vlaardingen, where he stayed several times when he was in his new territories. Theodore II was also the founder of the Abbey of Egmond (near modern Alkmaar).

In 983 he obtained from Queen Theophana, mother of King Otto III (980-1002), King 983-1002, Emperor 996-1002, with whom he was in great favor, a considerable extension of territory, that now domain-covered by the Zuiderzee and southward down to Nijmegen. In the deed of gift is spoken of as holding the three Countships of Maasland, Kinhem and Texla, in other words his rule extended over the whole Country from the right bank of the Meuse to the Vlie. He appears also to have exercised authority at Ghent.


Arnulf (Aernhoud) of Ghent 961-993, Count of West-Frisia 988-993

Count Arnould of Holland

Arnulf Count of West Frisia, born 961, Ghent Flanders, died 18 Sep 993 Egmond aan den Hoef, buried Egmond aan den Hoef, married in May or Aug 980 with Liutgard Countess of Luxembourg, born c. 963, Brussels Brabant, sister-in-law of Emperor Henry II, died 14 May 995, children :

  1. Theodore III, born c. 981, Ghent Flanders, died 27 May 1039
  2. Siegfried or Sicco, born c. 983, Ghent Flanders, died 6 Jun 1030
  3. Aleida, born c. 987, Ghent Flanders, died c. 1045, France

Arnhulf was Count till 993, when he was slain in battle against the West-Frisians, and was succeeded by his twelve-year-old son Theodore (Dirk) III.


From the year 993 to 1100

The founding and ancient story of Dordrecht

 

Theodore (Dirk) III or Hierosolymitas, 981-1039, Count of West-Frisia 993-1039 and Holland 1015-1039

Count Theodore III of Holland

Theodore (Dirk) III Count of Holland and West Frisia, born c. 981 Ghent Flanders, died 27 May 1039, married with Otelhild (Uthildis) Princess of Saxony, daughter of Roman Emperor Otto II, born about 983 Schweinfurt Unterfranken Bavaria Germany, died Zassen, 7 July 1044, children :

  1. Theodore IV, born c. 1015, Dordrecht, died during the battle of Dordrecht 13 January 1049
  2. Florence I, born c. 1017, Dordrecht, murdered near Nederhemert Guelders 28 June 1061
  3. Luitgard, born c. 1019, Dordrecht, died 1038
  4. Bertrade, born c. 1021, Dordrecht, died 1056
  5. Swanhilde, born c. 1023, Dordrecht, died 1079

993 During the guardianship of his mother Liutgardis, the boy was despoiled of almost all his possessions, except Kinhem and Maasland.

Count Theodore (Dirk) III, as descended of the Counts of Ghent, governed in this period the north-western extremity of Flanders which was called Frisia, the area from the islands of Zeeland to West-Frisia along the coast of the North-sea. This area consisted at that time of several small islands in the North sea who were uncovered from the waters, after the third Dunkirk transgression the sea level slowly decreased, and was shortly partly inhabited by Frisians (Flemings). These islands nowadays forms parts of South-Holland and Zeeland. In this area Count Theodore III with much difficulty maintained his power against the Frisians, by whom his right was not acknowledged.

Beaten out of his own territories in Flanders and Walcheren by these Frisian refractory insurgents, he sought refuge in the ecclesiastical island, where he in-trenched himself and where he later founded a town which was later called Dordrecht.

As soon as Theodore III was arrived at mans estate he turned upon his enemies with courage and vigor.

998 In 998 Theodore III waged war successfully with Emperor Otto III (980-1002) and the powerful bishop of Utrecht Ansfried (940-1002) at Vlardinga and made himself master not only of his ancestral possessions, but also of the district on the river Meuse known as the Bushland of Merweda, hitherto subject to the see of Utrecht.

1002 Theodore III, settled in the district in which Dordrecht is now situated, and the grounds in its environs which are at present day submerged (Groote waard), formed in those times an island just raised above the waters, and which was called Holland or Holtland (which means wooded land, or, according to some, hollow land). In the midst of this marshy tract, at a point commanding the courses of the rivers Meuse and the Waal (Old Waal), he constructed a stronghold and toll place in 1002.

1008 To control the trade routes to England he founded a Castle, "Burcht Merwe" at the Merwede river near the trade place of Thuredriht and founded Thure-Foundadrecht also called Dordracum, Durfos, Dortrecht, Dort, Dordt or Dordrecht in 1008 and made it his residence. In 1015 Theodore III began to levy tolls. Burcht "Merwe" at Dordrecht should stay the residence of all the Counts of Holland until 1203.

The Wars with the Dioceses of Utrecht, Liege (Luik) Cambrai (Kamerijk) and Cologne (Keulen)

1010 The right to Theodore's possession was more disputable then that of long established Countries. All the bishops and abbots whose states bordered the Rhine and the Meuse had, being equally covetous and grasping, and mutually resolved to pounce on the prey, made it their common property.

During the episcopate of Bishop Ansfrid of Utrecht (995-1010), the domain of Utrecht had been enriched by the addition of Teisterband (Tiel), (an ancient County, extending from Wijk bij Duurstede to the Old Meuse), and thus brought his territory close to the territories of the Count of Frisia/Holland, over the whole of which, likewise, the Church of Utrecht had a spiritual jurisdiction, and this furnished the bishops with a pretext for laying claim to the temporal sovereignty of the County.

The possession of Dordrecht became so injurious to the commerce of Tiel, Cologne and the Rheinish towns with England that complaints were made by the bishop of Utrecht Adelbold II (975-1026) and the Archbishop of Cologne (Keulen) Herirbertus (972-1021) to Emperor Henry II (972-1024).

1015 Hence arose disputes of a nature easily exasperated into hostilities. On the present occasion, the Bishop Adelbold II (1014-1028) had encouraged his vassal, Theodore Bavo, Margrave of that part of his diocese which bordered on the County of Holland, in his attempts to extend his authority within the confines of Count Theodore's territories. Bishop Adelbold II, together with his ally Bavo invaded Masaland at the Merwe, by the river Lek and Ijssel, hostilities arose at Flardinga (Vlaardingen). Theodore III was victorious and the Bishop with Bavo returned to Utrecht. The elder son of Theodore III, Theodore IV, later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1016 In 1016 Theodore III compelled Bavo to evacuate Bodegraven, of which he had possessed himself, and in order to provide a barrier against the encroachments of this restless neighbor, he fortified the celebrated town of Dordrecht, which became, and long remained, the Capital of the County, and ever afterwards (until the 17th century) held the first rank in the assembly of the young Seven United States.

Here he levied tolls upon all vessels passing up or down the Waal (Merwe). This excited great discontent among the merchants, particularly those of Tiel, who earnestly petitioned Roman Emperor Henry II (1010-1024) to release them from the exactions of the Count of Holland, representing, that otherwise they would be forced to discontinue their trade to England, and consequently should be unable to pay him their accustomed tribute. These complaints, supported by the influence of Bishop Adelbold II of Utrecht, had so great weight with the Emperor, that he commanded Duke Godfrey II of Lower Lorraine (Brabant) (1012-1026), to assist the bishop in expelling Theodore from his fortress at Dordrecht.

1017 The second son of Theodore III, Florence I, later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1018 In 1018 Godfrey, in obedience to his orders, assembled a large body of troops, and accompanied by the Bishops of Cologne (Heribert 999-1021), Cambrai (Gerard I), Liege (Baldrick II 1008–1018)), and Adelbold II of Utrecht, with their forces, landed at Dordrecht on the Merwe, near the stronghold of the Counts of Holland (not to be confused with the battle of Vlardinga in 1015, the first battle against Bishop Adelbold II of Utrecht).

Emperor Henry II took part with the complainants and commissioned Duke Godfrey II of Lorraine (965-1023) to chastise the young Frisian Count. Duke Godfrey II invaded Dirks lands with a large army, but they were impeded by the swampy nature of the Country and totally defeated with heavy loss (July 29, 1018). Duke Godfrey II himself was taken prisoner.

In the engagement which ensued, an event, as singular as unexpected, turned the fortune of the day in favor of the Hollanders, and saved the infant state from the destruction which appeared inevitable. The battle was at the hottest, and the Hollanders were defending themselves bravely, but almost hopelessly, against superior numbers, when suddenly a voice was heard crying, " Fly, fly." None could tell from whence the sound proceeded, and it was therefore interpreted by the troops of Lorraine, as a warning from Heaven.

Their rout was instantaneous and complete, nearly the whole of the foot soldiers belonging to the Bishops of Liege and Cambrai (French Flanders) were slain and numbers, in their eagerness to escape, were drowned in the Merwe, including the Bishop of Liege Baldrick II, the shore is said to have been strewed with dead bodies for the space of nearly two miles.

The Bishop of Utrecht, with a few followers, saved themselves by flight and the Duke of Lorraine remained a prisoner in the hands of Theodore, who shortly after released him, Theodore III had the good sense and moderation to spare his prisoners, and set them free without ransom, in order that he might negotiate a reconciliation with the emperor.

He received in return an imperial amnesty, and from that period the Count of Holland and his posterity formed a barrier against the ecclesiastical power and the remains of the imperial supremacy continually struggled, to be only shattered in each new assault.

