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William I of England
also called King William the Conqueror (reigned 1066-1087)
 
  • King William the Conqueror -  Nash Ford PublishingWilliam was the son of the Duke of Normandy in France.
  • His father died when he was young and the barons took over the Duchy. When William grew up, he was able to take over.
  • The mother of King Edward the Confessor of England was William's aunt. So the King was his cousin.
  • King Edward had no children and he thought about leaving the Throne to William when he died. But England belonged to his father's Saxon family, not his mother's Norman one.
  • King Edward probably changed his mind, but William said he hadn't.
  • When King Edward died in 1066, his brother-in-law, Harold, was made King of England. William was very cross and took a big army over to England. He won the Battle of Hastings. Harold and most of the England thanes were killed.
  • King Harold's Witan (king's advisors) made Edgar Atheling the new king. He was grand-nephew of old King Edward. He was only 15 and had no army left.
  • William wanted to take over London but he couldn't cross the River Thames. The Londoners beat back this men at London Bridge. He followed the River Thames to Wallingford and crossed there instead.
  • At Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire, the Edgar told William he could be king. He was crowned in the newly built Westminster Abbey.
  • William took all the land in England away from the Saxon landowners. Many of them had already died at the Battle of Hastings. He shared it out amongst his Norman followers. 
  • In 1086, he sent out his servants to undertake the first census in England. It was called the Domesday Book. It recorded who owned what land, what was there and how much it was worth.
  • King William and his followers built the first castles in England, including the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. They wanted to control the local Saxons who didn't like them.
  • The next king was his son, William II.

 

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