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

Part 3

From the year 1299 to 1356

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

Holland ruled by the house of Avesnes-Hainaut 1299-1356

Coat of arms of Holland-Hainaut

Upon the death of his cousin Count John I on 10th November 1299, John of Avesnes returned immediately to Holland, where he was acknowledged as by the nobles, commons, and towns, as Count, in right of his mother, Adelaide, sister of William II, as Count he took the name John II of Holland.

John II 1247-1304, Count of Hainaut 1280-1304, Count of Holland and Zeeland 1299-1304

Count John I of Hainaut

John II of Holland and Avesnes, born 1247, was the son of John I of Avesnes, Count of Hainaut (1218-1257), and Aleida, sister of Count William II of Holland (1227-1256). He married in 1270 with Philippa of Luxembourg born 1252, Luxembourg, died 6 April 1311, Valenciennes, children :

  1. William, born c. 1286, Hainaut Belgium, died 7 June 1337, Valenciennes
  2. Henri, born c. 1271, Valenciennes, died after 18 March 1303
  3. Alix, born c. 1273, Valenciennes, died 26 October 1317
  4. Marguerite, born c. 1274, Valenciennes, died 18 October 1342
  5. Isabelle, born c. 1275, Valenciennes, deid  December 1305
  6. Jean Compte, born c. 1278, Valenciennes, died 11 July 1302
  7. Jeanne, born c. 1279, Valenciennes
  8. Marie, born c. 1280, Valenciennes, died 28 August 1354, Murat Castle Bourbonnois
  9. Valeran, born c. 1282, Valenciennes

On his succession to the Count-ship of Holland in 1299 the Hollanders (with Dordrecht as precedence) and the lower nobility, Duivenvoorde, Santhorst and van der Mije were willing to receive him but the Zeelanders were hostile and a long struggle ensued before his authority was generally recognized.

1300 In Zealand, however, Count John II found the party of Wolferd van Borselen among the nobles, sufficiently powerful to offer a formidable resistance to his authority. John III van Renesse, who had been banished by Wolferd, due to an unsuccessful attempt to gain possession of the late Count's (John I) person, returned to Holland, but as he could not find sureties for his future good conduct, the negotiation with John II was broken off, Renesse retired into Zealand, where he not only made a reconciliation with the friends and partisans of Borselen, his former rival, but even succeeded him as their leader.

But Flanders was unable to support him against Holland because Count Guy of Dampierre (1226-1304) of Flanders was taken prisoner (together with his son Robert III of Bethune (1246-1322)) in the hands of King Philip IV of France (1268-1314), and the Country was overrun by the troops of Count Charles I of Valois (1270-1325). John III van Renesse, therefore, turned his eyes towards King Albert I (1255-1308) of Germany (founder of the house of Habsburg), to whom he represented that Holland and Zealand had now reverted to the empire as an escheated fief, of which it would be easy to take possession, since most of the nobles and towns were strongly averse to the government of a native of Hainaut.

The king, flattering himself that Holland could not long resist his power, sent letters to each of the towns separately, demanding their homage, and shortly after marched at the head of an army, and accompanied by the archbishops of Metz, Treves, and Cologne, as far as Nijmegen.

But the towns, instead of complying with the mandates of the emperor, transmitted his letters to Count John II, and the people of all ranks assembled round his standard in such numbers, that he was able to advance to Nijmegen with a force far superior to that of the emperor, who, on his approach, hastily retreated to Kranenburg and, suspecting that he had been purposely deceived by John III van Renesse, consented without hesitation to a treaty proposed by the Archbishop of Cologne, in which he promised to retire immediately and leave John II in quietss possession of the County, on his doing homage for it as a fief of the empire. On the arrival of a fleet from Zealand in the Lek, to the assistance of the Emperor, John van Renesse found the treaty already concluded, and were advised by King Albert I to return without delay to their own Country.

During their absence, John of Oostervant, son of the Count of Holland, entered Zealand, ravaged the open Country, threw down the forts, and made himself master of Schouwen, Walcheren, and South Beveland and as the Zealanders sailed homewards down the Waal, they received intelligence that Count John II had posted ships in the mouths of the Lek and Merwe to intercept their passage. They, therefore, landed, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Schoonhoven, retired to Flanders, from whence they made irruptions from time to time on the coasts of Zealand.

1301 In the meantime Bishop William II Berthout of Utrecht (1296-1301) not satisfied with the share he had borne in the revolt of Gijsbrecht IV van Amstel, Gerard van Velsen and Hermann van Woerden against Count Florence V, preached a crusade against Holland, and made an assault on Monnikendam, but, being forced by the Kennemerlanders to take refuge in Overyssel, he consented to purchase a peace by the cession of Amstel and Woerden. In the same year the young city of Amstel (Amstelland) received city rights from John II and became later known as Amsterdam.

