Henry I "Beauclerc", King of England

London, England

Henry I "Beauclerc", King of England's Geni Profile

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French: Henri, Danish: Henrik, Latin: Henricus, German: Heinrich, Spanish: Enrique, Portuguese: Henrique, Norwegian: Henrik, Swedish: Henrik, Dutch: Hendrik
Also Known As: "Henry Beauclerc"
Birthplace: Selby, North Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: December 01, 1135 (67)
Saint-Denis-le-Ferment, Department de Eure, Haute Normandie, France (Over indulgence of Lamphreys)
Place of Burial: Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William "the Conqueror", king of England and Matilda of Flanders
Husband of Matilda of Scotland and Adelicia of Louvain
Partner of Unknown Woman de Caen, Concubine #1 of Henry I of England; Edith Ansfride, Concubine #2 of Henry I; Ansfride Concubine #3 of Henry I King Of England; ? Concubine #4 of Henry I; Sybil Corbet, Lady of Alcester, Concubine #5 Of Henry I Of England and 7 others
Father of Euphemia (Name & Sex Unconfirmed) Child of Henry I & Mathilda; Empress Matilda; William Atheling, Duke of Normandy; Adelaide de Angers (Possibly Empress Mathilda); Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester and 21 others
Brother of Robert II "Curthose", Duke of Normandy; Adelizia de Normandie, Princess of England; William II "Rufus", King of England; Cecilia, Abbess of Holy Trinity; Richard de Normandie and 4 others

Occupation: King of England, Roi d'Angleterre de 1100 à 1135-Duc de Normandie, King of the English Duke of Normandy, Duke of the Normans, Kung av England och Hertig av Normandie, Duke of Normandy King of England, King, kung, KING OF ENGLAND, 1100-1135, King Henry I
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About Henry I "Beauclerc", King of England




Called "Beauclerc because of his study habits (Beauclerc meaning well-learnt, scholarly, erudite)

Il est aussi connu sous le nom de Henri Ier de Normandie, roi d'Angleterre et Henri Ier, roi d' Angleterre dit le Beau Clerc. En 1106, il est connu sous le nom de Henri Ier, duc de Normandie dit Beauclerc.

Henry I 'Beauclerc', King of England gained the title of

  • Lord of Domfront in 1092
  • Comte de Coutances in 1096
  • Comte de Bayeux in 1096
  • King Henry I of England on 2 August 1100.

He was crowned King of England on 5 August 1100 in Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London,

Married First: Eadgyth renamed on marriage Mathilda of Scotland

Mathilda of Scotland


Children with Mathilda:

Married Second: Adeliza de Louvain

Adeliza de Louvain

Partners/Concubines of Henry I and their children

Unknown woman de Caen Concubine #1


Edith Concubine #2


Ansfride Concubine #3


Concubine #4


Sybil Corbet Concubine #5


Edith fitzForne Concubine #6


Concubines #7-12


Nesta verch Rhys Concubine #13


Mother of wife of Goet, Concubine #14


Isabel de Beaumont Concubine #15


Unconfirmed unknown mother of Elizabeth Joan or Emma






He had 2 wives, Eadgyth of Scotland who changed her name to Matilda mother of Euphemia (unconfirmed), Matilda & William and Adelisa de Louvain who married William d'Aubigny on Henry's death

He also had many mistresses (or concubines) as follows:

1 Unknown woman from Caen mother of Robert de Caen aka Robert FitzRoy, Earl of Gloucester

2 Edith Unknown mother of Mathilde w/o Routrou de Perche

3 Ansfride widow of Anskill mother of Richard, Juliane & Foulques

4 Unknown mother of Sybil Queen of Scotland & William

5 Sibyl Corbet married Herbert FitzHerbert mother of Renaud de Dunstanville, William, & Gundred, Rohese

6 Edith FitzForne d/o Forn Sigurdson Lord of Greystoke, Cumberland married Robert De Oilly of Hook Norton mother of Robert FitzEdith

7 - 12 All Unknown. Mothers to:

                                                         * Maud (m. Conan III Duke of Brittany), 

*Alix (m. MATHIEU [I] de Montmorency)
*Constance (Mathilde) (m ROSCELIN Vicomte de Beaumont)
*Mathilde abbess of Montvilliers
*William de Tracy
13 Nest of South Wales wife of Gerald FitzWalter of Windsor d/o Rhys apTewdwr Prince of South Wales and Gwladus mother of Henry

14 Unknown mother of unknown daughter (m GUILLAUME [III] Goët de Montmirail)

15 Isabelle de Beaumont d/o Robert de Beaumont Comte de Meulan, Earl of Leicester and Isabelle de Vermandois and wife of Gilbert FitzGilbert de Clare Earl of Pembroke mother of Isabel Please do not merge Named Mistresses as Unknown Mistresses



The fourth son of William I the Conqueror the first King of England after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