1021 Under his mediation, Bishop Adelbold II, finding himself destitute of allies, was reluctantly brought to terms of accommodation and the Count of Holland afterwards held the disputed territory of Bodegraven and Zwammerdam, as a feudatory of the bishop. John Egmont, an old chronicler, says that the Counts of Holland were "a sword in the flanks of the bishops of Utrecht."

The result was that Theodore III was not merely confirmed in his possession of Dordrecht and the Merweda Bushland (the later Holland) but also of the territory of a vassal of the Utrecht See, Dirk Bavo Count of Bodegraven, which he conquered. This victory of 1018 is often regarded as of the true starting-point of the history of the County of Holland.

Having thus established his rule in the south, Theodore next proceeded to bring into subjection the Frisians in the north. He appointed his brother Siegfrid or Sicco (983-1030) as governor over them. In his later years Dirk III went upon a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from which he returned in 1034 and ruled in peace until his death.

1039 The title Count of Holland appears to have been first borne by the Frisian Count Theodore (Dirk) III, who founded Dordrecht in 1008, where a wooden church was build, the predecessor of the present Dordrecht Minster.

Dordrecht as the ancient residence of the County of Holland

From the 11th century the Counts of Frisia and Holland and their Court took residence at Dordrecht in 1008 and build Castle "Merwe" which was finished in 1015 and would stay the residence of the Counts of Holland until 1203 when the Castle was destroyed during the Loonse war, a war between the County of Holland and the Bishops of Liege (Hugh de Pierrepont, 1200-1229) and Utrecht (Theodore of Are, 1198-1212) with their allies. These bishoprics should stay the plaque for the County of Holland for several ages as we will see in the story of the history of Dordrecht and Holland.


....The Thuredrith (Dordrecht) versus Vlardinga (Vlaardingen) doctrine....

Many scholars still withstand that Thuredriht (Dordrecht) is mentioned as the place where Dirk III made his residence on the border of the river Merwe and not near modern Vlaardingen on the river Merwe? which, as they tell, actually was the river Meuse (Maas)?, I can't understand that scholars still persist in this story despite of the many evidences that tells another story. Even the old river Thure (present part of the Voorstraat harbour in Dordrecht) gives evidence that in the old records is spoken about Dordrecht.

The reason for this error must be that Theodore III fought three wars against the See of Utrecht and Cologne, namely in 998, 1015 and in 1018. The first two in 998 and 1015 took indeed place near Vlardinga as is written in the annals "at the Bushland of Merweda near Vlardinga" but the third took place in 1018 near "Thuredriht at the Merwe" (Dordrecht).

More evidence is also that the river Meuse (Maas) and the river Waal can only be reached when coming from Tiel and further inland Colonge via the river Merwe (Merwede) when sailing in the direction of the North sea by passing Dordrecht en NOT Vlaardingen More evidence is also that Scholars agree with the story that his son Theodore IV was killed during the fourth war against the see of Utrecht, Cologne and Tiel in 1049 at Dordrecht (and not at Vlardinga).

When looking at the map of the Netherlands in the 10th century above we can see that Dordrecht was situated at the mouth of the river Merwede and had an open link with the North Sea and ships from Tiel, Cologne (Koln) and the Renish towns, sailing to England, had to pass Dordrecht. The name used in the annalsof the Counts of Holland and Frisia, written by the monks of the Abbey of Egmond, is Thuredriht (Dordrecht) and NOT Vlardinga (Vlaardingen).

Regarding this dispute I have only one question left : "Where are the ruins of the Castle at Vlaardingen"?. Count Theodore III owned only a stronghold at Vlardinga (Vlaardingen).

Thuredriht = Dordrecht at the "real" river Merwe (Merwede) and from Dirk III (1008) until Dirk VII (1203), the Counts had their residence at Dordrecht. After 1203 the residence was taken to The Hague by William I, the younger brother of Theodore VII. In 1204 Burcht "Merwe" was destroyed during the "Loonse" war (1203-1206). Later a second was build on the same spot in the 13th and 14th century (present called "Huis te Merwede").

The birthplace of the children of Theodore III and his successors is mostly mentioned as Thuredriht, of which scholars still believes as situated at modern Vlaardingen ?, but in the annals is clearly written that Count Dirk III, founded Thure-Foundadrecht also called Dortrecht, Dort, Dordt or Dordrecht in 1008 and made it his residence in "Burcht Merwe", a Castle build for his family.

Burcht "Merwe" and Caslte "Huis te Merwede"

By excavations in the 1980s is found that the first stone building that stood at this site was build before 1100 and probably consisted of a tower house at the north-eastern corner and 3 round towers which were connected by 2 residential buildings and 2 curtain walls.


The Castle of Dirk III as it could have looked like in the 11th century.
huis-te-merwede4 huis-te-merwede7 huis-te-merwede6
The ruins of Castle "Huis te Merwede" at present time

The above excavations proves that there was indeed a Castle in the 11th century on the same spot as the later Castle "Huis te Merwede". Burcht "Merwe" would stay the residence of all the Counts of Holland until 1203 when the "Loonse" war broke out and Dordrecht en Geertruidenberg became part of the Ducky of Brabant (see later).


1039 Theodore III died in 1039 and was succeeded by his son Theodore (Dirk) IV (1015-1049) and the war with Utrecht continued with evil consequences for Holland, since the Bishop of Utrecht Bernold (1026-1054), taking advantage of the embarrassment it occasioned to Theodore IV, induced Henry III (1017-1056), Holy Roman Emperor (1039-1056). to lend him his assistance in regaining possession of those lands about the Merwe and Rhine, of which, he maintained that Count Theodore III had unjustly deprived his predecessor.


Theodore (Dirk) IV, 1015-1049, Count of West-Frisia and Holland 1039-1049

Count Theodore IV of Holland

Dirk IV, was one of the most enterprising of his warlike and strenuous race. He began the long strife with the Counts of Flanders, as to the lordship over Walcheren and other islands of Zeeland; the quarrel was important, as dealing with the borderland between French and German overlord ship.

1043 Theodore IV began the long strife with the Counts of Flanders for the lordship over Walcheren and other islands of Zealand. The strife, which lasted for 280 years (1043-1323), though it did not break out into actual warfare before 1167. Theodore IV and Baldwin V of Flanders (1011-1067) had a common danger in Emperor Henry III (1017-1056) of Germany and first allied in the struggle for Lorraine.

Emperor Henry III had a dispute with King Henry I (1008-1060), of France (1031-1060) about the overlordship over Upper and Lower Lorraine (former Lotharingia (the northern part later called Brabant and the southern part later called Lorraine), the quarrel was important dealing with the borderland between French and German overlordship in the Lowlands.


Ten years war with Germany and Utrecht, Liege and Cologne (1046-1056)

1046 Emperor Henry III occupied Upper and Lower Lorraine. Godfrey III "the Bearded" (997-1069, Count of Lower Lorraine, allied with Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and Margrave of Antwerp (1035-1067), Count Theodore VI of Holland, and Herman, Count of Mons and Hainaut (1039-1051). Emperor Henry III gathered an army and went north to the Lowlands. At Flushing (Zealand), Henry III was defeated by Theodore IV and the Hollanders sacked the palace of Charles the Great (742-814) King of the Franks (768-714) near Noyon and Godfrey III burnt Verdun. Emperor Henry III fled to Utrecht. In the same year Godfrey III made public penance for burning Verdun and assisted in rebuilding the city. The allies besieged Liege, defended stoutly by Bishop Wazo (985-1048), Bishop of Liege (1041-1048).

Theodore allied himself with Godfrey III "the Bearded" of Lorraine, who was at war with Emperor Henry III and his territory was invaded by a powerful Imperial fleet and his army. But Theodore entrenched himself in his stronghold at Vlardinga, and when winter came he surrounded and cut off with his light boats a number of the enemy ships and destroyed a large part of their army as they made their way amidst the marches which impeded their retreat. He was able to recover what he had lost and to make peace on his own terms.

1047 The next year Emperor Henry III at the head of a numerous army, sailed down the river Lek and Merwe from Utrecht to Dordrecht, which he forced to surrender, as well as the towns of Vlardinga, and Ehynsburg, in Delftland. He was not able long to retain these places, Theodore IV and his allies overran and devastated the bishopric of Utrecht, while Godfrey III made himself master of the imperial city of Noyon and the emperor's army was forced to evacuate Delftland, from the overflowing of the Meuse, which rendered it impossible for the troops to remain in their encampments.

The force of the floods, also, having broken down the dyke which confined the bed of the river, it extended itself so widely as to become too shallow to admit of the passage of the Emperor's ships, which being embarrassed in the mud, were easily mastered by the Hollanders in their light flat-bottomed boats, contrived purposely for this sort of navigation. The Emperor was, therefore, obliged again to retreat over-land to Utrecht, pursued by Theodore IV and a small band of troops, who so harassed the rear of his army, that Henry with difficulty succeeded in reaching the city in safety. His departure left Theodore IV at liberty to regain possession of all the territory he had lost for a short time, which, however, he was not destined to enjoy long in peace.

