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The House of Normandy



After William's death in 1087, the crown passed to his son William II nicknamed Rufus or Red because of the colour of his hair. William I before his death divided his possessions between two sons — William Rufus got England and his elder brother Robert succeeded the Duchy of Normandy. Both Duke Robert and William Rufus were dissatisfied with the division. During the thirteen years of William's reign the country suffered constant baronial revolts. Using intrigues against his brother, William mastered most of Normandy, and possessed the whole territory when Robert left for the Crusade in 1096. In August 1100, William Rufus was mysteriously shot while hunting in the New Forest.

After William's death his son Henry became a King. His reign began with a rebellion of English and Norman barons in favour of Robert, who returned from the Crusade in August 1100. For the next six years of his reign Henry was fighting with Robert to preserve his title under his father's will.

In 1104, he invaded Normandy and in 1106, gained the complete victory in the most important battle since Hastings at Tinchebrai. Duke Robert was kept in prison for the rest of his life.

Henry I gave England peace and unity — after his death the English were unified as never before. People called him the Lion of Justice because he held the barons in check with a strong hand and made it easier for the common folk to come before the King's justices when the barons oppressed them. Henry reorganised the Courts of Law. The duties of the King's officers and council were rearranged and a new smaller body of advisers called the King's Court was created.

Henry I had one son William, who drowned young, and daughter Matilda married to the Count of Anjou. Though Henry made the barons swear that they would recognise Matilda as a Queen, but after his death the son of the Conqueror's daughter Adela Stephen, who was Henry's nephew, succeeded him. In 1139, Matilda invaded England to claim the throne and the country was plunged into the civil war. Although anarchy never spread over the whole country, these 19 years of war were the cruelest in the history of Britain. In England there was no food, no tilled lands, no harvest, ashes of burnt towns and dreary wastes could be seen everywhere. So ended the reign of King Stephen, the last representative of the House of Normandy, which made the last successful conquest of England.

Task 3.Match the name of the representative of the House of Normandy to the events they are most remembered for.





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