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Sept 1068 Birth

Henry,  fourth son of William I and Matilda of Flanders was born at Selby, Yorkshire.

9 Sept 1087 Death of William the Conqueror

William I died in France from wounds received at the siege of Mantes. He left Normandy to his eldest son, Robert Curthose. He left both his sword and the English crown to his second son William. His third son, Henry, received nothing. William I was buried in St Stephen’s Abbey, Caen, Normandy.

Birth of illegitimate daughter

An illegitimate daughter, Sybilla, was born to Henry, by his mistress Sybilla Corbet, at Domfront, Normandy.

2 Aug 1100 William II killed

Henry’s brother, King William II was mysteriously killed by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. The murder is surrounded with speculation as Henry, was in the forest at the same time. Whether the murder was committed by Henry, committed on Henry’s behalf or simply an accident we will never know. But no one at the time claimed that Henry was responsible. William II was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

2 Aug 1100
Henry took Treasury

As soon as he heard the news of William’s death, Henry had to move fast to prevent his older brother, Robert Curthose succeeding to the throne. Henry rode to Winchester and took control of the treasury. He gained English support by emphasising his native birth.

3 Aug 1100 Accession 

Henry I succeeded his brother as King of England.

5/6 Aug 1100 Coronation

Henry was crowned King of England at Winchester. He later earned the nickname Beauclerc because of his good administrative skills.

5/6 Aug 1100 Coronation Charter

Henry issued a Charter of Liberties, denouncing his brother’s oppressive rule and promising a return to good and fair government. Henry knew that when Robert Curthose returned to Normandy from Crusade there could be trouble. He therefore promised to grant favours to the Barons if they agreed to support him. 

Aug 1100 Ranulf Flambard

William II’s favourite, Ranulf Flambard, was imprisoned for the cruelty he had shown the English people.

Sept 1100 Return of Robert Curthose

Robert Curthose arrived back in Normandy. He had been away on crusade to the Holy Land.

Oct 1100 Return of Anselem of Bec

Anselem of Bec, the archbishop of Canterbury who had been exiled by William II, returned to England. However, he immediately caused trouble by refusing to acknowledge those bishops and abbots that Henry had appointed, claiming that appointments could only be made by high churchmen. This put Henry in an awkward position since the bishops and abbots he had appointed were great landowners and he needed their support. Henry’s solution was to postpone the problem rather than try to solve it.

11 Nov 1100
Marriage of Henry to Edith

Henry married Edith, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland at Westminster Abbey. Edith’s mother, Margaret was the sister of Edgar Atheling, the last royal Saxon descendant. The marriage therefore represented the union of Norman and Saxon royal lines. Edith adopted the name Matilda because it was thought that the Norman barons might not respect a Queen with a Saxon name.

11/14 Nov 1100 Coronation of Queen

Matilda was crowned Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey.

July 1101 Rebellion/ Peace Treaty

Robert Curthose landed at Portsmouth to lay claim to the English throne. Many influential barons led by Robert of Belleme flocked to his side, believing him to be the true King of England. However, the former court of Rufus, led by Robert of Meulan and the English church remained loyal to Henry. Conflict was avoided when, after extensive negotiations, a peace treaty was signed that agreed that Henry should keep England but pay his brother a pension of 2,000 marks per year.

1102 Birth of Adelaide (Matilda)

A daughter, Adelaide, was born to Henry I and his wife, Matilda of Scotland.

1102 Belleme overthrown.

It was essential for Henry to overthrow the house of Montgomery (Belleme), which had supported Robert Curthose’s claim to the English throne,  if he were to reign in peace. Robert de Belleme, Earl of Shrewsbury, whose chief strongholds were in the Welsh Marches, was an exceptionally sadistic man and not popular with the English people. Although he lost several castles in the process, Henry successfully expelled Robert de Belleme with enthusiastic support.

1102 Birth of William Clito

A son, William Clito, was born to Robert Curthose.

1103 Birth of William

A son William was born to Henry I and his Queen, Matilda at Winchester. He was known as William Aetheling.

28 Sept 1106 Battle of Trenchbrai

Henry succeeded in defeating Robert Curthose’s smaller army at Trenchbrai. Duke Robert was captured and spent the rest of his life as his brother’s prisoner. Normandy once again became part of Britain.

1107 William Clito

Robert’s young son, William Clito was put forward as rightful Duke of Normandy. His claim was backed by Louis VI of France and Count Fulk V of Anjou. Henry was forced to return to Normandy where he successfully defended his claim to be Duke of Normandy.