On a tournament held at Liege, having accidentally inflicted a mortal wound on the brother of Herman II (995-1056), Archbishop of Cologne (1036-1056), the followers of the archbishop, together with those of Theodwin, Bishop of Liege (1048-1075), immediately attacked the Hollanders, and slew, among many others two brothers of the Count. Theodore IV himself hardly avoided the same fate by a hasty flight, and enraged at the conduct of the Bishops of Liege and Cologne caused all the merchant ships of both cities to be burnt, and forbade any future traffic with both Bishoprics.

1049Two years later he was again assailed by a coalition headed by Herman II (995-1056) Archbishop of Cologne (1036-1056) and Bernold (?-1054) Bishop of Utrecht (1027-1054). They availed themselves of a very hard winter to penetrate into the land over the frozen water.


Dordrecht occupied by Utrecht (1049-1081)

The bishops of Liege and Cologne hereupon made a confederation with Egbert, margrave of Brandenburg, and Bishop Bernold of Utrecht and Bishop Adelberd III of Luxenburg (1047-1072) of Metz, and with the assistance of some disaffected nobles of Holland, gained possession of the city of Dordrecht in 1049.

Count Theodore IV, at the head of a not very numerous force, soon after re-entered Dordrecht by night, and obliged his enemies to evacuate it, but a few days afterwards, while passing unguardedly through a narrow street, he received a wound from a poisoned arrow, shot by an unknown hand, and died within three days on January 13, 1049. The street in which this accident occurred afterwards bore the name of " 's-Graaven Straat" or Count's Street and still exist at present day.

Theodore IV died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother Florence I (1017-1061). The reign of this prince, like that of his predecessors, was rendered turbulent and unhappy, by the restless jealousy and enmity of the Bishop of Utrecht and his allies of other bishoprics.


Florence (Floris) I, 1017-1061, Count of West-Frisia and Holland 1049-1061

Count Florence I of Holland

Floris I Count of Holland, born about 1017, Dordrecht, died 28 June 1061 (murdered) near Nederhemert Gelderland Netherlands, married about 1050 with Gertrud Princess of Saxony, born about 1028 Schweinfurt Unterfranken Bavaria Germany, died 4 August 1113, children :

  1. Adelheid, born c. 1050, Dordrecht, married Arnulf IV, Count of Looz born c. 1044 died c. 1141, childrenb : Arnulf V, Count of Looz born c. 1050, died 1088
  2. Albrecht, born 1051, Dordrecht, died young
  3. Theodore (Dirk) V, born 1052, Dordrecht, died 17 June 1091
  4. Pietsser, born 1053, Dordrecht, died young
  5. Bertha, born 1054, Dordrecht, married 1072 king Philip I "the Fat" of France (1052-1108), died 1094, Montreuil-sur-Loire France
  6. Florence, born 1055, Dordrecht, died young
  7. Machteld, born 1057, Dordrecht, died young
  8. Florence, born 1059, Dordrecht, died young
  9. Adela (Christina), born 1061, Dordrecht, died 1085

Florence I, like his predecessors, was hard-fighting and tenacious, he gradually recovered possession of his ancestral lands.

1052 The eldest son of Florence !, Theodore V, later Count of Holland, born at Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht.

1054 During his reign he found a formidable adversary in the able and warlike William I of Guelders (?-1076), who, become bishop of Utrecht in 1054, and was determined to recover the lost possessions of his see.

1058 Bishop William I (1054-1076), formed a confederacy against Florence I, with his brother Wishard, governor of Guelders, Anno II (1010-1075), Archbishop of Cologne (1056-1075), Bishop Theodwin (1048-1075) of Liege, Count Lambert II of Louvain (Leuven) (1041-1063), the Lord of Cuyck, and Egbert, margrave of Brandenburg. These nobles, with their united armies, accompanied by some troops of the Empire again invaded the County of Holland. The attack was renewed in 1061 (see later).

1059 At first success attended the invaders and many places fell into their hands, but finally they were surprised and defeated near Dordrecht in 1059. The Counts of Guelders and Louvain were among the prisoners that fell into the hands of Florence I.

1060 Florence I, despairing of being able to withstand so overwhelming a force, had recourse to a stratagem, much in use in the warfare of early ages. In a field, near Dordrecht, where his forces were drawn up to await the attack, he caused pits to be dug, and lightly covered with turf, into which several of the enemies', horse, when advancing briskly, as if to certain victory, suddenly fell, and being unable to extricate themselves, the whole army was thrown into the utmost confusion, at this moment Count Florence I led forward his troops, and as they met with scarcely any resistance, the issue of the battle was decisive in their favor, 60,000 of the allied troops were slain, and his brother Governor Wishard of Guelders, Count Lambert II of Louvain, and Bishop Theodwin of Liege were made prisoners.

1061 A like success attended the arms of the Count in a second invasion, by Archbishop Anno II of Cologne, Egbert Margrave of Brandenburg, and the Lord of Cuyck, whom he defeated, and put to flight in an obstinate and murderous battle, fought near the village of lower Hemert.

Wearied with the combat,  in the hour of victory, Florence I fell asleep under a tree, not far from the scene of action, when the Lord of Cuyck, having reassembled his scattered soldiers, returned, and surprising him thus defenseless, put him to death with a great number of his followers. They did not, however, venture to attack the main body of the army, which retired in safety to Castle "Merwe" at Dordrecht.

Florence I left by his wife Gertrude (1030-1113), daughter of Herman (995-1059), Duke of Saxony (1011-1059), one son, Theodore V, and two daughters, Adelheid (1050-1088) and Bertha (1054-1094) who married in 1072 with Philip I "the Fat" (1052-1108), king of France (1060-1108).


Theodore V (Dirk), 1052-1091, Count of West-Frisia 1061-1091 and Holland 1081-1091

Count Theodore V of Holland

Florence I was succeeded by his son, Dirk V, a child, under the guardianship of his mother, Gertrude of Saxony (1028-1113).

Theodore (Dirk) V Count of Holland, born about 1052, Dordrecht, died 17 June 1091, married before 26 July 1083 with Othelhildis von Sachsen born c. 1054, daughter of Duke Ordulf von Sachsen (1022-1072), she died during the birth of her stillborn daughter 18 November 1087, children :

  1. Florence II "the Fat", born 1085, Dordrecht, died 2 March 1121
  2. Stillborn daughter, born 18 November 1087, Dordrecht

1062 The dowager of Florence I, Gertrude of Saxony (1028-1113), withdrawed from Castle "Merwe" at Dordrecht and escaped to Zealand (then called West-Frisia) with her young son and sought revenge for the murder of her husband Florence I and her father in law Theodore IV and the lost of the County of Holland, leaving Bishop William I of Urrecht in undisturbed occupation of the disputed lands.

1063 Gertrude contracted a marriage with Robert the Frisian (1031-1093), the second son of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (1013-1067), Count of Flanders (1036-1067) a man famous for his adventurous career who was an allied to Theodore IV and Florence I in the ten years war (1046-1056) with emperor Henri III and William I of Guelders, Bishop of Utrecht (1054-1076). On his marriage his father invested him with Imperial Flanders, as an apanage ~ including the islands of Frisia (Zeeland) west of the Frisian Scheldt. He now became guardian to his stepson, guardian in whose inheritance lay the islands east of the Scheldt. To this Robert thus, in his own right and that of Theodore V, was Robert ruler of all Frisia (Zeeland), and thus became known among his Flemish Countrymen as Robert the Frisian.

War with Germany, Utrecht, Frisia and Lorraine (Brabant)

1064 Bishop William I of Guelders seems now to have seized his opportunity and occupied all the territory that he claimed. In this he was confirmed by two charters (April 30 and May 2, 1064) of Emperor Henri IV of Germany (1056-1084), Roman Emperor (1084-1105) and Bishop William I of Utrecht that the whole of the County of Holland west of the Vlie (Ijssel), and about the Rhine, with the abbey of Egmond, besides all those lands from which Theodore III had expelled Theodore Bavo (Bodegraven and Zwammerdam) in 1018, was given to the Bishopric of Utrecht.  Among the possessions thus assigned to him is found comitatus omnis in Hollandi cum omnibus ad bannum regalem pertinentibas. An examination of these documents shows the possessions of Theodore V as in Vestfiinge et circa oras Rheni, i.e. west of the Vlie (west of the Zuiderzee and Ijssel = West-Frisia) and around the mouths of the Rhine.#

# The historian Wagenaar (Vat. Hist., boek vii., No. 1) is of opinion that the Counts of Holland had no footing in Friesland, east of the Zuyderzee, until long after this period. But the whole of the land lying between the Yssel and " Liore," is mentioned in the grant of Emperor Otto III (980-1002) to Theodore II (930-988), Count of Frisia/Holland.

The Liore is much more likely to be the Lauwers in Friesland, than, as Wagenaar supposes, the small stream of the Lee in the southern part of Delftland, which, as Medemblick and Texel are also named, would exclude the Country lying between, that is, the greater portion of Delftland, and the whole of Rhynland and North Holland, indeed, a single glance at the map will suffice to show that it was hardly possible this stream could have been the boundary fixed upon for the County.

