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William I “The Conqueror”, Duke of Normandy, King of England

Male 1028 - 1087  (59 years)


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  • Name William I “The Conqueror”  
    Suffix Duke of Normandy, King of England 
    Born 1027/8  Château de Falaise, Calvados, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 Sep 1087  Prioré de Saint-Gervais, Rouen, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Eglise St.-Etienne (formerly the Abbaye aux Hommes), Caen, Calvados, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • “GUILLAUME de Normandie, illegitimate son of ROBERT II Duke of Normandy & his mistress Arlette --- (Château de Falaise, Normandy [1027/28]-Rouen, Prioré de Saint-Gervais 9 Sep 1087, bur Caen, Abbé de Saint-Etienne). His birth date is estimated from William of Malmesbury, according to whom Guillaume was born of a concubine and was seven years old when his father left for Jerusalem, and Orderic Vitalis, who states that he was eight years old at the time. Deville suggests that Guillaume´s birthdate can be fixed more precisely to [mid-1027], taking into account that his father Robert occupied Falaise immediately after the death of his father Duke Richard II (23 Aug 1026), not wishing to accept the authority of his older brother Duke Richard III, but that Robert´s stay was short as the two brothers were reconciled soon after, it being reasonable to suppose that Robert’s relationship with Guillaume´s mother occurred soon after his arrival at Falaise. According to Orderic Vitalis, Alain III Duke of Brittany was appointed his guardian during his father's absence in 1035. He succeeded his father in 1035 as GUILLAUME II Duke of Normandy. He helped Henri I King of France defeat Geoffroy II "Martel" Comte d'Anjou at Mouliherne in [1045/55]. It appears that Edward "the Confessor" King of England acknowledged Guillaume as successor to the English throne on several occasions, maybe for the first time during his visit to England in 1051 which is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Comte de Maine in 1063, after he conquered the county. In [1064/65], Duke Guillaume interceded with Guy de Ponthieu Comte d'Abbeville to secure the release of Harold Godwinsson from captivity in Normandy, in return for Harold's acknowledgement of Guillaume as successor to the English crown (according to the portrayal of the event in the Bayeux tapestry). Harold Godwinsson's visit to Normandy, and swearing allegiance to Duke William, is recorded by William of Jumièges. According to Eadmer of Canterbury, the reason for his visit was to negotiate the release of his brother Wulfnoth and nephew Haakon, both of whom had been hostages in Normandy since 1051. On his deathbed, King Edward "the Confessor" bequeathed the kingdom of England to Harold Godwinsson. Duke Guillaume branded Harold a perjurer and appealed to Pope Alexander II for support. After receiving a papal banner in response to his request, William gathered a sizable army during summer 1066 in preparation for invasion. After some delay due to unfavourable weather conditions, the army set sail for England from Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme 28 Sep 1066. William defeated and killed King Harold at Hastings 14 Oct 1066, marrched north to Canterbury, then west to Winchester where he captured the royal treasury. He proceeded to London where he was crowned 25 Dec 1066 as WILLIAM I "the Conqueror" King of England at Westminster Abbey, possibly by Ealdred Archbishop of York who may have officiated because of doubts concerning the validity of the appointment of Stigand as Archbishop of Canterbury. The latter had received his pallium in 1058 from Pope Benedict X, later regarded as anti-Pope, an appointment which had not been regularised by Pope Alexander II. He was crowned again at Winchester 1070 with a Papal crown. After taking several years to subdue the whole country, he imposed the Norman feudal structure and rule everywhere with methodical and harsh persistence. The minute description of the country contained in the Domesday Book, completed in 1086, enabled King William to create an effective tax base He died from wounds received at the siege of Mantes, having been injured internally after being thrown against the pommel of his saddle, leaving Normandy to his eldest son Robert and England to his second surviving son William. Guillaume de Jumièges records the death of King William at Rouen on 9 Sep and his burial at Saint-Etienne, Caen. Florence of Worcester records the death "Id Sep V" of King William and his burial "Cadomi in ecclesia S Stephani Protomartyris".
