Godfrey III, Count of Louvain

Godfrey III (Dutch: Godfried; c. 1142 – 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.

Godfrey III
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Landgrave of Brabant
Count of Louvain
Count of Brussels
Effigy of Godfrey on his seal
Bornc. 1142
Died21 August 1190
Noble familyHouse of Reginar
Spouse(s)Marguerite of Limbourg
Imagina of Looz
FatherGodfrey II, Count of Louvain
MotherLuitgarde of Sulzbach


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 become independent of 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.

In 1159 Godfrey ended the war with the Berthout, lords of Grimbergen, by burning their impressive castle at Grimbergen. In 1171, Godfrey was at war with Hainaut, but was defeated. In 1172, he bought the County of Aarschot from its wayward count Godfried III, which in future generations would give rise to the dynasty of the Dukes of Aarschot that remain to this day. 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).

Marriages and children

Godfrey married twice:

  • Firstly to Margaret of Limbourg, daughter of Henry II, Duke of Limburg, in 1158, by whom he had two children:[2]
  • Secondly Godfrey married Imagina of Loon, daughter of Louis I, Count of Loon, by whom he had two children:[2]
    • William of Louvain. Lord of Perwez en Ruysbroek. Married Marie of Orbais, daughter of Enguerrand of Orbais.
    • Godfrey of Louvain (d.1226), who went to England in 1196 and became Senechal of the Honour of Eye. He married Alice de Hastings, daughter and heiress of Robert de Hastings (d.circa 1190), feudal baron of Little Easton in Essex,[4] by whom he had:
      • Matthew de Lovaine , Lord of Little Easton, Seneschal of the Honour of Eye (b. about 1202 in Little Easton, Essex, England - d. 1 June 1258 in Little Easton, Essex, England)


  1. Frans Theuws and Nico Roymans, Land and Ancestors: Cultural Dynamics in the Urnfield Period and the Middle Ages in the Southern Netherlands, (Amsterdam University Press, 1999), 331.
  2. Cawley, Charles, Brabant and Louvain, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, [self-published source][better source needed] at Medieval Lands
  3. Raymond H. Schmandt, The Election and Assassination of Albert of Louvain, Bishop of Liège, 1191-92, Speculum, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 639-660, JSTOR
  4. Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, p.130, Little Easton
  • Chronique des Ducs de Brabant, Adrian van Baerland, Antwerp (1612). Available at the online library of Geneanet.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Godfrey II
Duke of Lower Lorraine
Succeeded by
Henry I
as duke of Lothier
Margrave of Antwerp
Duchy of Brabant