The Anglo-Norman Territories


The Re-united Kingdom : Henry I Beauclerc


Tomb of Robert Curthose (Gloucester Cathedral)Henry I, the third son of William the Conqueror, acted promptly on the death of his brother William Rufus on 2nd August 1100. He immediately seized the treasury at Winchester and then had himself crowned at Westminster on the 5th. Marriage alliances were important way of securing a king’s power in medieval England and Henry took the opportunity of an alliance with Scotland by marrying Edith (alias Matilda), daughter of King Malcolm Canmore. Edith was a very religious woman and it may be for this reason that Henry returned to his many mistresses.

Ely Cathedral: the early 12th century nave, built during the reign of Henry I, looking westHenry I mourns for his son (British Library)Henry earned his nickname ‘Beauclerc’ by improving the system of administration in his realms in part, at least, to raise money for wars in Normandy. This meant he was a frequent traveller between England and Normandy. Henry’s principal rival was his older brother Robert who reclaimed Normandy on his return from Crusade. In 1106 Henry defeated and captured Robert at the battle of Tinchebrai. Normandy remained the scene of conflict which Henry attempted to resolve with marriage alliances. His son William was married to the daughter of his old enemy the Count of Anjou. Henry also had to fight the King of France whom he defeated at Brémule in 1119.

After William drowned in 1120 Henry installed his daughter Matilda, the widow of the German emperor, as his heir. He also married her to Geoffrey, the heir to Anjou. Henry died in 1135 and was succeeded by his nephew Stephen, Count of Mortain.

Henry I : King of England and Duke of Normandy
War and peace in the Duchy of Normandy
The architectural works of Henri I
Between Normandy and England
An old enemy, the Count of Anjou
The succession crisis

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