Stephen of Blois

King Stephen, also known as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 1135 until his death in 1141. Stephen was also Count of Boulogne from 1125 and nephew of King Henry I of England. He claimed the throne in 1135 in place of King Henry’s named heir, Empress Matilda “Maud” Beauclerc. As King of England and Duke of Normandy, Stephen faced difficulty controlling his borders from Scotland to Anjou, with his time as King being plagued by war.

Career

Following Henry I’s death in 1135, Stephen seized the opportunity to claim the English throne while Empress Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou were occupied in Europe. Stephen had unsuccessfully attempted to convince Henry of his claim to the throne in 1120, following the death of Henry’s son and heir, William Adelin. Instead, Henry named his daughter Maud as his heir. However, when Henry died in 1135 following a sudden and rapid decline in health, and Maud was embroiled in a campaign in Normandy, Stephen seized the opportunity to gather his own supporters. Maud had revealed herself to be a Hycatha, so the Church, desperate to prevent Hycathic rule in England, allied themselves with Stephen and played a large part in his usurpation of the throne in December of that year.

Stephen’s reign was dominated by war all across his Anglo-Norman Kingdom. The war was initiated in 1136 by the invasions of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey in Normandy, and King David I of Scotland in the North.

Personal Life

Following Henry I’s death in 1135, Stephen seized the opportunity to claim the English throne while Empress Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou were occupied in Europe. Stephen had unsuccessfully attempted to convince Henry of his claim to the throne in 1120, following the death of Henry’s son and heir, William Adelin. Instead, Henry named his daughter Maud as heir. However, when Henry died in 1135 following a sudden and rapid decline in health, and Maud was embroiled in a campaign in Normandy, Stephen seized the opportunity to gather his own supporters. Maud had revealed herself to be a Hycatha, so the Church, desperate to prevent Hycathic rule in England, allied themselves with Stephen and played a large part in his usurpation of the throne in December of that year.

Stephen’s reign was dominated by war all across his Anglo-Norman Kingdom. The war was initiated in 1136 by the invasions of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey in Normandy, and King David I of Scotland in the North.

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