William of Normandy (French: Guillaume de Normandie; c. 1027 – 9 September 1087) ruled as the Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087 and as King of England from 1066 to 1087. William invaded England, won a victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest. No authentic portrait of William has been found. He was described as a big burly man, strong in every sense of the word, balding in front, and of regal dignity.
In the present nomenclature, William was Duke of Normandy as William II and King of England as William I. He is also known as William the Conqueror
Conquest of England
Upon the death of William's cousin King Edward the Confessor of England (January 1066), William claimed the throne of England, asserting that the childless and purportedly celibate Edward had named him his heir during a visit by William (probably in 1052) and that Harold Godwinson, England's foremost magnate and brother-in-law of the late King Edward the Confessor, had reportedly pledged his support while shipwrecked in Normandy (c. 1064). Harold made this pledge while in captivity and was reportedly tricked into swearing on a saint's bones that he would give the throne to William. Even if this story is true, however, Harold made the promise under duress and so may have felt free to break it. More realistically, by the mid 1050s, Harold was effectively ruling England through the weak King Edward and was unlikely to surrender the throne to a foreign noble.
House of Normandy
Robert III Curthose, Duke of Normandy
William II Rufus
Adela, Countess of Blois
Henry I Beauclerc
The assembly of England's leading nobles known as the Witenagemot approved Harold Godwinson’s coronation which took place on 5 January 1066 making him King Harold II of England. In order to pursue his own claim, William obtained the support of the Pope Alexander II for his cause. He assembled a Norman invasion fleet of around 600 ships and an army of 7000 men. He landed at Pevensey in Sussex on 28 September 1066 and assembled a prefabricated wooden castle (Motte-and-bailey) near Hastings as a base. This was a direct provocation to Harold Godwinson as this area of Sussex was Harold's own personal estate, and William began immediately to lay waste to the land. It may have prompted Harold to respond immediately and in haste rather than await reinforcements in London.
King Harold Godwinson was in the north of England and had just defeated another rival, Harald III of Norway, supported by his own brother Tostig. He marched an army of similar size to William's 250 miles in 9 days to challenge him at the crucial battle of Senlac, which later became known as the Battle of Hastings. This took place on 14 October 1066. According to some accounts, perhaps based on an interpretation of the Bayeux Tapestry commemorating the Norman victory, Harold was allegedly killed by an arrow through the eye, and the English forces fled giving William victory.
This was the defining moment of what is now known as the Norman Conquest. Unable to enter London, William travelled to Wallingford, was welcomed in by Wigod who supported his cause. This is where the first submissions took place including that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The remaining Anglo-Saxon noblemen surrendered to William at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire and he was acclaimed King of England there. William was then crowned on 25 December 1066 in Westminster Abbey.
Although the south of England submitted quickly to Norman rule, resistance continued, especially in the North for six more years until 1072. Harold's illegitimate sons attempted an invasion of the south-west peninsula. Uprisings occurred in the Welsh Marches and at Stafford. Separate attempts at invasion by the Danes and the Scots also occurred. William's defeat of these led to what became known as The Harrying of the North (Sometimes called Harrowing) in which Northumbria was laid waste as revenge and to deny his enemies its resources. The last serious resistance came with the Revolt of the Earls in 1075. It is estimated that one fifth of the people of England were killed during these years by war, massacre, and starvation.
William initiated many major changes. In 1085, in order to ascertain the extent of his new dominions and maximize taxation, William commissioned the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey of England's productive capacity similar to a modern census. He also ordered many castles, keeps, and mottes, among them the Tower of London, to be built across England to ensure that the rebellions by the English people or his own followers would not succeed. His conquest also led to Norman replacing English as the language of the ruling classes for nearly 300 years.
The signatures of William I and Matilda are the first two large crosses on the Accord of Winchester from 1072.William is said to have deported some of the Anglo-Saxon land owning classes into slavery through Bristol. Many of the latter ended up in Umayyad Spain and Moorish lands. Ownership of nearly all land in England and titles to religious and public offices were given to Normans. Many surviving Anglo-Saxon nobles emigrated to other European kingdoms.
Death, burial, and succession
William died at the age of 59, at the Convent of St Gervais, near Rouen, France, on 9 September 1087 from abdominal injuries received from his saddle pommel when he fell off a horse at the Siege of Mantes. William was buried in the church of St. Stephen in Caen, Normandy. In a most unregal postmortem, his corpulent body would not fit in the stone sarcophagus, and burst after some unsuccessful prodding by the assembled bishops, filling the chapel with a foul smell and dispersing the mourners. 
