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1). 1 NAME The Bastard WILLIAM I, THE CONQUEROR 1027? 1087 , was the first Norman king of England. He took power in 1066, following his army s victory over the Anglo Saxons of England. As king, William maintained tight control over the country s central government. William was born at Falaise, in the Normandy region of northwestern France. He was the son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and inherited Normandy in 1035, at about the age of 8. During his youth, there were many disorders. In 1047, William put down a great rebellion at the battle of Val es dunes, near Caen, with the aid of his lord, King Henry I of France. From that time on, William ruled Normandy with an iron hand. William claimed that King Edward the Confessor of England promised him succession to the English throne as Edward s nearest adult heir. However, Edward s brother in law Harold became king in 1066 through a deathbed grant by Edward and election by the nobles. William promptly prepared to invade England. But before William could sail, the king of Norway invaded northern England. King Harold hurried north and defeated the Norwegian invaders at Stamford Bridge, near York. William landed before Harold could return to defend the southern coast. The Normans destroyed the Anglo Saxon army and killed Harold at the Battle of Hastings on Oct. 14, 1066. On Christmas Day, 1066, William was crowned king. William then put down local rebellions. He took lands from those who resisted him. He kept some of these lands for himself and gave the rest to his followers in return for military service. To emphasize the lawfulness of his crown, William confirmed the laws of Edward the Confessor and kept all the powers of the Anglo Saxon monarchy. He levied Danegeld, the only national tax on landed property in all of Europe at that time. At Salisbury in 1086, he made all the landholders swear allegiance directly to him as king. William was devout, firm in purpose, and unchanging in gaining his ends. His greatest monument is Domesday Book, a survey of the land and principal landholders of his realm. KING 1066 1087 14 Oct 1066 Battle of Hastings. William of Normandy is renowned in English history as the Conqueror but to his contemporaries he was known as William the Bastard. His father Robert was Duke of Normandy, but his mother Herleve was the daughter of a Falaise tanner, albeit a prosperous one. Although Herleve bore her ducal lover two children, of whom William was born either 1027 or 1028, the social gap meant there was no question of marriage. Herleve was later married off to one of Duke Robert s vassals, by which gentleman she had two or more sons Robert who became Count of Mortain and a mighty Anglo Norman baron, and Odo who became Bishop of Bayeux, an equally mighty prince of the Church. Bastardy was then common, and being illegitimate was not necessarily a bar to inheriting a natural father s land or title, but when William was born it was becoming more of a handicap. There was a strong reforming movement within the Christian Church which aimed, among other things, to enforce its teachings more strictly, including the sanctity of holy matrimony. When in 1034 Duke Robert decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. the good lick necessary in any successful life smiled for the first time on William, for the duke had no legitimate children and therefore decided to recognise his bastard son as his heir. More surprisingly, he managed to persuade the Norman nobility to swear fealty to the boy. While returning from the Holy Land in 1035, Robert died suddenly and the eight or nine year old William found himself Duke of Normandy. For a while the Norman lords kept their word and recognised the boy as their lawful Duke but with the death of his powerful protector, anarchy reigned. For ten bloody years William s luck held and the warring factions managed to kill each other rather than him, but it was not until 1054, when he was twenty six or seven years old, that he finally emerged as the undisputed Duke of Normandy. In the process he had become a man of iron, but he was also a man of God who feared for his immortal soul and he was not without vision and imagination. He appreciated that force was not the sole answer to the problem of ruling men, even if it was a major factor. In the Years from 1054 to 1066 William not only consolidated his power in Normandy and extended it into thebordering country of Maine he reorganised the structure of Norman society. As early as 1049, long before he became one of the most powerful rulers in mainland Europe, William had acquired sufficient reputation to negotiate a marriage with Matilda, a daughter of Count Baldwin of Flanders. This alliance was a political coup