St. Bathilde Abbess of Chelles


St. Bathilde was the daughter of Sisoigne Prince of Ascaniam and wife of Clovis II making her Nantilda’s daughter in law making her Queen Bathilde of Ascenia. She was born in 626 in Chelles, Neustria, what is now Belgium and she was a bit older than her husband. Others say she was born in what is now England and like her mother in law, too may have spent some time as a slave, this time in the court of Clovis where he met her. Her name meant “bold spear” or “bold sword” and variant spellings include Bathilda, Baudour, or Bauthieult.

As a young girl in the home of the Palace Mayor, Erchinoald, to whose household she belonged wanted to marry her after his wife died. She hid herself away until he remarried to avoid this arrangement. She married Clovis in 649 after becoming one of his trusted advisors and when he died in 657 she became Queen Regent, again like her mother in law, to their son, Clotaire III who was five years old. According to tradition, “Even as queen, Balthild remained humble and modest. She is famous for her charitable service and generous donations. From her donations, the abbeys of Corbie and Chelles were founded: it is likely that others such as Jumièges, Jouarre and Luxeuil were also founded by the queen. She provided support for Saint Claudius of Besançon and his abbey in the Jura Mountains.” Some believe she founded these churches and put her supporters in as Bishops to increase her power and to protect her children. She was also known for buying Christian slaves, especially children to free them. Once Clotaire was of an age to rule on his own she entered the Abbey of Chelles.

She died January 30, 680 and was buried at the Abbey of Chelles, east of Paris, she was later moved to a new church in 833 where her cult officially began. Pope Nicholas 1 cannonized her in 880.

A person found a gold seal attributed to her in Norfolk in 1999 with a metal detector. One side of the seal was used to affix legal documents and the other private ones. It is currently at the Norwich Castle Museum.



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