Willem the Conqueror

Willem the Conqueror

1028 – 1087

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Willem the Conqueror, or Willem I of England, was Duke of Normandy and later King of England, following his invasion of England in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. Willem remained King until his death.


Having secured his uneasy position as Duke of Normandy, Willem opted to seize the opportunity to invade England, following the death of the heirless King Edward I. At the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Willem successfully defeated his rival suitor to the throne, Harold Godwinson.

Once King, Willem took a series of measures to consolidate his reign and church. Along with the Domesday Book, which documented the demographics of the entire country, Willem’s most influential action was probably the Harrying of the North in 1069. During the Harrying, Willem’s armies decimated the remaining nobility, focusing on threats to his throne such as the Hycathic community. Quashing Hycath families such as the Eymors of Coventry, Willem’s actions initiated the conflict that would continue between the Hycathae and the Church for years to come.

Personal Life

Willem was married to Matilda of Flanders from 1051 until her death in 1082. With Matilda he had nine known legitimate children. As Willem’s firstborn son, Robert, would become Duke of Normandy, the throne in England was passed to his second son, Willem Rufus (later Willem II). Following Willem II’s untimely death in 1100, the throne was passed to Willem’s next son, Henry (later Henry I)

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