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Godfrey III of Leuven


Godfrey III of Leuven

Godfrey III (1142 – died 21 August 1190) was count of Louvain (or Leuven), landgrave of Brabant, margrave of Antwerp, and duke of Lower Lorraine (as Godfrey VIII) from 1142 to his death.

He was the son of Godfrey II and Lutgarde of Sulzbach.[1] He was still an infant at his succession (therefore called dux in cunis) of which a few Brabantian vassals sought to take advantage to get independent from the duke (Wars of Grimbergen, 1141–1159). On 30 March 1147, Godfrey was present at the coronation of Henry Berengar, son of Conrad III of Germany, in Aachen. When Conrad left on Crusade, war began anew in 1148. Peace was elusive until the election of Conrad's successor, Frederick Barbarossa. By marriage to Margaret, daughter of Henry II of Limburg, Godfrey united two powerful and antagonistic houses in the region. Their son was Henry I, Duke of Brabant.

In 1159 Godfrey ended the war with the Berthout, lords of Grimbergen, by burning their impressive motte at Grimbergen. In 1171, Godfrey was at war with Hainaut, but was defeated. In 1179, he gave his son Henry in marriage to a niece of Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders.

Between 1182 and 1184 Godfrey went on a Jerusalem campaign. In the interim, Barbarossa granted Henry the title "Duke of Brabant". Godfrey died in 1190, on 10 or 21 August. He left an increased territory and built the fortress of Nedelaer (near Vilvoorde). The ducal title was transmitted to his son at the Diet of Schwäbisch Hall (September 1190).


Godfrey was the son of Godfrey II and Lutgarde of Sulzbach.

Godfrey first married Margaret of Limbourg, daughter of Henry II, Duke of Limburg, in 1158. Godfrey and Margaret had two children:[2]

  • Henry I, Duke of Brabant (1165 – 5 Sep 1235). Henry was installed in 1180 as duke of Lower Lorraine until 1222. He was made count of Louvain in 1183, until 1198. He was installed as Duke of Brabant in 1191.
  • Albert de Louvain (1166 – 24 Nov 1192). Albert was elected Bishop of Louvain (Liege) in 1191, but assassinated in Reims in 1192.[3]

Godfrey took as his second wife Imagina of Loon, daughter of Louis I, Count of Loon. Godfrey and Imagina had two children:[2]

  • William of Louvain. Lord of Perwez en Ruysbroek. Married Marie of Orbais, daughter of Enguerrand of Orbais.
  • Godfrey of Louvain. He went to England in 1196. Married Alice of Hastings, daughter of Robert of Hastings.


  • Chronique des Ducs de Brabant, Adrian van Baerland, Antwerp (1612). Available at the online library of Geneanet. [1]
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Godfrey II of Louvain
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Succeeded by
Henry I, Duke of Brabant
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