William was succeeded in 1087 as King of England by his younger son William Rufus and as Duke of Normandy by his elder son Robert Curthose. This led to the Rebellion of 1088. His youngest son Henry also became King of England later, after William II died without a child to succeed him.
Name Suffix: [King England]
Ancestral File Number: 8XHZ-SV
WilliamI, byname WILLIAM The CONQUEROR, or The BASTARD, or WILLIAM of NORMANDY, French GUILLAUME le CONQUÉRANT, or le BÂTARD, or GUILLAUME de NORMANDIE (b. c. 1028,Falaise, Normandy--d. Sept. 9, 1087, Rouen), duke of Normandy (as William II) from 1035 and king of England from 1066, one of the greatest soldiers and rulers of the Middle Ages. He made himself the mightiest feudal lord in France and then changed the course of England's history by his conquest of that country.
William was the elder of two children of Robert I of Normandy and his concubine Herleva, or Arlette, the daughter of a burgher from the town of Falaise. In 1035 Robert died when returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and William, his only son, whom he had nominated as his heir before his departure, was accepted as duke by the Norman magnates and his feudal overlord, King Henry I of France. William and his friends had to overcome enormous obstacles. His illegitimacy (he was generally known as the Bastard) was a handicap, and he had to survive the collapse of law and order that accompanied his accession as achild.
Three of William's guardians died violent deaths before he grew up, and his tutor was murdered. His father's kin were of little help; most of them thought that they stood to gain by the boy's death. But his mother managed to protect William through the most dangerous period. These early difficulties probably contributed to his strength of purpose and his dislike of lawlessness and misrule.
Ruler of Normandy.
By 1042, when William reached his 15th year, was knighted, and began to play a personal part in the affairs of his duchy, the worst was over. But his attempts to recover rights lost during the anarchy and to bring disobedient vassals and servants to heel inevitably led to trouble. From 1046 until 1055 he dealt with a series of baronial rebellions, mostly led by kinsmen. Occasionally he was in great danger and had to rely on Henry of France for help. In 1047 Henry and William defeated a coalition of Norman rebels at Val-ès-Dunes, southeast of Caen. It was in these years that William learned to fight and rule.
William soon learned to control his youthful recklessness.He was always ready to take calculated risks on campaign and, most important, to fight a battle. But he was not a chivalrous or flamboyant commander. His plans were simple, his methods direct, and he exploited ruthlessly any advantage gained. If he found himself at a disadvantage, he withdrew immediately. He showed the same
qualities in his government. He never lost sight of his aim to recover lost ducal rights and revenues, and, although he developed no theory of government or great interest in administrative techniques, he was always prepared to improvise and experiment. He seems to have lived a moral life by the standards of the time, and he acquired an interest in the welfare of the Norman church. He made his half brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux in 1049 at the age of about 16, and Odo managed to combine the roles of nobleman and prelate in a way that did not greatly shock contemporaries. But William also welcomed foreign monks and scholars to Normandy. Lanfranc of Pavia, a famous master of the liberal arts,who entered the monastery of Bec about 1042, was made abbot of Caen in 1063.
According to a brief description of William's person by an anonymous author, who borrowed extensively from Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, he was just above average height and had a robust, thick-set body. Though he was always sparing of food and drink, he became fat in later life. He had a rough bass voice and was a good and ready speaker. Writers of the next generation agree that he was exceptionally strong and vigorous. William was an out-of-doors man, a hunter and soldier, fierce and despotic, generally feared; uneducated, he had few graces but was intelligent and shrewd and soon obtained t
King of England, 1066-1087; 7th Duke of Normandy. He was an illegitimate son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. His mother was the daughter of a tanner.
SURNAME: Also shown as England
GIVEN NAMES: Also shown as William I "The Conqueror" King Of
BIRTH: Also shown as Born Falaise, Calvados, Normandy, France.
BIRTH RITE: Also shown as Christening 1066, Norman Conquest, As An Adult;.
DEATH: Also shown as Died Hermenbraville, Seine-Maritime, France.
SURNAME: Also shown as of England
GIVEN NAMES: Also shown as William I the Conqueror
DEATH: Also shown as Died Hermentrube, Rouen, France.
BURIAL: Also shown as Buried Abbey of St. Stephan, Caen, Normandy.