William II "Rufus", King of England

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William Rufus de Normandie (of England)

Also Known As: "Rufus", "Rufus The Red", "King of England 1087-1100", "William II Of /England/", "William /Rufus/", "King of England", "/Rufus/", "William is commonly known as 'William Rufus'", "perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.", "King William II of England", "William Rufus"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Normandy, Plouigneau, Bretagne, France
Death: Died in New Forest, Hampshire, England
Place of Burial: Winchester Cathedral, London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William the Conqueror, King of England and Matilda of Flanders, Queen Consort of England
Partner of ? mother of Berstrand fitzRoy, Aethelburh and Aethelheard Concubine of William II
Father of Bertrannus Berstand; Aethelburh and Aethelheard
Brother of Robert Courteheuse, Duc de Normandie; Adelaide Adelizia de Normandie, Princess of England; Cecilia, Abbess of Holy Trinity; Constance, Duchess of Brittany; Adela 'Alice' de Normandie, comtesse de Blois and 5 others

Occupation: King of England 1087-1100, ruthless mean King, King WIlliam II of Normandy, King of England, King of England (Sep. 9, 1087 - Aug. 2, 1100), AKA "William Rufus", Kung av England
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About William II "Rufus", King of England

William 'Rufus' II of England

Never married

No children

NOTE

Do NOT mix with William Peverell who was NOT related to William Conqueror.

LINKS

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

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I "the Conqueror" of England,[1] was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as William Rufus, perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.[2]

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and, it seems, was little liked by those he governed: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was 'hated by almost all his people.'[3] However, chroniclers tended to take a dim view of William's reign, arguably on account of his long and difficult struggles with the Church: these chroniclers were themselves generally products of the Church, and so might be expected to report him somewhat negatively. Thus William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for presiding over what was held to be a dissolute court, in terms which, in modern times, have raised questions over his sexuality.[4] According to Norman tradition, William scorned the English and their culture.[5]

William seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise. His chief minister was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099: this was a political appointment, to a see that was also a great fiefdom.[6]

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Durham er en liten by i grevskapet Durham i Nordøst-England. Den ligger omkring 25 km sør for Newcastle. Elven Wear renner gjennom byen, og omkranser den på tre sider slik at Durham nærmest ligger på en halvøy. Durham er sentrum i distriktet City of Durham, som omfatter byen med omegn, med et folketall på ca. 87 600 (2004). Den er også administrasjonsby i grevskapet Durham.

I middelalderen var Durham et viktig politisk og religiøst sentrum, ikke minst på grunn av den strategiske beliggenheten nær grensen til Skottland. Grevskapet var et palatinat, styrt av biskopen av Durham som hadde verdslig makt og betydelig autonomi. Det ble slått egen mynt, og Durham hadde en egen hær. Med unntak av den første av normannernes biskoper, Walcher av Durham, var alle biskopene av Durham fra 1071 til 1836 fyrstebiskoper. Walcher hadde tittelen jarlebiskop.

Durham i 1610Durhamkatedralen ble bygget fra 1093, og regnes av mange som Englands fineste katedral. Den ligger på et høydedrag over elven, og dominerer byen. Relikviene av St Cuthbert er bevart her.

University College, Durham har flere kollegier i selve byen og på Elvet Hill på den andre siden av elven. Durham slott, på den andre siden av Palace Green fra katedralen, har siden 1837 vært en del av universitetet. Katedralen og slottet er sammen plassert på UNESCOs liste over verdens kulturarv.

I byen er Gertrude Bell født, hun var en drivende kraft bak det arabiske opprøret under første verdenskrig og ved fredsslutningen var hun med og trakk opp grensene som definerer dagens Irak.

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William II (c. 1056 — 2 August 1100), the second surviving son of William I the Conqueror[1], was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending his control in Wales . William was commonly called "Rufus", perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and was little liked by those he governed; according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was "hated by almost all his people." The chroniclers of his time took a dim view of Rufus because many literate men of the day were men of the Church, against which Rufus fought hard and long; and in Norman tradition, William Rufus scorned the Anglo-Saxons and their culture. (Cantor 1993, p 280)

William himself seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He never married or had illegitimate children; William's favourite was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099, an appointment based on political requirements, for a see that was at the same time a great feudal fief. William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for his sodomitical ways.[2]

Contents

[hide]

   * 1 Early years
   * 2 Appearance
   * 3 England and France
   * 4 Power struggles
   * 5 The Court of William II
   * 6 The unusual death of William II
   * 7 The Rufus Stone
   * 8 Fictional treatments
   * 9 See also
   * 10 References

[edit] Early years

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc and seemingly destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son put him in the line of succession. His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between him and his eldest brother — though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by their youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent; Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at Laigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water on their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William was forced to intercede and restore order.

[edit] Appearance

English Royalty

House of Normandy

William I

  Robert III Curthose, Duke of Normandy
  William II Rufus
  Adela, Countess of Blois
  Henry I Beauclerc

William II

According to William of Malmesbury, William Rufus was "thickset and muscular with a protruding belly; a dandy dressed in the height of fashion, however outrageous, he wore his blond hair long, parted in the centre and off the face so that his forehead was bare; and in his red, choleric face were eyes of changeable colour, speckled with flecks of light" (Barlow).

[edit] England and France

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other (or both of them). The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror. Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, and William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1090 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.

Thus William Rufus was secure in the most powerful kingdom in Europe (with the contemporary eclipse of the Salian Emperors) and, within England, the least trammelled by feudal obligations. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition was unquestioned within the kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power through an effective and loyal chancery penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France. Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the King's administration and the King's law unified the kingdom, rendering the English King relatively impervious to papal condemnation, as the reign of William Rufus demonstrated.

[edit] Power struggles

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement whose details are reflected in Domesday Book (1086), a survey that could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time and a signal of the control of the monarchy; but he did not inherit William's charisma or political skills. Within a few years he lost William's advisor and confidante, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1089.

Much of William's reign was spent feuding with the church; after the death of Archbishop Lanfranc, he delayed appointing a new archbishop while he appropriated ecclesiastical revenues in the interim, which was protracted, and for this he was much criticised. Finally, in a time of panic during William's serious illness in 1093, another Norman-Italian, Anselm of Bec - considered the greatest theologian of his generation - was named as archbishop, and this led to a long period of animosity between church and state. Anselm was a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc had been. William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastical issues, and the English clergy, beholden to the king for their preferments and livings, were unable to support Anselm publicly. William called a council at Rockingham in 1095 to bring Anselm to heel, but the churchman appealed to Rome. In October 1097, Anselm went into exile, taking his case to the Pope. The new pope was the diplomatic and flexible Urban II who was not in a position to make further royal enemies. The Emperor of Germany supported an antipope, and Urban came to a concordat with William Rufus: William recognized Urban as pope, and Urban gave sanction to the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical status quo. William was able to claim the revenues of the archbishopric of Canterbury as long as Anselm remained in exile, and Anselm remained in exile until the reign of William's successor, Henry I.

