The Royal Tombs of Cleves

Photo by Moniek Bloks

The Stifskirche or the Collegiate Church of St. Mary in Cleves is the place of burial for three royal women. There has been a church at this site since 1170, but the current church is a reconstruction from the 1950s as it was completely destroyed by allied bombs in the Second World War.

The first monument is of Margaret of Jülich and her husband Adolf III of the Marck. Margaret was born 1350 as the daughter of Duke Gerhard VI of Jülich and his wife, Margaret of Ravensberg. She and Adolf had fourteen children together but at least five did not live to adulthood. She was widowed in 1394. She died on 10 October 1425 and was interred with her husband in Cleves.

The monument in the back is of Arnold I, Count of Cleves and his wife Ida of Louvain. Ida was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain and Ida of Chiny. She was a sister of Adeliza of Louvain, who married King Henry I of England. Unfortunately not much is known about her. Ida died around 1162, several years after becoming a widow.

Right next to the first two monuments is this black tomb. Unfortunately, you can’t really get close to it, but the top is supposed to be magnificent.

Drawing of the top of the tomb

In this tomb are Elizabeth of Nevers and her husband John I, Duke of Cleves. Elizabeth was born around 1439 as the daughter of John II, Count of Étampes, Nevers, Rethel and Eu, and his first wife Jacqueline d’Ailly. She married John on 22 April 1456. They had six children, though not all lived to adulthood. Through her eldest son she was the great-grandmother of Anne of Cleves, who became the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England.

She died on 21 June 1483.

The church is gorgeous but as with most churches, they care very little about tourists. The opening hours are weird, the church was completely dark when I first entered and there are no historical markers whatsoever. The only information at the site was about the stained glass windows and I found some postcards which had the information of the first monuments on it but you had to pay for those. It’s a shame, these beautiful monuments could certainly complete with Swan Castle!

About Moniek Bloks 2659 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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