Emma of Ivry, c. 1008–1080

  • Charlotte Cartwright
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Emma of Ivry (c. 1008–1080)—wife of Osbern the Steward, mother of William fitzOsbern, and cousin of the Norman dukes—has never been the subject of a study. This biography shows that Emma was not a peripheral figure to her male kin, but a central agent who actively worked to maintain the ducal family’s power in Normandy, particularly during the minority of William the Conqueror in the 1040s. Emma served as guardian for William, her sons, and ducal kin; ruled her lands as a lord; and finished her career as a lord and ducal representative in Rouen as abbess of Saint-Amand. Emma’s life shows the many ways that women exercised power within the family, the noble court, and the church.


Primary Sources

  1. Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Saint-Amand de Rouen. Cote 55H 7. Archives Départementales de la Seine-Maritime, Rouen, France.Google Scholar
  2. The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis, and Robert of Torigni. 2 vols. Edited by Elisabeth M.C. van Houts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Orderic Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis. Volume IV. Edited by Marjorie Chibnall. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  4. Pancarte des biens de l’abbaye de Saint-Amand contenant la charte de fondation de l’abbaye par Gosselin, vicomte d’Arques. Cote 55H 8. Archives Départementales de Seine-Maritime, Rouen, France.Google Scholar
  5. Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie de 911 à 1066. Edited by Marie Fauroux. Caen: Société d’Impressions Caron, 1961.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Allen, Richard. “‘A Proud and Headstrong Man’: John of Ivry, Bishop of Avranches and Archbishop of Rouen, 1060–1079.” Historical Research 83:220 (May 2010): 189–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bates, David. “Notes sur l’aristocratie normande, I. Hugues, évêque de Bayeux (1011 env.–1049), II. Herluin de Conteville et sa famille.” Annales de Normandie 23 (1973): 7–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauduin, Pierre. La première Normandie (Xe-XIe siècles)—Sur les frontières de la haute Normandie: identité et construction d’une principauté. Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2004.Google Scholar
  4. Douglas, David. “The Ancestors of William Fitz Osbern.” The English Historical Review 59:233 (January 1944): 62–79.Google Scholar
  5. Evergates, Theodore, ed. Aristocratic Women in Medieval France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  6. Gathagan, Laura L. “‘You Conquer Countless Enemies, Even as a Maiden’: The Conqueror’s Daughter and Dynastic Rule at Holy Trinity, Caen.” History 102:353, Special Issue: Political Culture c. 800–1200 (December 2017): 840–857.Google Scholar
  7. Hagger, Mark. Norman Rule in Normandy 911–1144. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017.Google Scholar
  8. Le Cacheux, Marie Josèphe. Histoire de l’abbaye de Saint-Amand de Rouen des origines à la fin du XVIe siècle. Caen: Société d’impression de Basse-Normandie, 1937.Google Scholar
  9. Le Jan, Régine. Femmes, pouvoir et société dans le haut Moyen Âge. Paris: Picard, 2001.Google Scholar
  10. Livingstone, Amy. Out of Love for My Kin: Aristocratic Family Life in the Lands of the Loire, 1000–1200. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  11. ———. “‘You Will Dwell with Barbarous and Uneducated Men’: Countess Ermengarde and Political Culture in Twelfth-Century Brittany.” History 102:353, Special Issue: Political Culture c. 800–1200 (December 2017): 858–873.Google Scholar
  12. Pommeraye, Jean-François. Histoire de l’abbaye de Saint-Amand de Rouen. Paris: Richard Lallemant, 1662.Google Scholar
  13. Searle, Eleanor. Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  14. Tanner, Heather J. Families, Friends and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, c. 879–1160. Leiden: Brill, 2004.Google Scholar
  15. Theiller, Isabelle. “55H: Abbaye Saint-Amand de Rouen.” Répertoire numérique, Archives Départmentales de la Seine-Maritime, 2005.Google Scholar
  16. Thompson, Kathleen. “Being the Ducal Sister: The Role of Adelaide of Aumale.” In Normandy and Its Neighbours 900–1250: Essays for David Bates, edited by David Crouch and Kathleen Thompson, 61–76. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. van Houts, Elisabeth. “Countess Gunnor of Normandy (c. 950–1031).” Collegium Medievale 13 (1999a): 8–24.Google Scholar
  18. ———. Memory and Gender in Medieval Europe, 900–1200. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999b.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Cartwright
    • 1
  1. 1.Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsUSA

Personalised recommendations