William Rufus was less capable than his father at channelling the Norman lords' propensity for indiscipline and violence. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, would not come to William's Curia Regis the thrice-annual court where decisions were made and delivered to the great lords, and William subsequently led an army against him and defeated him; the earl was dispossessed and imprisoned. Another noble, William of Eu, was also accused of treachery and blinded and castrated. That same year, William II also made an unsuccessful foray into Wales. He tried again in 1097 with an equal lack of success. He returned to Normandy in 1097 and from then until 1099 campaigned in France, securing and holding northern Maine, but failing to seize the French-controlled part of the Vexin region. At the time of his death, he was planning to occupy Aquitaine in south-western France.

William also quarrelled with the Scottish king, Malcolm III, forcing him to pay homage in 1091, and seizing the border city of Carlisle and Cumbria in 1092. At the Battle of Alnwick, 13 November 1093 Malcolm and his son Edward were slain and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan, who held power for a short time, and then Edgar, who conquered Lothian in 1094 and finally removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

In 1096, William's brother Robert Curthose joined the First Crusade. He needed money to fund this venture, and pledged his duchy to William in return for a payment of 10,000 marks — a sum equalling about one-fourth of William's annual revenue. In a display of the effectiveness of Norman taxation inaugurated by the Conqueror, William raised the money by levying a special, heavy, and much-resented tax upon the whole of England. William then ruled Normandy as regent in Robert's absence—Robert did not return until September 1100, one month after William's death.

[edit] The Court of William II

William Rufus had a notorious disregard for the church; his most passionate detractors are found among clergymen. Eadmer relates two incidents in which William Rufus either convinced converted Jews to return to Judaism, or attempted to do so. During his quarrels with Anselm of Canterbury, the king declared that "he hated him much yesterday, that he hated him much today, and that he would hate him more and more tomorrow and every other day."

William of Malmesbury decries William Rufus' court, which he describes as being filled by "effeminate" young men in extravagant clothes mincing about in "shoes with curved points". Orderic Vitalis makes mention of the "fornicators and sodomites" who held favour during William Rufus' reign, and remarks approvingly that when Henry became king, one of his first acts was to have his courtiers shorn of their long hair.

[edit] The unusual death of William II

Death of William Rufus. Lithograph, 1895

Death of William Rufus. Lithograph, 1895

Perhaps the most memorable event in the life of William Rufus was his death, which occurred while William was hunting in the New Forest. He was killed by an arrow through the heart, but the circumstances remain unclear.

On a bright August day in 1100, William organised a hunting trip in the New Forest. An account by Orderic Vitalis described the preparations for the hunt:

   ...an armourer came in and presented to him (Rufus) six arrows. The King immediately took them with great satisfaction, praising the work, and unconscious of what was to happen, kept four of them himself and held out the other two to Walter Tyrrel... saying It is only right that the sharpest be given to the man who knows how to shoot the deadliest shots.

On the subsequent hunt, the party spread out as they chased their prey, and William, in the company of Walter Tirel (or Tyrell), Lord of Poix, became separated from the others. It was the last time that William was seen alive.

William was found the next day by a group of local peasants, lying dead in the woods with an arrow piercing his lungs. William's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell, because the law and order of the kingdom died with the king, and they had to flee to their English or Norman estates to secure their interests. Legend has it that it was left to a local charcoal-burner named Purkis to take the king's body to Winchester Cathedral on his cart.

According to the chroniclers, William's death was not murder. Walter and William had been hunting together when Walter let loose a wild shot that, instead of hitting the stag he aimed for, struck William in the chest. Walter tried to help him, but there was nothing he could do. Fearing that he would be charged with murder, Walter panicked, leapt onto his horse, and fled. A version of this tale is given by William of Malmesbury in his Chronicle of the Kings of the English (c. 1128):

   The day before the king died he dreamt that he went to heaven. He suddenly awoke. He commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him. The next day he went into the forest... He was attended by a few persons... Walter Tirel remained with him, while the others, were on the chase. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly an arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him... The stag was still running... The king, followed it a long time with his eyes, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun's rays. At this instant Walter decided to kill another stag. Oh, gracious God! the arrow pierced the king's breast.
   On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word; but breaking off the shaft of the arrow where it projected from his body... This accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless, he leapt upon his horse, and escaped with the utmost speed. Indeed there were none to pursue him: some helped his flight; others felt sorry for him.
   The king's body was placed on a cart and conveyed to the cathedral at Winchester... blood dripped from the body all the way. Here he was buried within the tower. The next year, the tower fell down. William Rufus died in 1100... aged forty years. He was a man much pitied by the clergy... he had a soul which they could not save... He was loved by his soldiers but hated by the people because he caused them to be plundered.

To some chroniclers, such an 'Act of God' was a just end for a wicked king. However, over the centuries, the obvious suggestion that one of William's many enemies may have had a hand in this extraordinary event has been repeatedly made. Even chroniclers of the time point out that Walter was renowned as a keen bowman, and unlikely to fire such an impetuous shot. And William's brother Henry, who was among the hunting party that day, benefited directly from William's death, as he was shortly thereafter crowned king.

Abbot Suger, another chronicler, was Tirel's friend and sheltered him in his French exile. He said later:

   It was laid to the charge of a certain noble, Walter Tirel, that he had shot the king with an arrow; but I have often heard him, when he had nothing to fear nor to hope, solemnly swear that on the day in question he was not in the part of the forest where the king was hunting, nor ever saw him in the forest at all.

[edit] The Rufus Stone

A stone known as the Rufus Stone marks the spot where some believe he fell. grid reference SU270124

The inscription on the Rufus Stone reads:

   Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis, and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city.

The current monument is made of cast iron and was erected in 1865.

The Rufus Stone

The Rufus Stone (side 1)

The Rufus Stone (side 2)

The Rufus Stone (side 3)

Others believe that the true spot is within the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

[edit] Fictional treatments

William Rufus is a major character in Valerie Anand's historical novel, King of the Wood (1989).

He is also a major character in Parke Godwin's Robin and the King (1993), the second volume in Godwin's reinterpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

William II is indirectly the subject of two historical novels by George Shipway, called The Paladin and The Wolf Time. The main character of the novels is Walter Tirel (or Tyrell) the supposed assassin of King William, and the main thrust of the plot of the novels is that the assassination was engineered by Henry.

The death of William Rufus is portrayed in Edward Rutherfurd's fictionalised history of the New Forest, called The Forest (2001). In Rutherfurd's version of events, the King's death takes place nowhere near the Rufus Stone, and Walter Tyrrell is framed for it by the powerful Clare family. Also, Purkiss is a clever story teller who manages (much later) to convince Charles II that one of his ancestors had been involved.