In the summer of 1301 John II went into Hainaut, leaving the government of Holland and Zealand in the hands of his brother Guy and his third son, William, now about fifteen. He had conferred upon the former the lordships of Amstel and Woerden. On his absence Bishop William II Berthout of Utrecht invaded Amstelland, but was killed in battle. John II made use of his victory to secure the election of his brother Guy of Avesnes (1253-1317) as bishop of Utrecht (1301-1317).

1302 The Count, unable from the feeble state of his health to undergo the slightest exertion, surrendered the whole government of the County into the hands of his son William (now his heir, both the elder brothers being dead, of whom John, Count of Oostervant, was killed at the battle of Courtrai in 1302) and retired into Hainaut for the last time.

War with Flanders 1302-1304

A war with Flanders followed, in which the Flemings were at first victorious, but after a struggle of many vicissitudes they were at length driven out of Holland and Zealand in 1304 but not before the young Prince William (1285-1337) had to deal with the powerful Flemish enemy Guy of Dampierre Count of Flanders (who was released from prison by King Philip IV of France, a few months before) and his ally John III van Renesse in Zealand.

1303 The greatest zeal in the service of their Country, under the young Prince, then just eighteen, was found to pervade all ranks of men, the nobility took the field at their own cost, and the towns voluntarily supplied double their quotas of troops, while his uncle Guy, bishop of Utrecht, brought to his aid a brave and numerous body of auxiliaries.

With this army Prince William embarked on board a considerable fleet of ships, with the design of intercepting the Flemings on their way to Zealand, But finding that they had already landed in Duyveland, with Count Guy and John III van Renesse at their head, the Holland troops hastily left the vessels, without the permission of Prince William, and had hardly reached the shore when they were attacked, while yet in disorder, by the Flemings. A severe battle ensued, in which the Hollanders sustained a total defeat, several of the nobility were killed and Bishop Guy was taken prisoner, William only avoided the same fete by seeking refuge within the walls of Zierikzee.

After this victory, Count Guy of Flanders sailed to North Holland (West Friesland), where the inhabitants, struck with dismay at the overthrow of an army on which they had relied, and whose equipment had left them nearly defenseless and urged, moreover, by the intrigues and solicitations of John van Renesse, who labored incessantly to forward Guy's interests, submitted with little resistance, and all the towns in that quarter, except Haarlem received Flemish garrisons.

Holland overrun by Flanders except Dordrecht

While in this troubled condition in West-Friesland, John II (1275-1312) Duke of Brabant (1294-1312), with whom Count Gay of Flanders had formed an alliance in 1302, invaded South Holland, made himself master of Zevenbergen, and Geertruidenberg, and sat down before Dordrecht. This ancient city was saved by the valor of one of its citizens, Nicholas van Putten, then in command of the garrison and burghers.

After several sallies by the besieged, the Brabanters found themselves obliged to retreat to Waalwijk, where, being followed and attacked by the Dordrechters, they were defeated with great slaughter, and the Duke, with the remainder of his troops, lost no time in making the best of his way back to Brabant. Guy of Flanders, meanwhile, had marched without check to Utrecht, of which he took possession. Nearly the whole of Holland, except Dordrecht, was now overrun by Flemish troops, and Zealand, except Zierikzee and West-Friesland except Haarlem subdued.

Count John II remained sick in Hainaut, Bishop Guy, his brother, was a prisoner, and the young William shut up in Zierikzee. It seemed, indeed, as if the County had wholly fallen a prey to her ancient and inveterate for when it was at once set free by one of those sudden bursts of enthusiastic energy which are characteristic for this remarkable people.

Witte van Hamstede, an illegitimate son of Florence V, having sailed out of Zierikzee in a single vessel, was driven by stress of weather into Zandfort, and thence proceeded with a few followers to Haarlem, the only town of West-Friesland which had not submitted to the Flemings. From hence he sent letters to the other towns, upbraiding them with cowardice, and earnestly exhorting them to resist to the last their insolent enemies, he himself being come, he said, to deliver Holland from Flemish tyranny.

His call did not remain unanswered, within two days the burghers of Delft, Leyden, and Schiedam, rose with one accord, slew or drove out the Flemish garrisons, and Nicholas van Putten, of Dordrecht, taking advantage of the occasion to attack the Flemings in South Holland and the County in the space of a single week was nearly cleared of her invaders.

Guy of Flanders was at Utrecht at the time of this revolution, and immediately on hearing the intelligence, set sail in a number of cogs that were lying in the Yssel, and proceeded through Hollands Diep to the island of Schouwen, with the design of surprising Count William III in Zierikzee; but, finding the garrison prepared to receive him, he retired by way of the Scheldt into Flanders.

