From August 2, 1100, until his death, Henry I was King of England and Duke of Normandy. He was the fourth son of William I, the first Norman King of England, and was also known as Henry Beauclerc. Following William I’s death, his eldest son Robert Curthose and third son William Rufus (William II) succeeded him as Duke of Normandy and King of England, respectively, while Henry I remained without land. After William II died in a hunting accident, he was able to ascend to the crown of England. He proposed the Charter of Liberties, which purported to end William II’s inconsistencies in taxes and confiscations of church resources, among other things. He worked to increase the crown’s executive authority and promote ecclesiastical reform. Contemporaries saw him as a harsh yet effective emperor. His marriage to Scottish princess Matilda aided in the development of cordial relations with the Scots. In the Battle of Tinchebray, he defeated Robert and became Duke of Normandy in 1106. While Robert was imprisoned for the rest of his life, Henry I defeated Robert’s son, William Clito’s followers, and eventually negotiated a peaceful settlement in 1120. Stephen of Blois, his nephew, succeeded him.
Childhood and Adolescence
Henry I was one of at least nine children born to William I of England and Matilda of Flanders in c. 1068, most likely in Selby, Yorkshire.
His father, also known as William the Conqueror and a descendant of Rollo, was the Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1066, when he invaded England and became William I, the first Norman King of England. Robert II of France’s granddaughter was Henry I’s mother.
Robert Curthose, William Rufus, and Richard were his three brothers, the last of whom died young.
While historian Judith Green claims that he spent his early years in the Duchy, historians Warren Hollister and Kathleen Thompson claim that he spent the majority of his childhood and adolescence in England.
Hollister also speculated that Bishop Osmund, the King’s chancellor at Salisbury Cathedral, may have played a role in Henry I’s education, given the latter remained in the bishop’s company from roughly 1080 until 1086. Henry I is said to have been schooled in Latin and the liberal arts.
He acquired military training under Robert Achard and was knighted by his father on May 24, 1086.
Inheritance of Henry I of England
Following William I’s death on September 9, 1087, his eldest son Robert Curthose inherited his patrimonial domains in Normandy, while his third son William Rufus (William II) inherited England, which he had gained by battle. & Henry I received a lump payment of £5,000 as an inheritance from his father, but was expecting to inherit his mother’s holdings in Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire.
Robert anticipated receiving both the Duchy and the Kingdom of England. Both Robert and William Rufus were firmly opposed to the inheritance, and while the latter was proclaimed King of England as William II in September 1087, the brothers’ relationship deteriorated. & The insurrection of 1088, organized by William I’s half-brothers Odo of Bayeux and Robert, Count of Mortain in support of Robert against William II, saw on-and-off clashes between Robert and William II.
Robert’s plan to invade England was beginning to crumble, and he suggested that Henry I grant him some of the inherited wealth. In 1088, Henry I purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert thanks to an agreement between the two. In 1091, however, Robert and William II ousted him.
Henry’s power base in western Normandy grew over time when he went to battle with his brothers. By 1094, he had begun awarding lands and castles to his allies, and Henry’s campaign against Robert had gained the favor of William II, who began assisting him financially.
The English Throne and the Establishment of Government
William II was slain by an arrow, possibly shot by Baron Walter Tirel, while on a hunting expedition in the New Forest with Henry, Norman lords, and huntsmen on August 2, 1100. Following this incident, Henry took the royal treasury and captured Winchester Castle.
On August 5, 1100, after taking the English throne, Maurice, the Bishop of London, staged a hasty coronation ceremony. He issued a Charter of Liberties, which included various pledges, in accordance with English convention. His promises included, among other things, reversing William II’s harsh policies against the Church, which the clergy despised, and limiting the barons’ improper use of their property rights.
He modestly compensated many of his previous allies and took moves to consolidate his new government’s support base. He made William II’s chancellor, William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester, while his immediate sheriffs, Robert Fitzhamon, Haimo Dapifer, and Urse d’Abetot, continued to serve in their respective capacities in his administration.
Matilda’s marriage of Henry I of England
On November 11, 1100, he married Edith, the daughter of King Malcom III of Scotland. He met her before, most likely through Bishop Osmund of Salisbury.
Edith was a descendant of King of Wessex Alfred the Great and the great-granddaughter of King of England Edmund Ironside.
Her marriage to Henry I, a princess from the old Anglo-Saxon royal line, helped reconcile the old English and Norman lines of kings, paving the way for amicable relations with the Scots.
Despite the Norman Barons’ displeasure with the marriage, it provided Henry I with greater legitimacy and support from the English people.
Edith changed her name to Matilda after becoming queen and excelled in her duties. She would speak to the councils and preside over them, and she would love being involved with the royal administrative system. She was also an advocate for the arts.
The marriage resulted in at least two legitimate offspring, daughter Matilda, born in 1102 and son William Adelin, born in 1103, as well as son Richard, who apparently died early.
After returning from the First Crusade, Reign Robert, who had been unable to pursue his claim to the English throne due to his absence, questioned Henry I’s sovereignty of England.
Invading England in 1101, Robert’s expedition came to an end when the two brothers settled their feud diplomatically by signing the ‘Treaty of Alton’ the same year. The contract saw Robert relinquish his claim to the English throne, acknowledging Henry I as King of England, and Henry I relinquish his lands in the Duchy of Normandy, with the exception of Domfront.
In addition, Henry I agreed to grant Robert a £2,000 annual stipend for the rest of his life. They agreed that if one of the brothers died without leaving an heir, the other would inherit his estate.
The pact was short-lived, and Henry moved on to Normandy in 1105, where he won a decisive victory over Robert’s army at the Battle of Tinchebray on September 28, 1106. As a result, Normandy was absorbed into the English throne, where it remained for more than a century.
Robert was apprehended and imprisoned in Devizes Castle before being transferred to Cardiff Castle in Wales, where he died on February 3, 1134.
Fulk V of Anjou, Louis VI of France, and Baldwin VII of Flanders, who disputed Henry I’s sovereignty of Normandy, supported Robert’s son William Clito’s claim to the title of Duke of Normandy.
Several times, Henry I had to defend his Normandy territory, including defeating Louis VI in the Battle of Brémule on August 20, 1119, after which the two reached an agreement in 1120.
He expertly exploited England’s barons and lords to rule the country and punished anyone who opposed him. He was a key figure in the expansion of the royal legal system, which drew on existing Anglo-Saxon law. He also added more central governmental organizations to strengthen local governance and taxes.
He restored peace and order in Normandy after 1106 by commanding and administering a body of Norman justices as well as an exchequer system similar to the English system.
Perplexity Relating to Succession
Henry I had several illegitimate offspring through several mistresses, in addition to his two known legitimate children, Matilda and William Adelin.
Henry I’s only legal son and successor to the English crown, William Adelin, lost in the White Ship catastrophe on November 25, 1120, causing a succession crisis. Henry married Adeliza on January 24, 1121, in order to have a male heir, but the union produced no offspring.
The heir to the English throne was then made Empress Matilda, Henry’s daughter. Since 1114, she has been married to Henry V, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor.
Henry 1 died in Saint-Denis-en-Lyons, Normandy, on December 1, 1135. Following his death, however, his nephew
Stephen of Blois ascended to the throne, with the help of Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchesters.
As a result of this ascent, England and Normandy saw a civil war known as ‘The Anarchy,’ which lasted from 1135 to 1153 and saw widespread lawlessness.
Estimated Net Worth
Henry is one of the richest King & listed on most popular King. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Henry net worth is approximately $1.5 Million.