      m (Eu, Cathedral of Notre Dame [1050/52]) MATHILDE de Flandre, daughter of BAUDOUIN V "le Pieux/Insulanus" Count of Flanders & his wife Adela de France ([1032]-Caen 2 Nov 1083, bur Caen, Abbey of Holy Trinity). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names (in order) "Balduinum Haanoniensem, et Robdbertum cognomento postea Iherosolimitanum, et Matilde uxorem Guillelmi regis Anglorum" as the children of "Balduinum Insulanum [et] Adelam". Her parentage is also stated by Orderic Vitalis. Florence of Worcester records that "comitissa Mahtilda de Normannia" came to England 23 Mar [1068] and was crowned "die Pentecostes [11 May]" by Aldred Archbishop of York. Orderic Vitalis also records that she was crowned Queen of England 11 May 1068, presumably at Westminster Abbey or Winchester Cathedral although this appears to be unrecorded. Queen Matilda acted as regent in Normandy during her husband's absences in England. The necrology of the abbey of Saint-Denis records the death "IV Non Nov" of "Matildis Anglorum regina". Guillaume de Jumièges records the burial of Queen Mathilde on 3 Nov 1081 at Holy Trinity, Caen. Florence of Worcester records the death "IV Non Nov" in [1083] of "regina Mahtilda" in Normandy and her burial at Caen.
      King William I & his wife had ten children:
      1. ROBERT de Normandie (Normandy [1052/54]-Cardiff Castle Feb 1134, bur Gloucester Cathedral). William of Malmesbury names Robert as eldest son of King William I. "Roberti filii sui Normannorum comitis, Richardi filii sui…" subscribed the charter dated Apr 1067 under which "Willelmus…dux Normannorum…Anglorum rex" confirmed rights to the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. Orderic Vitalis records that, after unsuccessfully aspiring to govern Normandy and Maine during the lifetime of hiis father, Robert rebelled in 1079 and went into exile in Flanders. William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis both state that he was assisted in his rebellion by Philippe I King of France and that he wounded his father in battle at Gerberoy. HHe succeeded his father in 1087 as ROBERT “Curthose” Duke of Normandy, his nickname due, according to William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis, to his short stature which he presumably inherited from his mother who was also reputed to have been very short. He joined the contingent of Robert II Count of Flanders on the First Crusade in Sep 1096, together with Etienne Comte de Blois, after pledging the duchy of Normandy to his brother King William for 10,000 marks of silver in order to fund the expedition. Following the capture of Jerusalem, Robert left Palestine to return to Europe in Sep 1099. On returning to Normandy in Autumn 1100, he recovered his duchy without opposition. He landed at Portsmouth in 1102 aiming to displace his brother King Henry I as king of England, but was persuaded to return to Normandy on payment of 3,000 marks. His brother King Henry invaded Normandy and defeated Robert at the battle of Tinchebrai, declaring himself duke of Normandy 28 Sep 1106. King Henry took Robert in captivity back to England, where Robert remained in prison for the rest of his life. Robert of Torigny records the death in 1134 of "Robertus dux Normannorum filius Willermi regis…primogenitus" and his burial at Gloucester. The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the death at Cardiff in [1134] of "Rotbertus frater regis Heinrici quondam comes Normanniæ" and his burial in Gloucester.
      2. RICHARD de Normandie (Normandy [1054 or 1056]-1075 or 1081, bur Winchester Cathedral). William of Malmesbury records that he was the second son of King William I. "The next-born after Robert" according to Orderic Vitalis who, from the context of this passage appears to be taking into account daughters as well as sons in his list of the king's children although, critically for deciding the birth order of the older children, he omits Cecilia in this section. "Roberti filii sui Normannorum comitis, Richardi filii sui…" subscribed the charter dated Apr 1067 under which "Willelmus…dux Normannorum…Anglorum rex" confirmed rights to the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. Duc de Bernay, in Normandy. According to William of Malmeesbury, he "contracted a disorder from a stream of foul air while hunting deer in the New Forest". Florence of Worcester records that "Willelmi iunioris germanus Ricardus" was killed in the New Forest long before, when recording the death of hihis brother King William II. Orderic Vitalis recounts that "when a youth who had not yet received the belt of knighthood, had gone hunting in the New Forest and whilst he was galloping in pursuit of a wild beast he had been badly crushed betweeeen a strong hazel branch and the pommel of his saddle, and mortally injured" dying soon after. Guillaume de Jumièges records a similar, but less specific, story, saying that Richard was hunting, knocked himself against a tree, fell ill and died from his injury.