The Battle of Zierkzee 1304

1304 After the departure of the Flemings from Holland, Prince William returned from Zierikzee to Dordrecht, where he was welcomed with the most extravagant joy, the citizens congratulated each other that he was come to avenge their disgrace, every house was illuminated; and the Country people, on hearing of his arrival, flocked in crowds to see him, the Lord Witte van Hamstede also brought a considerable force of West-Frieslanders and Kennemerlanders to place at his disposal.

The recovery of Holland was ere long followed by that of Zealand. Prince William, hearing that Count Guy was preparing a fleet in Flanders for the reduction of Zierikzee, sent a petition for succors from Philip IV of France. Since the separation of Hainaut from Flanders, the interests of the former state and those of France had been closely connected. Philip therefore, at the request of his ally, sent sixteen Genoese and twenty French vessels to Holland, under the command of Rinaldo di Grimaldi, of Genoa, commonly called "the Admiral" an officer of superior skill and experience.

Hearing that a fleet was preparing in France to assist the Hollanders, Count Guy of Namur (1272-1311), younger son of Guy of Flanders, hastened, before it was in readiness to act, to lay siege to Zierikzee; and made several attempts to carry it by assault, but was constantly repulsed by the valor of the inhabitants. During the whole of the siege, the women shared the fatigues and danger equally with the men, they carried the large stones from the streets to supply the engines on the walls, and when any fire occurred, from the combustible missiles of the besiegers, they undertook to extinguish it alone, that the men might not be called off from the defense.

Meanwhile the French fleet united with that of Holland in the mouth of the Meuse, and after being long delayed by contrary winds, came within sight of the Flemish ships, eighty in number, lying in the Gouwe, between Schouwen and Duyveland, on the evening of the 10th of August 1304. Here four of the Holland vessels ran aground on the sands not far from Zierikzee, in consequence of which, William and the French admiral determined to delay the engagement till the following day. Hardly had they come to this resolution, when they perceived the Flemish ships advancing towards them in battle array, as they drew nigh, the Hollanders, encouraged by a short and spirited address from their leader with loud shouts of "Holland, Holland! Paris, Paris" threw a shower of arrows and stones among the enemy, which the Flemings were not slow in returning.

In the early part of the battle the latter mastered three of the Holland vessels, and greatly annoyed the rest by missiles thrown from the "cokets", or small stages fastened to their masts. Suddenly, however, the mast of one of the largest ships, to which a turret of this kind was attached, fell with a tremendous crash, and the Hollanders, taking advantage of the confusion, ran alongside, boarded, and took possession of her, putting the crew to the sword. At this moment the four stranded vessels, launched by the tide, came drifting down upon the combatants.

The sailors, while they had been forced to remain inactive spectators of the contest, had prepared torches of dry wood, and tow, and other combustibles: these they now threw flaming into the faces of their adversaries, and created considerable disorder among them. The fight, however, was continued by moonlight with unremitting fury until past midnight, when the victory proved decisive on the side of the Hollanders, most of the Flemish ships being either captured or destroyed.

Partial skirmishes were renewed throughout the night with the few that remained, and early the next morning the vessel which contained Count Guy of Namur was observed with all her sails up, endeavoring to escape. Being prevented by the lightness of the wind, Grimaldi came up with her, and forced her to close combat, a long and destructive conflict ended in the capture of Count Guy, whom Grimaldi carried prisoner to France.

The inhabitants of Zierikzee, unable from the uncertain light to distinguish the combatants, spent the night in the deepest anxietssy, they had come to a determination, in case their Countrymen were defeated, to make a general sally, women as well as men, and fight their way as they best might through the camp of the besiegers. On the news of the victory obtained by the Hollanders, the Flemish troops left the siege in confusion and dismay, concealing themselves for the most part among the sand-hills of Schouwen, where about five thousand were made prisoners.

The imprisonment of Count Guy of Namur terminated the war in Zealand, and Prince William was received in Middleburg with lively expressions of satisfaction from all, except the partisans of Flanders, the greater part of whom subsequently quitted the city. The other towns of Zealand speedily followed the example of Middleburg, and many of the disaffected nobles, upon a promise of pardon, returned to their allegiance, while the more zealous adherents of Count Guy retired into Flanders. John III van Renesse, the prime mover of these disturbances, was drowned with several others, within a week of the battle of Zierikzee, while attempting to cross the Lek in a ferry-boat; and thus the County was entirely freed from its enemies.

Count John II had scarcely received the intelligence of his son's success, when the sickness under which he had so long languished carried him to the grave, on the 22nd of August 1305. John II of Avesnes was pious, affable, humane, and beneficent; but indolent and irresolute, negligent in the administration of justice, and averse to any kind of business, passionately fond of hunting and hawking, and too much addicted to the pleasures of the table, "he laughed in his very heart", says his historian, "when he saw a jolly company assembled round him".