and despite papal disapproval he went ahead with the marriage, a bold action for a devout Christian ruler. Physically he and Matilda were an ill assorted pair she was a little over four feet tall, whereas he was close to six feet, immensely strong and tough, with a harsh guttural voice. Mentally they seem to have been well attuned and the marriage was remarkably successful, particularly if it is remembered that political gain and interest, not love or even compatibility, were the hallmarks of royal alliances. As the Norman empire expanded William was able to leave his wife as regent, a task she performed with great efficiency and loyalty. She bore him at least nine children and he earned a reputation for total fidelity which was even more remarkable that theirmarital harmony. Fortune again favoured him in his marriage with a wife whom he could trust, not a quality of which he had had much experience in the treacherous, turbulent years of his youth. When thoughts of adding the kingdom of England to the dukedom of Normandy first entered William s mind is a matter of conjecture. It is possible hid determination to marry Matilda was prompted by such an idea, because she was a direct descendant of Alfredthe Great, whereas his relationship to the English monarchy was much more tenuous. In fact there was no established right of succession in England at the time, so it was a question of who could lay claim to the throne. In the Norman version of events leading up to 1066 as depicted in the Bayeux tapestry and by the Anglo Norman chroniclers Duke William visited King Edward in London in 1051. Edward known to posterity as the Confessor had spent much of his childhood in exile at the Norman court andwas to an extent Norman oriented. During the visit he is supposed to have promised that he should he die without an heir Duke William would be his rightful successor. Then there is a leap to 1064 and the arrival of Harold Godwinson in Normandy, by whichtime it had become obvious that King Edward would not produce an heir. Harold was a member of the family which had established itself as the Earls of Wessex and after some changes of fortune had become the most powerful in England. He had as good or bad a claim to the English throne as William, with the extra factor that he was a native of the country. Whether Harold actually intended to go to Normandy in 1064 and what his mission was if he did, is now a matter of dispute. The Norman version is that Harold arrived in Normandy, albeit via the domain of Ponthieu, explicitlyto reaffirm his allegiance to Duke William as the next rightful King of England, nominated by King Edward. And moreover that he swore allegiance on sacred relics , though where he actually swore his oath varies even in the Norman accounts. This episode is the crux of the Norman version. Once Edward the Confessor died in January 1066 and Harold Godwinson had himself crowned king, William was morally and legally entitled, even driven, to fight for the inheritance which had been usurped. Theversion was accepted at the time by other European rulers and, most importantly, by the Pope. William was able to land in England with the papal seal of approval for a justified invasion, bearing a holy banner. His half brother Odo, who as a Bishop was not supposed to carry arms, arrived wielding a holy sceptre . The Norman account can be accepted as a truth or seen as evidence that in the propaganda war as it would now be called Duke William beat King Harold even more decisively than he did in battle. The last Saxon king of England has since had many apologists. They deride the idea that King Edward would have willed away his crown as early as 1051, or even that the Saxon Harold would have gone to Normandy specifically to swear allegiance to a Norman duke if he did swear, it was under duress and therefore an invalid oath. There is general agreement that as Edward the Confessor lay dying he nominated Harold as his successor and he was thus accepted by the Witanegemot the assembly of Saxon nobility . But the Normans explained that this nomination was extracted from a dying, unworldly, perhapsslightly senile man and was itself invalid, apart from the fact that Harold had forsworn himself. Early in 1066 Harold had the crown of England with the consent of his peers, but also with the knowledge that Duke William of Normandy considered it his by right. Harold soon called up the fyrd a Saxon militia of freemen in the south of England and they responded. The months went by Harold was more or less forced to disband the fyrd because while they were willing to fight, they were not disciplined to wait. Then in the middle of September another expected invader actually arrived, Harold Hardrada of Norway who was a claimant to the English throne. Hardrada s