  • Henry I 'Beauclerc', King of England gained the title of Lord of Domfront in 1092.
  • He gained the title of Comte de Coutances in 1096.
  • He gained the title of Comte de Bayeaux in 1096.
  • He succeeded to the title of King Henry I of England on 2 August 1100.
  • He was crowned King of England on 5 August 1100 in Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, and styled 'Dei Gratiâ Rex Anglorum.'
  • He fought in the Battle of Tinchebrai on 28 September 1106.2
  • He succeeded to the title of 9th Duc de Normandie on 28 September 1106, after defeating his brother Robert in battle.
  • Strangely, at the time William 'Rufus' was shot in the New Forest, Henry was also hunting there and this may or may not be coincidence. Henry was in turn in some danger from his brother Robert who claimed the throne for himself. Robert was captured at the battle of Tinchebrai in 1106 and Henry imprisoned him in Cardiff Castle for the rest of his life. Henry was successful in keeping the peace in England despite spending much time in Normandy. He developed the English system of justice and organised the civil service of the time, particularly the taxation department. He was unpopular with the church leaders. He had only one legitimate son, William and a legitimate daughter Matilda, but over twenty illegitimate children. His sons William and Richard were drowned in 1120 aboard his personal vessel the 'White Ship' when it struck a rock off the Normandy coast. He wanted his successor to be his daughter Matilda whom the English called Maud. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.
  • All detailed biographical entries are extracted from:
  • 1. [S18] Dictionary of National Biography; and
  • 2. [S23] Dictionary of New Zealand National Biography
  • Henry I 1068-1135, king, fourth son of William the Conqueror and Matilda, was born, it is said, at Selby in Yorkshire (Monasticon, iii. 485; Freeman, Norman Conquest, iv. 231, 791), in the latter half of 1068, his mother having been crowned queen on the previous Whitsunday (Orderic, p. 510). As the son of a crowned king and queen of England he was regarded by the English as naturally qualified to become their king; he was an English ætheling, and is spoken of as clito, which was used as an equivalent title (ib. p. 689; Brevis Relatio, p. 9; comp. Gesta Regum, v. 390). He was brought up in England (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 10), and received an unusually good education, of which he took advantage, for he was studious and did not in after life forget what he had learnt (Orderic, p. 665; Gesta Regum, u. s.). The idea that he understood Greek and translated Æsop's Fables into English is founded solely on a line in the Ysopet of Marie de France, who lived in England in the reign of Henry III, but it is extremely unlikely, and there is so much uncertainty as to what Marie really wrote or meant in the passage in question that it is useless to build any theory upon it (Poésies de Marie de France, par B. de Roquefort, i. 33-44, ii. 401; Professor Freeman seems to think that the idea is fairly tenable, Norman Conquest, iv. 229, 792-4). It is certain that he understood Latin (Orderic, p. 812), and could speak English easily (William Rufus, i. pref. viii). At least as early as the thirteenth century he was called clerk, the origin of the name Beauclerc (Wykes, iv. 11; Norman Conquest, iv. 792). While he was with his father at Laigle in Normandy, in 1077, when the Conqueror was on bad terms with his eldest son Robert, he and his brother, William Rufus, went across to Robert's lodgings in the castle, played dice with their followers in an upper room, made a great noise, and threw water on Robert and his men who were below. Robert ran up with Alberic and Ivo of Grantmesnil to avenge the insult, a disturbance followed, and the Conqueror had to interfere to make peace (Orderic, p. 545). His mother at her death in 1083 left Henry heir of all her possessions in England, but it is evident that he did not receive anything until his father's death (ib. p. 510). The next year, when his father and brothers were in Normandy, he spent Easter by his father's order at the monastery of Abingdon, the expenses of the festival being borne by Robert of Oily (Chron. de Abingdon, ii. 12). At the Whitsuntide assembly of 1086 his father dubbed him knight at Westminster, and he was armed by Archbishop Lanfranc. He was with his father when the Conqueror lay dying the next year at Rouen, and, on hearing his father's commands and wishes about his dominions and possessions, asked what there was for him. I give thee 5,000l., was the answer. But what, he said, can I do with the money if I have no place to live in? The Conqueror bade him be patient and wait his turn, for the time would come when he should be richer and greater than his brothers. The money thus left had been his mother's, and he went off at once to secure the treasure. He returned for his father's funeral at Caen
  • Robert of Normandy, who was in want of money, asked Henry for some of his treasure; Henry refused, and the duke then offered to sell or pledge him some part of his dominions. He accordingly bought the Avranchin and the Côtentin, along with Mont St. Michel, for 3,000l., and ruled his new territory well and vigorously (Orderic, p. 665). In 1088 he went over to England, and requested Rufus to hand over to him his mother's lands. Rufus received him graciously, and granted him seisin of the lands, but when he left the country granted them to another. Henry returned to Normandy in the autumn in the company of Robert of Bellême, and the duke, acting on the advice of his uncle, Bishop Odo, seized him and shut him up in prison at Bayeux, where he remained for six months, for Odo made the duke believe that Henry was plotting with Rufus to injure him (ib. p. 673). In the spring of the following year the duke released him at the request of the Norman nobles, and he went back to his county, which Robert seems to have occupied during his imprisonment, at enmity with both his brothers. He employed himself in strengthening the defences of his towns, and attached a number of his nobles to himself, among whom were Hugh of Chester, the lord of Avranches, Richard of Redvers, and the lords of the Côtentin generally. When the citizens of Rouen revolted against their duke in favour of Rufus in November 1090, Henry came to Robert's help, not so much probably for Robert's sake, as because he was indignant at seeing a city rise against its lord (William Rufus, i. 248). He joined Robert in the castle, and headed the nobles who gathered to suppress the movement. The rebellious party among the citizens was routed, and Conan, its leader, was taken prisoner. Henry made him come with him to the top of the tower, and in bitter mockery bade him look out and see how fair a land it was which he had striven to subject to himself. Conan confessed his disloyalty and prayed for mercy; all his treasure should be given for his life. Henry bade him prepare for speedy death. Conan pleaded for a confessor. Henry's anger was roused, and with both hands he pushed Conan through the window, so he fell from the tower and perished (Orderic, p. 690; Gesta Regum, v. 392). In the early part of the next year Robert and William made peace, and agreed that Cherbourg and Mont St. Michel, which both belonged to Henry, should pass to the English king, and the rest of his dominions to the Norman duke. Up to this time Henry had been enabled to keep his position mainly by the mutual animosity of William and Robert. Now both his brothers attacked him at once. He no longer held the balance between them in Normandy, and the lords of his party fell away from him. He shut himself up in Mont St. Michel, and held it against his brothers, who laid siege to it about the middle of Lent, each occupying a position on either side of the bay. The besieged garrison engaged in several skirmishes on the mainland (Flor. Worc.). Their water was exhausted, and Henry sent to the duke representing his necessity, and bidding him decide their quarrel by arms and not by keeping him from water. Robert allowed the besieged to have water. After fifteen days Henry offered to surrender if he and his men might march out freely. He was accordingly allowed to evacuate the place honourably (Orderic, p. 697)
  • The surrender of Mont St. Michel left Henry landless and friendless, and for some months he wandered about, taking shelter first in Brittany and then in the Vexin. In August he accompanied his two brothers to England, and apparently joined in the expedition against Malcolm of Scotland (Gesta Regum, iv. 310; HistoriæDunelm. Scriptores Tres, p. xxii; William Rufus, ii. 535-8). Then he probably resumed his wandering life, travelling about attended only by a clerk, a knight, and three armed followers. Apparently at the end of 1092 he received a message from the men of Domfront inviting him to become their lord. He was received at Domfront by Archard, the chief man of the town, who had instigated his fellow-townsmen to revolt against Robert of Bellême, their former lord. Henry promised that he would never give up the town to any other lord, and would never change its laws and customs (Orderic, pp. 698, 788). Domfront, situated on the Varenne, dominated part of the border of Normandy towards Maine; lies not far to the east of Henry's old county, and was a place of great strength (for geographical description see William Rufus, i. 319). The interests of Henry and Rufus were now one; both alike desired to win all the parts of Normandy they could from the duke. Henry from his new fortress carried on constant war against the duke and Robert of Bellême; before long he regained a large part of his old territory in the west (ib. p. 321), and in doing so certainly acted with the goodwill of Rufus, though there appear to have been some hostilities between them (Orderic, p. 706; too much weight must not be given to this passage; in the first place it is rather vague and may apply to an earlier period, and in the second a war such as that which Henry was carrying on, consisting of attacks on single towns and castles, was certain to lead to quarrels with others besides those immediately concerned). Some places in his old county yielded to him out of affection, for, as the people of Domfront had discerned, he was a good lord, others he took by force of arms, and his old friends and followers again joined him. In 1094 he received an invitation from Rufus, who was then carrying on open war against Robert in Normandy, to meet him with Hugh of Chester at Eu, and because the duchy was in too disturbed a state for them to pass through it safely, Rufus sent ships to bring them (A.-S. Chron. sub an.). They sailed, however, to Southampton, and waited at London for the king, who met them there shortly after Christmas. Henry stayed with Rufus until Lent, and then returned to Normandy with a large supply of money, and carried on war against Robert with constant success (ib. an. 1095). When Normandy passed into the possession of Rufus in 1096, Henry joined him and remained with him, receiving from him the counties of Coutances and Bayeux, with the exception of the city of Bayeux and the town of Caen, and having further committed to his charge the castle of Gisors, which Rufus built on the frontier against France (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 7).
  • On 2 Aug. 1100 Henry was hunting in the New Forest, when men came hastening to him one after another telling him of the death of Rufus. According to popular belief he had shortly before gone into a hut to mend his bowstring, and an old woman had declared that she had learnt by augury that he would soon become king. When he heard of his brother's death, it is said that he grieved much, and went to where his body lay (Wace, ll. 10105-38). In reality he spurred at once to Winchester, where the royal treasure was kept, and demanded the keys of the treasury from the guards (Orderic, p. 782). William of Breteuil refused to deliver them, declaring that, as Robert was his father's first-born, he was the rightful heir. The dispute waxed hot, and men came running to the spot, and took the count's part (Professor Freeman's assumption that these men were Englishmen as opposed to Normans seems unwarranted). Henry clapped his hand on his sword, drew it, and declared that no one should stand between him and his father's sceptre. Friends and nobles gathered round him, and the treasury was delivered over to him. The next day such of the witan as were at hand met in council, and after some opposition chose Henry as king, chiefly owing to the influence of Henry Beaumont, earl of Warwick (Gesta Regum, v. 393). As king-elect he bestowed the see of Winchester, which Rufus had kept vacant since January 1098, on William Giffard [q.v.]; he then rode to London, and was crowned at Westminster on Sunday, 5 Aug., by Maurice, bishop of London, for Archbishop Anselm [q.v.] was then in exile. Thomas, archbishop of York, hastened from the north to perform the ceremony, but came too late. When he complained of this as an infringement of his right, the king and the bishops told him that it was necessary to hasten the coronation for the sake of the peace of the kingdom (Hugh the Chantor, ii. 107). At his coronation he swore to give peace to the church and people, to do justice, and to establish good law. On the same day he published a charter in which, after declaring that he had been made king by the ‘common concent of the barons,’ he forbade the evil customs introduced during the last reign. The church was to be free, its offices and revenues neither sold nor farmed, and the feudal incidents of relief, marriage, and wardship were no longer to be abused by the king as instruments of oppression. As he did by his tenants-in-chief so were they to do by their tenants, a provision which may be said to have been founded on the law of his father that all men, of what lord soever they held, owed the king allegiance, a provision wholly contrary to the feudal idea. The coinage was to be reformed, and justice done on those who made or kept bad money. Wills of personalty were permitted. Men who incurred forfeiture were no longer to be forced to be at the king's mercy. Knights who held by knight-service were to have their demesne lands free of tax, and were to be ready both with horses and arms to serve the king and defend his realm. Good peace was to be kept throughout the kingdom, and the ‘law of King Edward,’ with the amendments of the Conqueror, was restored. The forests were, with the common consent of the barons, to remain as they were in the days of the king's father (Select Charters, pp. 95-8). This charter was taken by the barons in the reign of John as the basis of their demands. Henry also wrote a letter to Anselm inviting him to return, and declaring that he committed himself to the counsel of the archbishop and of those others whose right it was to advise him (Epp. iii. 41). There was great joy among the people at his accession, and they shouted loudly at his coronation, for they believed that good times were at last come again, and saw in their new king the ‘Lion of Justice’ of Merlin's prophecy (Gesta Regum, v. 393; Orderic, pp. 783, 887).
