Étienne de Blois, King of England (1097 - 1154) MP

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Nicknames: "Stephen of England", "Stephen de Blois"
Birthplace: Blois, Centre, France
Death: Died in Dover Castle, Kent, England
Occupation: King of England 1135 - 1154, Comte, de Mortain, de Boulogne, Sieur, de Sées, d'Alençon, Duc, de Normandie, Roi, d'Angleterre, Greve i Dover, i Martain 1112, Kung i England 1135, King of England, November 1141 – 25 October 1154
Managed by: Margaret, (C)
Last Updated:

About Étienne de Blois, King of England

Stephen of England http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_of_England

Stefan av England http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan_av_England

Esteban de Blois http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esteban_de_Blois

Estêvão I de Inglaterra http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Est%C3%AAv%C3%A3o_I_de_Inglaterra

Étienne d'Angleterre http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tienne_d%27Angleterre

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Stephen often known as Stephen of Blois (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154) was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was the last Norman King of England, from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris. His reign was marked by civil war with his rival the Empress Matilda and general chaos, known as The Anarchy. He was succeeded by Matilda's son, Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings.

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Stephen de Blois, King of England was born circa 1096 at Blois, Berri, France.3,4 He was the son of Stephen II Henry, Comte de Blois and Adela de Normandie. He married Matilda, Comtesse de Boulogne, daughter of Eustace III, Comte de Boulogne and Mary of Scots, before 1125 at Westminster, London, England.5 He died on 25 October 1154 at Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, England, from a heart attack.6 He was buried at Faversham Abbey, Faversham, Kent, England.6

    Stephen de Blois, King of England gained the title of Count of Mortain before 1115.4 He succeeded to the title of 11th Duc de Normandie in 1135.7 He succeeded to the title of King Stephen of England on 1 December 1135.4 He was crowned King of England on 26 December 1135 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Aglorum Dux Normannorum.8' He was deposed as King of England on 10 April 1141.5 He succeeded to the title of King Stephen of England on 1 November 1141.5 He was crowned King of England on 25 December 1141 at Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.5 
    The rightful heiress to the crown of England was Henry I's daughter Matilda but at the time of Henry's death she was with her husband in Anjou and Stephen was the first to reach London and successfully claim the throne. Matilda or Maud, as she was also known, disputed Stephen's claim. Matilda's illegitimate half brother the 1st Earl of Gloucester rebelled, and civil war broke out in 1139 when Matilda invaded. In April 1141 hostile troops seized Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln but in November exchanged him for Gloucester who had been imprisoned by Stephen's supporters. Stephen then regained much lost power and in 1148 Matilda left England. Upon Maud's death, her son Henry Fitz-Empress continued the challenge. While the dispute continued, Henry married the divorced wife of the French King. This gave him great power as his wife was, in her own right, a reigning Princess. Stephen had married Matilda of Boulogne and hoped that their son Eustace would succeed him, however Eustace died and in 1153 at Winchester, Stephen reluctantly declared Henry Fitz-Empress as his heir. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.9

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Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, (c. 1096 – 25 October, 1154), was the last Norman King of England and a grandson of William the Conqueror. He reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his rival's son Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris.

Contents

  

Stephen was born at Blois in France, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of England, (daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders). One of ten children, his surviving brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, and William of Sully. He also had four sisters, including Eléonore of Blois who married Raoul I of Vermandois and had a son, Hugh II of Vermandois.

Stephen was sent to be reared at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who shortly after became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

There were three principal contenders for the succession of Henry I and one 'fancied outsider'. The least popular of these was Matilda of England, not only because she was a woman, but also because her husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou was an enemy of the Normans. The other contenders were two men of royal birth, Robert, Earl of Gloucester and Stephen himself. The 'outsider' was the elder brother of Stephen, Theobald, Count of Blois. However, Theobald did not want the kingdom, at least not badly enough to contend for it.[1] Before the 1135 death of King Henry I of England, at his insistence, the majority of the barons of England swore to support Henry's daughter Maude, (The Empress Matilda) (granddaughter of William the Conqueror), and her claim to the throne. However, upon the king's death, Stephen — also a grandchild of The Conqueror — laid claim to the throne, stating that Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II and the first few years of his reign were peaceful, notwithstanding insurgence by the Welsh, a rebellion by King David of Scotland, and another by Baldwin de Redvers.

By 1139 Stephen had lost much support and the country sank into a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. Stephen faced the forces of Empress Matilda at several locations throughout the Kingdom including the Battle of Beverston Castle and the Battle of Lincoln. Bad omens haunted him before the Battle of Lincoln where Stephen was facing the powerful Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (the Empress' illegitimate half-brother) and Ranulph, Earl of Chester. According to chroniclers Stephen fought bravely in the battle but was captured by a knight named William de Cahaignes (a relative of Ranulph, ancestor of the Keynes family). Stephen was defeated and he was brought before his cousin, the Empress Matilda. He was imprisoned at Bristol.

Stephen's wife rallied support amongst the people from London and the barons. The Empress Matilda was, in turn, forced out of London. With the capture of her most able lieutenant, her half-brother the Earl of Gloucester, she was eventually obliged to trade Stephen for him, and thus Stephen was restored to the throne in November of the same year.

In December 1142, the Empress was besieged at Oxford, but she managed to escape, dressed in white, across the snow to Wallingford Castle, held by her supporter Brien FitzCount.

In 1147, Empress Matilda's adolescent son, Henry (the eventual King Henry II), decided to assist in the war effort by raising a small army of mercenaries and invading England. Rumours of this army's size terrified Stephen's retainers, although in truth the force was very small. Having been defeated twice in battle, and with no money to pay his mercenaries, the young Henry appealed to his uncle Robert for aid but was turned away. Desperately, and in secret, the boy then asked Stephen for help. According to the Gesta Stephani, "On receiving the message, the king...hearkened to the young man..." and bestowed upon him money and other support.

Stephen maintained his precarious hold on the throne for the remainder of his lifetime. However, after a military standoff at Wallingford with Henry, and following the death of his son and heir, Eustace, in 1153, he was persuaded to reach a compromise with Empress Matilda (known as the Treaty of Wallingford or Winchester), whereby her son would succeed Stephen to the English throne as King Henry II.

