EUSTACE, the name of four counts of Boulogne.
Eustace I., a son of Count Baldwin II., held the county from 1046 until his death in 1049.
His son, Eustace II. (d. 1093), count of Boulogne, was the husband of Goda, daughter of the English king Æthelred the Unready, and aunt of Edward the Confessor. Eustace paid a visit to England in 1051, and was honourably received at the Confessor's court. A brawl in which he and his servants became involved with the citizens of Dover led to a serious quarrel between the king and Earl Godwine. The latter, to whose jurisdiction the men of Dover were subject, refused to punish them. His contumacy was made the excuse for the outlawry of himself and his family. In 1066 Eustace came to England with Duke William, and fought at the battle of Hastings. In the following year, probably because he was dissatisfied with his share of the spoil, he assisted the Kentishmen in an attempt to seize Dover Castle. The conspiracy failed, and Eustace was sentenced to forfeit his English fiefs. Subsequently he was reconciled to the Conqueror, who restored a portion of the confiscated lands.
Eustace died in 1093, and was succeeded by his son, Eustace III., who went on crusade in 1096, and died about 1125. On his death the county of Boulogne came to his daughter, Matilda, and her husband Stephen, count of Blois, afterwards king of England, and in 1150 it was given to their son, Eustace IV.
Eustace IV. (d. 1153) became the heir-apparent to his father's possessions by the death of an elder brother before 1135. In 1137 he did homage for Normandy to Louis VII. of France, whose sister, Constance, he subsequently married. Eustace was knighted in 1147, at which date he was probably from sixteen to eighteen years of age; and in 1151 he joined Louis in an abortive raid upon Normandy, which had accepted the title of the empress Matilda, and was now defended by her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou. At a council held in London on the 6th of April 1152 Stephen induced a small number of barons to do homage to Eustace as their future king; but the primate, Theobald, and the other bishops declined to perform the coronation ceremony on the ground that the Roman curia had declared against the claim of Eustace. The death of Eustace, which occurred during the next year, was hailed with general satisfaction as opening the possibility of a peaceful settlement between Stephen and his rival, the young Henry of Anjou. The Peterborough Chronicle, not content with voicing this sentiment, gives Eustace a bad character. "He was an evil man and did more harm than good wherever he went; he spoiled the lands and laid thereon heavy taxes." He had used threats against the recalcitrant bishops, and in the war against the Angevin party had demanded contributions from religious houses; these facts perhaps suffice to account for the verdict of the chronicler.
See Sir James Ramsay, Foundations of England, vol. ii. (London, 1898); J.M. Lappenberg, History of England under the Norman Kings (trans. B. Thorpe, Oxford, 1857); and E.A. Freeman, History of the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1867-1879).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)