William III "the Good" 1285-1337, as William I Count of Hainaut, as William III Count of Holland and as William II as Count of Zeeland 1304-1337

Guillaume I de Hainaut

William III "the Good" Count of Hainaut d'Avesnes born about 1286 Hainaut, married on 19 May 1305 with Jeanne de Valois born about 1294, died 7 March 1342, Fontenelle Yonne France, children :

  1. Elizabeth, born c. 1318, Hainaut Belgium
  2. Sibylla, born 1310, Le Quesnoy France
  3. Margareth I, born 1311, Le Quesnoy France, married February, 26 1324, in Köln, with Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria (1282-1347), died 1356
  4. Jan, born 1315, Le Quesnoy France, died 1316
  5. Philippa, born c. 1314, Mons Hainaut, became Queen of England, died 14 August 1369, Windsor Castle Windsor Berkshire England
  6. Johanna, born 1315, Le Quesnoy France, died 1374
  7. Willem IV, born c. 1317, Le Quesnoy, France, died 26 September 1345, Warns Friesland
  8. Agnes, born c. 1320, Le Quesnoy France, died after 24 November 1327
  9. Louis, born 1325, Le Quesnoy France, died 1328

John II died in 1304 and was succeeded by his son William III, surnamed the Good (1304-1337). In his reign the long-standing quarrel with Flanders, which lasted during a century and a half (1167-1323) and caused so many wars, was finally settled by the treaty of Paris in 1323 with Louis I (1304-1346) Count of Flanders 1322-1346, by which the full possession of West Zeeland was granted to William III, who on his part renounced all claim in Imperial Flanders. Amstelland with its city Amsterdam, which had hitherto been held as a fief of Utrecht, was by William III on the death of his uncle Bishop Guy (1317) finally annexed to Holland.

This Count did much to encourage civic life and to develop the resources of the Country. He had close relations through marriage with the three principal European dynasties of his time. His wife was Jeanne of Valois, niece of king Philip V "the tall" (1292-1322) of France 1316-1322. In 1323 the emperor Louis IV of Bavaria (1282-1347) wedded his daughter Margareth and in 1328 his third daughter, Philippa of Hainaut, was married to Edward III (1312-1377), king of England 1327-1377. By their alliance William III occupied a position of much dignity and influence, which he used to further interests and increased the welfare of his hereditary lands. He was in all respects a great prince and a wise and prudent statesman.

Although the government of the County had been placed in the hands of William for some time before the death of his father, he received homage anew after that event from the nobles and towns. He took the name of William III as Count of Holland and Zealand.

1305 Early in the year, he repaired to the court of France, to fulfill a contract of marriage which had been made for him in the lifetime of his father, with Joanna of Valois (1294-1342), daughter of Charles of Valois (1270-1325), and niece of King Philip IV of France.

Upon his arrival he found a treaty on foot between France and Flanders, wherein all the allies on both sides were included, except himself in respect of the Counties of Holland and Zealand. He therefore attempted to negotiate a separate peace with Robert III of Bethune (1249-1322), successor to the County of Flanders (1305-1322), after the death of the old Count Guy, but could not succeed in obtaining anything further than a four years truce.

The first schism between the Counties of Hainaut and Holland

After 5 year of reign by William III as Count of Holland and Zealand (1305-1310) the first differences between the Counties of Hainaut and Holland were unveiled, Holland and Zealand became aware that the house of Avesnes, as a foreign dynasty, often made decisions in favor of Hainaut while Holland and Zealand were placed at the second rank.

1310 At the expiration of the four years truce with Flanders, in the summer of 1310, Robert III of Flanders prepared to invade Hainaut with a considerable army. Count William collected a sufficiently numerous body of cavalry to oppose him, but found himself nearly destitute of infantry, since the people of Holland and Zealand, when called upon to serve in the war, perceiving probably that the security of Holland was sacrificed to the welfare of Hainaut, resolutely refused obedience, declaring that they had enough to do in defending their own coasts from the threatened invasion from Flanders.

After reconciliation between the principal towns of Holland (Dordrecht, Delft, Leyden and Haarlem) was concluded that Hainaut should pay the costs for the war with Flanders themselves and that no support of infantry should be given for reason that a new war with Flanders was not in their interest. William III was obliged by the principal towns of Holland to conclude a treaty with Robert III of Flanders on most disadvantageous terms, agreeing to hold the islands west of the Scheldt as a fief of Flanders, to pay to Guy of Namur, (the same who had been taken prisoner at Zierikzee), the brother of Robert III the Bethune, a yearly sum equal to the revenue of those islands, and to resign all rights to Waasland (Antwerpen) and the four manors.