Stephen died in Dover, at Dover Priory, and was buried in Faversham Abbey, which he had founded with Countess Matilda in 1148.

Besides Eustace, Stephen and Queen Matilda had two other sons, Baldwin (d. before 1135), and William of Blois (Count of Mortain and Boulogne, and Earl of Surrey or Warenne). They also had two daughters, Matilda and Marie of Boulogne. In addition to these children, Stephen fathered at least three illegitimate children, one of whom, Gervase, became Abbot of Westminster.

English Royalty

House of Normandy

Stephen

  Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne
  William, Count of Boulogne
  Marie, Countess of Boulogne

An unfavourable thumbnail sketch of Stephen is given by Walter Map (who wrote during the reign of Matilda's son Henry II): "A man of a certain age, remarkably hard-working but otherwise a nonentity [idiota] or perhaps rather inclined to evil."[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the Peterborough Chronicle, second continuation) provides a more favourable picture of Stephen, but depicts a turbulent reign:-

   "In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept".

The monastic author said, of The Anarchy, "this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."

[edit] Fictional portrayals

Stephen has rarely been portrayed on screen. He was played by Frederick Treves in the BBC TV series The Devil's Crown (1978) and by Michael Grandage in "One Corpse Too Many", the first episode of the television adaptation of the Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters (1994).

He was also portrayed in Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth.

In fiction, he is a prominent character in Sharon Kay Penman's novel When Christ And His Saints Slept, portrayed as a loving husband and good warrior, but an indecisive monarch who cannot control his barons.

King Stephen is often mentioned in all books of the historical detective series "Brother Cadfael", which take place during The Anarchy. He appears onstage in two of them:

   * "One Corpse Too Many" (written 1979, set in August 1138), takes place against the background of Stephen's conquest of Shrewsbury and his decision - described as "uncharacteristically harsh" - to execute all members of the former garrison which had held the city for Empress Maud.
   * "Brother Cadfael's Penance" (written 1994, set in November 1145), in which much of the plot takes place during and in the immediate aftermath of an abortive peace conference organised by the Church in an effort to reconcile Stephen with Maud and end the civil war.

Cecelia Holland's The Earl, also published as "Hammer for Princes" (1971) depicts the old and quite tragic King Stephen, facing the death of his own son Eustace and the inevitability of recognising Prince Henry, his rival's son, as his heir.

King Stephen is also featured in 1991's Ellen Jones novel The Fatal Crown. There he is depicted not only as Empress Matilda's rival but her primary love interest, despite her marriage, and the true father of Henry ii.

[edit] English Royal descendents

Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III, was a descendant of Stephen, and he was thus ancestor of all subsequent kings of England.[3]

[edit] Bibliography

   * Crouch, David. The Reign of King Stephen, 2000
   * Davis, R H C. King Stephen, 1135-1154, 1967

Stephen of England

House of Blois

Born: 1096 Died: 25 October 1154

Regnal titles

Preceded by

Henry I King of England

22 December 1135 – April 1141 Succeeded by

Disputed

Claimed by Matilda

Preceded by

Disputed

Claimed by Matilda King of England

November 1141 – 25 October 1154 Succeeded by

Henry II

French nobility

Preceded by

Henry I Duke of Normandy

1135–1144 Succeeded by

Geoffrey

Preceded by

Robert II Count of Mortain

1121 – 1135 Succeeded by

Eustace IV

Preceded by

Eustace III Count of Boulogne

1128 – 1151

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1st cousin 25 times removed of Queen Elizabeth II

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_of_England

Stephen (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois (French: Étienne de Blois, Medieval French: Estienne de Blois), was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was the last Norman King of England, from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris. His reign was marked by civil war with his cousin and rival the Empress Matilda and general chaos, known as The Anarchy. He was succeeded by Matilda's son, Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings.

--------------------

Stephen (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois (French: Étienne de Blois), was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was the last Norman King of England, from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris. His reign was marked by civil war with his cousin and rival the Empress Matilda and general chaos, known as The Anarchy. He was succeeded by Matilda's son, Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings.

Contents [hide]

1 Early life

2 Reign

2.1 King of England

2.2 The Anarchy: War with Matilda

2.3 Reconciliation and death

3 Ancestors

4 Fictional portrayals

5 English royal descendants

6 Notes

7 Bibliography

8 External links


[edit] Early life

Stephen was born at Blois in France, son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of England, the daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. One of ten children, his surviving brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, and William of Sully. He also had four sisters, including Eléonore of Blois.

Stephen was sent to be raised at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

[edit] Reign

[edit] King of England

There were several principal contenders for the succession to Henry I. The least popular was the Empress Matilda, Henry I's only legitimate surviving child, not only because she was a woman, but also because her husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou was an enemy of the Normans. The other contenders were Robert, Earl of Gloucester, illegitimate son of Henry I; Stephen; and Stephen's older brother, Theobald, Count of Blois. However, Theobald did not want the kingdom, at least not enough to fight for it.[1] Before his death in 1135, Henry I named his daughter Matilda his heir and made the barons of England swear allegiance to her. Stephen was the first baron to do so. However, upon King Henry's death, Stephen claimed the throne, saying Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II. The first few years of his reign were peaceful, notwithstanding insurgences by the Welsh, King David I of Scotland, and Baldwin de Redvers.

[edit] The Anarchy: War with Matilda

Main article: The Anarchy

By 1139, Stephen had lost much support and the country sank into a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. Stephen faced the forces of the Empress Matilda at several locations, including Beverston Castle and Lincoln. Bad omens haunted him before the Battle of Lincoln, at which Stephen faced Matilda's illegitimate half-brother Robert and Ranulph, Earl of Chester. According to chroniclers, Stephen fought bravely but was captured by a knight named William de Cahaignes (a relative of Ranulph, ancestor of the Keynes family). Stephen was defeated and brought before his cousin Matilda, and was imprisoned at Bristol.