The supposition that the Lauwers is in reality the river meant, besides the similarity of the name, is further confirmed by the great probability which exists, that the Zuyderzee was still, as in the time of the Romans, an inland sea, Friesland and West Friesland forming one continued tract of land along the north of it, intersected by the Vlie, which connected the Zuyderzee with the ocean, the rivers Medemblick, Chimelosara, and other small streams.

Empress Theofana (960-991), after the death of her husband, and during the minority of her son, Otto III, enjoyed a large share in the administration of the empire and her alliance with the family of Count Theodore II of Holland, induced her to use her influence to obtain for Theodore a grant of all those states as an hereditary fief which he had hitherto enjoyed in usufruct only.

In this grant were comprehended the lands lying between the Lauwers (Liore) and Yssel, a village, then known by the name of Zonnemare, the territory between the streams of Medemblick and Chimeloes, or Gemarcha , Kemmerlarid, Texel, and Maasland, with the reservation of the tribute, commonly called "Huuslade." By this grant the hereditary succession to the County was placed on a secure and permanent footing, and from it, perhaps, might more properly be dated the commencement of its existence as a separate and independent state.

Robert I the Frisian, later Count of Flanders (1071-1092) whose reputation stood high for courage, and ability, prevented the bishop from attempting to obtain a recognition of his rights on the County of Holland for some years but Robert I was occupied with internal problems in Flanders.

1070 Baldwin VI (1030-1070), Count of Flanders (1067-1070) died after a short reign, leaving his son Arnulf III (1055-1071) an infant only 16 years old, when the government was assumed by Countess Richilda (1031-1086) of Mons and Hainaut, widow of the late Count, as regent during her son's minority, the guardianship of his nephew Count Arnhulf III of Flanders (1055-1071) being disputed by Richilde.

On Robert's demand that Richilda should make an amicable surrender of the administration, she not only refused compliance, but confiscated Aalst, and the five islands of Zealand west of the Scheldt, possessions of Robert I in Flanders, and exercised great severity on those she suspected of being his partisans.

The nobles and people of Flanders becoming weary of her extortions and oppression, sent a petition to Robert I the Frisian to come over and take possession of the regency, to which he was entitled, moreover, by a will made in his favor by his brother Baldwin VI, a short time before his death, at Oudenaarde.

1071 To avenge these injuries, Robert I collected a considerable body of troops, and besieged Richilda in Rijssel (Lille), she retired on his approach and fled into France and placed herself under the protection of Philip I "the fat" (1052-1108), King of France (1060-1108), liege lord of Flanders. She succeeded so well in making her cause appear identified with that of her son Arnulf III, that King Philip marched in person at the head of a powerful force to defend the interests of his vassal. The two armies meeting near Cassel, King Philip I sustained a severe defeat (February 1071), the young Count Arnulf III, who was present at the battle, was slain, and Richilda herself taken prisoner.

The king of France was 'glad, therefore, to conclude a peace on terms the most favorable to Robert I, whom he acknowledged as Count of Flanders, engaging at the same time to marry his step-daughter, Bertha (1055-1094), daughter of Florence I, who shortly after became Queen of France. Richilda was subsequently released, at the intercession of Emperor Henry IV (1050-1106).

While Robert was thus engaged in Flanders, an effort was made to recover the County of Holland and other lands now held by Bishop William I of Utrecht. The people of Holland (Dordrecht and Leyden) rose in revolt, but by command of Emperor Henry IV were speedily brought back under Episcopal rule by an army under the command of Godfrey the Hunchback (1043-1076), Duke of Lower Lorraine (1067-1076), to his alliance, by promising him the government of Holland, as a fief of the bishopric and gave him the command of the united forces of Utrecht, joined to some bands of mercenaries from the neighboring states. Godfrey IV, although small and deformed in person, was a leader of undoubted skill, brave, sagacious, and eloquent, and the expedition under his conduct was entirely successful.

Robert I advanced to Leyden, and attempted, but in vain, to make a stand against Godfrey IV and his allies, He was defeated in a severe battle and forced, with his wife and her children, to take refuge in Flanders (Ghent). Holland, and the whole of Zealand (West Frisia), submitted to Godfrey IV of Lorraine, later he also conquered and brought under subjection the West-Frieslanders (North-Holland) in 1076.

1072 Godfrey founded the city of Delft, he governed the Country for about four years with great harshness and severity.

1076 Again, at the request of the bishop, Duke Godfrey visited his domains in back of the Frisian borderland. At Delft he was assassinated by one Gilbert, a servant of Count Theodore V, soon after Duke Godfrey IV caused himself to be conveyed to Utrecht, where he died on February 26, 1076, Bishop William I of Utrecht died the same year on April 17. Conrad, successor to the see (1076-1099), assumed, likewise, the government of Holland, and to defend himself against any disturbance on the part of Robert I the Frisian and Theodore V, he completed the fort of Ysselmonde, begun by William I, which commanded the passage along the Yssel river.

1077 The Hollanders and especial Dordrecht, unable to endure with patience the Episcopal yoke, earnestly desired the restoration of their lawful sovereign, while the young Theodore V wished no less ardently to recover his paternal inheritance, Theodore V now grown to mans estate, was not slow to take advantage of the favorable juncture and Robert I the Frisian being in tranquil possession of Flanders, found himself at liberty to assist his adopted son in the enterprise he now formed for this purpose.

In order to strengthen themselves by an important alliance, they sought the friendship of William I "the Conqueror" (1066-1087), then king of England, who had married Matilda, sister of Robert I the Frisian. King William I sent some vessels to their assistance, which, uniting with those of Count Robert I, sailed towards the Merwe.

A large number of Utrecht ships lay in the mouth of that river, to oppose their passage, but after a long and severe contest, the whole of the bishop's fleet was either captured or dispersed, and the fortress of Ysselmonde, where Bishop Conrad himself then resided, was forced to surrender, on condition that, a free passage being granted to him and his followers, the bishop should renounce all claim to the states of the Count of Holland, and restore all the conquests made by himself or his predecessors. The fortress was afterwards dismantled, and the inhabitants joyfully took the oath of allegiance to Count Theodore V.

Dordrecht retaken by the Count of Holland 1078

In 1078 Dirk V returned to his heritage Burcht "Merwe" at Dordrecht where he married with Othelhildis, Countess of Holland in 1083.

1085 The eldest son of Theodore V, Florence II "the Fat", later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1091 Theodore V died in 1091 and was succeeded by his son Florence II "the Fat". This Count had a peaceful and prosperous reign of thirty-one years. In Dordrecht began the construction of a Romanic Church, progenitor of the later famous Gothic Dordrecht Minster (13th century).


Florence (Floris) II "the Fat", 1085-1121, Count of West Frisia and Holland 1091-1121

Count Florence II of Holland

Dirk V died in 1091 and was succeeded by his son Floris II "the Fat". This Count had a peaceful and prosperous reign of thirty-one years.

Floris II "The Fat" Count of Holland born 1085, Dordrecht, died 2 March 1121, married  1113 with Petronilla of Saxony,  Princess of Oberlothringen, born about 1086, Alcase-Lorraine, France, died 24 May 1144 buried Abbey Rijnsburg, children :

  1. Theodore (Dirk) VI, born c. 1114, Dordrecht, died 5 August 1157
  2. Florence "the black", born c. 1115, Dordrecht, died 26 October 1132
  3. Simon, born ?, Dordrecht, died ?
  4. Hedwig, born ?, Dordrecht, died ?

Florence II "the Fat", was, unlike his ancestors, a man of a pacific and somewhat indolent disposition, insomuch that he lived during the whole of his reign in peace, not only with Emperor Henry V (1106-1125), but even with his restless neighbor and hereditary foe, the Bishop of Utrecht. During his reign the first (1095-1099) Crusade took place, which was likely the reason for his future good relations with his former enemies.

Florence II sought to increase his power rather by friendly alliances than by conquests, he married Petronella (1086-1144), daughter of Theodore (Didrick) II (?-1115), Duke of Alsace, and half sister of Lothair III (1075-1137), afterwards Emperor of Germany.

Peace with Utrecht and Germany

1093 Florence II ended the conflict with Bishop Burchard (1100-1112) of Utrecht, which he inherited from his father Theodore IV, giving back the former possessions of Utrecht. This should be seen in light of the power struggle between Pope Paschal II (1099-1118) and Henry V (1086-1125) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire), Florence II become his vassal.


From the year 1100 to 1200

1101 In 1101 he was endowed with the title of Count of Holland by Bishop Burchard of Utrecht, after acquiring Rhineland (Leiden and surroundings) ('comes de Hollant', up until that time the Count's dominion had been officially referred to as Frisia).

1106 On the accession of Henry V to the empire, the Florence II entered into a treaty with him, by which it was provided, that they should use their united efforts to obtain possession of the part of Zealand and Flanders west of the Scheldt, of which the Flanders Countess-dowager Richilda had deprived Robert the Frisian in 1071.

1108 Around 1108, Florence II married Gertrude, the daughter of Theodoric II (1070-1115), the Duke of Lorraine, half sister of the later Emperor Lothaire III (1125-1137). Gertrude changed her name to Petronila (derived from Peter), in recognition of her loyalty to the Holy See. Petronila and Floris II had four children, three boys and one girl: Dirk, Floris, Simon and Hedwig, respectively. Dirk became his successor, Dirk VI of Holland, while Floris became known as Floris "the Black" and contested his brother's power.