claim was as good as anybody s itlay through Edward the Confessor s Anglo Danish predecessors Kings Canute and Hardacanute and promises allegedly made by them to Hardrad s father. King Harold marched north and on 25 September inflicted a crushing defeat on Harold of Norway at Stamford Bridge, near York. Again the necessary element of luck was with William, because as his enemy Harold Godwinson went to kill the other serious claimant Harold Hardrada for him, the weather changed for the better. On 12 September William s forces landed at Pevensey in Sussex, with neither the fyrd nor King Harold s own troops to oppose them. However, there was nothing lucky about the way William overcame his Norman nobles reluctance to support an invasion of England they thought he was over reaching himself , nor in the way he organised his invasion forces. That was a masterly piece of planning and staff work, assembling men, horses, ships, weapons, supplies and then keeping them disciplined and intact while they waited and waited for favourable weather conditions. In the meantime, having fought a long, bitter and bloody battle at Stamford Bridge, King Harold marched back to London, had a brief respite, gathered more troops and marched south to meet the Normans. It might have been wiser if Harold had rested longer and reorganised his tired army particularly as William was being extremely cautious and had donenothing more than establish a bridgehead slightly nearer to Hastings. But Harold presumably believed that attack was the best form of defence and on 14 October an event took place of which virtually everybody in Britain knows the date, the battle of Hastings 1066. It was, as the Duke of Wellington said later of another battle, a damn close run thing but as darkness fell King Harold lay dead, though probably not with an arrow in his eye, and the Saxon forces scattered into the night. Update from Queen s Official Web Site 8 10 97. The Normans William I The victory of William I, the Conqueror reigned 1066 1087 at Hastings and his subsequent coronation in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066 did not give him complete control of England. Remaining resistance was, however, severely crushed and castles were built to control the country including a fortress on the site of Windsor Castle, and the White Tower at the Tower of London . The lands of defeated Saxon nobles were given to William s followers in return for military service by a certain number of knights, so that the tenants foremost obligation was allegiance to the king. This firmly established the feudal system. In 1086, William commissioned the Domesday Book, to record land holdings for the assessment of taxes and other dues. William spent long periods in Normandy to maintain his authority there, dealing with rebellions and French invasions. William died in 1087 leaving Normandy to his eldest son, Robert, and England to his second son, William II Rufus reigned 1087 1100 . Additional Information William was born of Robert, Duke of Normandy, and Herleva of Falaise. William s father left on a pilgrimage to the holy land when William was only seven. Before leaving, Robert made the nobles swear allegiance to his son. Robert died on the trip. Althoughhe was illegitimate, his claim to the duchy held and the government was given to the ministers until William turned 18. This was a chaotic time for Normandy, with various rebellions, and William saw several of his close friends assassinated. William waskept alive to adulthood thanks to the protection of the Bishop of Rouen and the devotion of his tutors. The tutor took up the practice of sleeping in the same room as the boy, to protect him, and many times William spent the night hiding in a peasant cottage. The Danish conquest of England in 1013 resulted in the West Saxon royalty fleeing to Normandy. One of them, Edward the Confessor, later retook the throne of England in 1042. At the time, William was 14 years old. The kings of England at this time tended to be less powerful than their nobles, and Edward had no sons. Edward looked upon the Normans as the only people he could trust, and actually designated William to be his heir. At the time of Edward s death, there were three powerful factions competing for the throne of England. One was the Danish & Norwegian faction, led by Harold Hardraada, who intended to reconquer it after losing it in 1042. Another was the son of the powerful Saxon Earl Godwin, named Harold Godwinson. The third was William. The Danes had the strongest legal claim to the throne, but would have to win it by conquest something the vikings were rather good at. The Saxons based their claim on tradition and nationality, and they were already there. William had his claim by right of bequest from Edward. On January 