Stephen's wife rallied support amongst the people of London and the barons. Matilda was, in turn, forced out of London. With the capture of her most able lieutenant, her half-brother the Earl of Gloucester, she was obliged to trade Stephen for him, and Stephen was restored to the throne in November the same year.

In December 1142, the Empress was besieged at Oxford, but managed to escape, dressed in white, across the snow to Wallingford Castle, held by her supporter Brien FitzCount.

In 1147, Empress Matilda's teenage son, the future King Henry II of England, decided to assist in the war effort by raising a small army of mercenaries and invading England. Rumours of this army's size terrified Stephen's retainers, although in truth the force was very small. Having been defeated twice in battle, and with no money to pay his mercenaries, young Henry appealed to his uncle Robert for aid but was turned away. Desperately, and in secret, the boy asked Stephen for help. According to the Gesta Stephani, "On receiving the message, the king...hearkened to the young man..." and bestowed upon him money and other support.

[edit] Reconciliation and death

Stephen maintained his precarious hold on the throne for the remainder of his lifetime. However, after a military standoff at Wallingford with Henry, and following the death of his son and heir, Eustace, in 1153, he was persuaded to reach a compromise with Matilda (known as the Treaty of Wallingford or Winchester), whereby Stephen's son William of Blois would be passed over for the English throne, and instead Matilda's son Henry would succeed Stephen.

Stephen died in Dover, at Dover Priory, and was buried in Faversham Abbey, which he had founded with his wife in 1148.

Besides Eustace, Stephen and his wife had two other sons, Baldwin (d. before 1135), and William I of Blois (Count of Mortain and Boulogne, and Earl of Surrey or Warenne). They also had two daughters, Matilda and Marie I of Boulogne. In addition to these children, Stephen fathered at least three illegitimate children, one of whom, Gervase, became Abbot of Westminster.

English Royalty

House of Normandy


Stephen

  Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne 
  William I, Count of Blois 
  Marie I, Countess of Boulogne 

An unfavourable thumbnail sketch of Stephen is given by Walter Map (who wrote during the reign of Matilda's son Henry II): "A man of a certain age, remarkably hard-working but otherwise a nonentity [idiota] or perhaps rather inclined to evil."[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the Peterborough Chronicle, second continuation) provides a more favourable picture of Stephen, but depicts a turbulent reign:-

"In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept".

The monastic author said, of The Anarchy, "this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."

[edit] Ancestors

Ancestors of Stephen of England[show]


 16. Odo I, Count of Blois 
 
         

 8. Odo II, Count of Blois   
 
               

 17. Bertha of Burgundy 
 
         

 4. Theobald III, Count of Blois   
 
                     





 9. Ermengarde of Auvergne   
 
               





 2. Stephen II, Count of Blois   
 
                           





 10. Herbert, Count of Maine   
 
               





 5. Garsinde du Maine   
 
                     













 1. Stephen of England   
 
                                 

 24. Richard II, Duke of Normandy 
 
         

 12. Robert the Magnificent   
 
               

 25. Judith of Brittany 
 
         

 6. William I of England   
 
                     

 26. Fulbert of Falaise 
 
         

 13. Herleva   
 
               





 3. Adela of Normandy   
 
                           

 28. Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders 
 
         

 14. Baldwin V, Count of Flanders   
 
               

 29. Ogive of Luxembourg 
 
         

 7. Matilda of Flanders   
 
                     

 30. Robert II of France 
 
         

 15. Adela of France, Countess of Flanders   
 
               

 31. Constance of Arles 
 
         

[edit] Fictional portrayals

Stephen is a prominent character in Sharon Kay Penman's novel When Christ And His Saints Slept, portrayed as a loving husband and good warrior, but an indecisive monarch who cannot control his barons.

King Stephen is often mentioned in all books of Ellis Peters' historical detective series Brother Cadfael, which take place during The Anarchy. He actually appears in two of them. One Corpse Too Many (1979), set in August 1138, takes place against the background of Stephen's conquest of Shrewsbury and his decision - described as "uncharacteristically harsh" - to execute all members of the former garrison which had held the city for Empress Maud. In Brother Cadfael's Penance (1994) much of the plot takes place during and in the immediate aftermath of an abortive peace conference organised by the Church in November 1145 in an effort to reconcile Stephen with Maud and end the civil war.

Cecelia Holland's 1971 novel The Earl, also published as Hammer for Princes, depicts the old and quite tragic King Stephen, facing the death of his own son Eustace and the inevitability of recognising Prince Henry, his rival's son, as his heir. He is also a character in Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth.

Stephen has rarely been portrayed on screen. He was played by Frederick Treves in the 1978 BBC TV series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John, and by Michael Grandage in "One Corpse Too Many", the first episode of the television adaptation of the Cadfael novels (1994).

[edit] English royal descendants

Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III, was a descendant of Stephen, and he was thus ancestor of all subsequent kings of England.[3]

[edit] Notes

1.^ Davis,R.H.C King Stephen: 1135-1154, 1967, p14-15

2.^ Walter Map, De nugis curialium 5.6.

3.^ That is, of England until 1707 and of Great Britain since.

[edit] Bibliography

Crouch, David. The Reign of King Stephen, 2000

Davis, R H C. King Stephen, 1135-1154, 1967

[edit] External links

Gesta Stephani, Regis Anglorum et Ducis Normannorum, at Google Books (in Latin).

