Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

William the Conquerer, King of England

William the Conquerer, King of England

Male 1027 - 1087  (60 years)

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  • Name William the Conquerer  
    Suffix King of England 
    Born 1027  Falaise, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    History illegitimate son of ROBERT II Duke of Normandy & his mistress Herlève   [1
    History William I[a] (c. 1028[1] – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard,[2][b] was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy (as Duke William II) from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.

    William was the son of the unmarried Robert I, Duke of Normandy, by Robert's mistress Herleva. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, as did the anarchy that plagued the first years of his rule. During his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke and for their own ends. In 1047 William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy, a process that was not complete until about 1060. His marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders. By the time of his marriage, William was able to arrange the appointments of his supporters as bishops and abbots in the Norman church. His consolidation of power allowed him to expand his horizons, and by 1062 William was able to secure control of the neighbouring county of Maine.

    In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, then held by the childless Edward the Confessor, his first cousin once removed. There were other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, who was named the next king by Edward on the latter's deathbed in January 1066. William argued that Edward had previously promised the throne to him, and that Harold had sworn to support William's claim. William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London. He made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, but by 1075 William's hold on England was mostly secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent.

    William's final years were marked by difficulties in his continental domains, troubles with his eldest son, and threatened invasions of England by the Danes. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholders in England along with their holdings. William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France, and was buried in Caen. His reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire, but instead continued to administer each part separately. William's lands were divided after his death: Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, and his second surviving son, William Rufus, received England.  [2
    History About 1070  Canterbury, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    The Bayeaux Tapestry:
    Measuring twenty inches high and almost 230 feet in length, the Bayeux Tapestry commemorates a struggle for the throne of England between William, the Duke of Normandy, and Harold, the Earl of Wessex (Normandy is a region in northern France). The year was 1066—William invaded and successfully conquered England, becoming the first Norman King of England (he was also known as William the Conqueror).
    The Bayeux Tapestry consists of seventy-five scenes with Latin inscriptions (tituli) depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest and culminating in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The textile's end is now missing, but it most probably showed the coronation of William as King of England.

    Falconer (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)
    Falconer (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)
    Although it is called the Bayeux Tapestry, this commemorative work is not a true tapestry as the images are not woven into the cloth; instead, the imagery and inscriptions are embroidered using wool yarn sewed onto linen cloth.
    The tapestry is sometimes viewed as a type of chronicle. However, the inclusion of episodes that do not relate to the historic events of the Norman Conquest complicate this categorization. Nevertheless, it presents a rich representation of a particular historic moment as well as providing an important visual source for eleventh-century textiles that have not survived into the twenty-first century.

    Normans with horses on boats, crossing to England, in preparation for battle. Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)
    Normans with horses on boats, crossing to England, in preparation for battle (detail), Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum)
    The Bayeux Tapestry was probably made in Canterbury around 1070. Because the tapestry was made within a generation of the Norman defeat of the Anglo-Saxons, it is considered to be a somewhat accurate representation of events. Based on a few key pieces of evidence, art historians believe the patron was Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. Odo was the half-brother of William, Duke of Normandy. Furthermore, the tapestry favorably depicts the Normans in the events leading up to the battle of Hastings, thus presenting a Norman point of view. Most importantly, Odo appears in several scenes in the tapestry with the inscription ODO EPISCOPUS (abbreviated "EPS" in the image below), although he is only mentioned briefly in textual sources. By the late Middle Ages, the tapestry was displayed at Bayeux Cathedral, which was build by Odo and dedicated in 1077, but its size and secular subject matter suggest that it may have been intended to be a secular hanging, perhaps in Odo’s hall. 
    Died 9 Sep, 1087  Rouen, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Saint-Etienne Abbaye, Caen, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I242  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 19 May 2017 

    Father Robert I, Duke of Normandy,   b. 22 Jun 1000,   d. 1-3 Jul 1035  (Age 35 years) 
    Mother Herleva,   b. c 1003,   d. c 1050  (Age ~ 47 years) 
    Family ID F302  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mathilde De Flandre, Queen of England,   b. 1031, Flandre, Belgique Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov, 1083, Normandie, France, age 52 Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Children 
    +1. King Henri I of England, Beauclerc, Duc De Normandie,   b. 1068-1069, Selby, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Dec, 1135, Lyons-La-Foret, Normandie, France, age 67 Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)
    Last Modified 14 May 2017 
    Family ID F115  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    King William the Conquerer
    King William the Conquerer
    William the Conquerer the Bayeux Tapestry
    William the Conquerer the Bayeux Tapestry

  • Sources 
    1. [S22] Medieval Lands, http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm.

    2. [S12] Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror.
      See the page for an excellent history

    3. [S21] Khan Academy, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/medieval-europe-islamic-world/a/bayeux-tapestry.