1114 The eldest son of Florence II, Theodore VI, later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1121 Florence II died after a peaceful reign of nearly 31 years and was burried in the Abbey of Rijnsburg.


Theodore (Dirk) VI, 1114-1157, Count of Holland and West-Frisia 1121-1157, Count of Frisia 1125-1157

Count Theodore VI of Holland

Theodore VI de Holland, born 1114, Dordrecht, died 5 August 1157, married with Sophie Countess of Rheineck born about 1117, Rheineck Rhineland Germany, died 26 September 1176 Jerusalem, Holy Land, children :

  1. Theodore (Dirk) or Pelgrim, born 1139, Dordrecht, died on the way to the Holy land in 1151
  2. Florence (Floris) III "Crusader", born 1141, Dordrecht, died 1 August 1190 Antioch, Holy Land
  3. Otto, born c. 1143, Dordrecht, became Count of Bentheim, died after 1207
  4. Baldwin (Boudewijn), born c. 1145, Dordrecht, Bishop of Utrecht 1178-1196, died 30 April 1196 Pavia
  5. Theodore (Dirk), c. 1147, Dordrecht, became Bishop of Utrecht 1197, died 28 August 1197 Utrecht
  6. Robrecht, born c. 1149, Dordrecht, died before 1190
  7. Sophia, born c. 1151, Dordrecht, Abbess of Rijnsburg (1179-1186), died after 1212, Fontanella Cremona Italy
  8. Hedwig, born c. 1151, Dordrecht, died 28 August 1167, buried Rijnsburg
  9. Geertruid, born c. 1155, Dordrecht, died 10 August 1203
  10. Petronella, born c. 1157, Dordrecht, murdered Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht, 4 December 1203

1121 After the death of Florence II his widow, Petronilla governed in the name of Theodore VI (1121-1157), who was still a minor. The accession of her half-brother, Lothair III of Supplinburg (1075 – 1137), Duke of Saxony (1106), King of Germany (1125), and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133-1137, to the imperial throne on the death of Henry V (1086-1125) greatly strengthened Theodore VI, and his mother's position.

1125 The East-Frisian districts, Oostergoo and Westergoo, were by King Lothair III transferred from the rule of the see of Utrecht to that of the Counts of Holland.

1132 These Frisians proved very troublesome subjects to Theodore VI and they rose in insurrection under the leadership of Theodore's own brother, Florence "the Black" (1115-1132), the revolt was sentenced and Florence was murdered by Herman and Godfried of Kuyk.

1133The abbey at Rijnsburg was established by Petronilla. Two of her granddaughters, Sophie (1151-1212) and Hedwig (1151-1167) would later join this abbey, Sophie as Abbess of Rijnsburg (1179-1186). Theodore VI and his mother Petronilla supported the abbeys of Egmond and Rijnsburg, which flourished in this period.

Emperor Conrad III (1093-1152), who was of the rival house of Hohenstaufen, gave back these East-Frisian districts to the bishop of Utrecht Andries van Cuijk (1070-1139) but it was in truth somewhat of an empty gift. The Frisian peasants and fisher folk loved their independence, and were equally refractory to the rule of any distant overlord, whether Count or Bishop.

1138 Theodore VI and his wife Sophie went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and it was on this pilgrimage that their first son Theodore who was called Peregrinus (Pilgrim) died when he was only 12 years old.

1139On the return journey Theodore VI visited Pope Innocent II (1130-1143) and asked for the abbeys of Egmond and Rijnsburg to be placed under direct papal authority and this request was granted. In this way Theodore VI removed the Bishop of Utrecht's influence over those Abbeys.

1141 The second son of Florence II, Florence III the "Crusader", later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1155 The East-Frisians revolted again and plundered the area of Santpoort nearby Haarlem, but they were beaten back by the knights of Haarlem and Osdorp

1156 Count Theodore VI resolved the protracted conflict between the abbeys of Egmond and Echternach, which had been ongoing ever since the establishment of Egmond in 923 by Count Theodore I. At the time of the establishment the Count had granted Egmond the rights over all the churches in the area, which had previously belonged to Echternach, including the churches in Dordrecht, the rest of Holland and the island Schouwen.

Repeated attempts were made to regain these lost rights, initially with little result although the Abbot of Egmond was a witness at the agreement, it seems he may have been under pressure there, as only a little while later he excommunicated both Count Theodore VI and his son Florence III. This perhaps is the reason that Theodore VI was, unlike his forefathers, not buried at Egmond, but at Rijnsburg.

1157 Theodore VI died August 5, 1157 and was succeeded by Florence III.


Florence III, 1141-1190, Count of West-Frisia and Holland 1157-1190

Count Florence III of Holland

Florence III "Crusader" of Holland born 1141, Dordrecht, died 1 August 1190 Antioch, married on 28 August 1162 with Ada of Scotland, sister of king William I of Scotland, also known as William the Lion, born 1140 Scotland, died 11 January 1205, buried Abbey church Middelburg, children :

  1. Ada, born 1163, Dordrecht, married 1176 Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg 1170-1184, died after 1205
  2. Margarethha, born 1164, Dordrecht, married 1182 Dietssrich V, Count of Cleves (?-1193), murdered Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht 3 November 1203
  3. Theodore (Dirk) VII, born 1165 Dordrecht, murdered Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht 4 November 1203
  4. Willliam I, born 1167, Dordrecht, died February 1222
  5. Florence, born c. 1169 Dordrecht, Became Bishop-elect of Glasgow for five years (1202-1207) but apparently never received consecration, died Middelburg 30 November 1210, buried Abbey church Middelburg
  6. Baldwin (Baudewijn), born c. 1171, Dordrecht, died in exile 19 July 1204
  7. Robrecht, born c. 1173, Dordrecht, died before 1190
  8. Beatrix, born c. 1175, Dordrecht, died young
  9. Elisabeth, born c. 1177, Dordrecht, Abbess of Rijnsburg, died 27 August 1228
  10. Hedwig, born c. 1179, Dordrecht, murdered Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht 13 January 1204
  11. Agnes, born c. 1181, Dordrecht, died 22 April 1228

Florence III reversed the traditional policy of his house by allying himself with the Hohenstaufens. He became a devoted adherent and friend of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1122-1190). He accompanied the emperor on two expeditions to Italy in 1158 and 1176-1178. Frederick I thanked him by making Florence III part of the imperial nobility.

Dordrecht as trade centre of Holland

1157 Florence III, finding, on his accession to the government* that the Flemish merchants evaded the payment of the tolls at Dordrecht, by passing down the Meuse (now old Meuse) by Geervlietss and Bornesse, obtained permission of Emperor Frederick I to establish a toll at Geervlietss which became the most important toll station in Holland at that time. This was actually the legalization of an existing situation, because the Counts of Holland (Theodore III) had charged tolls illegally since the start of the 11th century at Dordrecht.

The toll place at Vlardinga was uncovered since 1050. The toll place at Dordrecht was still in use but was soon replaced by Geervlietss because dikes were build around the hinterland of Dordrecht (De Groote or Zuidhollandsche Waard) and the city was fast growing to the greatest trade centre of Holland.

1165 During his reign many islands in the delta of the North Sea between Zeeland and Maasland (modern South Holland islands Ijsselmonde, Groote waard and Goeree-Overflakkee) became suitable for occupancy and exploitation. This was because the water level further decreased since the 11th century (after the third Dunkirk transgression).

Many farmers from West-Frisia and Flanders came to Holland to turn the swamps into agricultural lands. Dikes and dams were build and the border between Holland and the see of Utrecht had to be determined. There was a dispute between Florence III and Bishop Godfried of Rhenen (?-1176) of Utrecht about a new dam in the Rhine at Zwammerdam, Emperor Frederick I sided with Florence III and the dam was build.

During the whole of his reign Florence III had troubles with East-Frisia.

The eldest son of Florence III, Theodore VII, later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

War with East-Frisia and Flanders

1167 A war with Philip Count of Flanders (1143-1191) concerning their respective rights in West-Zeeland broke out, he was beaten and captured in Bruges and had to accept Flemish liege-lord-ship in Zeeland as ransom. The second son of Florence III, William I, later Count of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1170 A great flood caused immense devastation in West-Frisia and helped to form the Zuider Zee.

1188 The second daughter of Theodore VII, Ada, later Countess of Holland, born at Dordrecht.

1189 Florence accompanied Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa upon the third Crusade, of which he was a distinguished leader.

He died in 1190 at Antioch of pestilence and was buried there.