Stephen of England

House of Blois

Born: 1096 Died: 25 October 1154

Regnal titles

Preceded by

Henry I King of England

22 December 1135 – April 1141 Succeeded by

Disputed

Claimed by Matilda

Preceded by

Disputed

Claimed by Matilda King of England

November 1141 – 25 October 1154 Succeeded by

Henry II

French nobility

Preceded by

Henry I Duke of Normandy

1135–1144 Succeeded by

Geoffrey

Preceded by

William

1190 – 1106 Count of Mortain

1113(?) – 1135 Succeeded by

William of Blois

1154 – 1159

Preceded by

Eustace III Count of Boulogne

1125 – 1147

with Matilda I Succeeded by

Eustace IV

[show]Family information

Theobald III of Blois House of Blois Stephen II

Count of Blois Stephen of England

Gersende of Maine House of Maine

William I of England House of Norman Adela of Normandy

Matilda of Flanders House of Flanders

Notes and references

1. Tompsett, Brian, Directory of Royal Genealogical Data (Hull, UK: University of Hull, 2005).

2. Ross, Kelley L., The Proceedings of the Friesian School (Los Angeles, US: Los Angeles Valley College, 2007).

[show]v • d • eEnglish monarchs


Kingdom of the

English

886–1066 Alfred the Great · Edward the Elder · Ælfweard · Athelstan the Glorious1 · Edmund the Magnificent1 · Eadred1 · Eadwig the Fair1 · Edgar the Peaceable1 · Edward the Martyr · Æthelred the Unready · Sweyn Forkbeard · Edmund Ironside · Cnut1 · Harold Harefoot · Harthacnut · Edward the Confessor · Harold Godwinson · Edgar the Ætheling


Kingdom of

England

1066–1649 William I · William II · Henry I · Stephen · Matilda · Henry II2 · Henry the Young King · Richard I · John2 · Henry III2 · Edward I2 · Edward II2 · Edward III2 · Richard II2 · Henry IV2 · Henry V2 · Henry VI2 · Edward IV2 · Edward V2 · Richard III2 · Henry VII2 · Henry VIII2 · Edward VI2 · Jane2 · Mary I2 with Philip2 · Elizabeth I2 · James I3 · Charles I3


Commonwealth of

England, Scotland and Ireland

1653–1659 Oliver Cromwell4 · Richard Cromwell4


Kingdom of

England

1660–1707 Charles II3 · James II3 · William III and Mary II3 · Anne3


1Overlord of Britain. 2Also ruler of Ireland. 3Also ruler of Scotland. 4Lord Protector.

Debatable or disputed rulers are in italics.


[show]v • d • eDukes of Normandy


Norman Dukes Rollo · William I · Richard I · Richard II · Richard III · Robert I · William II · Robert II · Henry I · William III · Matilda · Stephen · Geoffrey · Henry II · Henry the Young · Richard IV · John I


French Dukes John II · Charles I · Charles II · Louis (Claimant)


English Dukes Henry III · Edward I · Edward II · Edward III · Richard V · Henry IV · Edward IV · Edward V · Richard VI · Henry VII · Henry VIII · Edward VI · Jane · Mary I · Elizabeth I · James I · Charles III · Charles IV · James II · William IV with Mary II · William IV


British Dukes Anne · George I · George II · George III · George IV · William V · Victoria · Edward VII · George V · Edward VIII · George VI · Elizabeth II


Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_of_England"

Categories: English monarchs | Dukes of Normandy | Anglo-Normans | 1090s births | 1154 deaths

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_of_England

Stephen of England

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

For the Crusade leader also called "Stephen of Blois", see Stephen II, Count of Blois.

Stephen of Blois

King of the English (1st Reign; more...)

Reign 22 December 1135 – April 1141 (5 Years)

Coronation 26 December 1135

Predecessor Henry I

Successor Matilda

King of the English (2nd Reign; more...)

Reign November 1141 – 25 October 1154

Predecessor Matilda

Successor Henry II

Consort Matilda of Boulogne

Issue

Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne

William I of Blois

Marie I, Countess of Boulogne

House Norman dynasty

Father Stephen II, Count of Blois

Mother Adela of Normandy

Born c. 1096

Blois, France

Died 25 October 1154 (aged 57–58)

Dover, Kent

Burial Faversham Abbey, Kent

Stephen (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois (French: Étienne de Blois, Medieval French: Estienne de Blois), was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was the last Norman King of England, from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris. His reign was marked by civil war with his cousin and rival the Empress Matilda and general chaos, known as The Anarchy. He was succeeded by Matilda's son, Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings.

Contents

[show]

   * 1 Early life
   * 2 Reign
         o 2.1 King of England
         o 2.2 The Anarchy: War with Matilda
         o 2.3 Reconciliation and death
   * 3 Ancestors
   * 4 Fictional portrayals
   * 5 English royal descendants
   * 6 Notes
   * 7 Bibliography
   * 8 External links

[edit] Early life

Stephen was born at Blois in France, son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of England, the daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. One of ten children, his surviving brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, and William of Sully. He also had four sisters, including Eléonore of Blois.

Stephen was sent to be raised at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

[edit] Reign

[edit] King of England

There were several principal contenders for the succession to Henry I. The least popular was the Empress Matilda, Henry I's only legitimate surviving child, not only because she was a woman, but also because her husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou was an enemy of the Normans. The other contenders were Robert, Earl of Gloucester, illegitimate son of Henry I; Stephen; and Stephen's older brother, Theobald, Count of Blois. However, Theobald did not want the kingdom, at least not enough to fight for it.[1] Before his death in 1135, Henry I named his daughter Matilda his heir and made the barons of England swear allegiance to her. Stephen was the first baron to do so. However, upon King Henry's death, Stephen claimed the throne, saying Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II. The first few years of his reign were peaceful, notwithstanding insurgences by the Welsh, King David I of Scotland, and Baldwin de Redvers.

[edit] The Anarchy: War with Matilda

Main article: The Anarchy

By 1139, Stephen had lost much support and the country sank into a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. Stephen faced the forces of the Empress Matilda at several locations, including Beverston Castle and Lincoln. Bad omens haunted him before the Battle of Lincoln, at which Stephen faced Matilda's illegitimate half-brother Robert and Ranulph, Earl of Chester. According to chroniclers, Stephen fought bravely but was captured by a knight named William de Cahaignes (a relative of Ranulph, ancestor of the Keynes family). Stephen was defeated and brought before his cousin Matilda, and was imprisoned at Bristol.

Stephen's wife rallied support amongst the people of London and the barons. Matilda was, in turn, forced out of London. With the capture of her most able lieutenant, her half-brother the Earl of Gloucester, she was obliged to trade Stephen for him, and Stephen was restored to the throne in November the same year.

In December 1142, the Empress was besieged at Oxford, but managed to escape, dressed in white, across the snow to Wallingford Castle, held by her supporter Brien FitzCount.

