Charles “The Hammer” Martel b 686
















Charles “The Hammer” Martel was the Grandfather of Emperor Charlemagne and was the defacto King of the Franks, predecessor state of modern France and Germany, from 737-741. Officially he was Duke and Prince of the Franks. He was also known as a great general, and is most famous for his victory at the Battle of Tours, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in Western Europe.  Many historians write that if the Muslim army had not been halted, all Europe and maybe even the United States would be Muslim.

Charles Martel was born on 23 Aug 686 in Herstal, Liège, Belgium. He was christened in Cal 715 in Lorraine, France. He died on 15 Oct 741 in Cressy-sur-Oise, Neustria, Frankenrijk. He was buried on 22 Oct 741 in Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France. Charles married Rotrude Von Trier who was born in 690 in Languedoc, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. She died on 22 Oct 724 in Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. She was buried in 724 in Metz, Moselle, Lorraine, France.

Children by first wife Rotrude Von Trier:

  • Pepin the Short: Father of Emperor Charlemagne. Pepin the Short was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death in 768. He was the first of the Carolingian Dynasty to become king. His upbringing was distinguished by the ecclesiastical education he had received from the monks of St. Denis.
  • Carloman: Frankish prince who inheriting Austrasia, Alemannia, Thuringia, and the suzerainty of Bavaria from his father, Carloman fought alone and with his brother to suppress external enemies and rebellious subjects.Landrade: Married Gunderland d’Hesbaye circa 737, at age 18
  • Aldana: Married Teiric d’Autun, comte d’Autun His occupation was Count of Autun & Toulouse, mte de Mâcon & de Chalon, Duke of Toulouse, and Chamberlain of King Charles the Bald.
  • Hiltrud: Was a Duchess consort of Bavaria. She was regent of Bavaria for her minor son in 748-754.

Children by second wife Swanahild:

  •  Grifo: After the death of Charles Martel, power may well have been intended to be divided among Grifo and his half-brothers Pepin the Younger (Pepin the Short) and Carloman. Grifo, considered illegitimate by Pepin and Carloman, was besieged in Laon by his half-brothers, captured, and imprisoned in a monastery.

Children by his mistress Ruodhaid:

  • Bernard de Saint:Uncle to the First Emperor in Western Europe Charlemagne. He is an obscure figure, rising out of the mists only to lead half of the Frankish army in his nephew Charlemagne’s Lombard campaign. While Charlemagne led his contingent through the pass of Moncenisio, Bernard led his through the Great St. Bernard Pass.
  • Hieronymus: became lay abbot of the monastery of St. Quentin in the diocese of Noyon.
  • Remigius: was also the third archbishop of Rouen from 755 to 762. Along with his brothers, he was denied any claim to the legacy of his father. He became archbishop during the reign of his half brother Pepin the Short. Remigius is also known as Saint Remigius. His feast day is January 19. He was instrumental in implementing the Roman rite and chant in the Gallic church.

Martel was born in the Frankia Kingdom, which is one of the Christian kingdoms which would rise out of the ashes of the Roman Empire. It was the predecessor state of modern France and Germany.  Charles’ father, Pepin of Herstal, was Mayor of the palace, a title which had come to mean de facto leader of the Frankish state. Like in modern Britain, the monarch held little power, and the authority of kingship rested in the hands of the mayor.

Pepin was the first mayor bold enough to declare himself Prince of Frankia, and despite question marks later raised over his legitimacy Charles was groomed as his heir. However, when Pepin’s new wife Plectrude appeared on the scene, she convinced Pepin to make his grandson Theudohald heir instead, and upon his father’s death Charles was ignominiously imprisoned in Cologne in order to get him out of the way.

Despite being unified under Pepin Frankia had been divided into two parts; the north-eastern kingdom of Austrasia and the more southerly land of Neustria. Cologne was in Austrasia, whose nobles were highly sympathetic to Charles’ cause, and after sensationally escaping from prison he met with them and was proclaimed mayor of Austrasia.

In Neustria, however, a rival called Ragenfrid had himself declared mayor by his tame King Chilperic II  and marched to meet Charles in Austrasia. Charles allowed Ragenfrid’s army to besiege and take Cologne. After this loss, Charles trained his Austrasians himself and their discipline, combined with the tactic of the feigned retreat and ambush, was revolutionary in Europe at this time and would be repeated with great success by William the Conqueror at Hastings. Charles never lost another battle in his entire military career.

Over 717 and 718 Charles marched against Neustria and eventually regained his position as the mayor of Frankia. Afterwards he finally turned on Plectrude and Theudohald and captured them. Unusually for the times, he was merciful to the pair, who were allowed to live out the rest of their lives in comfort.

