William I of England


October 20, 2021

William I, also known as William the Conqueror (Falaise, 8 November 1028 - Rouen, 9 September 1087), was Duke of Normandy from 1035 with the name of William II and king of England from 1066 until his death. Although also called William the Bastard (in French Guillaume le Bâtard) because illegitimate or in any case born of a non-canonical union not recognized by the Church, he was still known as "the Conqueror" (in English "the Conqueror", in French "le Conquérant" ) already before 1066, for his victories over the Bretons and for the conquest of Maine. William ascended to the throne of England after the victory at the Battle of Hastings, with which he began the Norman conquest, beating the Saxon king Harold II. The epic of the conquest and the reasons for the war are represented in the famous Bayeux Tapestry. He gave life to the first census of English properties (the Domesday Book), which allowed the king to have direct knowledge of all the landowners, without going through their feudal lords, rather summoning them all, in 1086 in Salisbury, where he made them swear that they would be been loyal to their king against every other man. William is considered the founder of the central government in England and one of the first builders of the constitutional monarchy. With his reign began the Norman dynasty, which, including also the female branches and cadets that have alternated, still sits on the English throne: in fact all the sovereigns of England, successors of him, are direct descendants of him.


According to the Norman monk and chronicler William of Jumièges, author of the Historiæ Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui, William was the only son of the sixth lord of Normandy, the fourth to formally obtain the title of Duke of Normandy, Robert I the Magnificent and of Herleva of Falaise also known as Arletta (about 1010 - about 1050), of humble origins, daughter of Fulberto or Herberto, a waiter of the duke (Herleva Fulberti cubicularii ducis filia) and of his wife Duda or Duwa, as confirmed by the Chronica Albrici Monachi Trium Fontium, who she may have been the daughter of the tanner Fulberto, perhaps a body preparer. Robert I the Magnificent, again according to William of Jumièges, was the second son of the fourth lord of Normandy and the second to obtain the formal title of Duke of Normandy, Richard II and Judith of Brittany who was the sister of Godfrey I of Brittany, therefore she was the daughter of the Count of Rennes and Duke of Brittany, Conan I the Wrong and his wife, Ermengarda d'Angiò (as confirmed by the monk Rodolfo il Glabro, one of the greatest medieval chroniclers), daughter of the third Count of Anjou , Goffredo I Grisegonelle and Adele di Vermandois, daughter of Robert of Vermandois, count of Meaux and Troyes.



He was born in Falaise in Normandy, from a union in danico (considered illegitimate by the Church), in the year in which his father, Robert, Count of Hiesmois, had rebelled against his brother the Duke of Normandy Richard III and had placed the camp in Falaise (the capital city of its county); Robert, defeated, submitted and peace was agreed. Richard III, shortly after returning to Rouen, died, poisoned. The English monk and chronicler Orderico Vitale also believes that Richard was poisoned (Richardus III veneno, non plene biennio peracto, periit). Finally, according to Wace, in his Roman de Rou, the poisoning of Richard III was the work of his brother, Roberto, the person who had the most to gain from his death. In fact, Roberto became Duke of Normandy, disinheriting and ousting his nephew, Nicola, of the ducal title, as confirmed by William of Jumièges, Orderico Vitale and the chronicler Robert of Torigny. Roberto, in 1034, decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; before leaving, having no legitimate heirs, he wanted to solve the problem of his succession for which he chose

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