Born by Duke Robert I and Herleva,
who was the king’s mistress, in c1028 in Falaise. Willian succeeded his father,
in 1035. His father dead in Nicea. Given that William was his firstborn son he automatically
became the sole heir of Normandy kingdom.
At 8 years old William became the
new duke of Normandy. His early years in power were full of ups and downs.
After a great struggle he took control of London, by mounting a
campaign across it and forcing Edgar Atheling to surrender. He was crowned a King on Christmas Day 1066 at Westminster Abbey and ruled England till September 1087.
He got married in the year 1050 to Matilda Blander. The
couple gave birth to least nine children. Among them( Robert
Curthose) his eldest son, who later became the heir of Normandy after his
father’s death. King William dead in Rouen, France and was buried in St
Stephen’s Abbey, Caen, Normandy.
William expected to become a King after the death of
Edward the confessor. But When Edward the Confessor died he was shocked to
learn that Harold Godwineson had taken the crown and was most likely planning
to attack England .He went to a one day battle “hasting battle” at Senlac Hill
and won the battle thus gaining control of London which was the English
As a religious leader he took part in church
councils, making appointments like appointing the Archbishop of Rouen,
Maurilius to the Norman episcopate. Although he was very religious he managed
to bring most of the church’s ordinary functions under the authority of common
law by separating ecclesiastical courts from lay courts.
Being the only heir of Normandy yet he was a bastard,
these landed him into a series of battles over power with his relatives from
within to distant.
Although William faced several challenges upon
becoming duke –with his illegitimate birth, his Archbishop Robert, his uncle
together with the king of France, Henry I, were there to help him to succeed to
his father’s duchy.
Concerned about William’s well
about, as a young king, French king Henry I played a major role on lending an
hand whenever needed. For instance, when Guy of Burgundy, William’s cousin tried to over through him in 1046, at
Val-és-Dunes king Henry I helped him defeat him and secured control over
On the other hand, with the help of
Henry, William was able to capture Alençon and Domfront
castle in Maine, France in 1051–52. Again with King Henry’s – besieged the
rebels- help Arques-la-Bataille castle was handed back to William in 1053.
Other times Henry the French king was
not that supportive. For instance, together with Geoffrey of Anjou they decided
to invade Normandy in 1054, but they gave up at Mortimer when part of their
force forced them to due to the fear of Normandy’s organized force.
Not being satisfied with the
outcome, Henry and Geoffrey led another attack in 1057, Varaville battle, with
determination William was able to defeat them again.
In 1050, William married the daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders, Matilda
Flanders. The union strengthened William’s status because his father in-law happened
to be one of the most powerful French leaders, with ties to the German emperors
and the French royal house.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR’S SKILLS
A ruthless leader
When his cousin led a rebellion against him he asked for support
from the French king and won the battle thus. He then punished the rebels by
chopping off their feet and hands to instill fear thus emerging as a ruthless leader.
able and born skilled leader
He was able to unite his kingdom by all means. For instance, English
was not his first language but, he influenced its the evolution by adding a
slew of French and Latin words to the English dictionary. On the other hand he introduced
skilled Norman administrators in his regime who were responsible for making
England the most powerful government in Europe.
and strategic leader
He wisely organized
his solders at any given time of war. For instance, When Harold was crowned the
king -with support by Witan council of English whose work was to decide the
successor, after the death of Edward the confessor .William decided to attack England
and enforce his rightful claims of being the King. He assembled an army on the
French coast with the permission and request for reinforcement from the French
king who was always available whenever needed. The army waited for Halold’s
army to return -very weak- from a war and he easily won the battle.
He imposed his authority by forcing the north to
unite -laying waste to their villages, destroying farmlands and robbing
agricultural communities of their livelihoods thus famine struck making them eating
cats, dogs, and even human flesh to survive. After a series of rebellions they
gave in thus he managed to unite England, under his authority.