Flambard's Confession (1984) by Marilyn Durham purports to tell the story of William Rufus' reign through the eyes of his right-hand man, Ranulf Flambard.

[edit] See also

   * Orderic Vitalis
   * William of Malmesbury
   * Eadmer

[edit] References

  1. ^ http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/MEDwilliamII.htm
  2. ^ H. Montgomery Hyde, in The Love That Dared not Speak its Name; quotes contemporary sources Ordericus Vitalis, William of Malmesbury, and Serlo, Bishop of Bayeux and Abbot of Gloucester, as well as Edward Freeman, professor of History at Oxford towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign. pp.33-35
   * Barlow, Frank. William Rufus. Berkeley, CA : University of California, 1983. ISBN 0-300-08291-6
   * Cantor, Norman F. The Civilization of the Middle Ages pp 280–84. ISBN 0-06-092553-1
   * Douglas, David C. William the Conqueror; the Norman impact upon England. Berkeley, CA : University of California, 1964. ISBN 0-520-00350-0
   * Hollister, C. Warren. "The Strange Death of William Rufus." Speculum, 48.4 (1973): 637-653.
   * Mason, Emma. "William Rufus: myth and reality." Journal of Medieval History, 3.1 (1977): 1-20.
   * Warren, W. L. "The Death of William Rufus." History Today, 9 (1959)

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House of Normandy

Born: 1056

Died: 1100, 2 August

Preceded by

William I King of England

1087 – 1100 Succeeded by

Henry I

Direct Ancestry

William II of England William I

King of England Robert II of Normandy

Norman

Herleva of Falaise

Matilda of Flanders Baldwin V of Flanders

Flanders

Adela of France

Capet Major

References

1. Van de Pas, Leo, Genealogics.org (2007).

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

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

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William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I of England (William the Conqueror),[1] was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as 'William Rufus', perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.[2]

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and, it seems, was little liked by those he governed: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was 'hated by almost all his people.'[3] However, chroniclers tended to take a dim view of William's reign, arguably on account of his long and difficult struggles with the Church: these chroniclers were themselves generally products of the Church, and so might be expected to report him somewhat negatively. Thus William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for presiding over what was held to be a dissolute court, in terms which, in modern times, have raised questions over his sexuality.[4] According to Norman tradition, William scorned the English and their culture.[5]

William seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise. His chief minister was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099: this was a political appointment, to a see that was also a great fiefdom

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's Duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc, and seemed destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son, Richard, put William next in line for the English succession.[7] His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between him and his eldest brother, though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by the youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent. Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at L'Aigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water on their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William I was forced to intercede to restore order.[8]

According to William of Malmesbury, William Rufus was 'well set; his complexion florid, his hair yellow; of open countenance; different coloured eyes, varying with certain glittering specks; of astonishing strength, though not very tall, and his belly rather projecting.'[9]

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both.[10] The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror.[11] As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.[12] This plan was later abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099.[13]

English Royalty

House of Normandy

William I

  Robert II Curthose, Duke of Normandy
  Richard, Duke of Bernay
  William II Rufus
  Adela, Countess of Blois
  Henry I Beauclerc

William II

Thus William Rufus was secure in the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition prevailed within his kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency hitherto unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France.[citation needed] Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him relatively impervious to papal condemnation.

Less than two years after becoming king, William II lost his father William I's advisor and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. After Lanfranc's death, the king delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. In panic owing to serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm of Bec – considered the greatest theologian of his generation – but this led to a long period of animosity between Church and State, Anselm being a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc. William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastical issues, in the course of which the king declared to Anselm that Yesterday I hated him with great hatred, today I hate him with yet greater hatred and he can be certain that tomorrow and thereafter I shall hate him continually with ever fiercer and more bitter hatred.[14] The English clergy, beholden to the king for their preferments and livings, were unable to support Anselm publicly. In 1095 William called a council at Rockingham to bring Anselm to heel, but the archbishop remained firm. In October 1097, Anselm went into exile, taking his case to the Pope. The diplomatic and flexible Urban II, a new pope, was involved in a major conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who supported an antipope. Reluctant to make another enemy, Urban came to a concordat with William Rufus, whereby William recognized Urban as pope, and Urban gave sanction to the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical status quo. Anselm remained in exile, and William was able to claim the revenues of the archbishop of Canterbury to the end of his reign.[15]

However, this conflict was symptomatic of medieval English politics, as exemplified by the murder of Thomas Becket during the reign of the later Norman king Henry II of England, and indeed by Henry VIII's actions centuries later, and as such should not be seen as a defect of William II's reign in particular.[16] Of course, contemporary churchmen were themselves not above engaging in such politics: it is reported that, when Archbishop Lanfranc suggested to William I that he imprison the rebellious bishop Odo of Bayeux, he exclaimed 'What! he is a clergyman'. Lanfranc retorted that 'you will not seize the bishop of Bayeux, but confine the earl of Kent': Odo was both bishop of Bayeux, and earl of Kent.[17] Also, while we have the complaints of contemporaries regarding William II's personal behaviour, on the other hand he was instrumental in assisting the foundation of Bermondsey Abbey, endowing it with the manor of Bermondsey; and it is reported that his 'customary oath' was 'By the Face at Lucca!'[18] It seems reasonable to suppose that such details are indicative of William II's personal beliefs.

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement detailed in Domesday Book, a survey undertaken at his father's command, essentially for the purposes of taxation, which could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time, and is a sign of the control of the English monarchy. If he was less effective than his father in containing the Norman lords' propensity for rebellion and violence, through charisma, or political skills, he was forceful in resisting its effects. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, refused to attend the Curia Regis, the thrice-annual court where the King announced his governmental decisions to the great lords. William led an army against Robert and defeated him. Robert was dispossessed and imprisoned, and another noble, William of Eu, accused of treachery, was blinded and castrated.[19]

In external affairs, William had some successes. In 1091 he repulsed an invasion by King Malcolm III of Scotland, forcing Malcolm to pay homage. In 1092 he built a castle at Carlisle, taking control of Cumbria, which had previously been claimed by the Scots.[11] Subsequently, the two kings quarreled over Malcolm's possessions in England, and Malcolm again invaded, ravaging Northumbria. At the Battle of Alnwick, on 13 November 1093, Malcolm was ambushed by Norman forces led by Robert de Mowbray. Malcolm and his son Edward were slain and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan, who held power for a short time, and then another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar. Edgar conquered Lothian in 1094 and eventually removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

William made unsuccessful forays into Wales in 1096 and 1097.[citation needed]

In 1096, William's brother Robert Curthose joined the First Crusade. He needed money to fund this venture, and pledged his Duchy of Normandy to William in return for a payment of 10,000 marks—a sum equalling about one-fourth of William's annual revenue. In a display of the effectiveness of English taxation, William raised the money by levying a special, heavy, and much-resented tax upon the whole of England. William then ruled Normandy as regent in Robert's absence—Robert did not return until September 1100, one month after William's death.

