4. St Guilhem William a grandson of Charles Martel. He was born in France around the middle of the 8th century. His mother Aldana was a daughter of Charles Martel, so he was a cousin of Charlemagne. As a close kinsman of Charlemagne he spent his youth in the imperial court. William was made Count of Toulouse in 790, and Charlemagne placed his young son (Louis the Pious, who was to inherit Aquitaine), in his wardship. He was the second count of Toulouse and held the title from 790 until 811. The name Gilhem is Occitan , corresponding to Latin, Guilhelmus, English William, French Guillaume. Guilhem dedicated the next thirteen years to sustaining the southern frontiers of the Frankish empire. He was renowned as one of the most valiant warriors of his time. He married twice, his second wife the Lady of Orange apparently the widow of a Saracen Lord that he killed and whose estates he seized. Guilhem's exploits became famous and he evolved into the hero of medieval ballads of knightly prowess and chivalry. He is the hero of the Chanson de Guillaume, an early chanson de geste, and of several later sequels. In 804 Guilhem retired to the Abbey of Aniane. (For many centuries it was regarded as entirely laudable for men to abandon their wives and families to become monks). In 806 he headed a group of monks who set off to found the Abbey of Gellone (now Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert) . Before his death, Charlemagne had given the young Guilhem a reliquary, which was believed to contained pieces of the True Cross. (Hundreds of such bogus relics were in circulation even before the Crusades). Guilhem left this one to his Abbey, where it remains to this day. The jewelled reliquary is carried through the village in procession once a year on the 3rd May - St Guilhem's feast day. Replicas made of biscuit are available in the Abbey Church. The faithful claim that they provide protection against lightening.