paintedpixels.co.uk

Earl of Northampton

Simon de St.Liz, otherwise known as Simon de Sancto Lizio, commonly called de Senlyz or de Senlis, is a legendary, almost mythical figure. He came to England early in the reign of William Rufus and not, as is generally stated, in the days of William the Conqueror. Born around 1044 in Normandy, he was to marry Maud Huntington, eldest daughter of Judith of Lens. Judith's husband was the earl of Northampton, Waltheof II, the sole remaining English nobleman until he was beheaded in 1073.

His first marriage however, was to Jeanne de Montfort around 1064. They had no children and in 1088-9, she died. Simon remarried that same year to Maud who had by then become hieress to her fathers vast possessions. By right of his new wife, Simon subsequently became Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. Maud gave birth in subsequent years to three children (two boys and a girl). The eldest son took the title of 2nd Earl of Northampton as it passed down.

Simon de St. Liz III became the 8th Earl of Huntingdon and Northampton between 1174 and 1184. He died in June 1184. The Earldom of Northampton became extinct on his death. Simon de St. Liz III is buried in St. Andrews, Northampton. Ironically, the church of St Andrews was built by the first Earl for his own burial place.


Northampton castle and it's defences were built by Simon around 1089 to prevent any Saxon uprising. He was the founder of the Cluniac priory of St. Andrew's, the builder of the first castle, the Norman churches of the Holy Sepulchre and All Saints, and, according to tradition, of the town wall. Simon was a religious man and almost thirty years after fighting along side William the Conqueror, he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. This crusade was about to unite the major powers of Europe for the first time.

Crusades4

On his return from the first pilgrimage in 1100, Simon had plans to build a church which would be in the same style as one he saw in Jerusalem. This church was called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which still stands today 900 years on. Tradition has it that he also built South Bridge which dates back to c. 1100. Simon didn't restrict his building to just Northampton. He has churches and abbeys throughout Northamptonshire

On return from his second crusade to the holy lands, Simon fell ill and died shortly afterwards in an abbey, La Charite-Sur-Loir, Nievre, France. It was the year 1115 and Simon was about 70 years old. His wife, Maud, remarried later that same year. By marrying David 1, King of Scotland, she became Scotland's queen.