  • Henry was thirty-two at his accession. He was of middle height, broad-chested, strong, stoutly built, and in his later years decidedly fat (Orderic, p. 901). His hair was black and lay thickly above his forehead, and his eyes had a calm and soft look. On fitting occasions his talk was mirthful, and no press of business robbed him of his cheerfulness. Caring little what he ate or drank, he was temperate, and blamed excess in others (Gesta Regum, v. 412). He was, however, exceedingly licentious, and was the father of a large number of natural children by many mistresses. At the same time he was free from the abominable vices which Rufus had practised, and, sensual as he was, his accession was at once followed by a reform in the habits of the court (ib. p. 393). In common with all his house he was devoted to hunting, and one of his lords who quarrelled with him gave him the nickname of ‘Pie-de-Cerf,’ because of his love of slaying deer (Wace, l. 10566). From the studies of his youth he acquired an abiding taste for books. He formed a collection of wild beasts at Woodstock, where he often resided (Gesta Regum, v. 409; Henry of Huntingdon, pp. 244, 300). He was an active, industrious king, and when in England constantly moved about, visiting different places in the southern and central parts of the kingdom, though he seems very seldom to have gone north of the Humber. In his progresses the arrangements of his court were orderly, for he was a man of method; there were no sudden changes of plan, and people brought their goods to the places on his route, certain that the court would arrive and stay as had been announced, and that they would find a market. The morning he gave to affairs of state and to hearing causes; the rest of his day to amusement (De Nugis Curialium, p. 210). He was not without religion. Reading Abbey he founded (ib. p. 209; Gesta Regum, v. 413; Monasticon, iv. 28); he completed the foundation of the abbey of Austin canons at Carlisle; he formed the see of Carlisle (Creighton, Carlisle, pp. 31-5; John of Hexham, col. 257; Waverley Annals, ap. Annales Monast. ii. 223); Cirencester Abbey, and Dunstable (Dunstable Annals, ib. iii. 15) and Southwyke priories, all for Austin canons, were founded by him (Monasticon, vi. 175, 238, 243), together with some other houses. He was a benefactor to some older English foundations, and rebuilt many churches in Normandy which suffered during his wars. He was liberal to pilgrims and to the military orders in Palestine (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 32), and seems to have treated clergy of holy life with respect. Contemporaries were much impressed by his wisdom; he did not love war, and preferred to gain his ends by craft. An unforgiving enemy, he was said to be an equally steadfast friend. He was, however, such a thorough dissembler that no one could be sure of his favour; and Robert Bloet [q.v.], bishop of Lincoln, declared that when he praised any one he was sure to be plotting that person's destruction (De Contemptu Mundi). He was cruel, and his cruelties proceeded from a cold-hearted disregard of human suffering. Policy rather than feeling guided his actions. Without being miserly, he was avaricious, and the people suffered much from his exactions, which, though apparently not exorbitant in amount, were levied with pitiless regularity alike in times of scarcity and plenty. His justice was stern. Unlike his father, he caused thieves, robbers, and other malefactors to be hanged, and sometimes inflicted such sweeping punishments that the innocent must have suffered along with the guilty. Criminals were constantly blinded and mutilated, though in his later years he often substituted heavy fines for these punishments. He strictly enforced the forest laws; no one was allowed, except as a special privilege, to hunt on his own land or to diminish the size of his woods; all dogs in the neighbourhood of a forest were maimed, and little difference was made between the slayer of a deer and of a man (Orderic, p. 813; William of Newburgh, i. c. 3). On the whole, however, Henry's harsh administration of justice was good for the country; while it brought suffering to the few, it gave peace and security to the many. His despotism was strong as well as stern; no offender was too powerful to be reached by the law. Private war he put down peremptorily, and peace and order were enforced everywhere. He exalted the royal authority, and kept the barons well under control, both by taking sharp measures against those who offended him, and by choosing his counsellors and chief officers from a lower rank, raising up a number of new men, whom he enriched and ennobled in order to make them a counterpoise to the power of the great houses of the Conquest (Orderic, p. 805). Although he kept a large number of stipendiary soldiers, to whom he was a liberal master (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 22), he was persuaded by Anselm to sharply restrain them from injuring the people, as they had done in his brother's time, and as they did in the earlier years of his own reign (Eadmer, Historia Novorum, iv. col. 470). Trade was benefited by his restoration of the coinage, and the severity with which he punished those who issued bad money or used false measures; he is said to have made the length of his own arm the standard of measure throughout the kingdom (Gesta Regum, v. 411). The peace and order which he established were highly valued by the people, and the native chronicler, though he makes many moans over his exactions, yet, writing after his death, and looking back in a time of disorder to the strong government of the late reign, says of him: ‘Good man he was, and great awe there was of him. No one durst misdo another in his time. Peace he made for man and deer. Whoso bare his burden of gold and silver no man durst say to him aught but good’ (Anglo-Saxon Chron. sub an. 1135; for Henry's character, both as a man and as a king, see more at large in Norman Conquest, v. 153-61, 839-45, where full references are given; also Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. i. secs. 110-12).
  • In the first days of his reign Henry imprisoned, in the Tower of London, Ranulf Flambard [q.v.], bishop of Durham, the evil minister of Rufus, and began to appoint abbots to the abbeys which his brother had kept vacant in order to enjoy their revenues. He met Anselm at Salisbury, on his return to England about Michaelmas, and required him to do homage as his predecessor had done, and receive back from him the temporalities of the see, which were then in the king's hands. Anselm refused, and Henry, who could not afford to quarrel with him, and would probably in any case have been unwilling to do so, agreed to delay the matter, in order that the pope might be consulted whether he could so far change his decrees as to bring them into accordance with the ancient custom of the kingdom. In this dispute as to the question of investiture [for which see under Anselm] Henry took his stand on the rights of his crown as handed down by his predecessors, and on the undoubted usages of his realm. He made no new demand; the innovation was introduced by Anselm, who, in obedience to papal instructions, refused to accept the temporalities from Henry, as he had accepted them from Rufus, and as former archbishops had accepted them from former kings. Nor did Henry make the quarrel a personal matter; he did not persecute the archbishop, or thwart him in the exercise of his office, as Rufus had done. He behaved throughout with a due regard to law, and on the whole acted fairly, though he naturally availed himself of every lawful means to gain his point. He was urged by his counsellors, and especially by the bishops, to marry and reform his life. He had for some time been in love with Eadygyth (Edith) or Matilda [q.v.], daughter of Malcolm Canmore, king of Scotland, by Margaret, daughter of Edward the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside [q.v.]. Matilda had been brought up in the convent at Romsey, and many people declared that she had taken the veil. Anselm, however, pronounced that she was not a nun, and married her to the king, and crowned her queen in Westminster Abbey on 11 Nov. 1100. The English were delighted to see their king take a wife of ‘England's right kingly kin’ (A.-S. Chronicle, a. 1100). Before long, his example was followed by others, and intermarriages between Normans and English became common. They were encouraged by Henry, who by this and other means did all he could to promote the amalgamation of the two races within his kingdom (De Nugis Curialium, p. 209). His efforts were so successful that he has been called the ‘refounder of the English nation’ (William Rufus, ii. 455). For a while he devoted himself to his queen, but before long returned to his old mode of life. His marriage was not pleasing to the Norman nobles, who knew his early misfortunes, and as yet held him in little respect; they sneered at the domestic life of the king and queen, calling them by the English names Godric and Godgifu (Godiva). Henry heard their sneers but said nothing (Gesta Regum, v. 394; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 236). Already they were plotting against him in favour of Robert, who had returned from the crusade, and had again resumed his government, such as it was, of Normandy, though Henry kept the castles which he held in virtue of his grant from Rufus. Some hostilities were carried on in Normandy between his men and the duke's. At Christmas the king held his court at Westminster, and there received Louis, who had lately been made joint king of France by his father, Philip. While Louis was with him a letter came from Bertrada, Philip's adulterous wife, purporting to have been sent by Philip, and requesting Henry to keep Louis in lifelong imprisonment. Henry, however, sent his guest home with many presents (Symeon of Durham, ii. 232; Orderic, p. 813, places this visit under 1103. Symeon's date seems better; comp. Recueil des Historiens, xii. 878, 956). At Christmastide Flambard escaped from the Tower and fled to Normandy, where he stirred up Robert against his brother. During the spring of 1101 the conspiracy of the Norman nobles against the king spread rapidly, and when the Whitsun assembly met it was known that Robert was about to make an invasion. A large number both of nobles and of the people generally came to the assembly to profess their loyalty. Henry and the nobles met with mutual suspicions. Among the nobles only Robert FitzHamon, Richard of Redvers, Roger Bigot, Robert of Meulan, and his brother Henry, earl of Warwick, were steadfast to him; all the rest were more or less on Robert's side. The English people and the bishops were loyal, and by the advice of Anselm Henry renewed his promises of good government (Gesta Regum, v. 394; Eadmer, Historia Novorum, iii. col. 430). He gathered a large army, and was joined by Anselm in person. With him he went to Pevensey, and sent a fleet to intercept the invaders. Some of the seamen were persuaded to join the duke, who landed near Portsmouth on 20 July. Henry advanced to meet him, and though some of his lords, and among them Robert of Bellême, now earl of Shrewsbury, deserted him, many were kept from following their example by the influence of Anselm. The king and the duke met at Alton in Hampshire (Wace, l. 10393). Henry's army was largely composed of Englishmen. He rode round their battalions, telling them how to meet the shock of a cavalry charge, and they called to him to let them engage the Normans. No battle took place; for the brothers had an interview, were reconciled, and came to terms. Henry agreed to give up all he held in Normandy except Domfront, which he kept according to his promise to the townsmen, to restore the lands in England which Robert's adherents had forfeited, and to pay the duke three thousand marks a year. Robert renounced his claim on England and on homage from Henry, and both agreed that if either should die without leaving an heir born in wedlock the other should succeed to his dominions (A.-S. Chronicle, sub an.; Orderic, p. 788). The duke went back to Normandy, and Henry bided his time to take vengeance on the lords who had risen against him. By degrees one after another at various times and by various means he brought them to judgment and punished them (ib. p. 804). One of them, Ivo of Grantmesnil, began to carry on war in England on his own account, was cited before the king's court, and was forced to part with his lands for the benefit of the king's counsellor, Robert of Meulan, and to go on a crusade.
  • Henry now prepared to deal with Robert of Bellême, the most powerful noble in his kingdom, and his enemy alike in England and in Normandy. He knew that while Robert remained lord of so many strong fortresses, and held an almost independent position in the Severn country, where he could easily find Welsh allies, it was hopeless to attempt to carry out his design of enforcing order and of humbling the great feudatories. His war with the earl [for particulars see Bellême, Robert of] was the principal crisis in his reign. Not only did Robert's wealth and dominions make him a dangerous foe, but the chief men in Henry's army also sympathised with him. Henry depended on the loyalty of men of lower degree. In fighting out his own quarrel he was also fighting against the foremost representative of a feudal nobility, which would, if triumphant, have trampled alike on the crown, the lesser landholders, and the nation generally. The shouts which were raised on the surrender of Shrewsbury, the earl's last stronghold in England, and the song which celebrated his banishment, show that the people knew that the king's victory insured safety for his subjects. During the early part of the war the earl received help from the Welsh under Jorwerth and his two brothers, who ruled as Robert's vassals in Powys and the present Cardigan. The king won Jorwerth over to his side by promising him large territories free of homage, and he persuaded his countrymen to desert the earl and uphold the king. When, however, he claimed the fulfilment of Henry's promise, it was refused, and in 1103 he was brought to trial at Shrewsbury and imprisoned.
