Henry I of England

Henry I, closely. Henry I (c. 1068 in Selby in Yorkshire, † December 1, 1135 in Lyons- la -Forêt in Normandy ) called because of his interest in the sciences Henry Beauclerk or Henry Beauclerc, was from 1100 to 1135 King of England.

Henry was the youngest son of William the Conqueror. He reigned as the successor of his brother, William II, called William Rufus. Henry was given the nickname Lion of Justice ( eng.: Lion of Justice ), because his rule was characterized by a self-imposed limitation of power of the Crown. In addition are from his reign, the acceleration of the administration, the reunification of the domains of his father and the controversial decision to use his daughter as his heir, became known.


Henry I was between May 1068 and May 1069, probably in Selby, Yorkshire, England, was born. As the youngest son of the family he should be bishop and got an excellent education, as well as it really was possible for young noblemen. However, he was knighted in opposition to the original plan, with about 18 years. Presumably he is one among the few Norman rulers who spoke English fluently. According to tradition, he was stocky of average height, aged corpulent and had thin, dark hair.

His father, William the Conqueror, divided the land among the heirs with his death in 1087 at:

  • Robert Curthose received the Duchy of Normandy
  • Wilhelm II was awarded the Kingdom of England
  • Heinrich got 5,000 pounds of silver

Rule acquisition

The two older brothers joined the pact that if one of them would die without heirs, both domains of her father would be reunited under the surviving brother. When William II died in 1100, however, Robert just returned from the First Crusade. His absence, coupled with his bad reputation among the noble Normans, Henry paved the way to take the power of the keys on the royal estate in Winchester. He was accepted by the leading barons as king and on August 5, three days later, crowned in Westminster. He secured his power by the Charter of Liberties, a forerunner of the Magna Carta, which he conceded the nobles.

On November 11, 1100 married Henry I. Edith, daughter of King Malcolm III. of Scotland. Since Edith was also the niece of Edgar Athelings, merged with the marriage of the Norman line with the old English line of kings. However, the marriage displeased the Norman barons, and as a concession towards them changed their name to Edith Matilda when she became queen.

The following year, 1101, Robert Curthose attempted to retake the crown with a campaign. This failed, and in the Treaty of Alton, Robert Henry I recognized as King of England and returned started peacefully to Normandy back.

1105 Heinrich led to avert the constant threat by Robert Curthose, an expeditionary force across the English Channel. In 1106 he defeated the Norman army in the devastating Battle of Tinchebray. He had imprisoned his brother and integrated the Duchy of Normandy as a possession of England. He united the ancient domains of his father. 1114 and 1121, he led campaigns to Wales. The conquered lands he gave to loyal nobles surrounding him on, which formed a protective belt against Welsh attacks. To the north, Henry I reached 1124 by the throne of his brother David in Scotland a hedge. However, he lost in France in 1113, the Principality of Maine at Fulk, Count of Anjou, and behaved otherwise defensively in his Norman territories.

Reich Organization

When King Henry I. endeavored to social and judicial reforms:

  • The Charter of Liberties ( the Charter of Liberties )
  • Restore the laws of King Edward the Confessor.

On the Church's policy field became Henry I., as well as a few years before the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation Emperor Henry IV, in the Investiture Controversy into it. While this debate raged on the continent, they could be avoided in England despite repeatedly flaring up Disputes long in its full sharpness. Principal contractor Henry was Anselm of Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury and thus the highest clerics of England. Henry insisted on the right of establishment ( investiture ) of senior clerics, as well as the supervision of the king of all pronouncements of synods and the contact between the English clergy and the Pope. Anselm of Bec, who had fled under William II of England, returned under Henry, but refused to receive the archdiocese from the king's hands and make him allegiance. Violent clashes follow, on whose peak Anselm threatened the king with excommunication. At the Synod of London in 1107 Henry I promised then, no bishops and abbots use more. However, the king supported the reform of the Church in other areas. So he knew the new monastic reform order, especially the Augustinian Canons and the end of his reign towards the Cistercians, with rich donations. Determined, he campaigned against the still widespread clerical marriage and for the enforcement of celibacy.

As for the kingdom of organization, so only put Henry I the improvement begun under William the Conqueror's really about. The Exchequer ( Treasury ), one for England and Normandy, became the hub of the imperial administration. On the English Exchequer, the sheriff who exacted the royal duties in each county and perceived also administrative tasks to an increasing degree relative. The Royal Court expanded on the original field of serious crime on processes in which it came to land. In addition, the royal administration was based on the structure of the Church with bishops and abbots as an important fief holders. Also written decrees of the king, called writs, played an increasingly important role. The pipe rolls, invoice lists the Exchequer, now belong to the most important documents of English history. The oldest ones date back to the time of Henry I.


With Matilda, who became regent during the king's absence tasks and outstanding contributions to the expansion of London made ​​( "good queen Maud " ), Henry I had two children before she died in 1118. On January 29, 1121, he married Adelaide of Louvain, the daughter of Godfrey, Count of Louvain, but from this marriage were no children have. However, Henry had numerous illegitimate children, more than twenty are known to have been born in the period 1100-1120 ( see below). Most illegitimate sons took over later important principalities, the daughters were married by political considerations.

Henry had two sons who died in the sinking of the White Ship on 25 November 1120 on the Normandy coast. One of these two sons, Richard was illegitimate and is mentioned only sporadically in the traditions, so, it was assumed that he had never existed. With the death of the other, William Aetheling, the only legitimate son of Henry, the kingdom was fallen into a crisis.

Since he was without a male heir, Henry I undertook unusually, his barons to accept his daughter Matilda as heiress Princess. She was the widow of Emperor Henry V. of the Holy Roman Empire.

Henry I died of food poisoning from bad lampreys in December 1135 at St. Denis le Fermont in Normandy and was buried in the monastery at Reading.

Although Henry I. barons had sworn loyalty to his daughter Matilda as their queen, gave the family of Matilda and her remarriage to the gender of the Angevins, enemies of the Normans, Henry I 's nephew Stephen of Blois, the opportunity to come to England and the throne with the support of the people as St Stephen claim to be.

The struggle between Matilda and Stephen culminated in a long civil war, which caused anomic states. The dispute was finally terminated after Stephan 1153 Matilda's son Henry as his heir certain.

The most important contemporary historians about the life and work of Henry I is Orderic Vitalis. In his Ecclesiastical History of the King is frequently mentioned.

Henry's illegitimate children

The known illegitimate children of Henry are:

  • From the connection with Ansfride, widow of Anskill:
  • Attested from the connection with Edith, 1130
  • From the connection with Edith, daughter of Forn Sigulfsson
  • From the connection with Sibyl Corbet, daughter of Robert, Lord of Alcester ( Warwickshire )
  • From the connection with Nest ferch Rhys, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth ( southwestern Wales) (House Gwynedd )
  • From the connection to Isabel de Beaumont, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, Count of Meulan, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Elizabeth of Vermandois
  • From the compound with unknown women:

For the offspring of illegitimate children see Rolloniden


Henry I is mentioned in several novels, among other things:

  • Rebecca Gablé: The Second Kingdom ( 2000)
  • Rebecca Gablé: Job Brothers (2009)
  • Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth (1990 )