As regent for his brother Robert in Normandy, William campaigned in France from 1097 to 1099. He secured northern Maine but failed to seize the French-controlled part of the Vexin region. At the time of his death, he was planning to invade Aquitaine, in southwestern France.

Death of William Rufus. Lithograph, 1895

Perhaps the most memorable event in the life of William Rufus was his death, which occurred while William was hunting in the New Forest. He was killed by an arrow through the lung, but the circumstances remain unclear.

On a bright August day in 1100, William organised a hunting trip in the New Forest. An account by Orderic Vitalis describes the preparations for the hunt:

   ...an armourer came in and presented to [William] six arrows. The King immediately took them with great satisfaction, praising the work, and unconscious of what was to happen, kept four of them himself and held out the other two to Walter Tyrrel... saying 'It is only right that the sharpest be given to the man who knows how to shoot the deadliest shots.'[20]

On the subsequent hunt, the party spread out as they chased their prey, and William, in the company of Walter Tyrell (or Tirel), Lord of Poix, became separated from the others. It was the last time that William was seen alive.

William was found the next day by a group of local peasants, lying dead in the woods with an arrow wound to his chest. William's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell, because the law and order of the kingdom died with the king, and they had to flee to their English or Norman estates to secure their interests. William's younger brother, Henry, hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasury, then to London, where he was crowned within days, before either archbishop could arrive. Legend has it that it was left to a local charcoal-burner named Purkis to take the king's body to Winchester Cathedral on his cart.[citation needed]

According to the chroniclers, William's death was not murder. Walter and William had been hunting together when Walter let loose a wild shot that, instead of hitting the stag he aimed for, struck William in the chest. Walter tried to help him, but there was nothing he could do. Fearing that he would be charged with murder, Walter panicked, leapt onto his horse, and fled. A version of this tale is given by William of Malmesbury:

   The day before the king died he dreamed that he was let blood by a surgeon, and that the stream, reaching to heaven, clouded the light and intercepted the day. ...he suddenly awoke, commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him... After dinner he went into the forest, attended by few persons... [Walter Tirel] alone had remained with him, while the others, employed in the chase, were dispersed as chance directed. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly an arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him; and, keenly gazing, followed it, still running, a long time with his eyes, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun's rays. At this instant Walter [attempted] to transfix another stag... [but] unknowingly, and without power to prevent it, O gracious God! pierced [the king's] breast with a fatal arrow.
   On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word; but breaking off the shaft of the weapon where it projected from his body, and then falling upon the wound, he accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless and speechless he leaped swiftly upon his horse, and escaped by spurring him to his utmost speed. Indeed there was none to pursue him, some conniving at his flight, others pitying him, and all intent on other matters. Some began to fortify their dwellings, others to plunder, and the rest to look out for a new king.
   A few countrymen conveyed the body, placed on a cart, to the cathedral at Winchester, the blood dripping from it all the way. Here it was committed to the ground within the tower, attended by many of the nobility... Next year the tower fell... [William Rufus] died in [1100]... aged above forty years... He was a man much to be pitied by the clergy, for throwing away the soul they laboured to save; to be beloved by stipendiary soldiers for the multitude of his gifts; but not to be lamented by the people, because he suffered their substance to be plundered.[21]

To the chroniclers - men of the Church - such an 'act of God' was a just end for a wicked king. Over the following centuries, the obvious suggestion that one of William's enemies may have had a hand in this extraordinary event has repeatedly been made: chroniclers of the time point out themselves that Walter was renowned as a keen bowman, and thus was unlikely to have fired such an impetuous shot.[citation needed] Moreover, William's brother Henry, who was among the hunting party that day, benefited directly from William's death, shortly thereafter being crowned king.

Abbot Suger, another chronicler, was Tirel's friend and sheltered him in his French exile. He said later:

   It was laid to the charge of a certain noble, Walter Tirel, that he had shot the king with an arrow; but I have often heard him, when he had nothing to fear nor to hope, solemnly swear that on the day in question he was not in the part of the forest where the king was hunting, nor ever saw him in the forest at all.[22]

William's remains are in Winchester Cathedral, scattered among royal mortuary chests positioned on the presbytery screen, flanking the choir.[citation needed]

A stone known as the Rufus Stone marks the spot where some believe he fell. grid reference SU270124

The inscription on the Rufus Stone reads:

   Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis, and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city.

The current monument is made of cast iron and was erected in 1865.

Major sources for William Rufus include Orderic Vitalis, William of Malmesbury, and Eadmer. Studies by Frank Barlow and Emma Mason have replaced the judgmental Victorian account of Freeman, E.A., The Reign of William Rufus and the Accession of Henry the First (2 vols.), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1882, in which the king is said to have combined 'the habits of the ancient Greek and modern Turk' with unseemly irreligion, and which portrays his realm anachronistically as a precursor of the United Kingdom.

William Rufus is a major character in Valerie Anand's historical novel, King of the Wood (1989).

He is also a major character in Parke Godwin's Robin and the King (1993), the second volume in Godwin's reinterpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

William II is indirectly the subject of two historical novels by George Shipway, called The Paladin and The Wolf Time. The main character of the novels is Walter Tirel (or Tyrell) the supposed assassin of King William, and the main thrust of the plot of the novels is that the assassination was engineered by Henry.

The death of William Rufus is portrayed in Edward Rutherfurd's fictionalised history of the New Forest, called The Forest (novel) (2000). In Rutherfurd's version of events, the King's death takes place nowhere near the Rufus Stone, and Walter Tyrrell is framed for it by the powerful Clare family. Also, Purkiss is a clever story teller who manages (much later) to convince Charles II that one of his ancestors had been involved.

Flambard's Confession (1984) by Marilyn Durham purports to tell the story of William Rufus' reign through the eyes of his right-hand man, Ranulf Flambard.

William Rufus and his relationship with Tyrell is mentioned and the manner of his death is included in Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris.

William Rufus is a character in Stephen R. Lawhead's King Raven Trilogy about Robin Hood.

On television, William was portrayed by Peter Firth in the 1990 play Blood Royal: William the Conqueror.