  • It is characteristic of the spirit in which Henry carried on his dispute with Anselm that while in 1102 he allowed the archbishop to hold his synod at Westminster, he in 1103 banished William Giffard [q.v.], the bishop-elect of Winchester, for refusing to receive consecration from Gerard [q.v.] of York. He was anxious for a settlement of the question, and willingly gave Anselm license to go to Rome. Henry was relieved from some anxiety by the death of Magnus Barefoot, king of Norway, who was slain while invading Ireland, and he enriched himself by seizing on 20,000l. deposited by the Norwegian king with a citizen of Lincoln. Some interference in the affairs of Normandy was forced on the king by the attacks made on his son-in-law, Eustace of Pacy, lord of Breteuil, the husband of his natural daughter, Juliana. Robert of Meulan was sent to threaten the duke and his lords with the king's displeasure unless they helped Eustace, and his mission was successful (Orderic, p. 811). Duke Robert came over to England, and was persuaded by the queen to give up the pension of three thousand marks which the king had agreed to pay him (Flor. Wig. ii. 52; Gesta Regum, v. 395). Normandy was in a state of confusion. Henry's enemies, and above all Robert of Bellême, who was now in alliance with the duke, were active, and were joined by William of Mortain, one of the king's bitterest foes, who claimed the earldom of Kent as heir of Bishop Odo. Since the overthrow of Robert of Bellême the king had become too strong for the nobles. William was tried in 1104 and sentenced to banishment. He went over to Normandy and attacked some of the castles belonging to men of the king's party. Henry himself crossed with a considerable fleet, and visited Domfront and other towns, apparently those held by the lords who also had English estates. In an interview with Robert he complained of his alliance with Robert of Bellême and of his general misgovernment. Robert purchased peace by ceding to him the lordship of the county of Evreux. Henry's lords seem to have fought with some success. The king returned before Christmas. It was a time of trouble in England; for he was determined to invade Normandy, and accordingly taxed his subjects to raise funds for his expedition. He was collecting an army, and, as he had not yet made his decree against military wrongdoing, his soldiers oppressed the people, plundering, burning, and slaying (A.-S. Chron. sub an.). He held his Christmas court at Windsor, and in Lent 1105 left England with a large force. He landed at Barfleur, and spent Easter day at Carentan. Thither came Serlo, bishop of Seez, who had been driven out of his see by Robert of Bellême, and prepared to celebrate mass. The king and his lords were sitting at the bottom of the church, among the goods and utensils which the country-folk had placed there to preserve them from plunder. Serlo called on the king to look at these signs of the misery of the people, and exhorted him to deliver them and the church from those who oppressed them. He wound up by inveighing against the custom of wearing long hair which prevailed among the men of the English court, and spoke to such good effect that the king allowed him then and there to shear off his locks, and the courtiers followed the king's example (Orderic, p. 816). Geoffrey, count of Anjou, and Elias, count of Maine, came to his help; Bayeux, with its churches, was burnt, and Caen, where the treasure of the duchy was kept, was bribed to surrender. On 22 July Henry met Anselm at Laigle. There was some talk of a possible excommunication, which would have damaged his position. The interview was amicable, and terms were almost arranged. Although he won many of the Norman barons over by gifts, he failed to take Falaise, and found it impossible to complete the conquest of the duchy that year. He returned to England in August. (For this expedition see ib. pp. 816-18; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 235; Versus Serlonis, Recueil des Historiens, xix. præf. xcj; Norgate, Angevin Kings, i. 11.)
  • On his return he laid a tax on the clergy, who kept their wives in disobedience to Anselm's canon, and, finding that it brought in little, extended it to all the secular clergy alike. A large number appeared before him at London in vestments and with bare feet, but he drove them from his presence. Then they laid their griefs before the queen, who burst into tears and said she dared not interfere (Eadmer, iv. col. 457). Robert of Bellême came over to endeavour to obtain the king's pardon, and was sent back indignant at his failure. Duke Robert also came early in 1106 and found the king at Northampton; he failed to persuade the king to give up his conquests and make peace. Contrary to his usual custom, Henry held no court at Easter or Whitsuntide, and spent the one feast at Bath and the other at Salisbury. In July he again went over to Normandy. On 15 Aug. he had a satisfactory interview with Anselm at Bec, and the archbishop returned to England. At Caen he received a visit from Robert of Estouteville, one of the duke's party, who offered to surrender the town of Dives to him, proposing that he should go thither with only a few men. Henry did so, and found that a trap had been laid for him, for he was attacked by a large number. Nevertheless, his men routed their assailants and burnt both castle and monastery (Orderic, p. 819). He raised a fort outside Tinchebray, a town between Vire and Flers, belonging to the Count of Mortain, and stationed one of his lords there to blockade the place. As the count succeeded in introducing men and stores, and the siege made no progress, Henry appeared before the town in person. Robert and his army found him there on 2 Sept. Henry's army, which comprised allies from Anjou, Maine, and Brittany, had the larger number of knights, while Robert had more foot-soldiers. The clergy urged the king not to fight with his brother. Henry listened to their exhortations, and sent to Robert, representing that he was not actuated by greed or by a desire to deprive him of his dukedom, but by compassion for the people who were suffering from anarchy, and offering to be content with half the duchy, the strong places, and the government of the whole, while Robert should enjoy the revenues of the other half in idleness. Robert refused. Both armies fought on foot, with the exception of the duke's first line, and Henry's Breton and Cenomannian cavalry, which he placed at some little distance from his main body under the command of Count Elias. The Count of Mortain, who led the first line of the ducal army, charged the king's first line under Ranulf of Bayeux and shook without routing it. Then Elias with his cavalry fell on the flank of the duke's second line of foot, and cut down 225. Thereupon Robert of Bellême, who commanded the rear of the army, fled, and the whole of the duke's forces were scattered (ib. p. 821; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 235). The duke, the Count of Mortain, Robert of Estouteville, and other lords were made prisoners, and the battle completed the conquest of the duchy. It was regarded as an English victory, and a reversal of the battle of Hastings, fought almost on the same day forty years before, for it made Normandy a dependency of the English crown (Will. of Malm. v. 398; Norman Conquest, v. 176). The war in Normandy helped on Henry's work of consolidating the Norman and English races in England, and this process was still further forwarded by his later wars with France. His subjects in England of either race were counted Englishmen as opposed to Normans or Frenchmen (Angevin Kings, i. 23, 24). Duke Robert was kept a prisoner until his death in 1134; there is no ground for the story current in the thirteenth century (Ann. Monast. ii. 50, iv. 15, 378) that he was blinded (Orderic, p. 823). Henry caused William of Mortain to be blinded, and kept him in prison until he died. In the middle of October he held a council of the Norman lords at Lisieux, in which he resumed the grants made by his brother, and ordered the destruction of all ‘adulterine’ or unlicensed castles, and at the same time held a council of the Norman church. In order to accustom the Norman lords to his rule he held a court at Falaise the following January, and it was there probably that he caused Robert of Montfort sur Risle to be tried for disloyalty and banished by legal process. In March he again held a council at Lisieux, and settled the affairs of the duchy, where he pursued the same policy as in England, depressing the baronage and protecting the lower classes from tyranny and violence (ib.).
  • He returned to England in Lent, and according to his custom held courts at Easter and Whitsuntide, the first at Windsor, the second at Westminster. On 1 Aug. he held a council at Westminster, at which the terms of the compromise between the crown and the papacy were finally settled [see under Anselm]. The issue of the struggle was that the church was freed from the feudal character which had gradually, and especially in the reign of Rufus, been imposed upon it, and that the king tacitly recognised a limitation of secular authority. On the other hand, Henry surrendered a shadow and kept the substance of power; for the appointment of bishops remained as much as before in the king's hands. At this council five vacant sees were filled by the consecration of bishops, some of whom had been elected long before. One of the new bishops, Roger, consecrated to the see of Salisbury, formerly the king's chancellor, was now made justiciar. Henry used the revenues and offices of the church as a means of rewarding his ministers, whom he chose from the clergy rather than from the baronial class. He employed Bishop Roger to develope a system of judicial and fiscal administration. The curia regis, or king's court, became specially active in judicial matters, and while the three solemn courts were regularly held, at which the king came to decisions on more important judicial cases in the presence, and theoretically by the advice, of his counsellors, the permanent court of which he, or in his absence his justiciar, was the head, and which was composed of the great officers of the household and any others whom he might select, gained greater distinctness; the king further sent out justices to go on circuit to transact judicial business and to settle and enforce the rights of the crown. The court of exchequer was organised for the purpose of royal finance; it seems to have consisted of the justiciar and the other ordinary members of the curia regis, and to have been the body which received the royal revenue from the various officers appointed to collect it. Its business was recorded, and the earliest exchequer roll known to be in existence is that of the thirty-first year of Henry I. From this it appears that the royal revenue was then fully 66,000l. The ordinary direct taxes were the danegeld, the ferm, or composition paid by the shires, and certain fixed amounts paid by towns. Besides these sources of revenue there were, among others, the feudal incidents, the sale of offices, and the profits of the royal jurisdiction (see Constitutional History, i. 376-91; Angevin Kings, i. 25-7). In July 1108 Henry again crossed over to Normandy, where trouble was beginning. He had given Robert's son William, called ‘Clito,’ into the charge of Elias of Saint-Saen, and now, by the advice of his courtiers, wanted to get hold of the lad. An attempt to seize him in the absence of Elias failed, and his guardian refused to give him up, and when Henry took his castle from him, went from one lord to another asking help for his young charge. Many of the Norman nobles were ready to uphold their old duke's son, and his cause was favoured by several of the great French feudatories, and by Louis VI, who, after his father's death, was crowned king on 3 Aug. (Orderic, pp. 837, 838). During all the earlier part of 1109 Henry remained in Normandy, and in the course of the next year a quarrel broke out between him and Louis about the border fortress of Gisors. According to the French statement an agreement had been made between them, when Henry conquered the duchy, that Gisors should be a kind of neutral ground, and should belong to neither of them. Henry, however, turned out the castellan and made it his own. Louis gathered a large army and marched to meet him at the town of Neauffles; the Epte flowed between the two armies, and could only be crossed by a crazy bridge. Messengers came to Henry from Louis asserting his grievance and offering to decide the matter by combat. Henry would not hear of this. After some altercation Louis offered to fight the matter out if Henry would allow the French army to cross over the river, but Henry answered that if Louis came over to the Norman side he would find him ready to defend his land. The two armies retired each to its own quarters. This was the beginning of a long border warfare between the Normans and the French, during which Louis did much harm to the castles and lands on the Norman march (Suger, Vita Ludovici Grossi, ap. Recueil, xii. 27, 28). About 1111 Theobald, count of Blois, Henry's nephew, relying on his uncle's help, began to make war on Louis on his own account (ib. p. 35). Meanwhile Henry continued his work of repressing the baronage, and in 1110 banished from England Philip of Braiose, William Malet, and William Bainard, and confiscated their lands. While he was fighting in Normandy he kept England at peace. In 1111 Fulk V of Anjou joined Louis against him, for Fulk had married the daughter and heiress of Elias of Maine, and on the death of his father-in-law revived the old claim of his house on Maine; the war increased in importance, and Henry remained in Normandy for about two years. He seems to have acted warily, to have trusted much to good management and bribes, and to have avoided actual fighting as much as possible. He caught his old enemy, Robert of Bellême, sent him over to an English prison, and captured his town of Alençon. The Norman barons were not universally faithful, and Henry banished the Count of Evreux and William Crispin. By the beginning of 1113 the war seems to have died out. Henry spent the festival of the Purification (2 Feb.) at the monastery of Evroul, and early in Lent met Fulk at Pierre-Pécoulée, near Alençon, and there made peace with him, for, as he had by gifts won over to his side many of the nobles of Maine, the count was not unwilling to come to terms; he did homage to Henry for Maine, and promised to give his daughter in marriage to Henry's son William. Henry pardoned the Count of Evreux and some other banished lords. Shortly afterwards Henry and Louis made peace at Gisors. The amount of Henry's success may be gauged by the concessions of the French king, who acknowledged his right to Bellême, Maine, and all Brittany. He received the homage of the Count of Brittany, subdued the forces which held out in Bellême, and then returned to England.