Peace with Flanders after a long period of wars (1167-1323)

1320 By the treaty made between France and Flanders in 1320, the disputes between the latter and Holland were referred to the arbitration of the King of France Philip V "the Tall" (1316-1322), and accordingly an agreement was afterwards entered in 1323 by the two Counts, under the mediation of the new King of France Charles IV (1322-1328) in Paris, whereby the Count of Flanders Loius I (1322-1346) released the Counts of Holland from their homage for the Zealand Islands, and William III on the other hand, renounced all right to Aalst, Waasland, and the four manors. Future differences were to be settled by the arbitration of six good men, chosen on each side. This treaty was confirmed by the principal towns of Holland, Hainaut, and Flanders. The conclusion of this propitious peace, which put a final termination to the long and desolating wars between Holland and Flanders.

1324 William III strengthened himself still further by alliances with the families of the principal sovereigns of Europe. He himself was united to the first cousin of the reigning King of France, Charles IV, and in this year his daughter Margaret (1311-1356) became the wife of Louis of Bavaria (1282-1347), King of Germany (1314-1328 and Holy Roman Emperor (1328-1347).

Relations with England

1325 In 1308 Edward II, king of England had been married to Isabella (1295-1358), daughter of King Philip IV of France, but from his deficiency in courage and talent, as well as his weak subservience to contemptible favorites, he failed in securing the love or esteem of the princess. She was now at the court of her brother King Charles IV of France, forming a party to deprive the husband she detested of the crown, and to place it on the head of her son Edward. Her brother was unwilling to help her, though he was said to encourage secretly the design of Isabella, but publicly refused her any Countenance or assistance, and even commanded her to leave the kingdom. it therefore became necessary to look to some quarter from whence she could receive speedy and efficient aid.

1326 Count William III of Holland seemed the most likely to afford, and, in order to gain his support, Isabella opened negotiations for a marriage between her eldest son Edward (1312-1377), heir apparent to the crown, and Philippa (1314-1369), second daughter of the Count. Shortly after, she repaired in person to Hainaut, where she interested John de Beaumont (1288-1356), brother of Count William III, so successfully in her cause, that he raised a body of three hundred lances for her service. The Holland troops set sail in company with the Queen from Dordrecht, and, on their arrival in England, found a large majority of the nation so disgusted with the government of the court favorites, that scarcely an effort was made in defense of the sovereign.

1327 The young prince was proclaimed king by the name of Edward III, and within a short time after sent to Holland to demand his promised bride, but on account of the youth of the parties, and that their too near relationship made it necessary to procure a dispensation from the Pope, which there was considerable difficulty in obtaining

1328 The marriage was concluded in 1328, when William III himself went over to England to be present at the ceremony. During his stay in England he negotiated with his son-in-law King Edward III to place the wool staple again in Holland, without success, the wool staple should stay at Mechiln (Brabant) though during the 100 years war with France (1337-1437) the Edward III wool staple again came to Dordrecht from 1338 to 1343.

Schism between William III and Holland

The personal alliances of Count William III with France, Germany and England was also in favor of Holland but the disproportional expenses of his court, his excessive love for tournaments and the costs for the marriages of his daughters caused discontents by the towns which ware of meaning that his wealthy Hainaut also had to pay for it.

Because of this the Count was accustomed to make "petitions" or Beden, as they were called, to the towns, together with his frequent journeys, cost the Country sums so immense that they refused to pay the penalty and involved him at first in altercations with the Kennemerlanders, which, had his authority from the beginning less respected and proved as injurious to him as the revolts of the West-Frieslanders had been to some of his predecessors.

1330 When William, according to the custom of the County, demanded in person a "petition" of the Kennemerlanders, they replied, that they would consent to pay it only on condition that the Count would sign a certain charter of privileges (like Dordrecht already enjoyed), which they presented to him. On his refusal, they persisted in withholding the subsidy, and William withdrew in auger to the Hague, whither he shortly after summoned the deputies from Kennemerland before the council, or supreme court of Holland.

Here they offered to increase six fold the sum required of them, provided the Count would accept their conditions, but, so far from yielding to their solicitations, he deprived them even of those immunities which they already enjoyed, and had purchased with infinite cost and pains. Their sheriffs and burgomasters being imprisoned on a single word from the Count. The privileges of the towns, it is evident, stood even yet on a very insecure foundation.

1331 Dordrecht, in all probability, was in the habit of supplying liberally the demands of the Count, since William granted them freedom from tolls through the whole County, and extended still further the staple right they already enjoyed in prejudice of the ancient privileges of the other towns.

1332 The people of Dordrecht exercised their rights with so little restraint, and with so many acts of extortion against other Holland towns that they not only roused the hostility of the whole of North Holland, but excited the anger of the Count himself, their principal defender. He commanded a general levy against them, the tidings of which reduced them to speedy submission, they were deprived of all their later privileges, and had no small difficulty in retaining those back which they before possessed.

