de Normandie,  King of England William ll

de Normandie, King of England William ll

Male Abt 1056 - 1100  (~ 44 years)

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  • Name de Normandie, William 
    Title King of England 
    Suffix ll 
    Born Abt 1056  Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Find A Grave Memorial 1947 
    Name Rufus 
    Died 1 Aug 1100  New Forest, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 2 Aug 1100  Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Winchester Cathedral
    Person ID I6528  Sullivan Burgess Family Tree | Ancestors of President Cleveland, Ancestors of President Fillmore, Ancestors of President Hayes, William The Conqueror Descendent
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2018 

    Father de Normandie, William I,   b. 14 Oct 1024, Falaise, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1087, Hermenbraville, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother de Flandre, Matilda,   b. 1031, Flandre, Somme, Picardie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 1050  Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F2418  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1056 - Normandie, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1 Aug 1100 - New Forest, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 2 Aug 1100 - Winchester, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    de Normandie, William ll
    de Normandie, William ll

    de Normandie, William ll Grave Tomb
    de Normandie, William ll Grave Tomb

  • Notes 
    • King William Rufus of England and the New Forest Treachery

      In history, there are few mysteries more complexing than those involving the recording of two different causes to the same event, with no means of proving or disproving either theory. Such is the mystery which surrounds the death of William Rufus, King of England.

      Many things are recorded about William Rufus, both as a man and as King. But, if the cause of his death is to be believed as a simple hunting accident, then the darkness and depravity in which he is cast seems almost fictitious. However, to believe the stated theory that his death was a planned assassination opens an examination into a corruption in his nearest ministers which extends even as far as the holy chambers of the Vatican?s highest post.

      To understand the events surrounding William?s death, it is imperative to understand his life. He was not a popular man, and even less popular as King. He was, in many ways, much like his Father, William the Conqueror, which explains why he is also believed to have been the Conqueror?s favourite son and why, though he was the Conqueror?s third son, he was anointed as his Father?s successor to the Throne of England. It also goes a long way toward explaining his unpopularity among the nobles and Church leaders of his time.

      The exact date of William Rufus? birth is unknown, but records indicate that he was born before the Norman Conquest, and was already a young lad by the time his Father set sail to claim the English throne. Those details alone have allowed historians to estimate that he was born sometime between AD 1056 and 1060. Records also state that he was rather squat and portly, with untamed red hair and a distinctively ruddy complexion, leading to the nickname of ?Rufus, ? which would eventually serve to distinguish his reign in history.

      William Rufus was not only unpopular, but also misunderstood and often misanthropic. He was tyrannical, cruel, and blasphemous, as well as unnaturally greedy. He exploited every fiscal right that was his as King, and was given to uncurbed and often unprovoked fits of violence, extreme temper, and vindictive paranoia. When he exhausted his treasury, he obtained money by keeping ecclesiastical seats vacant and diverting the revenues for those empty posts into his own coffers. He also used the feudal prerogative of the crown to tax the Church heavily, and even drove Anslem, Archbishop of Canterbury, into exile. Because of these particular practices, more than anything else, his character suffered at the hands of monastic chroniclers in the years following his death.

      William also exhibited homosexual tendencies and an unexplained sympathy for the Jews in a highly homophobic and anti-semantic era. These qualities only served to make him even less popular with the Church. And, because of his weak standing with the Church and his strict laws and strangling taxes, many Norman nobles took the side of Robert Curthose, William?s elder brother and Duke de Normandie, when the brothers fell to fighting over the English throne, and uprisings and petty wars were incessant. It was during this long period of unrest that William proved himself to be a strong and capable ruler. He quickly suppressed a baronial uprising in 1088, a mere year after he came to the throne, then another a scant seven years later, in 1095.

      When Robert went off to fight in the First Crusade in 1095, William used the reprieve from fighting to secure the borders England shared with Wales and Scotland, building Carlisle Castle near Scotland and a chain of forts along the Welsh border in an attempt to halt the Welsh raids on marcher barons, this increasing William?s own take in taxes. His barons continued to grumble about the high taxes, particularly into the ear of William?s younger brother, Henry, who had been eyeing William?s throne since the elder brother?s ascension.

      William never trusted his nobles, and certainly never trusted Henry. Those two well-noted facts become interesting paradoxical questions when one considers that it was Prince Henry who, during one of William?s maudlin fits, suggested the outing to New Forest for some hunting. Why did William agree to ride in the forest with his brother and any number of his discontent nobles when he knew that any one of them might easily kill him during the course of the hunt? Why, after a disturbing nightmare on the eve before the hunt sent him into fits, did William persist in his agreement to ride out with men he had dreamed would kill him?

      The reasons behind William?s strange actions, in the face of every evidence that he was going to die, followed him to the grave that fateful day. What, exactly, the cause of his death was followed his companions for the rest of their lives. While opinion remains divided on whether his death was premeditated murder or merely an unfortunate accident, the rest of the details are far more clear. William was shot by an arrow, presumably belonging to Walter Tirel, while hunting in New Forest and died alone in the forest on August 2, 1100. He was unwed at the time of his death, and was succeeded by Henry on August 5, 1100, a mere three days later, which is suspicious in itself. Henry?s eagerness to claim the throne, and the fact that William?s body was simply left in the woods by the nobles, and later transported to Winchester by a group of peasants, speaks volumes for the likely cause of death, as well.

      Whatever the cause of William?s demise, he was no innocent victim, and could very likely have avoided his own death with a simple decision. Instead, as a testament to his poor choice, there stands the Rufus Stone, once said to bear the stain of William?s blood, in New Forest, marking the spot where this brash, boisterous King of England met his grisly end.