1107 Marriages

In order to protect his lands, Henry married eight of his illegitimate daughters to neighbouring princes.

1107 Church and State

Having postponed finding a solution to the Church’s move to stop lay investiture (appointment of churchmen by non-churchmen) in 1100, Henry now reached agreement with the Church and renounced lay investiture. However, he insisted that prelates were required to continue to pay homage to the King. In practice the King’s wishes were to remain the main factor in the making of bishops.

1107 Marriage of Alexander and Sybilla

King Alexander of Scotland married Sybilla, illegitimate daughter of Henry I by Sybilla Corbet.

1109 Death of Anselem of Bec

Anselem of Bec died. Henry did not replace him but decided to keep the position of Archbishop of Canterbury vacant. After the problems caused by Anselem of Bec’s, Henry did not want further confrontation with the Church.

1110 (approx) The Exchequer

The royal caravan still toured the country as it had in Saxon times, collecting taxes and settling problems in the royal court, but it was becoming increasingly necessary to establish a central court and financial clearing house. Roger, bishop of Salisbury, Henry’s closest advisor, was given the title of Justicar, (judge). Henry also set up a financial-counting system using a large chequered cloth. The royal treasurer and officials argued general policy and specific expenditure plans across this cloth. This department became known as the ‘exchequer’.

7 Jan 1114 Marriage of Adelaide (Matilda) to Emperor of Germany

Henry’s daughter, Adelaide, married the Emperor of Germany, Henry V at Mainz, Germany. Her name was changed to Matilda on the same day. She was crowned Empress of Germany as part of the Wedding ceremony.

1118 Henry in Normandy

Henry spent the whole year in Normandy defending it against attack from the King of France, the Count of Anjou and the Count of Flanders. All this cost money and the people in England were continually taxed all year. Furthermore, with Henry’s long absences in Normandy it was necessary to leave the government of England in the hands of a vice-regal committee. This committee met twice-yearly to audit the accounts of the sheriffs. Accounts were balanced with the famous chequered cloth. Routine administrative work, especially that related to revenue was carried out by Roger of Salisbury.

1 May 1118 Death of Queen Matilda

Henry’s wife, Matilda died at the palace of Westminster. She was buried in Westminster Abbey.

1120 William Aetheling

Henry’s son and heir was created Duke of Normandy.

25 Nov 1120 White ship disaster

This ship carrying a drunken party of three hundred noblemen, including William Atheling, heir to the throne and his illegitimate brother Richard, sank with no survivors.

1121 Remarriage of Henry to Adeliza

The death of William Atheling had caused a succession problem for Henry had no remaining male heir to succeed him. Henry therefore remarried Adeliza [Adela, Adeleine, Adelaide], daughter of Geoffrey, Count of Louvain, Duke of Lower Brabant and Lower Lorraine and his wife Ida, hoping for a male heir.

1125 Death of Emperor of Germany.

Emperor Henry V, of Germany, husband to Henry’s only surviving legitimate daughter Matilda, died.
Matilda was recalled to England by her father. The barons were forced to swear to acknowledge the unpopular Matilda as rightful Queen in the event of his death.

1127 Proposal of Marriage

Henry approached Count Fulk of Anjou with a proposal for a marriage alliance between his daughter, Matilda, and the Count’s son, Geoffrey Plantagenet. Geoffrey had earned the nickname Plantagenet because he wore a sprig of broom (planta genista) as an emblem. The marriage proposal was welcomed by Fulk since it would enable him and his Angevin House to take over the Anglo-Norman realm.

June 1128 Marriage of Matilda to Geoffrey of Anjou

Somewhat reluctantly, Matilda was married to the fourteen year old Geoffrey. However, relations between Henry and his daughter and son-in-law were not good.

5 March 1133 Birth of Henry II

A son, Henry was born to Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet, at Le Mans, Anjou.

1134 Succession problem

Henry I was now openly quarrelling with his daughter and son-in-law. Those barons who were loyal to the King now found themselves in opposition to Henry’s chosen heirs. Although Henry was openly quarrelling with his daughter and son-in-law he still hoped that they would succeed to the throne. Unfortunatly, Henry did not complete the necessary paperwork that would ensure their peaceful succession.

late Nov 1135 Succession Problem

It became evident that Henry I was dying. His daughter and son-in-law were either in Anjou or Maine and some days away from England. Henry’s nephew, Stephen, on the other hand, was in Boulogne, a mere days travel from England.

1/2 Dec 1135 Death of Henry I

Henry I, aged 67 years, died, in Rouen France. He was buried in Reading Abbey.

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