William, besides the appellation of Good, or Pious, added to his name, was termed the Master of Knights and the Chief of Princes; he was brave in war, affable to his subjects, strict in the administration of justice, and his reputation for valor and sagacity stood so high, that Germany, France, and England eagerly courted his alliance.

William, during the latter part of his life, was grievously tormented and enfeebled by the gout, yet his helpless condition did not prevent his espousing actively the cause of his son-in-law, Edward III of England, now about to enforce his imaginary claims to the crown of France.

1337 He induced John III (1300-1355), Duke of Brabant 1312-1355, Archbishop Walram von Julich (1332-1349) of Cologne, and Guillaume V (?-1361), Duke of Juliers 1356-1361, to enter into the alliance with England, and he himself engaged to furnish King Edward III with one thousand men at arms, at his own cost, who should remain a year in his service and, in case of necessity, this subsidy was to be increased by a like number, to be paid by the King from the time he landed in the Netherlands.

Edward III, on his side, agreed to allow the Count, and his son William III (1307-1345), who was appointed as Count of Zealand (1337-1345) at the beginning of 1337 to help his father during his sickness, the yearly stipend of six thousand livres, in lieu of the annuity he had hitherto enjoyed from the King of France; and that Crevecoeur, St. Alliges, and St. Surpeth, in the Cambresis, should remain in possession of the young Count of Zealand, who, on his turn, bound himself to fulfill the obligations of this treaty after his father's death.

Scarcely a fortnight elapsed from the time of its signature when this event occurred. Worn out by his infirmities, the old Count expired at Valenciennes, on the 7th of June 1337, leaving one son, William, who succeeded him, and four daughters, Margaret, Empress of Germany, Philippa, Queen of England, Joanna, married to the Duke of Juliers, and Elizabeth.

His government was not altogether a happy one for Holland, he depressed the rising industry of the towns by the demand of enormous "petitions," to supply a lavish, and often unnecessary expenditure and he is accused of sacrificing the interests of Holland to those of Hainaut, or, as his contemporary historian expresses it, "forsaking the fruitful Leah for the more beautiful Rachel".

William IV 1317-1345, as William II Count of Hainaut, as William IV Count of Holland and as Count William III Count of Zeeland 1337-1345

Guillaume II de Hainaut

William III was succeeded by his son William as Count William IV of Holland and as Count William III of Zealand. During his reign (1337-1345), he was mostly occupied defending Hainaut against France and England. He married in 1336 with Joanna of Brabant (1322-1406), daughter of John III of Brabant (1300-1355). She afterwards married Wenceslaus (1337-1383), Count of Luxemburg in 1352, into whose family she brought the rich Duchy of Brabant.He left no children by his wife.

1338 Edward III of England, his brother-in-law, urged him to help him invading Tournay and Picardy in France but the Count of Holland refused to follow him, asserting that, being a vassal of the King of France, in respect of Hainaut, he was bound rather to defend than assist in invading his dominions. Edward III, out of revenge, took his way through Hainaut, which suffered grievously from the passage of his troops.

1339 In Dordrecht the foundation was placed of the Tower of the Dordrecht Minster and the oldest parts of the high chorus of the church are built, the Minster was finished by the end of the 14th century, except the tower which was never build as was intended (see the whole story on my Dordrecht-buildings pages).

The Count of Holland, exasperated at the circumstance of Philip VI (1293-1350), King of France 1328-1350, having given the officers of the French army permission to supply themselves with provisions and money by plundering Hainaut, again returned to the English alliance, and declared war against France, which he now invaded, and took some places of small note but, on the other hand, his County of Hainaut was cruelly ravaged by the French troops, under the Duke of Normandy, who laid siege to Fontaine-l'Evêque.

The Count, anxious to preserve fortress Evêque, besought the assistance of King Edward III, then in England. In compliance with the solicitations of his ally, Edward embarked on the 22nd of June at Dover, and fell in with the French fleet of one hundred and twenty large, besides numerous smaller vessels, near Sluys (Zealand).

Either William or the Hollanders had any share in the signal victory gained by the English and Flemish but the Count was present at a meeting of the confederates subsequently held at Vilvoorden, where the siege of Tournay was resolved on, and attended the king thither at the head of a powerful and well-equipped body of cavalry from Holland and Zealand. He did not, however, remain with the king's camp during the whole of the siege, but employed his troops in gaining possession of Mortaigne, St. Amand, and some other small towns.

1340 While Edward III was engaged in this enterprise, his mother Jeanna of Valois (1294-1352, Countess-dowager, sister to the French King, interposed her good offices between the belligerent powers, and a truce for nine months was brought about by her mediation, which was afterwards prolonged for two years.