Theodore (Dirk) VII, 1165-1204, Count of West Frisia and Holland 1190-1203

Count Theodore VII of Holland

Theodore VII Count of Holland, born 1165, Dordrecht, married 1186 with Aleida of Kleve (?-murdered 11 January 1204). Theodore VII had a short but stormy and for Holland and his family a disastrous reign, children :

  1. Aleida, born 1187, Dordrecht, probably imbecile, murdered Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht 4 December 2003
  2. Ada, born 1188, Dordrecht, married 5 November 1203 Dordrecht with Louis II Count of Loon (1169-29 July 1218), died in exile 1227

Second war with Flanders

1191 During the reign of Theodore VII (1190-1203) the County of Holland became the victim in the civil war that broke out in the Holy Roman Empire in 1197, Theodore VII took the wrong site joining the site of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the civil war against the Welfs dynasty. Because of that he had to face powerful enemies such as Germany, Flanders, Brabant, Frisia and even his younger brother William I, who had accompanied their father Florence III during the Third Crusade, and returned September 1191, soon after his return disagreement arose (reason unknown) between the new Count and his brother. William therefore sought to support the rebellious West-Frisians. Theodore tried to restore the overlord ship in West-Zeeland, lost as ransom in 1167 by his father Floris III, with the Count of Flanders Baldwin IX but without success.

1195 Theodore VII tried to restore the Liege-lordship in West-Frisia (Zeeland), lost as ransom in 1167 by his father Florence III, but the negotiations with the Count of Flanders Baldwin IX had no success. Because of that Theodore at that time could not get away from Zealand and sent his wife Aleida with an army to West-Frisia. In November it came to a engagement between Aleida and her brother-in-law William. Aleida knew to bribe the leaders of Oud Niedorp and Winkel and William was defeated.

Civil war in Germany, war with Guelders

1196 Emperor Henry VI of Hohenstaufen (1165-1197) tried to find fellows in the Lowlands against the Welfs dynasty (Otto IV of Brunswick, rival king 1198-1208). In the same year his great-uncle Bishop Baldwin of Holland, Bishop of Utrecht, 1178-1196, died at Mainz on 30 April.

Theodore VII supported Emperor Henry VI and because of that the Emperor supported Theodore VII by giving him the right to levy toll on Flemish traders in Geervlietss and also added the "Groote Waard" (the surrounding lands of Dordrecht) to Holland at the cost of the see of Utrecht. Theodore VII temporarily got the princely authority of the see of Utrecht, but this meant war with Count Otto I of Guelders (1150-1207) who was a follower of the Welfs.

1197 His great-uncle Theodore of Holland was elected as Bishop of Utrecht with the help of Theodore VII but died the same year on 28 August. Emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty was losing the civil war and Theodore VII changed allegiance to the Welfs (Emperor Otto IV of Brunswick, 1175-1218). Theodore VII interfered in the struggles between Duke Henry I (1163-1235) of Brabant (Lower Lorraine), and Count Otto I of Guelders, but without success. After the dead of Emperor Henry VI on 28 September.

In the same year the West-Frisians, stirred up to a revolt led by his brother William I who supported the rival King Otto IV of Germany, a Welf, and invaded Holland but this revolt ended in Theodore's favor. King Otto IV of Brunswick was defeated at the battle of the Grebbeberg. The brothers were reconciled and William I was made Count of East-Frisia.

Theodore VII change side to the Welfs dynasty

1198 Otto IV of Brunswick was proclaimed King of Germany as rival to Philip of Swabia, youngest son of the late Emperor Henry VI. A new Bishop, follower of the Welfs (Otto IV) was elected in Utrecht, Theodore II of Are (1197-1212), and the see of Utrecht took over princely authority of the "Groote or Hollandsche Waard" again.


From the year 1200 to 1222

War with the Duchy of Brabant (Lower Lorraine) and Utrecht

1202 Theodore VII allied with Otto I of Guelders because the Duchy of Brabant claimed Holland and they both attacked Brabant, Den Bosch was sacked by Theodore VII and on his return to Holland, laden with booty and prisoners, he was intercepted near Heusden by Duke Henry I (1163-1235) of Brabant's army, strengthened by the soldiers of Cologne and Liege, together with some troops from Limburg and Flanders.

Dordrecht as a fief of Brabant (Lower Lorraine) 1202-1283

A sharp engagement ensued, in which Theodore's troops were entirely defeated, and he himself was taken prisoner. He was released within the year upon payment of 2000 marks of silver as ransom, but by the treaty then made with the Duke, he was obliged to surrender Breda. He had to accept the Duke of Brabant as Liege-lord in the southern part of Holland, the Hollandse Waard and all the lands lying between Strijen, Waalwijk, and Brabant.

The Bishop of Utrecht (ally of Brabant) became Liege-lord in the northern part of Holland (read the area above the river Waal (Merwe) and the south border of West-Frisia, Maasland and Rhineland, (Leiden). Because of this ransom Theodore VII lost his capital Dordrecht (1202-1220) and Geertruidenberg (1202-1213) for a short period to Duke Henry I of Brabant. The ancient capital of the County, Dordrecht, became a fief of Brabant, and so continued until the year 1283, when John I, Duke of Brabant, released the Count of Holland from his fealty.

1203 Theodore did not long survive this calamity, at the end of 1203, it is said, he was attacked by a severe sickness at Dordrecht, and on the approach of death, earnestly desired to see his brother William I, with a view, probably, of bequeathing to his protection Ada (1187-1227), only 17 years of age, whom, as he had no son, left as heiress of his dominions.

He made Holland inheritable for females and his daughter Ada, inherited Holland after his dead. He died, however, before his wish could be accomplished, and his untimely fate brought new miseries on his Country, the government falling into the hands of a girl of tender years, guided by a mother, sufficiently shrewd, indeed, and courageous, but intriguing and ambitious.

Siege of Castle "Merwe" at Dordrecht, November 1203 - January 13, 1204

After Theodore VII was defeated he withdraw in his Castle "Merwe" with his family but the Castle was besieged by a coalition of enemies of the Count of Holland :

  • Hugo de Pierrepont (?-1229) Bishop of Liège (1200-1229), as ally of Bishop Theodore (Dirk) II of Are
  • Flanders, as ally because of the Tolls Flemish traders had to pay to Holland at Geervlietss from 1196
  • Theodore II of Are (?-1212) Bishop of Utrecht (1197-1212), out of revenge for the loss of the Hollandse Waard and Theodore's support of the Hohenstaufen

During this siege the Castle was attacked and heavy damaged (during excavations in the 1980s, under the foundations of the later Castle "Ter Merwe", 14th century, foundations were found of the predecessor of the present ruins, together with burned arrows). Theodore VII survived only for a short time and died 4 November 1203 in his Castle "Merwe" at Dordrecht, during this long siege many of his relatives died of hunger and by the sword, namely:

  1. His sister Margaretha born 1164, Dordrecht, Dowager of Dietssrich V, Count of Cleves (?-1193), died 3 November 1203
  2. Count Theodore VII of Holland born 1165 Dordrecht, died 4 November 1203
  3. His daughter Aleida born 1187, Dordrecht, died 4 December 1203
  4. His old-aunt Petronella born 1157, Dordrecht, died 4 December 1203
  5. His wife Aleida (Adeleide) of Kleve Germany, born ?, died 11 January 1204
  6. His sister Hedwig of Holland born 1179, Dordrecht, died 13 January 1204
  7. His younger brother Baldwin, born c. 1171, Dordrecht, died in exile as prisoner of Flanders on 19 July 1204

The last wish of Count Theodore VII was that the guardian-ship of his daughter and her states should be confided to his brother William I, was frustrated by the intrigues of the Countess-dowager Adelaide of Cleves, who, in order to debar him from all share in the administration, had determined upon marrying her daughter, (intended heiress in the female line), to Louis, Count of Loon (Looz) (1169-29 July 1218), who apparently wanted very much to take over the more important County of Holland.

But the question of female succession was not accepted without a challenge with her uncle William I, though It was the intention of Theodore VII that Ada would be his heiress after his dead. To secure the recognition of his daughters rights he had appointed his brother William I in 1196 as her guardian.

Knowing this, his widow Aleida (Adeleide), an ambitious woman of strong character, however, as soon as her husband was dead, had summoned Louis II to come secretly into Holland, during the lifetime of the Count and attempted with the Nobles of Holland, who now for the first time make their appearance as a power in the Country, to oppose the claim which William I had made to the Count-ship as heir in the male line. The wedding took place at Dordrecht before the funeral of Count Theodore VII.

Unsuitable as the match appeared, (since Loon was only a small fief of the bishopric of Liege), she now succeeded in gaining the consent of several powerful nobles to it, and used such dispatch in the completion of her design, that the nuptials of the young Countess were celebrated at Dordrecht, before her father's body was consigned to the tomb.

William I, on his arrival at the Zype, was informed about his brothers dead, and his niece already married, being unable to obtain a safe conduct from Aleida or Count Louis, to visit his brother's grave at Egmond, which he made the pretext of his coming, he returned into West-Frisia (Zeeland).


Ada of Holland 1187-1227, Countess of Holland 1203-1207

Countess Ada of Holland

Ada of Holland, born 1188, Dordrecht, married 5 November 1203 Castle "Merwe" Dordrecht with Louis II (1169-1218), Count of Loon and Rieneck and VisCount of Mainz 1191-1218, son of Gerhard II, Count of Loon and Rieneck. He waged war against the Duke Henry I of Brabant in 1194 for the inheritance of Albert III of Moha and the rights on Maastricht and Sint-Truiden. He had the rights of both cities, because he was regent of Duras. Louis II died from poisoning in 1218. Ada of Holland remained childless and died in 1227.