[edit] Ancestors

Ancestors of William II of England[show]

  1. ^ William II
  2. ^ Barlow, F., William Rufus, Univ. of California Press, 1983, pp. 11-2, "there is little to suggest that William junior was generally and habitually called Rufus in his own lifetime or during the next reign."
  3. ^ See e.g. Garmonsway, G.N., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Dent, Dutton, 1972 & 1975, p. 235: this is the manuscript 'E', 'Laud', or 'Peterborough' version of the Chronicle.
  4. ^ For more on this see e.g. William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History of the Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, pp. 66-7; Barlow, F., William Rufus, Univ. of California Press, 1983; Mason, E., William II: Rufus, the Red King, Tempus 2005; and Montgomery Hyde, H., The Love That Dared not Speak its Name, Little, Brown, 1970, pp.33-35 and quotations from Orderic Vitalis, William of Malmesbury, and Serlo, Bishop of Bayeux and Abbot of Gloucester. Eadmer, who was familiar with the court, and displays a deep dislike of William II, nonetheless makes no specific comment regarding the king's sexuality: see Bosanquet, G. (tr.), Eadmer's History of Recent Events in England, Cresset, 1964, especially pp. ix-x, 49-50.
  5. ^ Cantor, N. F., The Civilization of the Middle Ages, Harper Collins, 1993, pp. 280–84.
  6. ^ For this see William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History of the Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, p. 66, and ibid., n. 1. This passage is a good example of the chroniclers' special dislike of William II and his policies, and the appointment should be seen in light of the king's experience with Ranulf's predecessor, William of St. Carileph, for which see William of Malmesbury, ibid., pp. 60-2.
  7. ^ William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History of the Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, pp. 43, 46.
  8. ^ Chibnall, M. (ed. & tr.), The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, Oxford Medieval Texts, 1968-1980, ii, pp. 356 ff. See also Barlow, F., William Rufus, Univ. of California Press, 1983, pp. 33-4. Barlow suggests that William and Henry probably urinated over Robert. In the context of the 11th century Norman court, it is tempting merely to observe that 'boys will be boys.'
  9. ^ William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History Of The Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, p. 70.
 10. ^ Carpenter, pp. 125-26.
 11. ^ a b Carpenter, p. 129.
 12. ^ William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History Of The Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, pp. 62-4.
 13. ^ See Barlow, F., William Rufus, Univ. of California Press, 1983, pp. 402-6.
 14. ^ Bosanquet, G. (tr.), Eadmer's History of Recent Events in England, Cresset, 1964, p. 53.
 15. ^ Carpenter, p. 132.
 16. ^ According to Eadmer, an unusually well placed witness, William II 'protested that Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury could not possibly keep at the same time both the allegiance which he owed to the King and obedience to the Apostolic See against the King's will': see Bosanquet, G. (tr.), Eadmer's History of Recent Events in England, Cresset, 1964, p. 54. Anselm found himself in similar conflict with William II's successor, Henry I of England, as also reported by Eadmer.
 17. ^ William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History Of The Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, p. 60.
 18. ^ Bosanquet, G. (tr.), Eadmer's History of Recent Events in England, Cresset, 1964, p. 31, and William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History Of The Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, pp. 63, 69. For an interesting discussion of such blasphemous oaths, see Barlow, F., William Rufus, Univ. of California Press, 1983, pp. 116-8. See also Holy Face of Lucca.
 19. ^ Carpenter, p. 131.
 20. ^ Chibnall, M. (ed. & tr.), The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, Oxford Medieval Texts, 1968-1980, v, pp. 288-90.
 21. ^ William of Malmesbury, in e.g. A History Of The Norman Kings (1066 - 1125), Llanerch, 1989, pp. 72-3.
 22. ^ Suger, Vie de Louis VI le Gros, Waquet, H. (ed. & tr.), Belles Lettres, 1929 & 1964, p. 12.
   * Barlow, Frank, William Rufus, Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1983. ISBN 0-300-08291-6
   * Cantor, Norman F., The Civilization of the Middle Ages, Harper Collins, 1993. ISBN 0-06-092553-1
   * Carpenter, David, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284, Allen Lane, London, 2003.
   * Douglas, David C., William the Conqueror: the Norman impact upon England, Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1964. ISBN 0-520-00350-0
   * Warren Hollister, C., 'The Strange Death of William Rufus', Speculum, 48.4, 1973: pp. 637-653.
   * Mason, Emma, William II: Rufus, the Red King, Tempus, 2005.
   * Mason, Emma, 'William Rufus: myth and reality', Journal of Medieval History, 3.1, 1977: pp. 1-20.
   * Warren, W. L., 'The Death of William Rufus', History Today, 9, 1959.
   * William II of England at Genealogics

William II of England

House of Normandy

Born: 1056 Died: 2 August 1100

Regnal titles

Preceded by

William I King of England

1087 – 1100 Succeeded by

Henry I

English royalty

Unknown

William I of England

only clarified his succession

on his deathbed

Heir to the English Throne

as heir apparent

1087 Succeeded by

Robert II, Duke of Normandy

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

Ascended the Throne, 9th September 1087

Coronation, Westminster Abbey 26th September 1087

Authority, King of England.

NEVER MARRIED

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

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

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

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I of England (William the Conqueror), was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as 'William Rufus', perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and, it seems, was little liked by those he governed: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was 'hated by almost all his people.' However, chroniclers tended to take a dim view of William's reign, arguably on account of his long and difficult struggles with the Church: these chroniclers were themselves generally products of the Church, and so might be expected to report him somewhat negatively. Thus William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for presiding over what was held to be a dissolute court, in terms which, in modern times, have raised questions over his sexuality. According to Norman tradition, William scorned the English and their culture.

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's Duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc, and seemed destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son, Richard, put William next in line for the English succession.[7] His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between him and his eldest brother, though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by the youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent. Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at L'Aigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water on their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William I was forced to intercede to restore order.

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both. The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror. As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.This plan was later abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099.

Thus William Rufus was secure in the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition prevailed within his kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency hitherto unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France.[citation needed] Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him relatively impervious to papal condemnation.

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement detailed in Domesday Book, a survey undertaken at his father's command, essentially for the purposes of taxation, which could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time, and is a sign of the control of the English monarchy. If he was less effective than his father in containing the Norman lords' propensity for rebellion and violence, through charisma, or political skills, he was forceful in resisting its effects. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, refused to attend the Curia Regis, the thrice-annual court where the King announced his governmental decisions to the great lords. William led an army against Robert and defeated him. Robert was dispossessed and imprisoned, and another noble, William of Eu, accused of treachery, was blinded and castrated.

In external affairs, William had some successes. In 1091 he repulsed an invasion by King Malcolm III of Scotland, forcing Malcolm to pay homage. In 1092 he built a castle at Carlisle, taking control of Cumbria, which had previously been claimed by the Scots. Subsequently, the two kings quarreled over Malcolm's possessions in England, and Malcolm again invaded, ravaging Northumbria. At the Battle of Alnwick, on 13 November 1093, Malcolm was ambushed by Norman forces led by Robert de Mowbray. Malcolm and his son Edward were slain and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan, who held power for a short time, and then another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar. Edgar conquered Lothian in 1094 and eventually removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

William made unsuccessful forays into Wales in 1096 and 1097.

