Henry I, Beauclerc, FitzWilliam, King of England

Henry I, Beauclerc, FitzWilliam, King of England

Male 1068 - 1135  (~ 67 years)

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  • Name Henry I  
    Suffix Beauclerc, FitzWilliam, King of England 
    Born Sep 1068  Selby, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1 Dec 1135  Eure, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4369  avefamily
    Last Modified 27 Nov 2018 

    Father William the Conqueror,   b. Abt 1027, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1087, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 60 years) 
    Mother Matilda of Flanders,   b. Abt 1031, Flanders, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, Francemap Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 52 years) 
    Family ID F1339  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Eadgith Matilda Dunkeld,   b. Abt 1080, Dunfermline, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1118, Westminster Palace, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 38 years) 
    +1. Matilda De Anjou, Of England
    Last Modified 16 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F1338  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

  • Notes 
    • Henry "Beauclerc" I, King of England.

      He was sometimes referred to as "Beauclerc" in French, implying that he was well educated.


      King of England 1100-1135 (a long reign)
      Duke of Normandy 1106-1135.

      b. SEP 1068 Selby, Yorkshire
      Christening: 5 AUG 1100 Selby, Yorkshire
      d. 01 DEC 1135 St Denis, Seine-St Denis[1][2][3]
      bur: Reading Abbey, Reading, Berks[4]
      Parents and siblings

      William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. He had two older brothers, William Rufus and Robert Curthose, who stood before him in the lines of inheritance for England and Normandy.

      Marriage and legitimate children

      Married twice, and had at least 2 legitimate children, both of whom have descendants.

      m.1. Matilda (also known as Edith or Eadgyth) of Scotland (d. 01 May 11118) 11 Nov 1100 Westminster Abbey[1][5]
      (disputed) Euphemia (daughter who d. young; possibly did not exist)
      William Atheling (predeceased his father in the White Ship Disaster)
      (disputed) Richard of Normandy[6]
      heir nominated by Henry himself: Matilda, m. twice 1. Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor and 2. Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.
      m.2. Adeliza of Louvain 29 JAN 1121 Windsor Castle.[1] No issue.
      Mistresses and illegitimate children

      There is no final and exact list of all mistresses and illegitimate children but Henry is thought to have had more than any English king since. Complete Peerage 2nd ed. has a special appendix by G H White about the subject which has been criticized in more recent publications.[7]

      All major modern sources agree about the following (note that fitz Roy simply meant "son of the King" and inheritable family surnames were rare in this period):

      Robert fitz Roy, or Robert of Caen, who became Earl of Gloucester
      Richard fitz Roy, whose mother was Ansfride widow of Anskill
      Fulk (or Foulques etc) proposed by White to have the same mother as Richard, though Thompson calls this especially unlikely.
      Juliane (or Juliana) also speculated by White to have the same mother as Richard (without strong evidence). m. Eustache, lord of Pacy and Breteuil.
      Reginald (or Reynald etc) de Dunstanville, who became Earl of Cornwall. His mother was named Sibyl, possibly Sibyl Corbett, and she later married Herbert fitz Herbert.
      Robert fitz Roy (another one), also known as Robert fitz Edith, whose mother, Edith or Eda, later married Robert d'Oilly. Possibly she was a daughter of Forn, ancestor of the Greystoke family. m. Maud d'Avranches.
      (likely) Adeliza. Robert probably also had a full sister named Alice or Adeliza who appears in one charter.
      Henry fitz Roy, son of Nest, daughter of Rhys son of Tewdwr and wife of Gerald the steward. He was father of Meiler fitz Henry and his brother Robert, who were important in Ireland.
      Mathilde (or Maud) m. Routrou de Perche, Count of Perche. her mother was named Edith but must be a different lady to the mother of Robert above.
      Isabel, daughter of Isabel, the daughter of Robert de Beaumont Comte de Meulan, Earl of Leicester and Isabelle de Vermandois. Isabel the mother was later wife of Gilbert FitzGilbert de Clare Earl of Pembroke.
      Gilbert fitz Roy
      William de Tracy
      Maud (or Mathilde) who married Conan III Duke of Britanny.
      The wife, probably named Mabel, of Guillaume (William) de Gouet.
      Constance (sometimes referred to wrongly by other names), who married Roscelin de Beaumont.
      Aline (sometimes referred to wrongly by other names), who married Mathieu de Montmorency.
      Matilda (Maud), abbess of Montivilliers (often confused with other daughters with this name).
      (likely) Sibyl, the wife of King Alexander I of Scotland.
      Also see illegitimate children in mistresses of Henry I.

      Death and burial

      The death and burial of King Henry I. (Royal Tombs of Medieval England) Henry I died at the royal hunting lodge of Lyons-la-Foret near Rouen on 2 December 1135, reportedly poisoned by a dish of lampreys. The king's organs were buried in the church of Sainte-Marse des Pres, near Rouen, a Benedictine house founded by his mother, Matilda. Henry's body was embalmed and wrapped in bull's hide to preserve it for burial in England. Bad weather delayed the return of the body to England and the king's remains were kept at Saint-Etienne in Caen, his father's burial place, for the best part of a month. This is the first recorded example of a divided English royal burial at a distant location. Henry was finally buried before the high altar in the abbey church at Reading on 5 January 1136 with full honors, unlike his father and brother.

