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Chelles had been the site of a Merovingian palace, the villa Calae. A church, dedicated to Saint George had been founded at Chelles by Queen Clothilde. King Chilperic I and his wife Fredegund frequently resided there, and Chilperic was assassinated near Chelles in 584.
Balthild named Bertilla as the first abbess of the monastery. Balthild herself retired to Chelles in 664 and died there in 680, where she was also buried. Her possessions were treated as relics at Chelles.
Other royal and noble nuns and abbesses included
- The Northumbrian princess Hereswith, sister of Saint Hilda;
- Swanachild, discarded wife of Charles Martel;
- Gisela and Rotrude, respectively sister and daughter of Charlemagne;
- Renée, daughter of Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme;
- Marie Henriette, illegitimate daughter of King Henry IV of France;
- Marie, daughter of Claude, Duke of Aumale;
- Louise Adélaïde d'Orléans, daughter of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans.
Mildrith may have been educated at Chelles.
Until the Revolution, when it disappeared, Chelles possessed a renowned Merovingian gold chalice, enameled and mounted with precious stones (illustration), that was said to have been created by Saint Eloi, and a very large number of relics.
- ↑ The colored engraving illustrated, originally from Charles de Linas Orfèvrerie Mérovingienne: Les œuvres de Saint Eloi et la verroterie cloisonnée (Paris, 1864), is the only visual record of it.
- Riché, Pierre, Dictionnaire des Francs: Les temps Mérovingiens. Eds. Bartillat, 1996. ISBN 2-84-100008-7
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