1343 William was fond of adventure and made a journey to the Holy Land in disguise, and on his way took part in an expedition of the knights of the Teutonic Order against the infidel Wends and Lithuanians.

1344 The finances of the see of Utrecht were reduced to so dilapidated a condition, that Bishop, John III van Diest (1322-1340), had been forced to alienate nearly the whole of his revenues. His successor, Bishop John IV van Arkel (1342-1364), had, on the contrary, managed his affairs so well, that within a short time after his succession, he redeemed the whole of Overyssel, pledged to the Duke of Guelderland and, in order to live with more frugality, he withdrew to Grenoble, leaving his brother Robert van Arkel, protector of the bishopric in his absence.

1345 For vaguely reasons William declared war against Utrecht immediately after the bishop's departure, and laid siege to the city with an army of thirteen hundred knights, and twenty-eight thousand choice troops. He had remained six weeks before the town, when he was induced by his uncle, John de Beaumont, to conclude a truce, to which he consented only on condition that four hundred citizens should sue for pardon, kneeling before him, barefoot and bareheaded, and that he should receive a sum of twenty thousand pounds Flemish for the expenses of the war.

From Utrecht, William returned to Dordrecht, whence he sailed shortly after to the Zuyderzee, for the purpose of chastising the Frieslanders, who, irritated by his continual and heavy exactions, had taken up arms against him. A storm separating his ships and the troops were forced to land in small bodies in different parts of the Country, the Frieslanders attacking them while thus divided, slew three thousand seven hundred and the Count himself, with some of his nobility, being surrounded by a great number of the enemy, he was killed exactly on the spot where the ancient sovereigns of Friesland were accustomed to hold their supreme court.

The question as to the succession now brought on Holland a period of violent civil commotions. His inheritance was claimed by his eldest sister, the Empress Margareth I of Holland, as well as by Philippa of Hainaut, or in other words, by Edward III of England.

Rise of the house of Bavaria in Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland

William's nearest heirs were his four sisters, Margaret II (1311-1356), Countess of Hainaut and Empress of Germany, Philippa of Hainaut (1311-1369), Queen of England, Joanna of Hainaut (1315-1374 and Isabelle of Hainaut (1323-1361), the County of Hainaut had always been an undivided hereditary state, it appeared naturally to devolve on Margaret the eldest.

Edward III, king of England, however, the husband of Philippa, the second daughter of William III, put in his claim to a share of the inheritance, and appointed Otho, lord of Cuyck, John de Clynton, and Adam de Shareshull, to arrange the terms of the division.

Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria (1282-1347), Holy Roman Emperor (1328-1347) considered himself entitled to the whole of the states, as husband of the elder daughter (Margareth) and as suzerain of a fief escheated to the empire on failure of direct heirs, he delayed not to invest his wife with the titles of Margaret I Countess of Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut.

The first Stadtholderate in Holland and Zeeland 1345-1349

Margareth came in person and was duly recognized as Countess in Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut but returned to her husband after appointing her second son (the eldest, Louis, renounced his rights) Duke William of Bavaria, as Stadtholder in her place. William was am minor of sixteen, and disorder and confusion soon reigned in the land. The sudden death of the emperor in 1347 added to the difficulties of her position. In 1349 Margareth was induced to resign her sovereignty, and the Stadtholder became Count under the title of William V of Holland.

Margaret I 1311-1356, Empress of Germany 1324-1347, as Margaret II Countess of Hainaut 1345-1356 and as Margaret I Countess of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland 1345-1349

Countess Marguerite II of Hainaut

Margareth II of Avesnes (1311-June 23, 1356), was the daughter of William III of Hainaut and Holland (1286-1337) and his wife, Jeanne of Valois (1294-1342), and succeeded her brother following his death in battle. She married February, 26 1324, in Köln, with Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria (1282-1347), Their children were :

  1. Margareth (1325–1374), married: 1351 Stephen, Duke of Slavonia (d. 1354); 1357 Gerlach von Hohenlohe
  2. Anna (1326-1361, married John I of Lower Bavaria (d. 1340)
  3. Louis VI the Roman (1328–1365), Duke of Upper Bavaria, elector of Brandenburg
  4. Elisabeth (1329-1402), married first in 1350 Cangrande II della Scala, Lord of Verona (d. 1359) married second in 1362 Count Ulrich of Württemberg (d. 1388)
  5. William V of Holland (1330–1389), as William I Duke of Lower Bavaria, as Wiliam V Count of Hainaut and Holland
  6. Agnes (Munich, 1335 – November 11, 1352)
  7. Albert I of Holland (1336–1404), Duke of Lower Bavaria, Count of Hainaut and Holland
  8. Otto V the Bavarian (1340–1379), Duke of Upper Bavaria, elector of Brandenburg
  9. Beatrix (1344-1359), married 1356 Eric XII of Sweden
  10. Louis (October 1347 – 1348)

1346 Margaret repaired in the month of January to Holland, to secure herself in possession of her states before the King of England could gain a footing there. The people took advantage of her anxietssy to be acknowledged, to obtain some desired rights and immunities, of which the most important was the engagement she entered into for herself and her successors, never to undertake a war beyond the limits of the County, unless with consent of the nobles, commons, and "good towns", and if she did so, none should be bound to serve except by their own favor and freewill.

