John I, Duke of Brabant

John I
Duke of Brabant and Lothier
Reign 1267–1294
Predecessor Henry
Successor John II
Duke of Limburg
Reign 1288–1294
Predecessor Reginald I of Guelders
Successor John II
Born 1252
Died 3 May 1294
Spouse Margaret of France
Margaret of Flanders
Issue John II, Duke of Brabant
Margaret, Holy Roman Empress
Marie, Countess of Savoy
House House of Reginar
Father Henry III, Duke of Brabant
Mother Adelaide of Burgundy
Religion Roman Catholic
Silver or 'petit' denier, struck under John I in Leuven after 1282.

John I of Brabant, also called John the Victorious (1252/1253  3 May 1294) was Duke of Brabant (1267–1294), Lothier and Limburg (1288–1294). During the 19th century, John I was venerated as a Belgian folk hero.


John I, Duke of Brabant going to battle from the Codex Manesse.

Born at Leuven, he was the son of Henry III, Duke of Brabant and Aleidis of Burgundy, daughter of Hugh IV, Duke of Burgundy. He was also an older brother of Maria of Brabant, Queen consort of Philip III of France. In 1267 his older brother Henry IV, Duke of Brabant, being mentally deficient, was deposed in his favour.[1]

His greatest military victory was the Battle of Worringen 1288, by which John I came to reign over the Duchy of Limburg. He was completely outnumbered in forces but led the successful invasion into the Rhineland to defeat the confederacy. In 1288 Limburg was formally attached to Brabant.[1]

John I was said to be a model of feudal prince: brave, adventurous; excelling in every form of active exercise, fond of display, and generous in temper. He was considered one of the most gifted princes of his time.[1] This made him very popular in Middle Ages poetry and literature. Even today there exists an ode to him, so well known that it was a potential candidate to be the North Brabant anthem. John I delighted in tournaments and was always eager to take part in jousts.[1] He was also famous for his many illegitimate children.

On 3 May 1294 at some marriage festivities at Bar-le-Duc ('s Hertogenbosch), John I was mortally wounded in the arm in an encounter by Pierre de Bausner.[1] He was buried in the church of the Minderbroeders in Brussels, but since the Protestant iconoclasm (Beeldenstorm) in 1566, nothing remains of his tomb.

Family and children

Marriage of John and Margaret of Flanders from the Chronicle Brabantse Yeesten by Jan Van Boendaele.

He was married twice. On 5 September 1270, he wed Margaret of France, daughter of Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence.[2] She took the title of Duchess of Brabant. He had a son, but both wife and child died shortly after the boy's birth.

In 1273, He married Margaret of Flanders (d. 3 July 1285), daughter of Guy, Count of Flanders[3] and had the following children:[1]

  1. Godfrey (1273/74 – aft. 13 September 1283).
  2. John II of Brabant (1275–1312).
  3. Margaret (4 October 1276  14 December 1311, Genoa), married 9 June 1292 to Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor.
  4. Marie (d. after 2 December 1338), married to Count Amadeus V of Savoy.

John I had several illegitimate children:

  1. Gillis van der Balcht
  2. Jean Meuwe, Seigneur of Wavre and Dongelberg.[4]
  3. Margareta of Tervuren, she was married on 2 March 1292 to Jean de Rode de Lantwyck
  4. Jan Pylyser (1272–1342)
  5. Jan van der Plasch


The duke is remembered in the folkish song Harbalorifa [5] [6] that remains popular. The popular Dutch beer Hertog Jan was named after the duke.


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John I, Duke of Brabant.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John I. of Brabant and Lorraine". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 445.
  2. Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd edition, ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004), 121.
  3. J.F. Verbruggen, The Battle of the Golden Spurs (Courtrai, 11 July 1302), ed. Kelly DeVries, transl. David Richard Ferguson, (Boydell Press, 2002), 8.
  4. "Messager des sciences historiques...", p. 194, Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  5. Het lied van Hertog Jan
  6. Harrie Beex
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry IV
Duke of Brabant and Lothier
Succeeded by
John II
Preceded by
Duke of Limburg
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