Englebert de Harnes
* The Last Count of Harnes *

by Josephine de Harne Jones and Mary de Harne Walsh
(with Emil de Harne and E. Pascallet)


When Emil de Harne first arrived in the United States, about 1881, he lived initially in Ohio, where in the words of his daughter Mary, "he was robbed of his watch, stickpin (with coat of arms), and papers pertaining to the family". One of these papers was undoubtedly an 1857 genealogical history by E. Pascallet on Emil's ancestors the Counts of Harnes. Emil many years later, probably right around 1916 or so, recounted to his daughters Mary and Josephine the story that follows, which Emil no doubt recalled from Pascallet's article. As Emil was telling a story he had read 35 years previous, he can be forgiven for getting some of the names wrong. Emil's version was recorded prior to 1922 in Josephine's diary, and it reappeared in the 1960s in a family history written by Mary. Though the Englebert de Harne in these stories is called a Count of Harnes, the last Count was actually Jean of Ailly, who on Sept. 27, 1458 sold the County of Harnes to the Abbey of St. Peters of Ghent. Thus Englebert was more likely a Seignior or Sire, who administered lands that probably were not in the former County of Harnes, but in a nearby outlying district.

"All we know about the family de Haerne for the next several centuries is that a Michel de Harnus [Emil actually means Englebert d'Harne] set fire to his castle in the 16th century. Michel’s deed was the result of a war between the Kings of France and Spain. Since the Counts of Harnus held lands in fief from both Kings, the King of Spain (either Charles V or Philip the Great), being with his army in the vicinity of Harnus, sent a herald to Count Michel requesting hospitality. Michel answered, “Say to the King that it is impossible, as there is no more castle of Harnus". He then set fire to the buildings, furniture and documents. When that was done he went to the Abbey of St. Peter of Ghent and became a monk."

"When Michel became a monk he bequeathed his title and all his possessions to the Abby, thereby leaving his younger brother, from whom our branch of the de Haernes descended, to earn his bread by the sword. The de Haernes settled in Ypres and were generally government employees."

Below is the original version of the story, as translated into English from Pascallet's (1857) work.

"Englebert, the Count of Harnes, built a chapel near his home in the woods of Harnes (see note 1). However, a political dispute concerning the possession of Artois and other provinces, escalated into war between France and Spain, and created a difficult situation for the Lord of Harnes. For Englebert supported the King of France Francis I, whereas his brother Jacques had taken deed and cause for the Spanish monarch Charles V."

"Also, because a French army in 1536 had taken possession of the province of Artois, Jacques sought refuge in the town Lille. A confiscation of wealth was announced against him to the profit of his brother Englebert. But since a truce concluded in 1536 between Charles V and Francis I brought the two monarchs to friendly relations, Englebert decided to give back to his brother the fief and lands that the king removed by confiscation. He did this by an act in the month of May 1539. Nonetheless, perceiving the probable return of hostilities between Spain and France, and the possibility of a new confiscation to the detriment his brother, Englebert took care to demonstrate that the restitution to his brother had not taken place, and that a title of trust with responsibility was made to pass the fief and lands to the care of their nephew Denys de Harne."

"If one is able to believe the local traditions, the antipathy which Englebert had conceived for the court of Spain only embittered himself to the arrival of Philippe II, who was the heir of Charles V, while Jacques attached himself more firmly to the Spanish monarch."

"Philippe II in the month of May 1558 found himself in the vicinity of Harnes. Jacques de Harne was in the retinue of the king. The latter, whether he wanted to search for an opportunity to win over Englebert, or whether he wanted, in person, to admonish him on the subject of his well-known sympathies conceived for the King of France, resolved to have a confrontation with him. He dispatched Jacques to his brother in order to demand from him hospitality in the chateau of Harnes, for the king and for his retinue. The meeting of the two brothers did not last long. Jacques left the chateau, charged to return to Phillippe a letter in which Englebert declared to the king that the chateau did not exist anymore, and that as a consequence, it was impossible for him to receive him. Phillippe, astonished by an unexpected response, thence demanded an explanation from Jacques, and the latter declared to him that at the moment when he had left the town of Harnes, he had seen the chateau spoiled by flames."

"After burning his chateau, Englebert de Harne took himself to the town of Ghent, where he was received into the abbey of Saint Peter. The year before his death, he donated all of his lands to the abbey that had given him refuge."

"Deprived of his fiefs and properties, Engelbert's nephew Denys de Harne retired to Annappes, an outlying district of the town of Lille (see note 2). He still resided there in 1609, as attested to in an act of December 3rd of that year (see note 3). His two sons, Jean and Simon de Harnes, settled down in Ypres, in Flemish-speaking Flanders, at the beginning of the 1600s, where they and their descendants allied themselves with some of the notable families of Artois."





(1) - Englebert de Harne's chapel in the woods is undoubtedly the chapel or hermitage of Notre Dame, which is said to be in the "woods of Harnes (Bois de Harnes)". Pascallet (1856) attributes this chapel to Englebert, whereas Demarquette (1867) believes that the chapel has an earlier origin in the 13th century. Demarquette (1867) also notes that whereas the chapel undoubtedly existed, references to it are few, and it was apparently completely destroyed during the French Revolution. Demarquette also reproduces a crude, hand-drawn map of the chapel (shown below) that he dates back to the 17th century. The original that Demarquette's (1867) plate is based on was kept in his time in the town archives of Harnes, but it is not known whether or not this map survived the destruction of the archives during World War I. It would seem unlikely that it did survive.

A map of the forest of Harnes by Demarquette (1867) that is based on a 17th-century drawing.