      Additional detail notes on death and burial of King Henry I. (Royal Tombs of Medieval England) Henry I died of food poisoning at Lyons-la-Foret, near Rouen. The king's brains, eyes and viscera (entrails) were buried at Rouen, and the body was wrapped in bull's hide to preserve it for burial at Reading Abbey. This was the first recorded example of English royal embalmment and the process appears to have been spectacularly unsuccessful.

      Grave location of Henry I. (Royal Tombs of Medieval England) Reading Abbey was progressively demolished following the Dissolution (of the monasteries). The ruins of the south transept survive and stand to the south-east of the Forbury Gardens. A large cross in the Forbury Gardens commemorates Henry I's burial, but it stands on the site of the south nave aisle. The abbey choir, the most likely site of Henry I's grave, stood in the area now lying between the Forbury Day Centre and Reading Jail.


      The first years of Henry's reign were concerned with subduing Normandy. His father divided his kingdoms between Henry's older brothers, leaving England to William and Normandy to Robert. For much of his reign he faced the risk of rebellions in Normandy.[8]
      Drawn into controversy with the Church over the lay investiture issue,[9]
      Mixed nepotism with violence to strengthen allegiance to the crown.[10]
      Final years: war with France and succession worries.
      Forced Barons to accept Matilda as his heir, but in the end they chose for King Stephen.[11][12]

      ? 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ancestral Roots. Fredrick Weis; 7th ed. 1992.
      ? Cause: Food poisoning from Lampreys
      ? Royalty for Commoners, Roderick W. Stuart, Gen. Pub. Co., Balt. 1992, p68.
      ? Abbey in ruins, bones scattered.
      ? Eadgyth was an Anglo-Saxon name. Later named Matilda, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland.
      ? Not to be confused with Richard of Lincoln
      ? Geoffrey H. White, "Henry I's Illegitimate children", CP 11, Appendix D (pp. 105-121). A major critique is Kathleen Thompson, "Affairs of State: the illegitimate children of Henry I", Journal of Medieval History 29 (2003): 129-151. Also see "Some corrections and additions to the Complete Peerage: Volume 11: Henry I's Illegitimate Children" at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/cp/p_henryisillegitimate.shtml
      ? Henry inherited no land, but received รบ5000 in silver. He played both sides in his brothers' quarrel, leading both to distrust Henry, and sign a mutual accession treaty barring their brother from the crown.

      Henry's hope arose when Robert went on the First Crusade; should William die, Henry would be the obvious choice. Henry was in the woods hunting on the morning of William's death, August 2, 1100. He moved quickly and was crowned king on August 5, his coronation charter denouncing William's oppressive policies and promising good government. Robert returned to Normandy a few weeks later, but escaped final defeat until 1106, at the Battle of Tinchebrai. Robert was captured and lived the remaining twenty-eight years of his life as Henry's prisoner.
      ? Practice of selling clergy appointments by the king to gain revenue. ... opposed by its reformers. He ignored the situation until threatened with excommunication by Pope Paschal II in 1105. Reaching a compromise with the papacy, he officially denounced the practice but prelates continued to do homage for their fiefs. In practice, it changed little, King still appointed ecclesiastical offices but it a marked a point when kingship was viewed as purely secular and subservient to the Church. A solution to the lay investiture controversy and conquest of Normandy were accomplished in 1106, allowing Henry to expand his power.
      ? Roger of Salisbury, the most famous of Henry's servants, was instrumental in organizing a department for collection of royal revenues, the Exchequer. The Exchequer quickly gained notoriety for sending out court officials to judge local financial disputes, weakening feudal courts, and won the title "Lion of Justice".
      ? As the sole surviving legitimate heir, she was recalled to Henry's court in 1125 after the death of her first husband. She was forced to marry sixteen-year-old Geoffrey of Anjou in 1128 to continue the Angevin alliance. Henry made the barons accept her as his heir upon his death. Matilda's marriage to Geoffrey of Anjou was unpopular with the Norman barons, but Matilda and Geoffrey produced a male heir, prompting Henry to force another oath from the barons in support of Matilda. In summer 1135, Henry refused to give custody of certain key Norman castles to Geoffrey, as a show of good will, and the pair entered into war. Henry's life ended in this sorry state of affairs - war with his son-in-law - in December 1135.
      ? Brian Tompsett's Royal Database; March, 1929 NYC - Rev. March 1980. Royal Line, The. Albert F Schmuhl; Some English Descendants of Malcome Canmore King Of the Scots RJCW 307. Gregory Lauder-Frost F.S.A. ((lauderfrost@@btinternet.com); The Magna Charta Sureties 1215; Encyclopedia Britannica, Treatise on Henry I; Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists