Lewis de Bruges

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Lewis de Bruges, lord of Gruuthuse, prince of Steenhuijs (c. 1422 (some authors mention 1427) – Bruges 24 November 1492), also called Loys, Louis de/of Gruuthuse or Lodewijk van Gruuthuuse, was a Flemish, courtier, bibliophile, soldier and nobleman. He was awarded the title of Earl of Winchester by king Edward IV of England in 1472, and was Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland 1462-77.

Early life

Born in (or about) 1422 as the eldest son of Lord Jean IV of Bruges, and Margriet of Steenhuyse, Lady of Avelghem, young Loys (Louis or Ludovicus) was trained in the arts of war and the court in the wealth and luxury of Flanders' Golden Age. In the Tournament of the White Bear, held in Bruges every year, Loys took part in 1443, 1444, 1447, 1448 and 1450. He often won one of the prizes. This caught the eye of the Duke of Burgundy and Count of Flanders, Philip the Good (1396-1467), who made Loys his squire and official wine server, an honorary title bestowed on only a few selected men.

As a courtier Loys followed the Duke around his expanding duchy. Meeting with the highest nobles and princes in Europe he learned the art of diplomacy and secured his place within the Burgundian court. On 19 April 1450 Loys of Gruuthuse again took part in the Tournament of the White Bear and again he won one of the prizes.


This was his last tournament in Bruges, but a real war now came. The crisis with the town of Ghent about a salt tax reached its zenith and Ghent declared open war on...
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