  • During Henry's reign the English power in Wales was strengthened by colonisation and conquest. The English regarded with dislike the large number of Flemish which had settled in their country since the Conquest, and Henry in 1111 settled them in the southern part of Dyfed or Pembrokeshire, where they formed a vigorous Teutonic colony, held their ground against the Welsh, and converted a land originally Welsh into an outlying English district, ‘Little England beyond Wales’ (Gesta Regum, iv. 311, v. 401; Flor. Wig. ii. 64; Orderic, p. 900; Ann. Cambriæ, an. 1106; Freeman, English Towns and Districts, pp. 33-9). Barnard, an English bishop of Norman race, was appointed to the see of St. David's, and professed obedience to Canterbury (Councils and Eccl. Docs. i. 307); obedience was likewise professed by the Bishop of Llandaff, who was consecrated by Anselm in 1107. Owen, the prince of Powys, caused a good deal of trouble, and carried on constant wars against the Normans and Flemings until he was slain in 1116. After one of his raids Henry granted the present Cardiganshire to Gilbert of Clare, who subdued the district in 1111. After his return from Normandy, Henry, in the summer of 1114, led a large army into Wales against Gruffyd of North Wales and Owen. On his approach the Welsh made peace with him, and after ordering castles to be built he returned, and on 21 Sept. embarked at Portsmouth for Normandy, where he remained until the following July. His relations with Scotland, where three of his wife's brothers reigned in succession, were uniformly peaceful. David I [q.v.], the queen's youngest brother, passed his youth at the English court, and Henry gave him an English wife and an English earldom. At the same time he was careful to strengthen the borders against the Scots as well as against the Welsh. The eastern border he gave in charge to Ranulf Flambard, bishop of Durham, whom he reinstated in his see in 1107 (Orderic, p. 833); over the western border he first set an earl of Carlisle, and on his death divided the district of Carlisle into baronies, and gave it a county organisation. He also carried on the work begun by his brother of making Carlisle an English city by completing the monastery of Austin canons, and making it the cathedral church of a bishop of Carlisle. In 1114 he sent his daughter Matilda over to Germany to be the wife of the Emperor Henry V; at the time of her betrothal in 1110 he had levied an aid which the English chronicler says was specially burdensome because it came in a year of scarcity. When he was in Normandy in 1115 he made all the barons do homage and swear fealty to his son William as heir to the duchy, and on 19 March 1116 he caused the prelates, nobles, and barons throughout the whole of England to do the like at an assembly which he held at Salisbury (Anglo-Saxon Chron. a. 1115; Flor. Wig. ii. 69; Eadmer, Historia Novorum, v. col. 496; Dr. Stubbs considers this to have been a general muster of landowners, Constitutional History, i. 358; and William of Malmesbury says that the oath was taken by all freemen of every degree in England and Normandy, Gesta Regum, v. 419. In the face of the English chronicler and Florence this may perhaps be put down as merely rhetorical).
  • After Easter Henry again visited Normandy, and, taking up the quarrel of his nephew Theobald with Louis VI, sent forces into France, took the castle of St. Clair, and did much damage. Provoked by this invasion, Louis adopted the cause of Robert's son William, and attacked Normandy, and, as he knew that the dukes had thoroughly fortified the border, seized by a clever stratagem a little town called Gue Nichaise, where there was a bridge across the Epte. Henry tried to blockade him by building two forts against his quarters, but Louis called them ‘Malassis’ and ‘hare's-form’ (trulla leporis), stormed Malassis, and carried on a desultory warfare (Suger, p. 43; Orderic, p. 842). The French king was joined by Baldwin of Flanders and Fulk of Anjou, who combined with him to place William Clito in possession of Normandy. Many of the Norman barons revolted, and Amaury of Montfort, who claimed Evreux, the fief of his uncle William, was active in gaining fresh adherents to the league against Henry. During 1117 Henry remained in Normandy, and in the following year matters became serious. While Count Baldwin was mortally wounded at Eu, and the king did not suffer any important defeat, the defection of his lords still continued. On 1 May of this year his queen, Matilda, died, and he also lost his faithful counsellor, Robert of Meulan. To this time also is to be referred a conspiracy which was made by one of his chamberlains to assassinate him. The plot was discovered, and the traitor punished by mutilation. It is said to have had a considerable effect on the king; he increased his guards, often changed his sleeping-place, and would not sleep without having a shield and sword close at hand (Suger, p. 44; Gesta Regum, v. 411). Hearing that Richer of Laigle had admitted the French into his town, he marched against it, but was stopped by William of Tancarville, who brought him false news that Hugh of Gournay, Stephen of Albemarle, and others of his rebellious lords were at Rouen. When he found that they were not there, he attacked Hugh of Gournay's castle, la Ferté, but heavy rain forced him to abandon the siege. Having laid waste the country he attacked and burnt Neubourg. In September he seized Henry of Eu and Hugh of Gournay at Rouen, imprisoned them, and reduced their castles. He held a council at Rouen in October, and endeavoured to make peace with his lords. While he was there Amaury of Montfort made himself master of Evreux. About the middle of November he attacked Laigle, and was hit on the head by a stone sent from the castle by the French garrison; his helmet, however, protected him. In December Alençon rebelled against his nephews Theobald and Stephen, and was occupied by Fulk of Anjou. Henry had caused Eustace de Pacy, the husband of his natural daughter Juliana and lord of Breteuil, to send him his two little daughters as hostages for his good faith, and had put a castellan, Ralph Harenc, in charge of his tower of Ivry, making him send his son as a hostage to Eustace. By the advice of Amaury of Montfort, Eustace, who was on the rebels' side, put out the boy's eyes. On this Henry, in great wrath, sent his two grand-daughters to Harenc that he might serve them in the same way. Harenc tore out their eyes, and cut off the tips of their noses. Their parents then fortified all their castles against Henry, and Juliana gathered a force, and shut herself in the castle of Breteuil. The townsmen who were loyal sent to Henry, and he appeared before the castle in February 1119. Juliana tried to kill her father by a shot from an engine. She failed, and was forced to offer to surrender. Her father would not allow her to leave the castle except by letting herself down into the moat and wading through the icy water (Orderic, p. 848; De Contemptu Mundi, p. 311; Lingard, ii. 12). During the early months of the year the war went on much as in the year before; the Norman lords still remained disloyal, Louis took Andelys, which was held by the king's natural son Richard, by surprise, and the French became masters of all the neighbouring country. Henry was losing ground, and Amaury of Montfort scornfully rejected his offer of reconciliation.
  • In May 1120 Henry joyfully received his son William, who came over to him from England. The object of his coming was shown by the despatch of messengers to Count Fulk to propose that the marriage contract between William and Fulk's daughter Matilda should be fulfilled. Fulk agreed and made peace with Henry, offering to end the ancient dispute between the houses of Normandy and Anjou by settling Maine upon his daughter, and to give up Alençon provided that the king would restore it to William Talvas, son of Robert of Bellême, and heir of its ancient lords (Orderic, p. 851; Suger, p. 45; Gesta Regum, v. 419). This marriage, which was celebrated in June at Lisieux, changed the aspect of the war, for the alliance with Count Fulk enabled Henry to devote all his energies to repelling Louis and punishing his rebellious vassals. In the summer he made a terrible raid on the disloyal lords; he laid siege to Evreux, and finding it well defended called the Bishop Audoin to him, for Audoin, in common with the bishops and clergy of the duchy generally, was loyal to Henry, and asked him whether it would not be well for him to fire the town provided that if the churches were burnt he would rebuild them. As the bishop hesitated to give an answer, the king set fire to the town and burnt it, churches and all, he and his nobles giving the bishop ample pledges that he would rebuild the churches, which he afterwards did. When Amaury heard that his town was burnt, he sent to Louis for help. On 20 Aug. Henry, who had heard mass that morning at Noyon, was riding towards Andelys to make war, with five hundred of his best knights, when his scouts told him that the French king, who had ridden out from Andelys with four hundred knights, was close at hand. The two bands met on the plain of Brenneville. Besides William the Ætheling two of Henry's natural sons, Robert and Richard, fought in their father's company; Richard with a hundred knights remained mounted, the rest of Henry's knights fought on foot. Among the knights of Louis fought William of Normandy. Louis neglected to marshal his force; William Crispin, a rebel Norman, charged Henry's forces with eighty horse. He and his men were surrounded, but he made his way to the king and struck him a deadly blow on the head, but Henry's headpiece saved him, though it was broken by the blow, and wounded his head so that the blood flowed. All the eighty knights were taken. A body of knights from the Vexin for a moment shook the Norman lines, but was quickly repulsed. When Louis saw that William Crispin and the knights whom he led did not return from their charge, he and his men took flight, and the Normans pursued some of the fugitives as far as Andelys. Henry's men took 140 prisoners and the banner of the French king. Henry returned this banner to Louis together with his charger, and William the Ætheling sent back the charger of his cousin William of Normandy. Henry also sent back without ransom some knights who owed allegiance to Louis as well as to himself. Only three knights were slain out of the nine hundred engaged in the fight; for all were clad in complete armour, and on both sides there was a feeling of knightly comradeship which prevented any sanguinary conflict; indeed the aim of both sides was rather to make prisoners than to slay the enemy. The whole affair was more like a great tournament than a battle (Orderic, pp. 853-5; Suger, p. 45; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 241, where some details are probably untrustworthy). Louis raised a large force and overran part of Normandy and Chartres, gaining nothing by his raid, while Henry organised his army. In October Louis, who evidently felt himself overmatched, appeared before Calixtus II at the Council of Rheims, and made his complaints against the English king. Geoffrey, archbishop of Rouen, rose to reply to the charges brought against his lord, but the council would not hear him. The pope, however, was anxious to make peace with the emperor, and did not care to offend the father of the empress. Meanwhile Henry received the submission of several rebel lords, and was reconciled to Amaury of Montfort, Eustace, and Juliana, Hugh of Gournay, and others, who agreed, though against their wills, to let William Clito and Elias of St.-Saen remain in exile. In November he met the pope at Gisors, and replied in person to the charges brought against him by Louis of usurping the inheritance of his brother and nephew, declaring that he had offered to make William earl of three counties in England, and to bring him up with his own son. His answers on these and other points thoroughly satisfied the pope, by whose intercession a peace was arranged in 1120 between Henry and Louis and the Count of Flanders; all conquests were to be restored, captives liberated, and offences pardoned, and Louis accepted the homage of Henry's son, and thus gave a pledge that he should succeed to his father's fiefs (Orderic, p. 866; Norman Conquest, v. 193). Henry thus passed safely and honourably through the most dangerous crisis of his reign. After devoting some time to settling the affairs of the duchy, he embarked at Barfleur on 25 Nov. to return to England, from which he had been absent for four years. His only legitimate son, William, was to follow him, with his half-brother Richard, his half-sister the Countess of Perche, many young lords and ladies, and the king's treasure, in the White Ship. The ship foundered, and all were drowned except a butcher of Rouen. Although Henry's lords were mourning their own losses, they concealed the disaster from the king for a day after the news had come, for they feared to tell him. At last the young son of Count Theobald knelt before him and told him of his loss. Henry fell senseless to the ground, and though in a few days he restrained his grief, and applied himself to his kingly business, he was deeply affected by his son's death (Orderic, pp. 868 sq.; Gesta Regum, v. 419; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 242; Symeon, ii. 259; Wace, ll. 10203-10288; Benoit, ll. 41039-41152).
