William IV, Count of Nevers

William IV, Count of Nevers, (c. 1130 - Acre, 24 October, 1168) Count of Nevers, Auxerre and Tonnerre (1161-1168).


William was a son of William III, Count of Nevers and Ida of Sponheim.

He was an older brother of his successor Guy, Count of Nevers. A younger brother named Renaud of Nevers joined the Third Crusade and died in Acre on 5 August, 1191. Their sister Adelaide of Nevers, married Renaud IV, Count of Joigny. Ermengarde of Nevers, another sister, is only mentioned in documents recording her donations to the Benedictine monastery of Molesme.

Their paternal grandparents were William II of Nevers and his wife Adelais. Their maternal grandparents were Engelbert, Duke of Carinthia and Uta of Passau.


In 1164, William married Eléonore de Vermandois, later Eléonore, Countess of Vermandois in her own right from 1183 to 1214. His wife was a daughter of Raoul I, Count of Vermandois and his third wife Laurette of Flanders. Her maternal grandparents were Thierry, Count of Flanders and his first wife Suanhilde. [Patrick van Kerrebrouck, "Les Capétiens" (2000), page 540] .

There is however a theory considering that Eléonore could instead be a daughter of Raoul and his second wife Petronilla of Aquitaine. Petronilla was a daughter of William X of Aquitaine and Aenor of Châtellerault. The theory would make that Eléonore a niece of Eleanor of Aquitaine. [ [http://www.carantha.net/the_dynasty_of_carantania_and_their_relations_with_france.htm Jožko Šavli, "The Dynasty of Carantania and their relations with France"] ] .

His wife was previously married to Godfrey of Hainaut, Count of Ostervant. Her first husband was a son of Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut and Alice of Namur. Godfrey had died on 7 April, 1163, while preparing for a journey to Palestine. [Patrick van Kerrebrouck, "Les Capétiens" (2000), page 540] .

Eléonore would went on to marry Matthew of Alsace, Mathieu III of Beaumont-sur-Oise and (possibly) Etienne II of Blois. She never had children and her designated heir to her realms was Philip II of France, a paternal second cousin, once removed.

Coat of Arms

This coat of arms of the counts of Nevers is the present day coat of arms of the Town of Clamecy in the Nievre, France.


William was knighted in 1159, only two years prior to the death of his father. He and his brothers are considered to have been quite young at the time of William III's death. His younger brother Guy was still mentioned as underage in 1164. [Francis Christopher Oakley, "The Western Church in the Later Middle Ages" (1979), page 348]

William IV, Count of Nevers, resided in the chateaux of Nevers and of Clamecy (present day department of the Nievre, Burgundy, France). The next nearest town to the East of Clamecy is Vezelay, which, in the early medieval period, was the marshalling point for the start of several crusades to the holy land.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vézelay Abbey was often in conflict with the counts of Nevers. William IV had his provost Léthard force the monks to take flight and abandon the abbey. In 1166, Louis VII of France arranged a reconciliation between William IV and Guillaume de Mello, abbot of Vézelay. On 6 January, 1167 (Epiphany), Louis VII attended the celebrationn over the reconciliation. In atonement for his supposed crimes against the cchurch, William set out for the Crusader states. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13716a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia (1912), Volume XIII. Article "Sens" by Georges Goyau.] ]

In 1168, William of Tyre records the arrival of the Count of Nevers in Jerusalem. He died shortly afterwards. ["Willelmi Tyrensis Archiepiscopi Chronicon", ed. R.B.C. Huygens (Brepols, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis 63A, 1986), XX.III, pp. 915] . He was buried in Bethlehem.

Bishopric of Bethlehem

Before his death in 1168, he promised the bishop of Bethlehem that if Bethlehem should ever fall into Muslim hands, he would welcome him or his successors in Clamecy. After the capture of Bethlehem by Saladin in 1187, the bequest of the now deceased count was honoured and the Bishop of Bethlehem duly took up residence in the hospital of Panthenor, Clamecy, which remained the continuous "in partibus infidelium" seat of the Bishopric of Bethlehem for almost 600 years until the French Revolution in 1789. [de Sivry, L: "Dictionnaire de Geographie Ecclesiastique", page 375., 1852 ed, from ecclesiastical record of letters between the Bishops of Bethlehem 'in partibus' to the bishops of Auxerre.]

External links and references

* [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BURGUNDIAN%20NOBILITY.htm#_Toc174774500 Listing of Counts of Nevers and their genealogical connections in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley]
* [http://home.eckerd.edu/~oberhot/nevers-coins.htm#William4 An image of a coin from Nevers, dating to his reign]
* [http://books.google.gr/books?id=jjyK6vTicpkC&pg=PA348&lpg=PA348&dq=%22William+IV%22+%22Nevers%22&source=web&ots=fJ79yRGodm&sig=25x3b9jeKk6J91RGuc4pU2MnIro&hl=el- page of "The Western Church in the Later Middle Ages" by Francis Oakley, mentioning William]


*"Hugonis Pictavini Libro de Libertate Monasterii Vizeliacensis".

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