In 1147, Empress Matilda's teenage son, the future King Henry II of England, decided to assist in the war effort by raising a small army of mercenaries and invading England. Rumours of this army's size terrified Stephen's retainers, although in truth the force was very small. Having been defeated twice in battle, and with no money to pay his mercenaries, young Henry appealed to his uncle Robert for aid but was turned away. Desperately, and in secret, the boy asked Stephen for help. According to the Gesta Stephani, "On receiving the message, the king...hearkened to the young man..." and bestowed upon him money and other support.

[edit] Reconciliation and death

Stephen maintained his precarious hold on the throne for the remainder of his lifetime. However, after a military standoff at Wallingford with Henry, and following the death of his son and heir, Eustace, in 1153, he was persuaded to reach a compromise with Matilda (known as the Treaty of Wallingford or Winchester), whereby Stephen's son William of Blois would be passed over for the English throne, and instead Matilda's son Henry would succeed Stephen.

Stephen died in Dover, at Dover Priory, and was buried in Faversham Abbey, which he had founded with his wife in 1148.

Besides Eustace, Stephen and his wife had two other sons, Baldwin (d. before 1135), and William I of Blois (Count of Mortain and Boulogne, and Earl of Surrey or Warenne). They also had two daughters, Matilda and Marie I of Boulogne. In addition to these children, Stephen fathered at least three illegitimate children, one of whom, Gervase, became Abbot of Westminster.

English Royalty

House of Normandy

Stephen

  Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne
  William I, Count of Blois
  Marie I, Countess of Boulogne

An unfavourable thumbnail sketch of Stephen is given by Walter Map (who wrote during the reign of Matilda's son Henry II): "A man of a certain age, remarkably hard-working but otherwise a nonentity [idiota] or perhaps rather inclined to evil."[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the Peterborough Chronicle, second continuation) provides a more favourable picture of Stephen, but depicts a turbulent reign:-

   "In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept".

The monastic author said, of The Anarchy, "this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."

[edit] Ancestors

Ancestors of Stephen of England[show]



















16. Odo I, Count of Blois








8. Odo II, Count of Blois












17. Bertha of Burgundy








4. Theobald III, Count of Blois















9. Ermengarde of Auvergne












2. Stephen II, Count of Blois


















10. Herbert, Count of Maine












5. Garsinde du Maine















1. Stephen of England





















24. Richard II, Duke of Normandy








12. Robert the Magnificent












25. Judith of Brittany








6. William I of England















26. Fulbert of Falaise








13. Herleva












3. Adela of Normandy


















28. Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders








14. Baldwin V, Count of Flanders












29. Ogive of Luxembourg








7. Matilda of Flanders















30. Robert II of France








15. Adela of France, Countess of Flanders












31. Constance of Arles







[edit] Fictional portrayals

Stephen is a prominent character in Sharon Kay Penman's novel When Christ And His Saints Slept, portrayed as a loving husband and good warrior, but an indecisive monarch who cannot control his barons.

King Stephen is often mentioned in all books of Ellis Peters' historical detective series Brother Cadfael, which take place during The Anarchy. He actually appears in two of them. One Corpse Too Many (1979), set in August 1138, takes place against the background of Stephen's conquest of Shrewsbury and his decision - described as "uncharacteristically harsh" - to execute all members of the former garrison which had held the city for Empress Maud. In Brother Cadfael's Penance (1994) much of the plot takes place during and in the immediate aftermath of an abortive peace conference organised by the Church in November 1145 in an effort to reconcile Stephen with Maud and end the civil war.

Cecelia Holland's 1971 novel The Earl, also published as Hammer for Princes, depicts the old and quite tragic King Stephen, facing the death of his own son Eustace and the inevitability of recognising Prince Henry, his rival's son, as his heir. He is also a character in Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth.

Stephen has rarely been portrayed on screen. He was played by Frederick Treves in the 1978 BBC TV series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John, and by Michael Grandage in "One Corpse Too Many", the first episode of the television adaptation of the Cadfael novels (1994).

[edit] English royal descendants

Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III, was a descendant of Stephen, and he was thus ancestor of all subsequent monarchs of England.[3]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Davis,R.H.C King Stephen: 1135-1154, 1967, p14-15
  2. ^ Walter Map, De nugis curialium 5.6.
  3. ^ That is, of England until 1707, and then of Great Britain until 1801, and since then of the UK.

[edit] Bibliography

   * Crouch, David. The Reign of King Stephen, 2000
   * Davis, R H C. King Stephen, 1135-1154, 1967
   *  Norgate, Kate (1898). "Stephen (1097?-1154)". in Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900​. 54. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

[edit] External links

   * Gesta Stephani, Regis Anglorum et Ducis Normannorum, at Google Books (in Latin).

This page was last modified on 22 June 2010 at 07:03.

--------------------

Stephen of England

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154), was the last Norman King of England. He reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his cousin Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris.

Early life

Stephen was born at Blois in France, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela (daughter of William the Conqueror). His brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne and Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester.

Stephen was sent to be reared at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who shortly after became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was his chief supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

[edit]Reign

[edit]King of England

There were three principal contenders for the succession of Henry I and one 'fancied outsider'. The least popular of these being Empress Matilda, not only because she was a woman, but also because her husband Geoffrey Count of Anjou was an enemy of the Normans. The other contenders were two men of royal birth, Robert, Earl of Gloucester and Stephen himself. The 'outsider' was the elder brother of Stephen, Theobald, Count of Blois. However, Theobald did not want the kingdom, at least not badly enough to contend for it.[1] Before the death of King Henry I of England in 1135, the majority of the barons of England swore to support Henry's daughter Empress Matilda, (granddaughter of William the Conqueror), and her claim to the throne. However, upon the King's death, Stephen—also a grandchild of The Conqueror—laid claim to the throne, stating that Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II and the first few years of his reign were peaceful.