5, 1066, Edward died. Harold Godwinson, after riding all night, was crowned on January 6, claiming that Edward had changed his will and designated him the real successor. He was even able to produce a document to prove it. Hardraada had intended to invade immediately, but was setback by rebellion and delayed his invasion until September. William also spent the summer building up an army and a fleet to invade England. Harold gathered his army in Southern England, but due to supply problems was forced to disband on September 8, only 10 days before the Vikings landed in the north. By September 20, the Vikings had taken the city of York and conquered a portion of northern England. Harold quickly gathered together a new army and marched across England. On September 25, the Saxons and Vikings met in the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Thebattle lasted the entire day, and the outcome was unsure. However, it was sufficient to break the Viking war machine, and seemed to secure Harold s place on the English throne. William landed in Hastings two days later. After the conquest, Viking s would never again rule in England. William had been pinned into his harbor for weeks due to unfavorable winds. Amazingly, his significant leadership skills allowed him to hold his forces together and keep them ready for an invasion. Thus, when the wind changed, he was ready to go and landed in England on September the 27th. Expecting an attack from Harold, William s troops started throwing up fortifications and strongholds in the area. Harold immediately marched for London, where he raised another army. He arrived with his new troops on the night of the 13th of October, and gave battle on the 14th of October. The battle lasted for the entire day, with neither side seeming to gain the upper hand. After a while, though, the superior discipline of the Normans began to show through, as the Saxon troops slowly melted away. Harold himself was killed by an arrow. The conquest was not yet complete, but it was assured. William became the king of both England and Normandy. He set up laws and took a census which is recorded in his Domesday book. He held out against further Viking raids, and put down rebellions in bothEngland and Normandy. William originally intended to leave the combined throne of England and Normandy to his son Robert. After Robert rebelled against his father, however, William split the kingdom in two Upon his death in 1087, Robert would become the duke of Normandy, andRobert s brother William would become the king of England. William s Domesday book was among the first of its kind the first known case of an English king taking a census. It is a major source of information on medieval England.
Name: King Guillaume I De Normandie Duke Of Normandy, King Of England Note
Born: 14 Oct 1024 at Falaise Castle Normandy, , , France
Married: 1052 at Cathedral Of Notre Dame D eu, , , Normandy
Died: 9 Sep 1087 at Priory Of St. Gervais Near Rouen, , ,
Other Spouses: Miss De Ponthieu
Matilda (maud) Countess Of Flanders [queen Of Englan
Father: Duke Robert Vi Beauclerc Of Normandy
Mother: Harlette De Falaise
Name: Queen Matilda Flanders Of England Note
Born: 1031 at Flanders France, , ,
Died: 2 Nov 1083 at Caen, , , Normandy
Other Spouses: William I England Duke Of Normandy, King Of England
Father: Count Baudouin Iv Flanders Of Flanders
Mother: Princess Adela (alix) Capet De France
Name: Adeliza Of Normandy
Died: Abt 1065
Name: Duke Robert Ii England Of Normandy
Born: Abt 1053 at , , Normandy, France
Died: 10 Feb 1133-1134 at , CARDIFF, Glamorganshire, Wales
Wife: Margaret Von Maine
Name: Duke Richard England Of Bernay
Born: Abt 1054 at , , Normandy, France
Died: 1081 at , New Forest, Hampshire, England
Name: King William Ii "rufus" England Of England
Born: Abt 1056 at , , Normandy, France
Died: 1 Aug 1100 at , New Forest, Hampshire, England
Name: Princess Mathilda England Of England
Born: 1059 at , , Normandy, France
Died: Bef 1112
Name: Countess Adaele Beauclerc Of Blois
Born: Abt 1062 at Bretagne, , , France
Died: 23 Sep 1120 at , , Marsilly, Aquitaine
Husband: Count Etienne Henri Count Of Blois Of Blois And Chartres
Name: Princess Constance England Of England
Born: Abt 1066 at Normandy, , , France
Died: 13 Aug 1090 at Brittany, , , France
Husband: Count Alan Iv Of Bretagne
Name: King Henry I "beauclerc" Plantaganet Of England
Born: 1070 at Selby, , ,
Died: 1 Dec 1135 at Lyons La Foret, , , Normandy
Wife: Ansfride Ansfride
2). 1 NAME Mathilda av Flandern She was only a little over four feet tall, William was close to six feet, they were an ill assorted pair. Despite this the marriage was remarkably sucessful. she bore him at least 9 children and had earned the reputation of total fidelity. She was a direct descendant from Alfred the Great.