In 1096, William's brother Robert Curthose joined the First Crusade. He needed money to fund this venture, and pledged his Duchy of Normandy to William in return for a payment of 10,000 marks—a sum equalling about one-fourth of William's annual revenue. In a display of the effectiveness of English taxation, William raised the money by levying a special, heavy, and much-resented tax upon the whole of England. William then ruled Normandy as regent in Robert's absence—Robert did not return until September 1100, one month after William's death.

As regent for his brother Robert in Normandy, William campaigned in France from 1097 to 1099. He secured northern Maine but failed to seize the French-controlled part of the Vexin region. At the time of his death, he was planning to invade Aquitaine, in southwestern France.

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

William II of England

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I the Conqueror,[1] was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as 'William Rufus', perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.[2]

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and, it seems, was little liked by those he governed: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was 'hated by almost all his people.'[3] However, chroniclers tended to take a dim view of William's reign, arguably on account of his long and difficult struggles with the Church: these chroniclers were themselves generally products of the Church, and so might be expected to report him somewhat negatively. Thus William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for presiding over what was held to be a dissolute court, in terms which, in modern times, have raised questions over his sexuality.[4] According to Norman tradition, William scorned the English and their culture.[5]

William seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise. His chief minister was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099: this was a political appointment, to a see that was also a great fiefdom.[6]

Early years

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc, and seemed destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son, Richard, put William next in line for the English succession.[7] His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between him and his eldest brother, though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by the youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent. Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at L'Aigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water on their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William I was forced to intercede to restore order.[8]

Appearance

According to William of Malmesbury, William Rufus was 'well set; his complexion florid, his hair yellow; of open countenance; different coloured eyes, varying with certain glittering specks; of astonishing strength, though not very tall, and his belly rather projecting.'[9]

[edit]England and France

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both.[10] The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror.[11] As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.[12] This plan was later abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099.[13]

Thus William Rufus was secure in the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition prevailed within his kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency hitherto unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France.[citation needed] Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him relatively impervious to papal condemnation.

[edit]Relations with the Church, and personal beliefs

Less than two years after becoming king, William II lost his father William I's advisor and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. After Lanfranc's death, the king delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. In panic owing to serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm of Bec – considered the greatest theologian of his generation – but this led to a long period of animosity between Church and State, Anselm being a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc. William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastical issues, in the course of which the king declared to Anselm that Yesterday I hated him with great hatred, today I hate him with yet greater hatred and he can be certain that tomorrow and thereafter I shall hate him continually with ever fiercer and more bitter hatred.[14] The English clergy, beholden to the king for their preferments and livings, were unable to support Anselm publicly. In 1095 William called a council at Rockingham to bring Anselm to heel, but the archbishop remained firm. In October 1097, Anselm went into exile, taking his case to the Pope. The diplomatic and flexible Urban II, a new pope, was involved in a major conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who supported an antipope. Reluctant to make another enemy, Urban came to a concordat with William Rufus, whereby William recognized Urban as pope, and Urban gave sanction to the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical status quo. Anselm remained in exile, and William was able to claim the revenues of the archbishop of Canterbury to the end of his reign.[15]

However, this conflict was symptomatic of medieval English politics, as exemplified by the murder of Thomas Becket during the reign of the later Norman king Henry II of England, and indeed by Henry VIII's actions centuries later, and as such should not be seen as a defect of William II's reign in particular.[16] Of course, contemporary churchmen were themselves not above engaging in such politics: it is reported that, when Archbishop Lanfranc suggested to William I that he imprison the rebellious bishop Odo of Bayeux, he exclaimed 'What! he is a clergyman'. Lanfranc retorted that 'you will not seize the bishop of Bayeux, but confine the earl of Kent': Odo was both bishop of Bayeux, and earl of Kent.[17] Moreover, while we have the complaints of contemporaries regarding William II's personal behaviour, on the other hand it is reported that his 'customary oath' was 'By the Face at Lucca!'[18] It seems reasonable to suppose that such an oath is indicative of William II's personal beliefs.

[edit]War and rebellion

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement detailed in Domesday Book, a survey undertaken at his father's command, essentially for the purposes of taxation, which could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time, and is a sign of the control of the English monarchy. If he was less effective than his father in containing the Norman lords' propensity for rebellion and violence, through charisma, or political skills, he was forceful in resisting its effects. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, refused to attend the Curia Regis, the thrice-annual court where the King announced his governmental decisions to the great lords. William led an army against Robert and defeated him. Robert was dispossessed and imprisoned, and another noble, William of Eu, accused of treachery, was blinded and castrated.[19]

In external affairs, William had some successes. In 1091 he repulsed an invasion by the Scottish king, Malcolm III, forcing Malcolm to pay homage. In 1092 he built a castle at Carlisle, taking control of Cumbria, which had previously been claimed by the Scots.[11] Subsequently, the two kings quarreled over Malcolm's possessions in England, and Malcolm again invaded, ravaging Northumbria. At the Battle of Alnwick, on 13 November 1093, Malcolm was ambushed by Norman forces led by Robert de Mowbray. Malcolm and his son Edward were slain and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan, who held power for a short time, and then another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar. Edgar conquered Lothian in 1094 and eventually removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

William made unsuccessful forays into Wales in 1096 and 1097.[citation needed]

In 1096, William's brother Robert Curthose joined the First Crusade. He needed money to fund this venture, and pledged his duchy of Normandy to William in return for a payment of 10,000 marks—a sum equalling about one-fourth of William's annual revenue. In a display of the effectiveness of English taxation, William raised the money by levying a special, heavy, and much-resented tax upon the whole of England. William then ruled Normandy as regent in Robert's absence—Robert did not return until September 1100, one month after William's death.

As regent for his brother Robert in Normandy, William campaigned in France from 1097 to 1099. He secured northern Maine but failed to seize the French-controlled part of the Vexin region. At the time of his death, he was planning to invade Aquitaine, in southwestern France.

Death in the New Forest

Perhaps the most memorable event in the life of William Rufus was his death, which occurred while William was hunting in the New Forest. He was killed by an arrow through the lung, but the circumstances remain unclear.

On a bright August day in 1100, William organised a hunting trip in the New Forest. An account by Orderic Vitalis describes the preparations for the hunt:

...an armourer came in and presented to [William] six arrows. The King immediately took them with great satisfaction, praising the work, and unconscious of what was to happen, kept four of them himself and held out the other two to Walter Tyrrel... saying It is only right that the sharpest be given to the man who knows how to shoot the deadliest shots.[20]

On the subsequent hunt, the party spread out as they chased their prey, and William, in the company of Walter Tyrell (or Tirel), Lord of Poix, became separated from the others. It was the last time that William was seen alive.

