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William I born in Falaise France was the son of Robert I duke of Normandy Known as William the Conqueror he was king of England from 1066 to 1087 During 1051 William visited his childless cousin Edward the Confessor there he has said that he got the word from him to take over as king once he has died The English men didnt want him to be their king but he married Matilda of Flanders who was the descendent of Albert The Great which strengthened his claim of the throne Determined to make good his claim William secured the sanction of Pope Alexander II for a Norman invasion of England the Normans then defeated the English forces at the celebrated Battle of Hastings On Christmas Day he was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey As king William reorganized the feudal system he dissolved the great earldoms which had enjoyed virtual independence under his Anglo-Saxon predecessors and distributed the lands confiscated from the English to his trusted Norman followers making all landholders swear greater loyalty to him rather than to their separate lords The feudal lords were compelled to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the local courts which William retained along with many other Anglo-Saxon institutions William also ordered an exhaustive survey of the landed wealth in his realm The written results known as the Domesday Book which was a census helped determine the revenues owed him by his subjects In 1087 during a campaign against King Philip I of France William burned the town of Mantes Williams horse fell in the vicinity of Mantes fatally injuring him He died in Rouen on September 7 and was buried at Caen in Saint Stephens One of the abbeys he and Matilda had founded at the time of their marriage as penance for their defiance of the pope His third-born son William II had succeeded William the ConquerorBibliographyEncarta 1999
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