  • The disaster ruined his schemes at the very moment when their success appeared certain, and when it seemed as though nothing could prevent his son from inheriting both his kingdom and duchy. All his dominions would now naturally pass at his death to his enemy, William Clito. By the advice of his counsellors he married again, taking to wife, on 29 Jan. 1121, Adela, or Adelaide, daughter of Godfrey VII, count of Louvain, in the hope of having a son by her, and also, it is said, to keep himself from disgraceful conduct (Gesta Regum, v. 419; Eadmer, col. 517). Unfortunately the marriage proved barren. After Whitsuntide Henry led an army into Wales, where the natives had taken advantage of the death of the Earl of Chester to rise in revolt. He marched as far as Snowdon (Symeon, ii. 264), and received the submission of the Welsh nobles, who gave him their sons as hostages, and paid him tribute, so that he is said to have fully subdued the land (Giraldus Cambrensis, iii. 152). While on this expedition, and as the army was passing through English territory, he was hit by an arrow which was shot at him secretly. His armour saved him from harm. The man who made the attempt was not discovered, and Henry swore ‘by God's death,’ his favourite oath, that he was no Welshman, but one of his own subjects (Gesta Regum, v. 401). Shortly before this time Henry brought to a close a quarrel with Thurstan, archbishop of York. His rule was as despotic in ecclesiastical as in civil matters, and in both alike he maintained the principle of holding to the hereditary rights of the crown. After the death of Anselm in 1109, he broke the promise of his coronation charter by keeping the see of Canterbury vacant until 1114, when he summoned the suffragan bishops and the monks of Christ Church to Windsor, and allowed the election of Ralph, bishop of Rochester, to the archbishopric. This election led to a dispute with Pope Paschal II, who in 1115 wrote to Henry, complaining that his legates were shut out from the kingdom, and that he translated bishops without papal license. On the other hand, the king informed the bishops that the pope had infringed the privileges enjoyed by his father and brother. He commanded Thurstan, the archbishop-elect of York, to make profession to Archbishop Ralph. Thurstan refused, and was upheld in his refusal by Pope Paschal and his successors, Gelasius II and Calixtus II. A long quarrel ensued, in which Henry upheld the rights of Canterbury. He allowed Thurstan to attend the pope's council at Rheims in 1119, on his promising that he would not receive consecration from the pope, and so evade the profession, and allowed the English prelates to go thither also, warning them that, as he intended to abide by the ancient customs and privileges of his realm, they had better not bring back any idle innovations. Finding that Thurstan, in spite of his promise, was trying to obtain consecration from Calixtus, he charged the bishops to prevent it. They were too late, and the pope consecrated Thurstan, whereupon the king forbade him to enter England, and seized the estates of his see. Nor would Henry at Gisors assent to the pope's demand for his restoration. Thurstan, however, did Henry a service by forwarding the negotiations with Louis, and Henry allowed him to return, and gave him the temporalities (Eadmer, v. col. 499 sq.; Hugh the Chantor, pp. 129 sq.).
  • Although Henry sent the young widow of his son back to her father against his own will¾for, besides her importance as a kind of hostage for Count Fulk's conduct, he seems to have been fond of her (Orderic, p. 875)¾he did not return the money which formed part of her dower, nor would he satisfy the envoys from the count who came to his court, probably on this matter, at Christmas 1122. The settlement of the county of Maine, however, was broken by William's death, and Fulk was induced, partly by his anger at the retention of the dower, and partly by the persuasions of Louis of France and Amaury of Montfort, count of Evreux, to give the county to William Clito, to whom he betrothed his second daughter Sibyl. At the same time in 1123 a revolt was excited among the Norman lords, chiefly through the instrumentality of Amaury and of Waleran of Meulan, the son of Henry's late counsellor. Henry heard of the movement, and crossed over from Portsmouth immediately after Whitsuntide, leaving his kingdom under the care of his justiciar, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who was at this period, after the king himself, all powerful both in church and state. In September the rebels met at Croix-St. Leuffroy, and arranged their plans. As soon as Henry knew of their meeting, he gathered his forces at Rouen, and took the field in October. His promptitude would have taken them by surprise had they not received timely warning from Hugh of Montfort, of whom the king required the surrender of his castle. Henry burnt Montfort, and forced the garrison to surrender the fortress, and then laid siege to Pont Audemer, the town of Waleran. The town was burnt, but the castle was held by a strong garrison, partly composed of men who had pretended to be on Henry's side, while some, the poet Luke de Barré among them, were fierce and valiant warriors. In spite of his age Henry was as active during this siege as the youngest soldier of his army, superintending everything himself, teaching the carpenters how to build a tower against the castle, scolding bad workmen, and praising the industrious, and urging them on to do more. At last, after a siege of six weeks, the castle was surrendered. On the other hand Gisors was taken by a treacherous stratagem. Henry at once hastened thither, and the rebels evacuated the town on his approach. In returning he seized Evreux. Heavy rains compelled him for a time to forbear further operations. While his rebellious lords seem to have been no match for him, their attempts gained importance from the fact that they were upheld by Louis, who was ready, if matters went ill with Henry, to take a prominent part in the war. In order to prevent this, Henry's son-in-law, the emperor, threatened France with an invasion, but did not advance further than Metz (Suger, pp. 49, 50; Otto of Freising, vii. 16). A decisive blow was struck on 25 March 1124, when Ranulf of Bayeux, who held Evreux for the king, defeated a large force led by Waleran, and took him and many others captive at Bourgthéroulde. This battle virtually ended the war, and after Easter Henry pronounced sentence on the rebel prisoners at Rouen. Many were imprisoned, Hugh of Montfort being confined miserably at Gloucester. Waleran, whose sister was one of the king's mistresses, was kept in prison in England until 1129, and then pardoned and received into favour. Two rebels who had forsworn themselves were condemned to lose their eyes. A like doom was pronounced against the warrior poet, Luke de Barré, for he had mortally offended the king by his satirical verses, as well as by his repeated attacks upon him. Charles, count of Flanders, who chanced to be at the court, and many nobles remonstrated at this, for, as they pleaded, Luke was not one of Henry's men, and was taken while fighting for his own lord. Henry acknowledged this, but would not remit his sentence, for he said that Luke had made his enemies laugh at him. Luke escaped his doom by dashing out his own brains (Orderic, pp. 880, 881). The king's success was crowned by the publication of a papal decree, obtained by his persuasion, annulling the marriage contract between William Clito and the daughter of the Count of Anjou, on account of consanguinity (ib. p. 838; D'Achery, Spicilegium, iii. 497). The war cost much money, and Englishmen moaned over the burdens which were laid upon them; ‘those who had goods,’ the chronicler writes, ‘were bereft of them by strong gelds and strong motes; he who had none starved with hunger.’ The law was enforced vigorously, and sometimes probably unjustly; at Huncote in Leicestershire the king's justices at one time hanged forty-four men as thieves, and mutilated six others, some of whom, it was generally believed, were innocent. At the end of the year Henry sent from Normandy, commanding that severe measures should be taken against debasers of the coin, which had deteriorated so much that it was said that a pound was not worth a penny in the market. The offenders were punished with mutilation.
  • On the death of his son-in-law the emperor in 1125, Henry sent for his daughter Matilda, who went back to him, and in September 1126 he returned to England with his queen, his daughter, and his prisoners. Finding that it was unlikely that his queen would have children, he determined to secure the succession for his daughter, and at the following Christmas assembly at Westminster caused the prelates and barons to swear that if he died without a male heir they would receive Matilda as Lady both of England and Normandy. Among those who took this oath were David, king of Scots, who had come to the English court at Michaelmas, and Stephen, count of Boulogne, the king's nephew, and the brother of Count Theobald (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sub an. 1127; William of Malmesbury, Historia Novella, i. 2, 3; Symeon, ii. 281; Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 25). It was afterwards asserted by Bishop Roger of Salisbury that this oath was taken on the king's promise that he would not give his daughter in marriage to any one out of the kingdom without the advice of his chief men; this assertion was probably untrue. Henry's move must have seemed strange to the men of his time, for no woman had hitherto reigned in her own right either over England or Normandy; it was meant to put an end to the hopes of the party which supported William Clito, and so to give stability to Henry's position during the rest of his reign, as well as to secure the succession after his death. By way of answer to this oath of succession, Louis again took up the cause of William, who, since the papal decree against his marriage had been finally enforced, had been forsaken by his friends, gave him to wife Jane of Montferrat, the half-sister of his queen, and invested him with the grant of the French Vexin. Moreover, when Charles, count of Flanders, died on 1 March 1127, he gave the county to William as the heir of Baldwin V. Henry was himself one of the claimants, and sent his nephew Stephen, whose county of Boulogne was a Flemish fief, to press his claim. Stephen was unsuccessful, and the favour shown to William by the French king and the rapid rise in his nephew's fortunes forced him to take measures to prevent another combination being formed against him. Accordingly he made alliance with Fulk of Anjou, and at Whitsuntide sent his daughter and heiress to Normandy, under the charge of her half-brother, Robert, earl of Gloucester, to become the wife of Fulk's son Geoffrey. He also made alliance with Theodoric of Alsace, who claimed to succeed to the county, and with a strong party among the Flemings against William and the French king. In August he crossed over to Normandy, and in order to prevent Louis from giving help to William upheld Amaury of Montfort in a quarrel with the French king (Suger, p. 56); invaded France, though probably without any idea of making conquests; encamped for a week at Epernon, one of Amaury's chief possessions, without being attacked (Henry of Huntingdon, p. 247), and by this means kept Louis from marching into Flanders. At Whitsuntide 1128 he knighted Geoffrey with much ceremony at Rouen, and then proceeded with him and Matilda to Le Mans, where on the octave of the feast Geoffrey and Matilda were married in his presence in the cathedral (Historia Gaufredi ap. Recueil, xii. 520, 521; for date see Angevin Kings, i. 258). The marriage was unpopular in England, Normandy, and Maine; the English were not pleased at the heiress to the crown marrying out of the country, while the people of both Normandy and Maine had a long-standing hatred for the Angevin house. It promised, however, to turn the most dangerous of Henry's enemies into an assured friend, to put an end to the designs of the counts of Anjou on Maine, and to add Anjou to the inheritance of his descendants. In the last days of July he heard that his nephew was dead, and received a letter from him, asking his pardon, and praying that he would be gracious to such of his friends as might come to him. He agreed to this request, released some of his nephew's adherents from prison, and allowed them and others to have their lands again. William's death relieved him from all further attempts on the part of Louis to shake his power, and robbed the nobles of Normandy of the weapon which they had so often used against him.