[edit]The Anarchy: War with Matilda

Main article: The Anarchy

By 1139 Stephen had lost much support and the country sank into a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. Stephen faced the forces of Empress Matilda at several locations throughout the Kingdom including the Battle of Beverston Castle and the Battle of Lincoln. Bad omens haunted him before the Battle of Lincoln where Stephen was facing the powerful Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (the Empress' illegitimate half-brother) and Ranulph, the Earl of Chester. According to chroniclers Stephen fought bravely in the battle but was captured by a knight named William de Cahaignes (a relative of Ranulph, ancestor of the Keynes family). Stephen was defeated and he was brought before his cousin, the Empress Matilda. He was imprisoned at Bristol.

Stephen's wife rallied support amongst the people from London and the barons. The Empress Matilda was, in turn, forced out of London. With the capture of her most able lieutenant, the Earl of Gloucester, she was eventually obliged to release Stephen from captivity, and he was restored to the throne in November of the same year.

In December 1142, the Empress was besieged at Oxford, but she managed to escape, dressed in white, across the snow to Wallingford Castle, held by her supporter Brien FitzCount.

In 1147, Empress Matilda's adolescent son, Henry (the eventual King Henry II), decided to assist in the war effort by raising a small army of mercenaries and invading England. Rumours of this army's size terrified Stephen's retainers, although in truth the force was very small. Having been defeated twice in battle, and with no money to pay his mercenaries, the young Henry appealed to his uncle Robert for aid but was turned away. Desperately, and in secret, the boy then asked Stephen for help. According to the Gesta Stephani, "On receiving the message, the king...hearkened to the young man..." and bestowed upon him money and other support.

[edit]Reconciliation and death

Stephen maintained his precarious hold on the throne for the remainder of his lifetime. However, after a military standoff at Wallingford with Henry, and following the death of his son and heir, Eustace, in 1153, he was persuaded to reach a compromise with Empress Matilda (known as the Treaty of Wallingford or Winchester), whereby her son would succeed Stephen to the English throne as King Henry II.

Stephen died in Dover, at Dover Priory, and was buried in Faversham Abbey, which he had founded with Countess Matilda in 1147.

Besides Eustace, Stephen and Queen Matilda had two other sons, Baldwin (d. before 1135), and William of Blois (Count of Mortain and Boulogne, and Earl of Surrey or Warenne). They also had two daughters, Matilda and Marie of Boulogne. In addition to these children, Stephen fathered at least three illegitimate children, one of whom, Gervase, became Abbot of Westminster.

An unfavourable thumbnail sketch of Stephen is given by Walter Map (who wrote during the reign of Matilda's son Henry II): "A man of a certain age, remarkably hard-working but otherwise a nonentity [idiota] or perhaps rather inclined to evil."[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the Peterborough Chronicle, second continuation) provides a more favourable picture of Stephen, but depicts a turbulent reign:-

"In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept".

The monastic author said, of The Anarchy, "this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."

English Royal descendents

Through his granddaughter Maud of Boulogne, who married Henry I of Brabant, Stephen is the ancestor of some English royals. Through a marriage of Louis d'Évreux, a descendent of the Brabant line, to the Queen of Navarre, Stephen is an ancestor of some monarchs of France and Navarre, including Marguerite of France, second wife of King Edward I of England; however, Edward's heir was already born to a previous wife. Edward and Marguerite's descendents include Joan of Kent, first Princess of Wales and mother of King Richard II of England; Richard was also descended from Stephen through his parternal grandmother, Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III. Since all later English monarchs are direct descendents of Edward III and Philippa, all kings and queens of England[3] since 1377 could claim King Stephen as an ancestor.

The Navarrese monarchs also became Kings of France when Henri III of Navarre became King Henry IV of France.

This is the descent of the English royal line from Stephen:

Stephen

Marie of Boulogne

Maud of Boulogne

Matilde of Brabant

Adelaide of Holland

John II, Count of Holland

William I, Count of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault, married King Edward III of England

The monarchs of Navarre also became Kings of France when Henri III of Navarre became King Henry IV of France, so all Bourbon Kings of France and subsequent pretenders to the defunct throne from 1589 are descended from Stephen too.

Stephen de Blois, King of England1

M, #102039, b. circa 1096, d. 25 October 1154

    Stephen de Blois, King of England was born circa 1096 at Blois, Berri, France.3,4 He was the son of Stephen II Henry, Comte de Blois and Adela de Normandie. He married Matilda, Comtesse de Boulogne, daughter of Eustace III, Comte de Boulogne and Mary of Scots, before 1125 at Westminster, London, England.5 He died on 25 October 1154 at Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, England, from a heart attack.6 He was buried at Faversham Abbey, Faversham, Kent, England.6
    Stephen de Blois, King of England gained the title of Count of Mortain before 1115.4 He succeeded to the title of 11th Duc de Normandie in 1135.7 He succeeded to the title of King Stephen of England on 1 December 1135.4 He was crowned King of England on 26 December 1135 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England, and styled 'Rex Aglorum Dux Normannorum.8' He was deposed as King of England on 10 April 1141.5 He succeeded to the title of King Stephen of England on 1 November 1141.5 He was crowned King of England on 25 December 1141 at Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.5 
    The rightful heiress to the crown of England was Henry I's daughter Matilda but at the time of Henry's death she was with her husband in Anjou and Stephen was the first to reach London and successfully claim the throne. Matilda or Maud, as she was also known, disputed Stephen's claim. Matilda's illegitimate half brother the 1st Earl of Gloucester rebelled, and civil war broke out in 1139 when Matilda invaded. In April 1141 hostile troops seized Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln but in November exchanged him for Gloucester who had been imprisoned by Stephen's supporters. Stephen then regained much lost power and in 1148 Matilda left England. Upon Maud's death, her son Henry Fitz-Empress continued the challenge. While the dispute continued, Henry married the divorced wife of the French King. This gave him great power as his wife was, in her own right, a reigning Princess. Stephen had married Matilda of Boulogne and hoped that their son Eustace would succeed him, however Eustace died and in 1153 at Winchester, Stephen reluctantly declared Henry Fitz-Empress as his heir. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.9
    

Children of Stephen de Blois, King of England

William (?)6

Sybilla (?)6 d. c 1141

Children of Stephen de Blois, King of England and Dameta de Normandie

Almaric (?)6

Ralph (?)6

Gervaise of Westminster8 b. bt 1115 - 1120, d. 1160

Children of Stephen de Blois, King of England and Matilda, Comtesse de Boulogne

Baldwin de Boulogne b. c 1126, d. b 2 Dec 1135

Eustace IV, Comte de Boulogne b. bt 1127 - 1135, d. 16 Aug 1153

William of Boulogne de Blois, 4th Earl of Surrey b. bt 1132 - 1137, d. 11 Oct 1159

Matilda de Blois10 b. c 1133, d. bt 1137 - 1141

Marie de Boulogne, Comtesse de Boulogne+ b. c 1136, d. 1182

Citations

[S16] Jirí Louda and Michael MacLagan, Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, 2nd edition (London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), table 2. Hereinafter cited as Lines of Succession.