William was found the next day by a group of local peasants, lying dead in the woods with an arrow wound to his chest. William's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell, because the law and order of the kingdom died with the king, and they had to flee to their English or Norman estates to secure their interests. William's younger brother, Henry, hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasury, then to London, where he was crowned within days, before either archbishop could arrive. Legend has it that it was left to a local charcoal-burner named Purkis to take the king's body to Winchester Cathedral on his cart.[citation needed]

According to the chroniclers, William's death was not murder. Walter and William had been hunting together when Walter let loose a wild shot that, instead of hitting the stag he aimed for, struck William in the chest. Walter tried to help him, but there was nothing he could do. Fearing that he would be charged with murder, Walter panicked, leapt onto his horse, and fled. A version of this tale is given by William of Malmesbury:

The day before the king died he dreamed that he was let blood by a surgeon, and that the stream, reaching to heaven, clouded the light and intercepted the day. ...he suddenly awoke, commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him... After dinner he went into the forest, attended by few persons... [Walter Tirel] alone had remained with him, while the others, employed in the chase, were dispersed as chance directed. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly an arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him; and, keenly gazing, followed it, still running, a long time with his eyes, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun's rays. At this instant Walter [attempted] to transfix another stag... [but] unknowingly, and without power to prevent it, O gracious God! pierced [the king's] breast with a fatal arrow.

On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word; but breaking off the shaft of the weapon where it projected from his body, and then falling upon the wound, he accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless and speechless he leaped swiftly upon his horse, and escaped by spurring him to his utmost speed. Indeed there was none to pursue him, some conniving at his flight, others pitying him, and all intent on other matters. Some began to fortify their dwellings, others to plunder, and the rest to look out for a new king.

A few countrymen conveyed the body, placed on a cart, to the cathedral at Winchester, the blood dripping from it all the way. Here it was committed to the ground within the tower, attended by many of the nobility... Next year the tower fell... [William Rufus] died in [1100]... aged above forty years... He was a man much to be pitied by the clergy, for throwing away the soul they laboured to save; to be beloved by stipendiary soldiers for the multitude of his gifts; but not to be lamented by the people, because he suffered their substance to be plundered.[21]

Another version of this story has it that William ducked for some reason, and that Walter shot at him, mistaking William's red hair for a squirrel: this despite the fact that William’s hair is reliably reported to have been yellow.[citation needed]

To the chroniclers - men of the Church - such an 'act of God' was a just end for a wicked king. Over the following centuries, the obvious suggestion that one of William's enemies may have had a hand in this extraordinary event has repeatedly been made: chroniclers of the time point out themselves that Walter was renowned as a keen bowman, and thus was unlikely to have fired such an impetuous shot.[citation needed] Moreover, William's brother Henry, who was among the hunting party that day, benefited directly from William's death, shortly thereafter being crowned king.

Abbot Suger, another chronicler, was Tirel's friend and sheltered him in his French exile. He said later:

It was laid to the charge of a certain noble, Walter Tirel, that he had shot the king with an arrow; but I have often heard him, when he had nothing to fear nor to hope, solemnly swear that on the day in question he was not in the part of the forest where the king was hunting, nor ever saw him in the forest at all.[22]

[edit]The Rufus Stone

A stone known as the Rufus Stone marks the spot where some believe he fell. grid reference SU270124

The inscription on the Rufus Stone reads:

Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis, and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city.

The current monument is made of cast iron and was erected in 1865.

Sources

Major sources for William Rufus include Orderic Vitalis, William of Malmesbury, and Eadmer. Studies by Frank Barlow and Emma Mason have replaced the judgmental Victorian account of Freeman, E.A., The Reign of William Rufus and the Accession of Henry the First (2 vols.), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1882, in which the king is said to have combined 'the habits of the ancient Greek and modern Turk' with unseemly irreligion, and which portrays his realm anachronistically as a precursor of the United Kingdom.

[edit]Fictional treatments

William Rufus is a major character in Valerie Anand's historical novel, King of the Wood (1989).

He is also a major character in Parke Godwin's Robin and the King (1993), the second volume in Godwin's reinterpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

William II is indirectly the subject of two historical novels by George Shipway, called The Paladin and The Wolf Time. The main character of the novels is Walter Tirel (or Tyrell) the supposed assassin of King William, and the main thrust of the plot of the novels is that the assassination was engineered by Henry.

The death of William Rufus is portrayed in Edward Rutherfurd's fictionalised history of the New Forest, called The Forest (novel) (2000). In Rutherfurd's version of events, the King's death takes place nowhere near the Rufus Stone, and Walter Tyrrell is framed for it by the powerful Clare family. Also, Purkiss is a clever story teller who manages (much later) to convince Charles II that one of his ancestors had been involved.

Flambard's Confession (1984) by Marilyn Durham purports to tell the story of William Rufus' reign through the eyes of his right-hand man, Ranulf Flambard.

William Rufus and his relationship with Tyrell is mentioned and the manner of his death is included in Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris.

William Rufus is a character in Stephen R. Lawhead's King Raven Trilogy about Robin Hood.

On television, William was portrayed by Peter Firth in the 1990 play Blood Royal: William the Conqueror.

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

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

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

William II (c. 1058 – 2 August 1100), the third son of William I of England (William the Conqueror),[1] was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as William Rufus, perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.[2]

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and, it seems, was little liked by those he governed: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was "hated by almost all his people."[3] However, chroniclers tended to take a dim view of William's reign, arguably on account of his long and difficult struggles with the Church: these chroniclers were themselves generally products of the Church, and so might be expected to report him somewhat negatively. Thus William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for presiding over what was held to be a dissolute court, in terms which, in modern times, have raised questions over his sexuality.[4] According to Norman tradition, William scorned the English and their culture.[5]

William seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise. His chief minister was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099: this was a political appointment, to a see that was also a great fiefdom.[6]

Contents [hide]

1 Early years

2 Appearance

3 England and France

4 Relations with the Church, and personal beliefs

5 War and rebellion

6 Death in the New Forest

7 The Rufus Stone

8 Sources

9 Fictional treatments

10 Ancestors

11 See also

12 References


[edit] Early years

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's Duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc, and seemed destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son, Richard, put William next in line for the English succession.[7] His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between he and his eldest brother, though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by the youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent. Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at L'Aigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water onto their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William I was forced to intercede to restore order.[8]

[edit] Appearance

According to William of Malmesbury, William Rufus was "well set; his complexion florid, his hair yellow; of open countenance; different coloured eyes, varying with certain glittering specks; of astonishing strength, though not very tall, and his belly rather projecting."[9]

[edit] England and France

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and his brother Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other, or both.[10] The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror.[11] As Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.[12] This plan was later abandoned, but William continued to pursue a ferociously warlike defence of his French possessions and interests to the end of his life, exemplified by his response to the attempt by Elias de la Flèche, Count of Maine, to take Le Mans in 1099.[13]

English Royalty

House of Normandy


William I

  Robert II Curthose, Duke of Normandy 
  Richard, Duke of Bernay 
  William II Rufus 
  Adela, Countess of Blois 
  Henry I Beauclerc 

William II

Thus William Rufus was secure in what was then the most powerful kingdom in Europe, given the contemporary eclipse of the Salian emperors. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition prevailed within his kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency previously unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power, through an effective and loyal chancery, penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France.[citation needed] Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the king's administration and law unified the realm, rendering him relatively impervious to papal condemnation.