      3. CECILIA de Normandie (Normandy [1054/55]-Caen 3 Jul 1126, bur Caen, Abbey of Holy Trinity). She is named first in his list of King William's daughters by William of Malmesbury and by Matthew of Paris. Orderic Vitalis, in his list of the king's children which appears to place both the sons and daughters together in birth order, unfortunately omits Cecilia, rendering it particularly difficult to decide if she was older or younger than her brother Richard. Guillaume de Jumièges namees Cecile as eldest daughter, stating that she was a nun at the convent of Holy Trinity at Caen. Her parents offered her as an oblate to the nunnery of the Holy Trinity, Caen (founded by her mother) 18 Jun 1066, probably in part to obtain divine blessing for his project to invade England. She became a nun there in 1075, her tutor being Arnoul de Choques who later became Chancellor to her brother Robert "Curthose" Duke of Normandy, and subsequently Patriarch of Jerusalem. She succeeded Mathilde as Abbess of Holy Trinity at Caen in 1113. The Chronicon S. Stephani Cadomensis records the death in 1126 of "Cecilia Abbatissa, Willelmi Regis filia".
      4. ADELAIDE [Adelisa] de Normandie ([1055]-7 Dec, 1066 or after). Orderic Vitalis records the betrothal of Adelaide and Harold Godwinson, listing her after Agatha and before Constance in his description of the careers of the daughters of King William. The sources are contradictory concerning the name of the daughter betrothed to Harold Godwinson, as well as the timing of her death. The only near certainty is that it would presumably have been the oldest available daughter who was betrothed to Harold. Matthew of Paris does not name her but lists her fourth among the daughters of King William, while distinguishing her from the fifth daughter betrothed to "Aldefonso Galiciæ regi". Guillaume de Jumièges records that Duke Guillaume betrothed his daughter Adelise to Harold, in a later passage (in which he does not repeat her name) stating that she was the third daughter and that she died a virgin although she was of an age to marry. Chibnall specifies that this reference is contained in the interpolations written by Orderic Vitalis, the latter chronicler therefore contradicting his statement in his own work that Agatha was the name of the daughter who was betrothed to King Harold. Orderic Vitalis says that Adelaide "a most fair maiden vowed herself to God when she reached marriageable age and made a pious end under the protection of Roger of Beaumont". The daughter betrothed to Harold was alive in early 1066, according to Eadmer of Canterbury who says that Duke Guillaume requested King Harold, soon after his accession, to keep his promise to marry his daughter. This is contradicted by William of Malmesbury, who says that her death before that of Edward "the Confessor" was taken by KiKing Harold II as marking absolution from his oath to Duke Guillaume. She died as a nun at Préaux. The necrology of Chartres cathedral records the death "VII Id Dec" of "Adeliza filia regis Anglorum", stating that her father made a donation fofor her soul. The necrology of Saint-Nicaise de Meulan records the death of "Adelina filia regis Anglorum", undated but listed among deaths at the end of the calendar year. Betrothed ([1064/65]) to HAROLD Godwinson Earl of Wessex, son of GODWIN Earl of Wessex & his wife Gytha of Denmark ([1022/25]-killed in battle Hastings 14 Oct 1066, bur [Waltham Abbey]), who succeeded in 1066 as HAROLD II King of England.
      5. GUILLAUME de Normandie ([1056/60]-killed in the New Forest 2 Aug 1100, bur Winchester Cathedral). William of Malmesbury records that he was the third son of King William I. He left his father's deathbed in Normandy in Sep 1087 to rush to Enngland to claim the throne, succeeding as WILLIAM II “Rufus” King of England, crowned at Westminster Abbey 26 Sep 1087. Florence of Worcester records that King William was crowned "VI Kal Oct" of King William at Westminster Abbey. His reign wawas characterised by bitter rivalry with his brother Robert in Normandy, even harsher imposition of Norman rule in England than by his father, and growing resentment of his ways among the nobility. Florence of Worcester records the death "IV Non Aug" of King William in the New Forest, killed by an arrow shot by "quodam Franco Waltero cognomento Tirello" [châtelain de Poix et de Pontoise], and his burial "Wintoniam in Veteri Monasterio in ecclesia S Petri". Orderic Vitalis records that he was killed while hunting, maybe murdered, by an arrow shot by Walter Tirel. According to Orderic Vitalis, he "never had a lawful wife but gave himself up insatiably to obscene fornications and repeated adulteries". The necrology of Saint-Nicaise de Meulan records the death "II Non Aug" of "Guillelmus rex Anglorum filius Guillelmi regis".