(2) - Englebert de Harne's existence is known primarily from Pascallet's (1857) story that is presented above. Likewise his ancestry and heirs are uncertain, as Pascallet (1857), who is not always reliable, is the primary source.

ANCESTRY - Pascallet (1857) writes that Englebert is the great-grandson of Jean IV of Harnes, who is without question the same person as Jean II of Ailly, but merged in part with John of Ailly's brother Antoine. Unfortunately, the ancestry of Englebert cannot be demonstrated with the currently available sources. However, we must keep in mind that Pascallet (1857) had access to sources that no longer exist. Nonetheless, Demarquette (1856, 1867) had access to and utilized those same sources, yet he does not substantiate a number of Pascallet's (1857) conclusions. Pascallet's (1857) proposed lineage, and an alternate lineage are shown below. The alternate lineage is based largely on ancestry charts for the Ailly and Mailly families created by Etienne Pattou for the "Racines et Histoire" website. Several features of the two lineages show strikingly similarities.

Lineage according to Pascallet (1857) A possible alternate lineage
  1. Jean IV of Harnes (d. 1465), the son of Raoul d'Ailly (1385-1463) and Jacqueline of Bethune;
    d. July 15, 1465 at the Battle of Mont-le-Hery.

    • Jean V, who follows.
    • a daughter, who married a lord of Illiers.
  2. Jean V of Harnes, the son of the above;
    Said to be an armed knight during the lifetime of his father.

    • eldest daughter, who follows.
    • 2nd daughter, who married the ruling lord of Ognies.
    • 3rd daughter, who married the sire of Noyelles.
  4. Eldest daughter of the above. She married
    Jacques? of Melun, sire of Antoing-Epinoy;

    • Englebert, burned his chateau in defiance of the King of Spain and became a monk.
    • Jacques, allied himself with the King of Spain, which put him in defiance of his brother Englebert.
    • Simon?, who follows.
  5. Simon? de Harne, son of the above;
    Said to have died late in life

    • Denys de Harne, son of the above.
      He settled in Annappes (Ascq), an outlying distrct of Lille, where he still resided on Dec. 3, 1609 as attested to in an act for that year.
  1. Jean d'Ailly II (d. 1492), the son of Raoul d'Ailly (1385-1463) and Jacqueline of Bethune;
    m. Jun 1, 1456 at The Hague to Yolande (c.1436-1570), bastard dau. of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy;
    d. 1492.
    Antoine d'Ailly, the younger brother of Jean, was killed on July 16, 1465 at the battle of Montlhéry.

    • Charles I d'Ailly (d. 1522), succeeded his father.
    • Isabeau (d. 1519), who follows.
  2. Isabeau d'Ailly (d. 1519), daughter of the above;
    m. Oct. 4, 1479 to John of Mailly (c.1450-1505);
    d. sometime after July 9, 1519.
    John of Mailly sounds much like the Jean V on the left.

    • Antoine de Mailly (d. c.1519), succeeded his father and had many children, some illegitimate.
    • Adrien de Mailly (d. c.1552), many children.
    • Jacques de Mailly, who follows.
  3. Jacques of Mailly, son of the above;
    He married Marie de Wignacourt, the widow of Jehan Delivre. He is said to have had no children of his own. However, Englebert, Jacques and Simon in the left-hand column could be undocumented sons of Jacques? They might also be sons of his wife from her former marriage, or perhaps sons of one of Jacques' brothers - Antoine de Mailly (d. c.1519) or Adrien de Mailly (d. c.1552)? Given that Antoine and Adrien had many children, some illegitimate, the latter is quite possible.

HEIRS - Pascallet (1857) writes that Englebert de Harne, who burned the chateau of Harnes and became a monk, is the uncle of Denys de Harne, from whom the de Haerne family of Belgium are descended. Unfortunately, this cannot be demonstrated with the currently available sources. Thus, Englebert is the weak link in trying to show that the de Haerne family of Ypres, Belgium descend from the Counts of Harnes. The existence of Denys de Harne, the patriarch of the family, can be documented, and the line of descent from him to the de Haerne family of Belgium is reasonable. However, beyond Pascallet's (1857) account there seems to be no surviving documentation of Denys de Harne's ancestry. (see History of the Family in Belgium)

(3) - Demarquette (1867) in v. II, p. 404, Table 4 states under the heading of "Familles Mêlés du Nom de Harnes" that in "1609, Denys de Harnes, vivant à Annapes, près de Lille." The heading translates to "Mixed Families of the de Harnes Name", below which is stated, "1609, Denys de Harnes, lived in Annappes, near Lille". We have not been able to locate the original source for this attestation, but evidently both Pascallet (1857) and Demarquette (1867) knew of it.



    DeMarquette, Albert, 1867, Histoire Generale du Comté de Harnes en Artois, Jusu’a 1789 et de la Connetablie de Flandre: Imprimerie de Lefebvre-Ducrocq, Lille, v. II, p. 166-175. (reprinted 2006 by Livres d’Histoire, Paris). Volume II is also available for download from books.google.com.

    Pascallet, E., 1857, “Historique et Genealogique sur la Maison de Harne ou Harnes” in Revue General – Memorial Municipal de France Histoire des Communes, Villes, Provinces, Monument: Au Bureau de la Revue, Chez Ledoyen, Paris, Seconde Annee de la Deuxieme Serie, p. 36-44.


Some Related Links
The Counts of Harnes
      Michel of Harnes, the Knight-Trouvere
      The Last Count of Harnes
Descendants of the Counts of Harnes
      The Three Deaths of Uncle Antoine
Harnes Through the Ages



Copyright © Michael S. Clark, Ph.D., 1998- - All rights reserved.