Judith of Flanders (1032–1094)

views updated

Judith of Flanders (1032–1094)

Duchess of Bavaria. Name variations: Fausta. Born in 1032 in Flanders; died on March 5, 1094, at Weingarten Abbey in Bavaria; daughter of Baldwin V, count of Flanders (r. 1035–1067), and Adela Capet (c. 1010–1079); sister of Matilda of Flanders (c. 1031–1083); married Tostig Godwinson (an English knight and brother of King Harold II), earl of Northumberland, in October 1051 (died 1066); married Guelf or Guelph also known as Welf IV (c.1035–1101), duke of Bavaria, in 1071; children: (first marriage) Skuli Tostisson; Ketil Tostisson; (second marriage) Guelph also known as Welf V the Fat (c. 1073–1120), duke of Bavaria; Henry III the Black (b. around 1074–1126), duke of Bavaria.

Judith of Flanders was a Flemish noble-woman widely recognized for her artistic patronage. Her parents were Baldwin V, count of Flanders, and Adela Capet ; her sister was Matilda of Flanders . At about 18 years old, Judith was married to the Anglo-Saxon knight Tostig Godwinson and moved to England. The couple seem to have become deeply devoted to one another and shared an intense piety. In 1061, Judith and Tostig went on a pilgrimage to Rome and returned more devout than ever.

Judith spent much of her time patronizing artists of religious works and commissioning numerous books to be copied for her as well. The most magnificent in her collection was a Book of Gospels which was commissioned in celebration of her marriage to Tostig. It was encased in an ornate leather and metal cover worked in gold and decorated with precious stones.

Tostig died in 1066. In 1071, Judith married Welf IV, duke of Bavaria, who had previously been married to Ethelinde of Northeim . Judith took her books with her when she moved to Germany. She is thus credited with bringing the first examples of the magnificent Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscripts to the Continent, where their artistic and calligraphic techniques were studied and emulated by numerous scribes and painters. Welf IV went on the first crusade about 1096 and died returning from the Holy Land. Judith of Flanders retired to a Bavarian abbey, where she died about age 62.


Anderson, Bonnie S., and Judith P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own. Vol. I. NY: Harper & Row, 1988.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane, ed. A History of Women in the West, vol. II: Silences of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Belknap/Harvard, 1992.

Laura York , Riverside, California

About this article

Judith of Flanders (1032–1094)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article