[S130] Wikipedia, online http;//www.wikipedia.org. Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.

[S4] C.F.J. Hankinson, editor, DeBretts Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, 147th year (London, U.K.: Odhams Press, 1949), page 20 says 1104. Hereinafter cited as DeBretts Peerage, 1949.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 51. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family, page 52.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family, page 54.

[S38] John Morby, Dynasties of the World: a chronological and genealogical handbook (Oxford, Oxfordshire, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1989), page 86. Hereinafter cited as Dynasties of the World.

[S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.

[S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995). Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.

[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 836. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

--------------------

Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, (c. 1096 – 25 October, 1154), was the last Norman King of England and a grandson of William the Conqueror. He reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his rival's son Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris.

Stephen was born at Blois in France, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of England, (daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders). One of ten children, his surviving brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, and William of Sully. He also had four sisters, including Eléonore of Blois who married Raoul I of Vermandois and had a son, Hugh II of Vermandois.

Stephen was sent to be reared at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who shortly after became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

--------------------

Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his rival Matilda of England's son Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris. Beginning in 1139, Stephen's realm was beset by civil strife and general chaos, known in history as The Anarchy.

Stephen was sent to be raised at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128.

Before his death in 1135, King Henry I named his daughter Matilda his heir and made the barons of England swear allegiance to her. Stephen was the first baron to do so. However, upon King Henry's death, Stephen claimed the throne, saying Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II and the first few years of his reign were peaceful, notwithstanding insurgences by the Welsh, King David of Scotland, and Baldwin de Redvers.

By 1139, Stephen had lost a lot of support and the country sank into a civil war, commonly called The Anarchy. Stephen faced the forces of Empress Matilda at several locations including the Battle of Beverston Castle and the Battle of Lincoln. Bad omens haunted him before the Battle of Lincoln where Stephen faced the powerful Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (the Empress' illegitimate half-brother) and Ranulph, Earl of Chester. According to chroniclers, Stephen fought bravely but was captured by a knight named William de Cahaignes (a relative of Ranulph, ancestor of the Keynes family). Stephen was defeated and brought before his cousin, the Empress Matilda. He was imprisoned at Bristol.

Stephen's wife rallied support amongst the people from London and the barons. The Empress Matilda was, in turn, forced out of London. With the capture of her most able lieutenant, her half-brother the Earl of Gloucester, she was obliged to trade Stephen for him, and Stephen was restored to the throne in November the same year.

In December 1142, the Empress was besieged at Oxford, but managed to escape, dressed in white, across the snow to Wallingford Castle, held by her supporter Brien FitzCount.

In 1147, Empress Matilda's teenage son, Henry (the eventual King Henry II), decided to assist in the war effort by raising a small army of mercenaries and invading England. Rumours of this army's size terrified Stephen's retainers, although in truth the force was very small. Having been defeated twice in battle, and with no money to pay his mercenaries, young Henry appealed to his uncle Robert for aid but was turned away. Desperately, and in secret, the boy asked Stephen for help. According to the Gesta Stephani, "On receiving the message, the king...hearkened to the young man..." and bestowed upon him money and other support.

Stephen maintained his precarious hold on the throne for the remainder of his lifetime. However, after a military standoff at Wallingford with Henry, and following the death of his son and heir, Eustace, in 1153, he was persuaded to reach a compromise with Empress Matilda (known as the Treaty of Wallingford or Winchester), whereby her son would succeed Stephen to the English throne as King Henry II.

An unfavourable thumbnail sketch of Stephen is given by Walter Map (who wrote during the reign of Matilda's son Henry II): "A man of a certain age, remarkably hard-working but otherwise a nonentity [idiota] or perhaps rather inclined to evil."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the Peterborough Chronicle, second continuation) provides a more favourable picture of Stephen, but depicts a turbulent reign: "In the days of this King there was nothing but strife, evil, and robbery, for quickly the great men who were traitors rose against him. When the traitors saw that Stephen was a good-humoured, kindly, and easy-going man who inflicted no punishment, then they committed all manner of horrible crimes . . . And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, till the land was all undone and darkened with such deeds, and men said openly that Christ and his angels slept".

The monastic author said, of The Anarchy, "this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_of_England for more information.

--------------------

Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, (c. 1096 – 25 October, 1154), was the last Norman King of England and a grandson of William the Conqueror. He reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his rival's son Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne jure uxoris.

Stephen was born at Blois in France, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela of England, (daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders). One of ten children, his surviving brothers were Count Theobald II of Champagne, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, and William of Sully. He also had four sisters, including Eléonore of Blois who married Raoul I of Vermandois and had a son, Hugh II of Vermandois.

