King Henry I Son of The Conqueror

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Norman Monarchs Kings and Queens
  • King Henry I Son of The Conqueror

4th son of William IHenry I King of England, 4th son of William I

William the Conqueror (1068-1135) he had been a brilliant Duke and Monarch if brutal as was required to manage the unruly tribes of Britain. His heirs and successors were not so straight-forward.

  • Henry I (William I’s 4th son) became King either by default and an accident or as the result of a darker but undocumented plot. Rufus (William II) had been killed in a hunting accident (1100), the nobleman concerned apparently a crack shot had fled back to Normandy where he could not be so easily reached.
  • William Henry’s legitimate heir died in the White Ship disaster in 1120 when it was said half of the Anglo-Norman nobility died.
  • Henry fought his brother for the crown and he was defeated captured and imprisoned as his elder brother Robert Duke of Normandy who quite reasonably believed he should be King for 28 years. Eventually they would agree in effect a truce and swap Henry would keep England and Robert would take Henry’s lands in Normandy.
  • He married in 1100  Matilda II (ecent Anglos Saxon experts cite his wife as Maud daughter of Margaret and Malcolm of Scotland 2014 update) who was descendant of the Anglo Saxon Kings and sister of Edgar of Scotland, she died in 1119 and he had remarried to Adela of LOUVAIN.
  • He left no male heir so he forged a compromise that required the Barons to swear allegiance to his only legitimate daughter Empress Matilda whom he had married to Geoffrey of Anjou (a 14 year old boy) in a strategic alliance.
  • There was no Anglo-Saxon tradition of female monarchs.
  • Stephen claimed that in response to the Anglo_Saxon concerns Henry I had changed his mind on his death-bed and named Stephen his cousin successor.  In the events that follow when Stephen snatches the crown but Matilda and Geoffrey break the Norman-Anjou alliance and declare war on Normandy. Thus begins the drama that would see Plantagenet Monarchs descended from Geoffrey and Matilda rule England to almost the turn of the 14th century.

Henceforth the real troubles begin…This is just 1 generation down from William I’s reign and the problems that follow show what a strong leader William I must have been.

How do the Monarchs reflect the foundations of our lives and British society over time? That’s part of what we wills eek to explore as we have found that a working framework of what happens when is helpful in considering why Britain is as it is today and maybe what happened to your family along the way.


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