Norman Kings descended from the Vikings who had begun raiding northern France and later settled in the region of Normandy in the 10th century.
Once settled in Normandy, Normans started launching military campaigns all over Western Europe, reaching Sicily, Italy, and most notably, England.
|1. William I | William the Conqueror | William the Bastard | Duke of Normandy||Reign 1066 – 1087|
|2. William Rufus | Rufus the Red | Son of William the Conqueror||Reign 1087 – 1100|
|3. Henry I | Henry Beauclerc | Married Matilda of Scotland||Reign 1100-1135|
|4. King Stephen | Stephen of Blois||Reign 1135-1154|
It was in England that Normans had the most effective success. Normans under William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066 and replaced the Anglo-Saxons as the rulers.
This marked a permanent change and England became a Norman kingdom, producing some of the most notable Norman monarchs.
William the Conqueror originally held the title of the Duke of Normandy. After a succession dispute in England erupted between Anglo-Saxons, Danes, and the Normans, William carried a sizable Norman force across the sea and landed in England in 1066.
He proceeded to defeat the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Harold Godwinson, before subduing all of England and having himself proclaimed the King of England.
Despite facing stiff resistance, William campaigned extensively in England, and through effective military organization and the use of castle-building, he put down multiple revolts in his new dominion.
Henry I was one of William the Conqueror’s sons. He ascended to the throne of England in 1100 after the death of his brother, William Rufus.
Early in his reign, Henry had to face opposition from his brother Robert who disputed his claim to the throne. Henry subsequently defeated Robert in Normandy and became the master of both England and Normandy.
His reign was marked by attempts to block the increasing influence of barons in England and to empower the monarchy at the expense of the nobility.
At his Continental territories, Henry had to face many foes including the royal might of France. But he was able to retain his territories in Normandy as well as England successfully. He died in 1135.
King Stephen also known as Stephen of Blois is notoriously famous for being the worst Norman king. He ruled England from 1135 to 1154, usurping the right of Henry’s daughter Matilda.
His ascension to the throne plunged the English into civil warfare and the barons profited from it by gaining significant power during his reign.
To end the warfare, Matilda agreed to let Stephen rule in exchange for a guarantee that Matilda’s son would inherit the throne.