With his kingdom secured, Charles, who was now known as Martel “The Hammer,” turned his genius to foreign affairs. Firstly he secured his borders in modern day Holland, before repelling Saxon invasions and conquering what is now southern Germany.  Martel’s power was now so secure that he appointed Frankish Kings by decree, and by the end of his reign he had decided that no King was actually needed and the appointments ceased. However, Martel’s greatest struggle was yet to begin.

In Europe Frankia’s power was both expanding and respectable, but it was not comprable to the advance of Islam in the last century. Since the death of Muhammed in 632 this new religion had spread from India to the south of France, and by the 720s was directly menacing Martel and his kingdom.

To the south of Frankia was the semi-independent duchy of Aquitaine, and in 732 it was invaded and crushed by a marauding Islamic army commanded by Abd al-Rahman al-GafiqiEudes, Duke of Aquitaine asked for assistance from Martel who gathered and trained an army before meeting Al-Rahman’s larger force at Tours in modern-day France. Here Martel won an astonishing victory of seismic historical importance and Al-Rahman was killed. The Muslim advance into northern Europe was halted forever and Christendom was saved.

The last few years of Charles’ life were more peaceful as he pondered his legacy and who would rule in his stead. Dividing his vast realms between his sons in 740, Martel enjoyed one more quiet year of life before dying peacefully on the 22nd October 741.Considered by many historians to be both the saviour and one of the founders of modern Europe, Charles was a formidable warrior and statesmen who thoroughly deserved his nickname of “the hammer.”

Detail account of the Battle of Tours:

Charles “The Hammer” Martel: Defender of Christianity



Relationship Report



John Edward BLACK


Charles “The Hammer” MARTEL b.686



Charles “The Hammer” MARTEL is the 46th great-grandfather of John Edward BLACK.


Lines of Descent from

Charles “The Hammer” MARTEL


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Charles “The Hammer” MARTEL b.686

Aude Martel Carolingians b.720


Poppo DE BABENBERG b.790

Markgrave Heinrich of BABENBERG ( MARKGRAF IN FRIESLAND ) b.820

Berengar Ii of NEUSTRIA Count of Bayeux and Rennes and Margrave of the Breton March b.845

Count Judicael BERENGUER de Bayeaux b.870

Judicael BERENGAR Count of Rennes b.914

Conan I  Duke of Brittany b.927

Princess Judith DE BRETAGNE b.982

Robert I “The Magnificent”  6th Duke of Normandy b.1000

Hugues “The Great” (Magnus) DE PARIS Duke of France And Normandy b.895

Beatrix (Beatrice) DE FRANCE of Paris b.938

Dietrich – Thierry I DE LORRAINE Count of Bar, Duke of Upper Lorraine b.965

Hildegarde D’ANJOU (METZ) countess of Anjou b.985

Ermengarde of Anjou  Duchess of Burgundy b.1018

Foulques Iv Gâtinais Comte D’ANJOU b.1043

Fulk V PLANTAGENET Count of Anjou, King of Jerusalem b.1092

Geoffrey V PLANTAGENET Duke of Normandy, Count of Touraine, Maine and Anjou b.1113

Henry Ii “Curtmantle” PLANTAGENET King of England b.1133

Eleanor PLANTAGENET Princess of England and Queen of Castile and Toledo b.1162

Queen Berengaria SANCHEZ b.1180

Berengaria FERNANDEZ Princess of Leon and Castile b.1198

Jean (John) De BRIENNE b.1228

Blanche DE BRIENNE b.1252

Margaret de FIENES b.1262

Joan MORTIMER b.1292

Lady Cicely DE WEYLAND b.1314

Elizabeth DE BURGHERSH b.1342

Elizabeth LE DESPENCER Baroness Arundel b.1367

Thomas FITZALAN b.1400

Eleanor FITZALAN b.1414

Sir George BROWNE b.1439

Sir Matthew BROWNE b.1469

Sir Henry BROWNE of Beechworth Castle Surrey b.1502

Sir Thomas BROWNE b.1536

William BROWNE b.1559

Peter BROWN b.1594

Mary BROWNE b.1627

Ephraim TINKHAM b.1649

Martha TINKHAM b.1678

Sarah SOULE b.1703

Samuel SNOW b.1729

Samuel SNOW Jr b.1752

Ebenezer SNOW b.1784

Bernard SNOW b.1822

Minnie SNOW b.1869

Mary Beatrice DASTRUP b.1902

John Edward BLACK