She was then unanimously acknowledged by all the members of the state, but shortly after recalled by her husband to Bavaria. As Louis VI (1328-1365), the eldest son of the Emperor, had resigned his right to the succession she sent her second son, William (1330-1389), then only sixteen years of age, to take the administration of affairs during her absence, surrendering to him Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut, and retaining for herself merely a pension of ten thousand old crowns.

The Hook and Cod civil wars in the Lowlands 1347-1490

1347 After the death of the Emperor, which happened in the October of 1347 (during a bear hunting), Margaret, finding that William was either unable to pay, or purposely withheld this trifling annuity, and irritated at his breach of faith, returned to Holland, and resuming the government and obliged William to retire into Hainaut. He did not, however, remain tranquil under this deprivation, but secretly used every means in his power to conciliate the favor of the nobles and the dissensions that now arose between the mother and son gave form and vigor to the two parties of nobles and people, which in this century divided Holland, as well as Germany and France.

1349 The nobles espoused the side of William (Cods), while the people and inhabitants of the towns, with the exception of the larger and more aristocratic cities, adhered to Margaret, who was supported besides by the Lord of Brederode, and a few others of the most popular nobility (Hooks). The former were called by the party name of " Cods," because the cod devours all the smaller fish and the latter by that of "Hook" because with that apparently insignificant instrument one is able to catch the cod.

It does not appear what occasion gave rise to these very primitive appellations, so characteristic of the people and their pursuits. Dordrecht, as aristocratic town, sided with Margaret and became the centre of the Hooks, though many burghers and merchants sided with the Cods, while Delft sided with William and became the centre of the Cods.

1350 The Cods, dissatisfied ere long with the somewhat feeble administration of Margaret, sent repeated messages to William in Hainaut, persisting him to come without delay into Holland, and assume the government of the County. After some hesitation, real or affected, he complied with their request, and secretly repaired to Gorinchem, where he was met by the men of Delft, who brought him in triumph into their city and shortly after, most of the principal towns of Holland and West-Friesland acknowledged him as Count.

Perceiving that the party of the Hooks was not sufficiently strong to reinstate her in the government of Holland, Margaret besought the assistance of the King of England against her son, which she obtained, by promising to resign the government of the County for a certain number of years into the hands of Edward III. During the negotiations, the "Cods" in Holland seized and destroyed seventeen castles belonging to the "Hook" nobles, who had gone to join Margaret in Hainaut.

1351 As soon as she could collect a fleet of English, French, and Hainaut ships, she sailed to the Island of Walcheren, where she fell in with a number of Holland vessels, commanded by her son in person. A sharp naval engagement, at Veere, ensued, in which William was totally defeated, and forced to retreat to Holland. Margaret, anxious to improve her advantage, followed him to the Meuse, where, William having received some reinforcements, another desperate battle was fought, ending in the entire discomfiture of Margaret. A vast number of her adherents were slain, and Theodore van Brederode, one of the few nobles who espoused her cause, and the chief staff of her party, was taken prisoner. The remainder of the Hook nobles were afterwards banished, and their castles and houses razed to the ground.

1352 Margaret fled to England, where she prevailed upon King Edward III to mediate a peace between herself and her son. She was shortly after followed by William himself, who married there Maud (Mathilda) 1339-1354, eldest daughter of Henry of Rosemont (1300-1361), Duke of Lancaster. William likewise accepted the mediation of Edward III but after affairs had been pending for a considerable time, the decision was referred to John de Beaumont, uncle to Margaret, and Walrave of Luxemburg.

1354 According to the terms of the agreement made under their auspices, William retained Holland, Zealand, and Friesland, while Hainaut remained in the possession of Margaret during her life, with a yearly income of about two thousand four hundred pounds.

1356 Margaret did not long survive the reconciliation with her son. She died in June 1356, and thus the County was again transferred to a foreign family, passing from the house of Hainaut into that of Bavaria.

Table of the House of Avesnes Hainaut

Count / Countess Rule time Born-Died House
John II of Avesnes 1299 - 1304 1247 - 1304 Hainaut
William III "the Good" of Avesnes 1304 - 1337 1285 - 1337 Hainaut
William IV of Avesnes 1337 - 1345 1318 - 1345 Hainaut
Margareth I of Avesnes 1345 - 1349 1311 - 1356 Hainaut

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