Saturday 24 February 2018

King Henry I

King Henry I:

Henry was born in September 1068 at Selby, Yorkshire, the youngest son (the only one born on English soil) of William I The Conqueror (1024 – 1087) and Matilda of Flanders (1032 – 1083).

Originally destined to be a clergyman, Henry was well educated at Abingdon Abbey, studying languages, English law, and natural history. This earned him the epithet Beauclerc, or fine scholar, of which he was very proud.

William left the crown to his second son, William Rufus (1056 1100), giving the title of Duke of Normandy to his first son, Robert Curtose (1054 – 1134). Rufus was killed by an arrow while hunting in 1100. With Curtose away on crusade, Henry rushed to London, seized the keys to the royal treasury, and was declared king.He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 5 August 1100.

On 11 November 1100, he married Princess Edith (1080 – 1118), daughter of King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland (1031 – 1093) and St Margaret of Scotland, then changed her name to Matilda in honour of Henry’s mother.

Henry and Matilda had two children together:

  • William, who had been destined to be the next King, until his untimely death in the White Ship Disaster of 25 November 1120  

  • Matilda of England, Holy Roman Empress and Queen of England (1102 – 1167)

His wife, Matilda died in 1118, so Henry married again, in the hope of gaining a legitimate son, and heir, this time to Adeliza de Louvain (1103 – 1151).

Unfortunately for Henry, this marriage was childless.

Henry did, however, have at least 22 (probably more) illegitimate children, the most of any English monarch:

  • Robert FitzRoy, 1st Earl of Gloucester (1090 – 1147). Often, probably incorrectly, said to have been a son of Sybil Corbet. His mother may have been a member of the Gai/Gay/Gayt family.  

  • Maud FitzRoy, married Conan III, Duke of Brittany  

  • Constance FitzRoy, married Richard de Beaumont  

  • Mabel FitzRoy, married William III Gouet  

  • Aline FitzRoy, married Matthieu I of Montmorency  

  • Gilbert FitzRoy, died after 1142. His mother may have been a sister of Walter de Gand.  

  • Emma, born c. 1138; married Gui de Laval, Lord Laval. [Uncertain, born 2 years after Henry died.]  

  • Matilda du Perche, married Count Rotrou II of Perche, perished in the wreck of the White Ship. Her mother was Edith.  

  • William de Tracy, whose mother was Gieva de Tracy.  

  • Juliane de Fontevrault (1090 - ); married Eustace de Pacy in 1103. She tried to shoot her father with a crossbow after King Henry allowed her two young daughters to be blinded. 

  • Ansfride (1070 - ) the wife of Anskill of Seacourt, at Wytham in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) was her mother.  

  • Fulk FitzRoy (1092 - ); a monk at Abingdon. Ansfride was his mother.  

  • Richard of Lincoln (c. 1094 - 1120); perished in the wreck of the White Ship. Ansfride was his mother.  

  • Sybilla de Normandy, married Alexander I of Scotland. Her mother was Lady Sybilla Corbet of Alcester was born in 1077, in Alcester in Warwickshire, who married Herbert FitzHerbert, son of Herbert "the Chamberlain" of Winchester and Emma de Blois. Her mother died after 1157, and was also known as Adela (or Lucia) Corbet.   

  • William Constable, born before 1105. Married Alice (Constable); died after 1187. His mother was also Sybilla Corbet.  

  • Reginald de Dunstanville, 1st Earl of Cornwall. Sybilla Corbet was his mother.

  •  Gundred of England (1114–46), married 1130 Henry de la Pomeroy, son of Joscelin de la Pomerai. Her mother was Sybilla Corbet.  

  • Rohese of England, born 1114; married Henry de la Pomeroy. Her mother was Sybilla Corbet.  

  • Robert FitzEdith, Lord Okehampton, (1093–1172) married Dame Maud d'Avranches du Sap. His mother was Edith FitzForne.  

  • Adeliza FitzEdith. Appears in charters with her brother Robert. His mother was Edith FitzForne.  

  • Henry FitzHenry (also known as Henry FitzRoy) (1100 – 1158), whose mother was Nest ferch Rhys (1085 1136). Isabel Hedwig of England, whose mother was Isabel de Beaumont (also known as Isabella de Meulan) (after 1102 – after 1172), wife of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. Matilda FitzRoy, abbess of Montvilliers, also known as Montpiller. Her mother was Isabel de Beaumont.

Henry died in December 1135, after eating bad lampreys at St Denis le Fermont in France. He was buried a month later in Reading Abbey. His throne was awarded to Stephen of Blois (1097 1154), his nephew, resulting in a period of civil war and anarchy against Henry’s daughter, Matilda.

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