  • His good fortune was soon chequered, for shortly after he landed in England, in July 1129, he heard that Geoffrey had quarrelled with his wife, and that she had returned to Rouen (Symeon, ii. 283). Towards the end of the year he scandalised the English bishops by a trick to raise money. With his concurrence William of Corbeuil, archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod at Michaelmas 1127, at which it was ordered that married priests should put away their wives. Nevertheless after his return the king allowed the clergy to keep their wives by paying him a fine (Henry of Huntingdon, p. 251). On 4 May following, the repairs of Christ Church, Canterbury, being finished, he attended the consecration, and there is a story that when the anthem ‘Terribilis est locus’ was sung with a trumpet accompaniment, he was so much moved that he swore aloud that by God's death the place was indeed awful (Oseney Annals, p. 19). Four days later he went to Rochester, where another monastic and cathedral church was to be dedicated, and while he was there the city was almost destroyed by fire. At Michaelmas he went to Normandy to his daughter. Innocent II was then in France, having been forced to leave Rome by the supporters of his rival Anaclete. Henry was urged to take the side of Anaclete, who was, it is said, favoured by the English bishops. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, persuaded him otherwise, and he left his own dominions and came to Chartres to meet Innocent, promised him his support, and afterwards received him at Rouen with much honour, and used all his influence on his behalf (Henry of Huntingdon, p. 251; Historia Novella, i. 6; Arnulf of Seez ap. Muratori, iii. 436; Acta SS., Mabillon, ii., Vita S. Bernardi, ii. 4). He returned to England with Matilda in July 1131, and soon received a message from Geoffrey asking that his wife should come back to him. By the advice of a great council held at Northampton on 8 Sept., it was decided that his request should be granted, and Henry again required all the nobles who were present to swear fealty to Matilda as his successor. During 1132 he remained in England, and at Christmas lay sick at Windsor. The following Easter he kept at Oxford at the ‘new hall,’ which he had just completed; this was Beaumont Palace, outside the north gate of the city (Wood, City of Oxford, p. 366; Boase, Oxford, pp. 28, 62; the suggestion in Henry of Huntingdon, ed. Arnold, p. 253 n., that it was Oxford Castle is erroneous). The birth of his grandson, afterwards Henry II, on 5 March, seemed to secure the success of his policy, and in August he embarked, for the last time, for Normandy, to see the child. An eclipse of the sun which took place during his voyage was afterwards held to have been ominous (Anglo-Saxon Chron. a. 1135; Historia Novella, i. 8). Matilda joined him at Rouen, and there, at Whitsuntide 1134, bore a second son named Geoffrey. He took much delight in his little grandchildren, and stayed at Rouen contentedly until, in 1135, he heard that the Welsh had made an insurrection and had burnt a castle belonging to Pain Fitzjohn [q.v.]. In great wrath he bade his men prepare to return to England, and was thrice on the point of embarking, but was prevented by fresh troubles. His son-in-law claimed certain castles in Normandy, which he asserted had been promised to him at the time of his marriage; and, according to a later story (Robert of Torigni, a. 1135, which receives some confirmation from Orderic, p. 900; see Angevin Kings, i. 269), seems to have demanded to receive fealty for all Henry's strong places in England and Normandy. Henry indignantly declared that so long as he lived he would make no one his master or his equal in his own house. Geoffrey destroyed the castle of the viscount of Beaumont, the husband of one of Henry's natural daughters, and behaved so insultingly towards him that he threatened to take Matilda back with him to England. But he was unable to leave Normandy, for some of the nobles were disaffected and held with the count. Chief among these were William Talvas and Roger of Toesny. He kept Roger quiet by sending a garrison to Conches, and when Talvas, after disregarding several summonses, fled to Angers, he made an expedition into his country and compelled the surrender of his castles. Matilda made frequent attempts to persuade him to pardon Talvas, and when Henry refused quarrelled with her father, and went off to Angers to her husband (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 34).
  • Henry's health, which had now been failing for some time, was further impaired by the agitation brought on by these quarrels, and he fell sick while hunting in the forest of Lyons towards the end of November, his illness, it is said, being brought on by eating lampreys contrary to the orders of his physician (Henry of Huntingdon, p. 254). He became feverish, and, feeling that his end was near, sent for Hugh, archbishop of Rouen, by whose directions he remitted all sentences of forfeiture and banishment. To his son Robert, earl of Gloucester, the only one of his children who was with him, he gave 6,000l. from his treasury at Falaise, ordered that wages and gifts should be distributed among his household and mercenary soldiers (Orderic, p. 901), and declared Matilda heiress of all his dominions (Historia Novella, i. 8). He received absolution and the last sacrament, and died in peace (ib. c. 9), after a week's illness, on the night of 1 Dec., at the age of sixty-seven. It was afterwards asserted that he had on his deathbed repented of having caused his lords to swear to receive Matilda as his successor (Gesta Stephani, p. 7), and that he had on one occasion absolved them from their oath (Gervase, i. 94).
  • His corpse was carried to Rouen, and was followed thither by twenty thousand men. There it was roughly embalmed, and his bowels having been buried in the church of St. Mary de Pre at Emandreville, near Rouen, which had been begun by his mother and finished by him, his body was taken to Caen, where it lay for a month in the church of St. Stephen, and thence, according to his orders, was brought over to England, and buried, on 4 Jan. 1136, in the church of the monastery which he had founded at Reading (ib. p. 95; Henry of Huntingdon, pp. 256, 257; Orderic, p. 901).
  • Besides William and Matilda, his two legitimate children by his first wife, he had many natural children (for list see Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 29; Lappenberg, p. 348).
  • Of these the most noteworthy was Robert, earl of Gloucester [see Robert, d. 1147], who is said on insufficient grounds to have been the son of Nest or Nesta [q.v.] daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr (d. 1093), king of Deheubarth, one of Henry's mistresses, who afterwards married Gerald of Windsor, constable of Pembroke Castle, by whom she had four children: Robert was probably born at Caen before his father's accession, and was most likely the son of a French mother (Norman Conquest, v. 851). He was the eldest of Henry's sons (Continuat. William of Jumièges, lib. viii. cap. 39).
  • Of Henry's other natural children, Richard, and Matilda, wife of the Count of Perche, were both drowned in the White Ship; Reginald of Dunstanville, whose mother was Sibil, daughter and (in her issue) co-heir of Robert Corbet of Longden, Shropshire (Eyton, History of Shropshire, vii. 145, 159, 181), was created Earl of Cornwall in 1140, and died 1175 (Gesta Stephani, p. 65; see art. Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, d. 1175); Matilda was wife of Conan III of Brittany (Orderic, p. 544); Juliana, wife of Eustace of Pacy, lord of Breteuil; Constance, wife of Roscelin, viscount of Beaumont (Cont. William of Jumièges, viii. 29; Orderic, p. 900); and Sybilla, born to him by a sister of Waleran, count of Meulan, married Alexander I, king of Scotland, fourth son of Malcolm Canmore and Margaret, grand-niece of Edward the Confessor (ib. p. 702; Skene, Celtic Scotland, i. 448). By his mistress Nest or Nesta he was father of Henry ‘filius regis,’ who was slain in Anglesey in 1157 (Itinerarium Kambriæ, p. 130), and was also father of Meiler Fitzhenry [q.v.] and of Robert Fitzhenry (d. 1180?; Expugnatio Hiberniæ, p. 354).
  • Sources:
  • For Henry's birth and education, see Freeman's Norman Conquest, iv. 790-5; for his life before his accession and his reign to 1104, Freeman's William Rufus, passim; for his personal character, Norman Conquest, v. 839-45; for sketch of reign, ib. pp. 148-243; for state of England under him, and for his relations with Anjou, Miss Norgate's England under Angevin Kings, i. 1-96, 230-44, 261-71; for reign, especially as regards continental policy, Lappenberg's Norman Kings, pp. 276-356, trans. Thorpe; for constitutional aspect, Stubbs's Constitutional History, i. 303-18, and chap. xi. passim; for summary of events relating to his doings on the continent, index with references to Recueil des Historiens, xii. 934-7 (the chronological sequence is occasionally incorrect, but this is a matter of much doubt and difficulty owing to the confused character of the work of Orderic); William of Jumièges and Orderic, Hist. Norm. Scriptt. (Duchesne); Brevis Relatio (Giles); Anglo-Saxon Chron.; Henry of Huntingdon's Hist., with De Contemptu Mundi, Ann. Cambriæ, Descript. Kambriæap. Girald. Cambr. vol. iii., Annals of Waverley, Wykes, and Oseney ap. Ann. Monast. vols. ii. and iv., Hugh the Chantor ap. Archbishops of York, vol. ii., Symeon of Durham, and Gervase of Cant., all Rolls Ser.; Florence of Worc., William of Malm., Gesta Stephani, and William of Newburgh, all Engl. Hist. Soc.; Eadmer's Hist. Nov. and the Letters of S. Anselm, Patrol. Lat., Migne, vols. clviii. clix.; Map's De Nugis Curialium (Camd. Soc.); Hist. Dunelm. SS. tres (Surtees Soc.); Wace's Roman de Rou, ed. Andresen; Benoˆit, ed. Fr. Michel; John of Hexham, ed. Twysden; Suger's Vita Lud. Grossi, and Hist. Gaufr. Ducis ap. Recueil des Historiens, vol. xii.; Arnulf of Seez, tractatus ap. Rer. Ital. Scriptt. Muratori, vol. iii.; Vita S. Bernardi ap. Acta SS. O.S.B., Mabillon, vol. ii.; for Henry's English foundations, Dugdale's Monasticon, index, and references; Boase's Oxford and Creighton's Carlisle (Hist. Towns Ser.); Wood's City of Oxford (Oxf. Hist. Soc.)
  • Contributor: W. H. [William Hunt]
  • Published: 1891
  • Henry I was born in the year 1068---a factor he himself regarded as highly significant, for he was the only son of the Conqueror born after the conquest of England, and to Henry this meant he was heir to the throne. He was not an attractive
  • proposition: he was dissolute to a degree, producing at least a score of bastards; but far worse he was prone to sadistic cruelty---on one occasion, for example, personally punishing a rebellious burgher by throwing him from the walls of his town.
  • At the death of William the Conqueror, Henry was left no lands, merely 5,000 pounds of silver. With these he bought lands from his elder brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, only to see them taken back again a few years later by Robert, in unholy alliance with his brother William Rufus.
  • Henry could do little to avenge such treatment, but in England he found numerous barons who were tired of the exactions and ambitions of their king. He formed alliances with some of these, notably with the important de Clare family. He and some of the de Clares were with William Rufus on his last hunting expedition, and it is thought that the king's death was the result of Henry's plotting.
  • Certainly he moved fast to take advantage of it; leaving Rufus's body unattended in the woods, he swooped down on Winchester to take control of the treasury. Two days later he was in Westminster, being crowned by the Bishop of London. His speed is understandable when one realises that his elder brother, Robert [Curthose], was returning from the crusade, and claimed, with good reason, to be the true heir.
  • Henry showed great good sense in his first actions as King. He arrested Ranulph Flambard, William's tax-gatherer, and recalled Anselm, the exiled Archbishop. Furthermore, he issued a Charter of Liberties which promised speedy redress of
  • grievances, and a return to the good government of the Conqueror. Putting aside for the moment his many mistresses, he married the sister of the King of Scots, who was descended from the royal line of Wessex; and lest the Norman barons should
  • think him too pro-English in this action, he changed her name from Edith to Matilda. No one could claim that he did not aim to please.
  • In 1101 Robert Curthose invaded, but Henry met him at Alton, and persuaded him to go away again by promising him an annuity of £2,000. He had no intention of keeping up the payments, but the problem was temporarily solved.
  • He now felt strong enough to move against dissident barons who might give trouble in the future. Chief amongst these was the vicious Robert of Bellême, Earl of Shrewsbury, whom Henry had known for many years as a dangerous troublemaker. He set
  • up a number of charges against him in the king's court, making it plain that if he appeared for trial he would be convicted and imprisoned. Thus Robert and his colleagues were forced into rebellion at a time not of their own choosing, were
  • easily defeated and sent scuttling back to Normandy.
  • In Normandy Robert Curthose began to wreak his wrath on all connected with his brother, thus giving Henry an excellent chance to retaliate with charges of misgovernment and invade. He made two expeditions in 1104-5, before the great expedition of 1106 on which Robert was defeated at the hour-long battle of Tinchebrai, on the anniversary of Hastings. No one had expected such an easy victory, but Henry took advantage of the state of shock resulting from the battle to annex Normandy.
  • Robert was imprisoned (in some comfort, it be said); he lived on for 28 more years, ending up in Cardiff castle whiling away the long hours learning Welsh. His son William Clito remained a free agent, to plague Henry for most of the rest of his reign.
  • In England the struggle with Anselm over the homage of bishops ran its course until the settlement of 1107. In matters of secular government life was more simple: Henry had found a brilliant administrator, Roger of Salisbury, to act as Justiciar for him. Roger had an inventive mind, a keen grasp of affairs, and the ability to single out young men of promise. He quickly built up a highly efficient team of administrators, and established new routines and forms of organisation within which they could work. To him we owe the Exchequer and its recording system of the Pipe Rolls, the circuits of royal justiciars spreading the king's peace, and the attempts at codification of law. Henry's good relationships with his barons, and with the burgeoning new towns owed much to skilful administration. Certainly he was able to gain a larger and more reliable revenue this way than by the crude extortion his brother had used.
  • In 1120 came the tragedy of the White Ship. The court was returning to England, and the finest ship in the land was filled with its young men, including Henry's son and heir William. Riotously drunk, they tried to go faster and faster, when suddenly the ship foundered. All hands except a butcher of Rouen were lost, and England was without an heir.
  • Henry's only legitimate child was Matilda, but she was married to the Emperor Henry V of Germany, and so could not succeed. But in 1125 her husband died, and Henry brought her home and forced the barons to swear fealty to her---though they did not like the prospect of a woman ruler. Henry then married her to Geoffrey of Anjou, the Normans' traditional enemy, and the barons were less happy---especially when the newly-weds had a terrible row, and Geoffrey ordered her out of his lands.
  • In 1131 Henry, absolutely determined, forced the barons to swear fealty once more, and the fact that they did so is testimoney of his controlling power. Matilda and Geoffrey were reunited, and in 1133 she produced a son whom she named for his grandfather. If only Henry could live on until his grandson was old enough to rule, all would be well.
  • But in 1135, against doctor's orders, he ate a hearty meal of lampreys, got acute indigestion, which turned into fever, and died. He was buried at his abbey in Reading---some said in a silver coffin, for which there was an unsuccessful search at the Dissolution. [Source: Who's Who in the Middle Ages, John Fines, Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 1995]
  • http://www.mindfreedom.net/gen/t-s-p/p1.htm#i8397
  • See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_I_of_England