The "Loonse" war 1203-1208

The lost war of Holland still was not the end of the disaster that took place at that time because a few days after his dead a new war broke out, "The Loonse war" (this war should last until 1208), a war about the succession between his daughter Ada of Holland and his brother William I.

The dowager Aleida, Ada and Louis II of Loon gathered political support for their claim against that of Willem I. They found allies in Bishops Theodore (Dirk) II of Are of Utrecht (1198-1212)* and Hugo de Pierrepont (?-1229), bishop of Liège (whom he later helped to win at the battle of Steppes October, 13 1213) against Duke Henry I of Brabant. Further Count Philipe (1174-1212) of Namur, Regent of Flanders and Hainaut (intent on revenge for Flanders defeat against Theodore VII in 1195) and Duke Philip of Schwaben (rival king of Germany until 1208).

* Bishop Theodore II of Are was constantly embroiled with William I, the later Count of Holland, and each in turn was the prisoner of the other. He joined Ada of Holland and Louis II, Count of Loon, in an attempt to dispossess William I but without success. Later in 1206 he and his allies were driven out of Holland and had to take refuge under the walls of Utrecht. He contrived, however, to take Dordrecht, and burned and plundered it, but in the end he was obliged to give up his rights.

Willem I was supported by Duke Henry I of Brabant as well as by the burghers and the lesser nobility of Dordrecht and by the free farmers in the Hollandse Waard. Nevertheless Duke Henry I of Brabant must have disliked the prospect of being surrounded by allied forces, Aleida and Ada, the wife and the daughter of his former adversary the Count of Holland to the west, the Count of Namur (also the Regent of Flanders and Hainaut) to the south-west, the ambitious Count Louis II of Loon, now Ada's husband and the Bishop of Liège to the south, the Duke of Schwaben to the east and the Bishop of Utrecht to the north.

On demand of her mother Aleida of Cleve and with the consent of the Bishop of Liege, one of the besiegers of Castle "Merwe", Countess Ada, together with her young husband Louis II, escaped in the beginning of December 2003 from Dordrecht and fled to Haarlem.

Within a very short time, however, symptoms of discontent at the prospect of being governed by a female, and a stranger, began to manifest themselves among some of the nobility, even those who had consented to Ada's marriage, and Philip van Wassenaar, one of the leaders of the disaffected nobles, brought William I disguised to the island of Schouwen. Here he was received with every demonstration of joy, and shortly after, proclaimed throughout Zealand as lawful governor of the County.

The Kennemerlanders (Haarlem and surrounding), headed by Walter of Egmond, and Albert Banjaard, quickly followed the example of Zealand, and Lady Ada, and her husband, who were then at Haarlem, escaped with difficulty, in the darkness of the night, to Utrecht. But the young Countess, unable to support the loss of her mother's presence and counsel, ere long quitted that city, and hastened to rejoin her at Leyden. After her arrival at Leyden Ada was informed that her mother was killed during the siege of Castle "Merwe" at Dordrecht.

By the end of December 2003 she was besieged by Philip van Wassenaar, by order of William I, who managed to take his niece Ada prisoner in the citadel of Leyden. The citadel being poorly supplied with provisions was soon forced to surrender. Countess Ada was sent prisoner to the Island of Texel, and subsequently taken to the Court of John "Lack land" (1167-1216), king of England in 1205.

1204 The tide turned against William I in 1204. William, now being Count, however, was not more secure in his government, since Louis II, a young man of high courage and enterprising spirit, was little inclined to sit down quietssly under the loss of his bride and mother-in-law, and her princely portion.

He courted to his allies (the Bishop of Liege Hugh of Pierepont, Philip I (1175-1212), margrave of Namur, and purchased the friendship of the warlike Bishop Theodore II of Are from Utrecht for the sum of two thousand pounds Flemish), the alliance of the Duke of Limburg Henry III (1140-1221). Philip I of Namur was now governor of Flanders, in the absence of his brother Baldwin IX (1172-1205), elevated about this time to the throne of Constantinople.

An irresistible bait was held out to Philip I of Namur, by the offer of abolishing the tolls at Geervlietss and Bishop Theodore II of Are removed the toll place at Dordrecht, near Castle "Merwe", to the river Waal (Merwe) at Woudrichem more inland. Philip I promised immediate and effective aid to Louis, and many of the Holland nobles, seeing his party so rapidly increasing, fell off from their allegiance towards William I, who, thus deprived of the means of resisting the force arrayed against him, was obliged to retire from Haarlem to West Frisia (Zealand).

1205 After his departure, the whole of Holland submitted to Louis, through the activity and efforts chiefly of the Bishop of Utrecht, nor was William I long allowed to remain unmolested in Zealand. Philip I of Namur (1174-1212), landing with some troops in Walcheren, quickly made himself master of the island, and about the same time, Hugh van Voorn, a Zealand noble in the interests of Ada, possessing himself of Schouwen, subjected nearly the whole of Zealand to the authority of Louis II. While Zeeland was conquered by Philip I, Count Louis II of Loon and Bishop Theodore II of Are conquered the cities Haarlem, Leyden and Dordrecht in Holland.

William, to avoid being taken, prisoner, was forced to conceal himself from the pursuit of his enemies, under a pile of wet nets in a fishing boat, in which he happily escaped. In a short time, the administration of Philip van Voorn, governor of Zealand in the name of Louis II of Loon, became so intolerable to the inhabitants, that they determined to search out William, who was secreted in one of the islands, and to re-establish him in his authority. Willem, while still hiding, managed to organize a people's insurrection in Zeeland against their new lords, which gained momentum in Holland itself.

The scheme was executed almost as soon as formed, and Philip van Wassenaar, and Walter van Egmond, William's partisans in Holland, being informed of his restoration in Zealand, assembled with great expedition a considerable body of Kemnemerlanders, and fortified themselves in Leyden. They were driven from thence by Louis, before Count William I could advance to their assistance, who, on his arrival, found his adversary encamped near Voorschoten. William, marching to Ryswijck, took up an advantageous position there, when the Duke of Limburg Henry III, having moved forward from the camp of Louis, for the purpose of reconnoitering, was so astonished at the number and excellent condition of the enemy's troops, that he made a precipitate retreat.

This step spread terror and mistrust through the remainder of Louis's army, and the flight soon became general, arms, tents, provisions, all were left on the field, the women even joined in the pursuit of the fugitives, great numbers of whom were slaughtered, and Count Louis himself hardly reached Utrecht in safety.

Dordrecht sacked by the Bishop of Utrecht and Luik (Liege)

1206 This success was Counterbalanced by the loss of Dordrecht, which, having been captured by William's troops, now fell again into the hands of the Bishop of Utrecht.

The Bishop of Utrecht, Theodore II of Are, and Hugh of Pierepont, Bishop of Liege (1200-1229), with the help of troops from the Philip I of Namur, regent of Flanders, attacked the Capital of Holland, Dordrecht, and pillaged and plundered it and burnt a large part of the town to the ground, including the Romanic church which dated from the 11th century and many other important buildings.

So unfortunate an event disposed William to hearken to terms of accommodation and William I had to accept a treaty, which was signed at Brughes (Brugge), divideding Holland between William I and Louis II and Ada as Count and Countess of Holland. This ended the armed conflict, but William I now started a political offensive for the support of the neighboring rulers and of the population within his opponent's fiefdom. This he did very effectively.

Then, the Bishop of Utrecht (Theodore II of Are) suddenly changed sides to Willem I, after a clear indication that Louis II of Loon was losing the confidence of his supporters.

1207 The Count of Loon, thus deprived of his most active ally, induced Philip I of Namur to make an irruption into the island of Schouwen. William hastened thither upon the news of his landing, but before the two armies came to an engagement, a peace was effected by the interference of Matilda of Portugal (1157-1218), Countess dowager of Philip Alsace (1143-1191) of Flanders.

Louis being then at Utrecht, received there the news of the reconciliation between his rival and his ally, which left him no alternative but to consent to a treaty, concluded under the mediation of Philip I of Namur, who, however, took care that the terms of it should be highly advantageous to him. William, therefore, never thought fit to adhere to its conditions, of which the principal was, that he should obtain the restoration of the Countess Ada to her husband, and Louis, perceiving that there were no hopes of his performing this stipulation, sent in an ambassador (Walter Bertrand) to John "Lackland", king of England (1199-1216), to solicit the return of his wife.

King John, at this time engaged in a war with France, and in disputes with his subjects, was desirous of gaining as many partisans as possible to his own cause, and that of his nephew, King Otto IV (1175-1218), and later Emperor of Germany, whose rival, Philip of Swabia (1177-1208), was supported by the king of France. He consented, therefore, to restore the Countess, on condition that Louis should serve him in arms as often as required, and adhere to the Emperor Otto IV, so long as he should remain the ally of England. But as the circumstances in which King John was placed, his kingdom being laid under an interdict, and himself at variance with his nobles, did not admit of his affording any active assistance to Louis II.

