After my long absence of about a week, I’m back with another dip into the rules of the English kings. Today will be THE best Norman king (hands down), Henry I!
Stay tuned for silly deaths, shipwrecks and cunning kings.
Henry I (no I DON’T know his full name) was the fourth son of William the Conqueror. When Richard crashed into a tree, Robert got the throne of Normandy and William Rufus got the throne of England, Henry got 5000 pounds of silver to hog lands off Robert and William.
But, Henry’s luck was good. When William died (by an arrow, if you can’t remember from my last 101) childless, Henry ran or cycled (reports vary) to London and three days later was crowned king.
Everyone liked Henry. The Church liked him (which was good news), the people liked him and the ladies liked him. Although he did marry Edith of Scotland, daughter of the Scottish king (cunning move. Making friends with Scotland was GOOD), he had a LOT of other ladies which he loved. He all in all had about 20 illegitimate children.
In terms of politics, Henry was to be trusted. He got rid of William’s unpopular laws and taxes and sacked many of the unpopular ministers in his brother’s reign. He brought back the archbishop who William had exiled (but exiled him again later) and replaced punishments with fines.
But, there had to be wars. Robert (remember him?) had been VERY angry at Henry for taking the throne. So, a year after Henry became king, Robert invaded England… which failed miserably.
So, what does Henry do? ATTACK NORMANDY OF COURSE! In 1106, the battle of Tincheburi was fought with the victor being good ol’ Henry. Just to make sure Robert couldn’t cause trouble any more, Henry locked him up for life (brotherly love huh?)
The rest of Henry’s reign was peaceful (sort of). He had wars with France (get used to England/France wars. There’s more to come) but managed to have NO REBELLIONS AT ALL!
NOTE! IMPORTANT BIT! VERY VERY IMPORTANT! In 1120, Henry’s only heir, William, died in the White Ship disaster when the ship hit rocks and sank. The only living child left was Matilda, but barons didn’t want a woman to be Queen. Henry’s nephew Stephen made a claim to the throne, and that caused problems…
How he plopped off
Like his brother, Henry had a silly death…