Geoffrey, Count of Nantes

Count of Nantes
Born (1134-06-01)1 June 1134
Rouen or Argentan, Normandy
Died 27 July 1158(1158-07-27) (aged 24)
House House of Plantagenet
Father Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Mother Empress Matilda

Geoffrey VI (1 June 1134[1] – 27 July 1158)[2][3] was Count of Nantes from 1156 to 1158. He was also known as Geoffrey of Anjou and Geoffrey FitzEmpress.

Early life

Born in Rouen in 1134, he was the second of the three sons of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou and Empress Matilda. His elder brother was King Henry II of England and his younger brother was William FitzEmpress, Count of Poitou.


It was said that in his will, Geoffrey V had stipulated that his second son Geoffrey would become Count of Anjou and of Maine if his elder son Henry managed to become King of England. In the meantime, he granted Geoffrey the castles at Chinon, Loudun, Mirebeau and one other castle. The body of the count would remain unburied until Henry agreed to the terms of the will. The story was reported in contemporary sources only in a minor chronicle in Tours; W. L. Warren makes the case that the story was invented by Geoffrey.[4]

In March 1152 he attempted to abduct Eleanor of Aquitaine as she traveled from Beaugency to Poitiers after her divorce from Louis VII of France; she avoided his trap when she was forewarned. He lay in wait at Port des Piles, near the River Creuse, and would have married her had the abduction been successful.[5][6] In June he allied himself with King Louis, the king's brother Count Robert I of Dreux, the Count of Champagne and the Count of Blois (the Counts of Champagne and Blois were brothers) when Louis attacked Normandy as a response to the marriage of Henry Curtmantle and Eleanor of Aquitaine, which took place without Louis' knowledge. If successful the five of them intended to divide the lands of Henry and Eleanor amongst themselves.[7][8]

In late 1153 or in 1154 Theobald V, Count of Blois invaded Touraine, which Henry regarded as his. Geoffrey and others were taken captive, and Theobald required Henry to destroy the castle of Chaumount-sur-Loire to obtain their freedom.[9]

Geoffrey accompanied Henry and Eleanor to England when King Stephen died in December 1154.[10][11]

In the summer of 1156 Geoffrey was again making trouble for Henry and Henry laid siege to the castles of Chinon, Mirebeau and Loudun. Geoffrey was forced to yield them, and according to some sources he was able to keep Loudun. Henry gave Geoffrey an annuity of £1500 for the other two castles.[12][13] Shortly after that siege ended the people of Nantes deposed their count and asked King Henry whom they should invite to fill the vacancy. He suggested Geoffrey; the offer was made and accepted.[14] Geoffrey was succeeded by Henry II as Count of Nantes pursuant to a subsequent war, and treaty, between Henry II and the Duke of Brittany.


Geoffrey died suddenly at Nantes in 1158.

Fictional portrayals

Geoffrey was portrayed by actor Paul Greenwood in the 1978 BBC TV series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of his brother and nephews in England.



  1. Henry Project, Geoffrey V "le Bel" or "Plantagenet"
  2. Warren, W L, Henry II, pgs. 45–47, Univ. of California Press, 1973
  3. Weir, Alison Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life p 78, (New York, Ballantine Books, 1999)
  4. Warren, W L, Henry II, pgs. 45–47
  5. Kelly, Amy Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings p 80 (Harvard Univ. Press, 1950)
  6. Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine p 89
  7. Kelly, Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings, p. 83
  8. Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine, p 96
  9. Chibnall, Marjorie The Empress Matilda: Queen Consort, Queen Mother and Lady of the English pgs. 157–158, 163 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1991)
  10. Kelly, Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings, p 91
  11. Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine, p 102
  12. Warren, Henry II, p 65
  13. Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine, p 145
  14. Warren, Henry II, pgs. 65, 76
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