Henry I “Beauclerc” of England

On this day, 881 years ago, 1 December 1135, Henry I “Beauclerc”, the first English King fluent in the English language, dies from a fever supposedly caused by eating “a surfeit of lampreys.” He was my twice-over 28th great-grandfather, both through his son Robert of Gloucester and through his daughter Matilda.

Henry was the fourth son of William the Conqueror. On William’s death in 1087, Henry’s elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively. Henry was left landless. Henry purchased land from Robert in the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy; however, in 1091, William and Robert deposed Henry. Henry gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert. In 1100, William, like his older brother Richard, died in a hunting accident in New Forest. His death was suspicious; he was killed by an arrow through the lung. With William’s death, Henry seized the English throne.

Robert, who invaded in 1101, disputed Henry’s control of England. This military campaign ended in a negotiated settlement that confirmed Henry as king. Sadly the peace was short-lived; Henry invaded the Duchy of Normandy in 1105 and 1106, finally defeating Robert at the Battle of Tinchebray. Henry kept Robert imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Henry’s control of Normandy was challenged by Baldwin VII of Flanders, Fulk V of Anjou (my 27th great-grandfather), and Louis VI of France (who is both my 27th great-grandfather through his son Peter I and my 28th great-grandfather through his son Robert I, and who, incidentally, was born on this same day—1 December—in 1081).  In 1120, following Henry’s victory at the Battle of Brémule, Henry I made peace with Louis VI.

In January 1114, Henry married Matilda of Scotland. Despite his marriage, Henry had many mistresses with whom he had several illegitimate children, including Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (my 27th great-grandfather.)

Henry’s only legitimate son and heir, William Ætheling, drowned in the White Ship disaster of 1120, throwing the royal succession into doubt. Henry took a second wife, Adeliza, in the hope of having another son, but their marriage was childless. Consequently, Henry named his daughter, Matilda (my 27th great-grandmother), as his heir, He then married Matilda to Geoffrey V of Anjou (my 27th great-grandfather).

During the King’s final years, relations between Henry, Matilda, and Geoffrey became strained. In 1135, Matilda and Geoffrey urged Henry to hand over the royal castles in Normandy to Matilda while Henry was still alive and insisted that the Norman nobility swear immediate allegiance to her, thereby giving the couple a more powerful position after Henry’s death. In anger, Henry declined, probably assuming that Geoffrey would try to seize power in Normandy. Rebellion broke out in southern Normandy, led by William III, Count of Ponthieu (my 28th great-grandfather). Geoffrey and Matilda supported the rebellion.

Henry participated in the fight, strengthening the southern frontier, before traveled to Lyons-la-Forêt in November to enjoy some hunting. While there, Henry fell ill. Supposedly, Henry I ate lampreys against his physician’s advice. If not cleaned and cooked properly, lampreys can be poisonous. Obviously, this was the case, as on 1 December 1135, Henry I died. His body was interred under the altar of the Reading Abbey.

#englishhistory    #familyhistory     #genealogy

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Every Family has a story to tell..........Welcome to mine

The Handwritten Past

Tips, Stories, and Advice from Professional Genealogists

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

The Wanderlust Genealogist

Bringing Your Past into Your Present!

Delving into the past

Here you shall find, my writings, about my family research, and general research into murders, and other people's ancestry, where I dig deep, and find all kinds of information about my family, whether it is good or bad, and my life itself in general, there are some sad, informative, facts here, which I hope, will get you guys blogging, so what are you waiting for? Get reading!

A Pennsylvania Dutch Genealogy

the genealogy & family research site of Kris Hocker

The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

Discovering Yesterday

Preserving the history of ordinary people

Barb's GeNealogy Life

Combining two of my favorite addictive pastimes - family history and writing.

Skeletons In The Closet

Writing and Genealogy by P.D.Blake

Ascending the Stairs

Because each step tells another story of our ancestors

Our Lineage

Researching Family History One Ancestor at a Time - © 2012-2021 - Wendy Malinowski. All Rights Reserved

Past Presence

A site for genealogists and family historians

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Blog of Brass Oak Genealogy

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Sharing musings, insights, resources and strategies as I discover my family history.

Its good to be crazy Sometimes

A view from the inside of going through the minefield of the British benefit system if you are disabled and the ups and downs of coping with mental illness


Words of wisdom, inspiration, feeling

Rants, Rambles, Revelations, Remembrances

Because the voice in my head won't stay silent...

Genealogy for Children

How to engage children in genealogy and family history

Brumley Family Branches

A Genealogy Blog


Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Kindred Stories

Everyone has a story


Where Distant Family Become Close

Jill's Garden

Garden of Life

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Gary A Wilson Stories

Dime of Time Adventures and Fiction

Shaking The Branches

Sharing Stories From My Family Tree

Decoding the Family Tree

solving family history one branch at a time.

Bespoke Genealogy

UK and Ireland: Genealogy, History and Travel

The Letters

Louise Mabey

From Ballachulish to South Mississippi

Mississippi family history letters

Writer Within

The Efforts of a Writer Trying to Write


Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Aquila's Place

An Eccentric Mix of Literature and Opinions

The Women Who Made Me

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

F Yeah History

History...but better

Amanda Bradburn

Author | Editor | Genealogist | Bookstagrammer

Daze & Weekes

A (charmingly?) delusional Victorian actress surviving in the hideous and grotesque modern world.

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

Miner Descent

Tracing each branch back to their arrival in America

%d bloggers like this: