William the Conqueror | History Hit
Back to Articles

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard or William I, was the first Norman monarch of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he became Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. He had a struggle to secure his seat as the Duke of Normandy, but by 1060 it was secure. His is best know for his role in the Battle of Hastings. In 1066, following the death of Edward the Confessor, William invaded England, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. He then suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands, and by difficulties with his eldest son, Robert Curthose.

In July 1087, William led an expedition against the French Vexin. While seizing Mantes, William either fell ill or was injured by the pommel of his saddle – it is debated. He was taken to the priory of Saint Gervase at Rouen, where he died on 9 September 1087. He is buried at Abbaye-aux-Hommes at Caen.