      6. CONSTANCE de Normandie (Normandy [1057/1061]-13 Aug 1090, bur Church of St Melans near Rhedon). Listed by Orderic Vitalis after Adelaide and before Adela in his description of the careers of the daughters of King William. Named first in his list of the daughters of King William I by Matthew of Paris. Guillaume de Jumièges names Constance as second daughter, naming her husband "Alain Fergant comte de la petite Bretagne et fils d'Hoel, qui avait succédé à Conan" and specifying that she died childless. The Chronicon Ruyensis Cœnobii records the marriage in 1086 of "Alanus" and "Constantiam filiam Regis Anglorum Guillelmi". The Chronicon Kemperlegiensis records the marriage in 1087 of "Alanus Hoëli Consulis filius" and "Constantiam Guillelmi Regis Anglorum filiam". The Chronicon Britannico Alter records the marriage in 1088 of "Alanus" and "Constantiam filam Regis Guillelmi Anglorum". Orderic Vitalis records that she was married in Bayeux. William of Malmesbbury lists her as second daughter after Cecilia, adding that "she excited the inhabitants [of Brittany] by the severity of her justice to administer a poisonous potion to her". Orderic Vitalis, on the other hand, says that she "did everything in her power to further the welfare of her subjects" and "was deeply grieved when she died". The Chronicon Britannico Alter records the death in 1090 of "Constantia Alani coniux…sine liberis". m (Bayeux [1086/88]) as his first wife, ALAIN IV “Fergant” Duke of Brittany, son of HOËL V Comte de Cornouaille, de Léon et de Nantes & his wife Havise heiress of Brittany (-13 Oct 1119).
      7. AGATHE de Normandie (-before 1074, bur Bayeux Cathedral). Listed by Orderic Vitalis after Richard and before Adelaide in his description of the careers of the children of King William. According to William of Malmesbury, an unnamed daughter of King William was "affianced by messengers" to King Alfonso. Orderic Vitalis names her Agatha, identifying her as the daughter who had been betrothed to Harold Godwinson (see above), and says that she was betrothed to "Amfursio regi Galliciiæ". Matthew of Paris places her as the fifth daughter (unnamed) betrothed to "Aldefonso Galiciæ regi", but different from the daughter betrothed to Harold. Orderic says that she died en route to Spain, her body being brought back to Bayeux fofor burial. The betrothal to Alfonso must have been a short-lived arrangement as he married his first wife in 1069. Betrothed (by proxy Caen, Abbey of Holy Trinity [before 1069]) to ALFONSO VI King of Galicia and Leon, son of FERNANDO I King oof Castile & his wife Infanta doña Sancha de Léon (Compostela [1037]-Toledo 30 Jun 1109, bur Sahagún, León, San Mancio chapel in the royal monastery of Santos Facundo y Primitivo). He succeeded in 1072 as ALFONSO VI King of Castile. [Betrothed ([after 1069]) to SIMON du Vexin, son of RAOUL III “le Grand” Comte de Valois & his first wife Aélis de Bar-sur-Aube (-[30 Sep/1 Oct] 1080 Rome, bur 1082 Rome St Peter). The Vita Simonis records a ficitional speech of William I King of Englanand in which he offers his (unnamed) daughter's hand to Simon, specifying that she had previously been betrothed to "regis Hispaniarum Anfursi et Roberti principis Apuliæ". The supposed betrothal to Robert of Apulia (which would have to refer to Robert "Guiscard" Duke of Apulia) is unrecorded in the numerous other sources dealing with his life and is probably pure fantasy. This does not instil confidence with respect to the historical accuracy of the whole passage, but if it is correect the daughter in question would presumably have been Agatha who was probably the daughter of King William betrothed to "Amfursio regi Galliciæ" (see above). Count Simon resigned his county in 1077, became a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome where he died.]
