Charles 'the Good' Knudsson Count of Flanders
- Born: Abt 1082
- Died: 2 Mar 1127, Bruges, Aquitaine about age 45
Blessed Charles the Good (1080/86 Denmark - March 2, 1127 Bruges,) was Count of Flanders from 1119 to 1127. He is most remembered for his murder and its aftermath.
Charles was a son of Canute IV of Denmark and Adela of Flanders. His father was assassinated in 1086, and Adela fled to Flanders, taking the very young Charles with her. Charles grew up at the comital court of his grandfather Robert I and uncle Robert II. In 1092 Adela left for southern Italy to marry Roger Borsa, duke of Apulia.
In 1111 Robert II died, and Charles' cousin Baldwin VII became count. Charles was a close advisor to the new count (who was several years younger), who around 1118 arranged Charles' marriage to the heiress of the count of Amiens, Margaret of Clermont. The childless count Baldwin was wounded fighting for the king of France in September 1118, and he designated Charles as his successor before he died in July 1119.
Charles was noted for his kindness and generosity towards the poor, and during a time of famine he distributed bread to them. He also took action to prevent grain from being hoarded and sold at excessively high prices. Prodded by his advisors, he also began proceedings to reduce the influential Erembald family, which was heavily engaged in this activity, to the status of serfs. As a result, Fr. Bertulf FitzErembald, the Cathedral provost of Bruges, masterminded a conspiracy to asassinate Charles and his advisors.
On the morning of March 2, 1127, as Charles knelt in prayer in the Church of St. Donatian in Bruges, a group of knights answering to the Erembald family entered the church and hacked him to death with broadswords. The brutal and sacreligeous murder of the popular Count provoked a massive public outrage, and he was almost immediately regarded as a martyr and saint. He was beatified in 1884.
The Erembalds, who had planned and carried out the murder of Charles, were arrested and tortured to death by the enraged nobles and commons of Bruges and Ghent. King Louis VI of France, who had supported the revolt against the Erembalds, used his influence to select his own candidate, William Clito as the next Count of Flanders.