1208 After the last important ally of Louis II, Duke Philip of Schwaben had been murdered in the beginning of 1208, William I agreed with the return of Ada under condition that she had to accept the loss of her County. Ada and Louis didn't keep their promise and continued the fight but finally William became undisputed Count of Holland, Louis II never regained any footing in Holland or Zealand again and William remained in peaceable possession of the County in 1208.

Countess Ada, after her re-union with her husband lived until the year 1218, when she died without children, her husband Louis II of Loon died the same year, probably of poisoning.

During the Loonse war the residence of the County of Holland was moved from Dordrecht to Haarlem in 1204 and 's-Gravenzande in 1208 during the reign of William I and The Hague from 1238 during the reign of his grandson, later King of Germany, William II.


William I 1167-1222, Count of East-Frisia 1196-1222, Count of West-Frisia 1203-1222, Count of Holland 1207-1222

Guillaume Ier de Hollande

William I of Holland born about 1167, Dordrecht, died 4 February 1222, the younger brother of Theodore (Dirk) VII. William I was raised in Scotland. He started a revolt against his brother Theodore VII in 1196 and became Count in East-Frisia after a reconciliation. East-Frisia was considered as part of Holland by the Counts of Holland. He took an active part in the events of his time.

Count William I was married twice. First, he was married in 1197 at Stavoren to Adelheid of Guelders, daughter of Otto I, Count of Guelders, born about 1187, Zutphen, died on 12 February 1208 while William was away on crusade. On his return he married secondly, in July 1220, Marie of Brabant, (1190-1260), daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brabant widow of Emperor Otto IV. William I and his first wife Adelaid of Guelders had the following children:

  1. Ada, born c. 1202, Haarlem, Abbess at Rijnsburg 1239, died 15 June 1258
  2. Richardis, born c.1203, Haarlem, died 3 January 1262
  3. William, born c. 1206, Haarlem, Regent of Holland 1234-1238, died 30 August 1238
  4. Otto, born c. 1208, 's-Gravenzande, Regent of Holland 1238-1239, Bishop of Utrecht, died 3 April 1249
  5. Florence IV, born 24 June 1210, 's-Gravenzande, murdered Corbie, France 19 July 1234, buried Rijnsburg

1210 The third son of William I, Florence IV, later Count of Holland, born at 's-Gravenzande.

1213 On January, 13 King Otto IV officially made Willem ruler of all lands that had formerly belonged to his grandfather Count Florence III and his brother Theodore VII, leaving Louis II and Ada with empty hands in spite of all their efforts. In the same year William I successfully reclaimed Geertruidenberg and granted the burghers civic privileges. The ancient Capital of Holland, Dordrecht, was also reclaimed but not before 1220 though both stayed a fief of Brabant until 1283.

1214 William I fought by the side of the Emperor Otto IV of the Welfs dynasty of the Holy Roman empire, in the great battle of Bouvines in 1214 against king Philip I of France.

1216 In 1216 he and many others changed allegiance to emperor Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty he took part of the battle with the later King Louis VII (1187-1226) of France, an expedition against king John "Lackland" of England (1167-1216). The Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) excommunicated him for this. Possibly because of this, William then became a fervent crusader.

1217 William I is perhaps best known in history by taking part in the fourth Crusade (1217-1219). He campaigned in Prussia and joined in the conquest of Lisbon and in Spain against the Moors and William conquered the city of Damietssta in Egypt against the Sultan of Egypt (Al-lek al-Ka) in 1219.  In Europe, he was nicknamed William the Crazy for his chivalric and reckless behavior in battle.

1220After his return from Egypt he reclaimed Dordrecht in 1220 from the Ducky Brabant and granted civic privileges to the burghers of Dordrecht. The earliest charters conveying civic privileges in the County of Holland date from his reign those of Geertruidenberg (1213) and of Dordrecht (1220) #, in the same year Dordrecht was granted the store-right for the wine trade which should stay at Dordrecht until 1795. He did not long survive his return from the fourth Crusade and died.

1222 The following cities received city rights by Count William I : 1213 Axel (Zeeland), 1213 Geertruidenberg (Holland), 1217 Middelburg (Zeeland) and 1220 Dordrecht (Holland).


The "real" age of Dordrecht as ancient Capital of Holland

In accordance to historians the town charter of Dordrecht was granted in 1220 by Count William I of Holland (1168-1224). Some historians even believe that Dordrecht is much older because early writings about Thuredriht, sometimes mentioned as modern Vlaardingen?, is the same place. In that case Dordrecht dates from about 980. Other writings stated that Count Theodore III of Holland (993)-1039) founded Dordrecht in 1008 and fortified the city in 1015 and made it his residence.

In the Middle Ages several cities already existed in the south of the Lowlands (now Belgium, France and Germany), like Luik (Liege), Metz, Achen (Aken), Koln (Keulen), Maastricht, Ghent (Gent), Brughes (Brugge) and in the Lowlands itself for instance Utrecht and Deventer. It is likely that Dordrecht also was grown to a city like these cities but that has never been proven so-far. In my opinion Dordrecht as settlement at the border of the river Thur(e) dates from before 1000 AD and became a village in 1008 and a city in 1015.

During archeological excavations in the 20th century in the old city center the archeologists found foundations of buildings they never expected. In the last 100 years there are more and more rumors that the Dordrecht Minster (Grote Kerk) is not the first Church on the same spot, the Old Court, the Agustiner Church, and the New (Nieuwe) Church and other old buildings are probably not the first on their respective spot either.

Of course it's impossible to dig on these spots without demolishing the present buildings so we will never know. Keep also in mind that it was usual in the Middle Ages that, when attacked by foreign enemies, the conquerors burned the conquered places to the ground and rebuild it in their own way. The ruins of Castle "Merwe" is one of the buildings of which the age is uncertain until this day. There were more Castles build on the same spot, the first in 1015 and later one in 13th and another in the 15th century.

The fact that Count Theodore IV of Holland was attacked and killed in 1049 at Dordrecht by the army of the Bishops of Cologne, Liege and Utrecht can only be explained when Dordrecht was already an important city in those days. His successor, Count Theodore VII of Holland, also died at Dordrecht in 1203, this can be seen as more proof that the city was an important meeting place and residence for the Counts of Holland in the Middle Ages (11th-13th century). Further is known from ancient documents that Dordrecht was in already in the 11th century governed by a predecessor of a Burgomaster and a Schout (who represented the Count), typical for a real city. 

In my opinion was Dordrecht already a city in 1015 with civic privileges (given by Count Theodore III of Holland, who belonged to "The House of Frisia-Holland", and received two centuries later as ancient Capital of Holland from the Counts of Holland (William I), who belonged to "The House of Holland", "city-rights" (civic privileges) in 1220, see the story above. In other ancient writings we can find proof that Dordrecht was already a city, complete with a Ruwaard and Burgomaster which functions are typical in a city, further Dordrecht was already an important trade centre in 1159 and aloud to trade goods in 1200, by Theodore VII, Count of Holland (1165-1203), who was married with Alieda or Adeleide, a strong ambitious woman, the text of this grant reads as follows :

Grant of a Hanse to the Citizens of Dortrecht

Theodore, Count of Holland: Grant of a Hanse to the Citizens of Dortrecht, 1200. (The townsmen of Dortrecht were organized in a gild which they called a "hanse").

I, Theodore, by the grace of God, Count of Holland, and Adelaide, Countess of Holland, my wife, wish it to be known to all, both present and future, that we decree that our townsmen of Dortrecht may enjoy in their own right the following freedom in the said town, namely, that it is permitted to no one in Dortrecht to cut cloth for retail sale except to those who are designated by this trade, being called cutters of cloth, and except they be in the hanse and fraternity of the townsmen belonging to Dortrecht. And that this charter, instituted by us, may forever be secure and intact, we corroborate it by affixing our seals thereto, and the signatures of witnesses. These are the witnesses, etc.,..........

Source. Medieval Sourcebook , From: C. Gross, The Gild Merchant, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890), Vol. I, p. 293, reprinted in Roy C. Cave, Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936, reprint ed., New York: Biblo, Tannen, 1965), p. 219.

The first Hanse of 1200 that was granted was the Cloth-trade by Count Theodore (Theodore VII) of Holland and in 1220 the Hanse for the Wine trade was granted by Count William I of Holland, after he returned from the Holy Land. From 1293 on the Wool-trade was granted by Count Florence V and King Edward I of England.

....Note: the "real" city-rights given by the Counts of Holland belonging to the House of Frisia/Holland dates from 1015 and the first city rights by the Counts of Holland (civic privilege) from 1220.

Keep in mind that there are older cities in Western Europe who became cities much earlier, prove that "city rights" were not a monopoly of the Counts of Holland alone but these rights were given by ALL (Counts, Dukes and Kings) in those days and were granted to places with important roads, waterways and strategic locations, all over Europe and not only in the Lowlands. With other words :

The first (original) city-right was granted in 1015 (by The House of Frisia-Holland). The second city-right (civic privilege or Stapelrecht) was granted in 1200 (by The House of Holland).

Dordrecht had already city-rights when the Counts of "The House of Holland" came to power in the 10th century. Dordrecht is at this moment thus 1,000 years old (in 2015) and as settlement probably 1,200 years old.


back to top