Antoine I de Croÿ

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Antoine le Grand, as represented on a miniature (ca. 1390)

Antoine I de Croÿ (the Great), Seigneur de Croÿ, Renty and Le Roeulx, Count of Porcéan (around 1385 – September 21, 1475) was a member of the House of Croÿ.

Antoine was the eldest surviving son and heir of Jean I de Croÿ and Marie de Craon, and was a key figure in 15th-century French politics. In 1452, he secured for himself the post of Governor General of the Netherlands and Luxembourg[1] and presided over the pro-French party at the court of Philip the Good. He was also one of the judges at the trial for treason in 1458 of John II of Alençon.

Like his father, he led French and Burgundian armies against Liege and distinguished himself at the Battle of Brouwershaven fighting against the English. While on a mission to the court of Duke of Berry, he was implicated in the assassination of Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans and as a consequence suffered torture in the Château de Blois.

Having extricated himself from this predicament, Antoine used his power to expand his family's possessions: in 1429 he obtained the lordship and peerage of Le Rœulx; three years later he married Margaret of Lorraine-Vaudémont, daughter of Antoine of Vaudémont and Marie of Harcourt (1398-1476), who brought Aarschot to his family as her dowry; in 1446 he purchased the Château of Montcornet and completely rebuilt it. In 1438 he acquired the castle of Porcien and was made Count of Porcéan and Guînes by Charles VII in 1455. A year earlier, he had married his daughter to Count Louis I of Pfalz-Zweibrücken in order to increase his influence in the orbit of the Holy Roman Empire.

With Charles the Bold, the future Duke of Burgundy, he was at loggerheads, especially after they had clashed over the inheritance of Jeanne d'Harcourt, Countess of Namur. Upon Charles's accession, Antoine was accused of plotting with astrologers to bring about the Duke's downfall and was compelled to flee to France. In France he took part in the coronation of Louis XI and was chosen as a godfather to the future Louis XII. It was not until the age of 83 that he reconciled himself with Charles and was allowed to reclaim his properties in Burgundy. He died either in 1475 or 1477 and was interred in Porcien.

Agnes de Croÿ was his sister and the mistress of Duke John the Fearless, by whom she had a natural son, John, bastard of Burgundy, a future Bishop of Cambrai and archbishop of Trier.[2] Several noble families of Belgium and the Netherlands are descended from this prelate's eleven illegitimate children.

The lines of Croÿ-Arschot-Havré and Croÿ-Roeulx stem from Antoine's two sons, Philippe I and Jean III, while his younger brother, Jean II de Croÿ, was the progenitor of the only extant line of the family, that of Croÿ-Solre. All three lines demonstrate a complex pattern of intermarriage, so that estates and titles would stay within the family as long as possible.[citation needed]

Marriage and children

He married firstly in 1410 Marie of Roubaix (1390–1430).
in 1432 he remarried Margaret of Lorraine-Vaudémont (1420–1477)[3] (daughter of Antoine, Count of Vaudémont) and had six children:


  1. Richard Vaughan, Philip the Good, (Boydell Press, 2002), 196.
  2. Richard Vaughan, John the Fearless, (Boydell Press, 2002), 236.
  3. Richard Vaughan, Philip the Good, 337.