      8. MATHILDE de Normandie (-26 Apr before 1112). The necrology of Saint-Nicaise de Meulan records the death "VI Kal Mai" of "Mathildis filia Willelmi regis Anglorum". She is not named as a daughter of King William by either William of Malmesbury or Orderic Vitalis. There is no basis for assessing her order of birth among the other known daughters of the king. According to Weir, she died unmarried before 1112, but the basis for this date is not known.
      9. ADELA de Normandie (Normandy [1066/67]-Marigney-sur-Loire 8 Mar 1138, bur Abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen). She is listed by Orderic Vitalis last among the daughters of King William in his description of their careers. Named third in his list of the daughters of King William I by Matthew of Paris, but this appears unlikely in view of Adela's child-bearing until her husband's death in 1102. Her birth date is estimated bearing in mind that marriage frequently took place in early adodolescence at the time, and also because Adela clearly continued to bear children right up to her husband's death. Orderic Vitalis records that she encouraged her husband to join the First Crusade and did not hide her shame when he deserted from Antioch in 1098. Regent of Blois 1102-1107, after the death of her husband. She became a nun at the Cluniac priory of Marigney-sur-Loire in [1122]. The necrology of Chartres cathedral records the death "VIII Id Mar" of "Adela comitissa", and in another manuscript the death "VIII Id Mar" of "Adela nobilis Blesensium comitissa regis Anglorum Willelmi filia". m (Betrothed Breteuil 1080, Chartres 1081) ETIENNE [Henri] de Blois, son of THIBAUT III Comte de Blois & his [first/second wife Gersende de Maine/Gundrada ---] (-killed in battle Ramleh 19 May 1102). He succeeded his father in 1089 as ETIENNE Comte de Blois, de Chartres, de Châteaudun, de Sancerre et de Meaux.
      a) ETIENNE de Blois (Blois [1096/97]-Dover 25 Oct 1154, bur Faversham Abbey, Kent). After the death of his uncle Henry I King of England, he crossed at once to England before his rival, King Henry's daughter Maud, and had himself crowned as STEPHEN King of England at Westminster Abbey 22 Dec 1135.
      10. HENRY of England (Selby, Yorkshire Sep 1068-Saint-Denis le Ferment, Forêt d’Angers near Rouen 1/2 Dec 1135, bur Reading Abbey, Berkshire). Orderic Vitalis records that Henry was born "within a year" of his mother's coronation on 11 May 1068. He succeeded his brother 3 Aug 1100 as HENRY I “Beauclerc” King of England.”««s87»» [1]
    Person ID I11900  Lowell&Block
    Last Modified 15 Jan 2020 

    Father Robert II, Duke of Normandy,   d. 22 Jul 1035 
    Mother Herleve or Arlette 
    Family ID F4583  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Matilda, of Flanders, Queen Consort,   b. Abt 1031,   d. 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 52 years) 
    Married 1053  Collégiale Notre-Dame-Saint-Laurent, Eu, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Robert “Curthose”, Duke of Normandy,   b. 1052/54, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 1134, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     2. Richard, of Normandy,   b. 1054 or 1056, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1075 or 1081  (Age 25 years)
     3. Cecilia or Cecily, Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen,   b. 1054/55, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jul 1126, Caen, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
     4. Adelaide or Adelisa
     5. William II “Rufus”, King of England,   b. 1056/60,   d. 2 Aug 1100  (Age 40 years)
     6. Constance, of Normandy,   b. 1057/1061, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Aug 1090  (Age 29 years)
     7. Agathe,   d. Bef 1074
     8. Mathilde, of Normandy,   d. Bef 1112
    +9. Adela, Countess of Blois,   b. 1066/67, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Mar 1138  (Age 71 years)
    +10. Henry I “Beauclerc”, King of England, Duke of Normandy,   b. 1068/9,   d. 1 Dec 1135  (Age 66 years)
    Last Modified 15 Jan 2020 
    Family ID F4140  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1027/8 - Château de Falaise, Calvados, Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1053 - Collégiale Notre-Dame-Saint-Laurent, Eu, Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 9 Sep 1087 - Prioré de Saint-Gervais, Rouen, Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Eglise St.-Etienne (formerly the Abbaye aux Hommes), Caen, Calvados, Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S87] Foundation for Medieval Genealogy., Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Trustees.