* 24th great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II

  • King Henry I (1068-1135)
  • Born: September 1068
  • at Selby, Yorkshire West Riding
  • King of England
  • Duke of Normandy
  • Died: 1st December 1135
  • at St. Denis-le-Fermont, Gisors, Normandy
  • Henry was the youngest son of William the Conqueror and his only child born in England. He came into the World at Selby, in Yorkshire, while Queen Matilda was accompanying her husband on his expedition to subdue the North. Henry was always his mother’s favourite and, though his father held a life interest, he inherited all her English states upon her death in 1083.
  • As a boy, Henry received an excellent education at Abingdon Abbey in Berkshire. Though a native speaker of Norman-French, as well as learning the usual Latin, he was taught to read and write in English. He also studied English law, possibly with a view to entering the Church, like so many other younger sons. Henry had a particular interest in natural history and, being far in advance of the times, eventually collected together the first zoo in the country, at his palace in Woodstock (Oxfordshire). His wide-ranging knowledge earned him the epithet of ‘Beauclerc’ meaning ‘Fine Scholar’, a name of which he was extremely proud. In later years, he even declared that ‘an unlettered King was but a crowned ass.’
  • Knighted by his father at Whitsun 1086, Henry became one of the barons who suffered from divided loyalties after the latter’s death the next year. The Conqueror left Normandy to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, and England to his second son, William Rufus. For nine years, this resulted in many disputes in which men like Henry, with lands in both realms, were obliged to take sides with one overlord while unintentionally antagonizing the other. Eventually, however, Robert renounced Normandy and set off on crusade, leaving Henry and the other barons to serve the monarch of a united kingdom. He was thus attending his brother, William, in the New Forest when he was accidentally (or otherwise) shot dead whilst out hunting on 2nd August 1100. Recognising the need for quick actions, the young prince left his brother’s body on the forest floor and rode straight for Winchester to secure both the treasury and his election as King by a small band of available councilors. He then left for Westminster where Bishop Maurice of crowned him in the Abbey, four days later.
  • Henry promised to return to the ways of his father and his first act as king was to restore the exiled St. Anselm to the Archdiocese of Canterbury. He then began his search for a suitable wife and quickly decided Princess Edith (later renamed Matilda), the eldest daughter of King Malcolm Canmore of Scots. Her mother was St Margaret, the grandaughter of the penultimate Saxon King of England, Edmund Ironside. So their children united the blood lines of both the old and new ruling houses.
  • Anselm’s return was not without controversy and the monarch and prelate soon clashed over the question of lay investiture of ecclesiastical estates. Believing he held his estates from the Pope, for years, the Archbishop refused to do homage for them to King Henry, until the frustrated monarch finally forced him to flee into exile once more. The King's sister, the Countess of Blois, eventually suggested a compromise in 1107, by which the bishops paid homage for their lands in return for Henry allowing clerical investiture.
  • King Henry’s elder brother, Robert, had returned from the Crusade in 1100, but proved such an ineffectual ruler in Normandy that the barons revolted against him and asked Henry, a wise monarch and a skilled diplomat, to take his place. The King crossed the Channel to aid their struggle and Duke Robert was prisoner at Tinchebrai. Disquiet continued to harass Henry’s rule in Normandy over the next few years, and this was not helped by war with France. However, in 1109, his foreign policy was triumphant in arranging the betrothal of his only legitimate daughter, Matilda, to the powerful German Emperor, Henry V. They were married five years later.
  • Despite his numerous bastard progeny, King Henry had only one other legitimate child, his heir, Prince William, a boisterous young man whom the monarch completely idolized. Tragically, in 1120, the prince was needlessly drowned - along with many of his generation at court - while making a return trip from Normandy in the ‘White Ship’ which ran aground and sank. It is said that Henry never smiled again. His first wife having died in 1118, Henry took a second, Adeliza of Louvain, in 1122. But, despite the lady being many years his junior, the marriage remained childless. So, four years later, while staying for Christmas at Windsor Castle, the King designated as his successor, his widowed daughter, the Empress Matilda; and all the barons swore to uphold her rights after his death. The following May, Henry also found his daughter a new husband, in the person of Geoffrey, the rather young heir to the County of Anjou.
  • Henry found it expedient to spent an equal amount of time in both his realms but, on 1st August 1135, he left England for the last time. An eclipse the next day was seen as a bad omen and by December, the King was dead. He apparently had a great love of lampreys (eels), despite their disagreeing with him intensely. He had been ordered not to eat them by his physician, but, at his hunting lodge at St Denis-le-Fermont, near Gisors, the monarch decided he fancied some for supper. A severe case of ptomaine poisoning ensued, of which gluttonous King Henry died.
  • Several Norman monasteries wanted Henry’s body buried within their walls, but it was mummified for transportation back to England and only his bowels, brains, heart, eyes & tongue were interred at Rouen Cathedral. As he had wished, King Henry was laid to rest before the high altar of Reading Abbey, at the time, an incomplete Cluniac house he had founded in 1121. The Di
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Henry I "Beauclerc", King of England's Timeline

September 1068
Selby, North Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
August 5, 1070
Age 1
Selby,York,England,Great Britain
August 5, 1070
Age 1
Selby,York,England,Great Britain
Charlton Musgrove, Somerset, England (United Kingdom)
Westminster, Middlesex, England
Base-Normandie, Caen, Calvados, Normandy, France
Bradninch, Devon, England