Stephen was sent to be reared at the English court of his uncle, King Henry I, in 1106. He became Count of Mortain in about 1115, and married Matilda, daughter of the Count of Boulogne, in about 1125, who shortly after became Countess of Boulogne. Their marriage was a happy one and his wife was an important supporter during the struggle for the English crown. Stephen became joint ruler of Boulogne in 1128. -------------------- Born: 1096 Birthplace: Blois, France Died: 25-Oct-1154 Location of death: Dover, England Cause of death: unspecified Remains: Buried, Faversham Abbey

Gender: Male Religion: Roman Catholic Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Straight Occupation: Royalty

Nationality: England Executive summary: King of England, 1135-54

Stephen, king of England, was the third son of Stephen Henry, count of Blois and Chartres, and, through his mother Adela, a grandson of William the Conqueror. Born some time before 1101, he was still a boy when he was taken into favor by his uncle, King Henry I of England. From Henry le received the honor of knighthood and the county of Mortain. In 1118 he severed his connection with Blois and Chartres, renouncing his hereditary claims in favor of his elder brother Theobald. But he acquired the county of Boulogne by marrying Matilda (c. 1103-1152), the heiress of Count Eustace III and a niece of Henry's first wife. The old king arranged this match after the untimely loss of his son, William Atheling, in the tragedy of the White Ship; until 1125 Stephen was regarded as the probable heir to the English throne. But the return of the widowed empress Matilda to her father's court changed the situation. Henry compelled Stephen and the rest of his barons to acknowledge the empress as their future ruler (1126). Seven years later these oaths were renewed; and in addition the ultimate claims of Matilda's infant son, Henry of Anjou, were recognized (1133).

The death of Henry I found the empress absent from England. Stephen seized the opportunity. He hurried across the Channel and began to canvass for supporters, arguing that his oaths to Matilda were taken under coercion, and that she, as the daughter of a professed nun, was illegitimate. He was raised to the throne by the Londoners, the official baronage and the clergy; his most influential supporters were the old justiciar, Robert, bishop of Salisbury, and his own brother Henry, bishop of Winchester. Pope Innocent II was induced by Bishop Henry to ratify the election, and Stephen thus cleared himself from the stain of perjury. Two charters of liberties, issued in rapid succession, confirmed the King's alliance with the Church and earned the goodwill of the nation. But his supporters traded upon his notorious facility and the unstable nature of his power. Extortionate concessions were demanded by the great barons, and particularly by Earl Robert of Gloucester, the half-brother of the empress. The clergy insisted that neither their goods nor their persons should be subject to secular jurisdiction. Stephen endeavored to free himself from the control of such interested supporters by creating a mercenary army and a royalist party. This led at once to a rupture between himself and Earl Robert (1138), which was the signal for sporadic rebellions. Soon afterwards the king attacked the bishops of Salisbury, Ely and Lincoln -- a powerful family clique who stood at the head of the official baronage -- and, not content with seizing their castles, subjected them to personal outrage and detention. The result was that the clergy, headed by his brother, the bishop of Winchester, declared against him (1139). In the midst of these difficulties he had left the western marches at the mercy of the Welsh, and the defense of the northern shires against David I of Scotland had devolved upon the barons of Yorkshire.

Stephen was thoroughly discredited when the empress at length appeared in England (September 30, 1139). Through a misplaced sense of chivalry he declined to take an opportunity of seizing her person. She was therefore able to join her half-brother at Gloucester, to obtain recognition in the western and southwestern shires, and to contest the royal title for eight years. Stephen's initial errors were aggravated by bad generalship. He showed remarkable energy in hurrying from one center of rebellion to another; but he never ventured to attack the headquarters of the empress. In 1141 he was surprised and captured while besieging Lincoln Castle. The empress in consequence reigned for six months as "Lady (Domina) of the English"; save for her faults of temper the cause of Stephen would never have been retrieved. But, later in the year, his supporters were able to procure his release in exchange for the Earl of Gloucester. After an obstinate siege he expelled Matilda from Oxford (December 1142) and compelled her to fall back upon the west. The next five years witnessed anarchy such as England had never before experienced. England north of the Ribble and the Tyne had passed into the hands of David of Scotland and his son, Prince Henry; Ranulf Earl of Chester was constructing an independent principality; on the west the raids of the Angevin party, in the east and midlands the excesses of such rebels as Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, turned considerable districts into wildernesses. Meanwhile Geoffrey of Anjou, the husband of the empress, completed the conquest of Normandy (1144). In 1147 the situation improved for Stephen; Robert of Gloucester, the ablest of the Angevin partisans, died, and the empress left England in despair. But her son soon appeared in England to renew the struggle (1140) and conciliate new supporters. Soon after his return to Normandy Henry was invested by his father with the duchy (1150). He succeeded to Anjou in 1151; next year he acquired the duchy of Aquitaine by marriage. Stephen struggled hard to secure the succession for Eustace, his elder son. But he had quarrelled with Rome respecting a vacancy in the see of York; the pope forbade the English bishops to consecrate Eustace (1151); and there was a general unwillingness to prolong the civil war. Worn out by incessant conflicts, the king bowed to the inevitable when Henry next appeared in England (1153). Negotiations were opened; and Stephen's last hesitations disappeared when Eustace was carried off by a sudden illness. Late in 1153 the king acknowledged Henry as his heir, only stipulating that the earldom of Surrey and his private estates should be guaranteed to his surviving son, William. The king and the duke agreed to cooperate for the repression of anarchy; but Stephen died before this work was more than begun (October 1154).

On his great seal Stephen is represented as tall and robust, bearded, and of an open countenance. He was frank and generous; his occasional acts of duplicity were planned reluctantly and never carried to their logical conclusion. High spirited and proud of his dignity, he lived to repent, without being able to undo, the ruinous concessions by which he had conciliated supporters. In warfare he showed courage, but little generalship; as a statesman he failed in his dealings with the Church, which he alternately humored and thwarted. He was a generous patron of religious foundations; and some pleasing anecdotes suggest that his personal character deserves more commendation than his record as a king.

Father: Stephen, Count of Blois Mother: Adela of Normandy Wife: Matilda (m. c. 1125) Son: Eustace IV (d. Aug-1153) Son: Baldwin Son: William of Blois Daughter: Matilda Daughter: Mary Son: Gervase (illegitimate)

view all 50

Stephen de Blois, King of England's Timeline

1097
1097
Blois, Centre, France
1112
1112
- 1135
Age 15
1115
1115
Age 18
Blois, Loir-et-Cher, Orleanais/Centre, France
1117
1117
Age 20
1125
1125
Age 28
London, UK
1126
1126
Age 29
of, Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France
1129
1129
Age 32
Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France
1133
1133
Age 36
Blois (Loir Et Cher) France
1134
1134
Age 37
Blois,Loir-Et-Cher,France
1135
December 22, 1135
- December 25, 1153
Age 38