[edit] Relations with the Church, and personal beliefs

Less than two years after becoming king, William II lost his father William I's advisor and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. After Lanfranc's death, the king delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. In panic owing to serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm of Bec — considered the greatest theologian of his generation — but this led to a long period of animosity between Church and State, Anselm being a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc. William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastical issues, in the course of which the king declared of Anselm that "Yesterday I hated him with great hatred, today I hate him with yet greater hatred and he can be certain that tomorrow and thereafter I shall hate him continually with ever fiercer and more bitter hatred".[14] The English clergy, beholden to the king for their preferments and livings, were unable to support Anselm publicly. In 1095 William called a council at Rockingham to bring Anselm to heel, but the archbishop remained firm. In October 1097, Anselm went into exile, taking his case to the Pope. The diplomatic and flexible Urban II, a new pope, was involved in a major conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who supported an antipope. Reluctant to make another enemy, Urban came to a concordat with William Rufus, whereby William recognized Urban as pope, and Urban gave sanction to the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical status quo. Anselm remained in exile, and William was able to claim the revenues of the archbishop of Canterbury to the end of his reign.[15]

However, this conflict was symptomatic of medieval English politics, as exemplified by the murder of Thomas Becket during the reign of the later Plantagenet king Henry II, and indeed by Henry VIII's actions centuries later, and as such should not be seen as a defect of William II's reign in particular.[16] Of course, contemporary churchmen were themselves not above engaging in such politics: it is reported that, when Archbishop Lanfranc suggested to William I that he imprison the rebellious bishop Odo of Bayeux, he exclaimed 'What! he is a clergyman'. Lanfranc retorted that 'you will not seize the bishop of Bayeux, but confine the earl of Kent': Odo was both bishop of Bayeux, and earl of Kent.[17] Also, while there are complaints of contemporaries regarding William II's personal behaviour, he was instrumental in assisting the foundation of Bermondsey Abbey, endowing it with the manor of Bermondsey; and it is reported that his "customary oath" was "By the Face at Lucca!"[18] It seems reasonable to suppose that such details are indicative of William II's personal beliefs. An alternative interpretation to this oath proposed by Margaret Murray points out the unlikelyhood that William Rufus even knew of the Christian Lucca, and instead swore by the "face of Loki".[19]

[edit] War and rebellion

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement detailed in Domesday Book, a survey undertaken at his father's command, essentially for the purposes of taxation, which could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time, and is a sign of the control of the English monarchy. If he was less effective than his father in containing the Norman lords' propensity for rebellion and violence, through charisma, or political skills, he was forceful in resisting its effects. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, refused to attend the Curia Regis, the thrice-annual court where the King announced his governmental decisions to the great lords. William led an army against Robert and defeated him. Robert was dispossessed and imprisoned, and another noble, William of Eu, accused of treachery, was blinded and castrated.[20]

In external affairs, William had some successes. In 1091 he repulsed an invasion by King Malcolm III of Scotland, forcing Malcolm to pay homage. In 1092 he built Carlisle Castle, taking control of Cumbria, which had previously been claimed by the Scots.[11] Subsequently, the two kings quarreled over Malcolm's possessions in England, and Malcolm again invaded, ravaging Northumbria. At the Battle of Alnwick, on 13 November 1093, Malcolm was ambushed by Norman forces led by Robert de Mowbray. Malcolm and his son Edward were killed and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan II, who held power for a short time, and then another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar. Edgar conquered Lothian in 1094 and eventually removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

William made unsuccessful forays into Wales in 1096 and 1097.[citation needed]

In 1096, William's brother Robert Curthose joined the First Crusade. He needed money to fund this venture, and pledged his Duchy of Normandy to William in return for a payment of 10,000 marks—a sum equalling about a quarter of William's annual revenue. In a display of the effectiveness of English taxation, William raised the money by levying a special, heavy, and much-resented tax upon the whole of England. William then ruled Normandy as regent in Robert's absence—Robert did not return until September 1100, one month after William's death.

As regent for his brother Robert in Normandy, William campaigned in France from 1097 to 1099. He secured northern Maine but failed to seize the French-controlled part of the Vexin region. At the time of his death, he was planning to invade Aquitaine, in southwestern France.

[edit] Death in the New Forest


Death of William Rufus. Lithograph, 1895Perhaps the most memorable event in the life of William Rufus was his death, which occurred while William was hunting in the New Forest. He was killed by an arrow through the lung, but the circumstances remain unclear.

On a bright August day in 1100, William organised a hunting trip in the New Forest. An account by Orderic Vitalis describes the preparations for the hunt:

...an armourer came in and presented to [William] six arrows. The King immediately took them with great satisfaction, praising the work, and unconscious of what was to happen, kept four of them himself and held out the other two to Walter Tyrrel... saying 'It is only right that the sharpest be given to the man who knows how to shoot the deadliest shots.'[21]

On the subsequent hunt, the party spread out as they chased their prey, and William, in the company of Walter Tyrell (or Tirel), Lord of Poix, became separated from the others. It was the last time that William was seen alive.

William was found the next day by a group of local peasants, lying dead in the woods with an arrow wound to his chest. William's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell, because the law and order of the kingdom died with the king, and they had to flee to their English or Norman estates to secure their interests. William's younger brother, Henry, hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasury, then to London, where he was crowned within days, before either archbishop could arrive. Legend has it that it was left to a local charcoal-burner named Purkis to take the king's body to Winchester Cathedral on his cart.[citation needed]

According to the chroniclers, William's death was not murder. Walter and William had been hunting together when Walter let loose a wild shot that, instead of hitting the stag he aimed for, struck William in the chest. Walter tried to help him, but there was nothing he could do. Fearing that he would be charged with murder, Walter panicked, leapt onto his horse, and fled. A version of this tale is given by William of Malmesbury:

The day before the king died he dreamed that he was let blood by a surgeon, and that the stream, reaching to heaven, clouded the light and intercepted the day. ...he suddenly awoke, commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him... After dinner he went into the forest, attended by few persons... [Walter Tirel] alone had remained with him, while the others, employed in the chase, were dispersed as chance directed. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly an arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him; and, keenly gazing, followed it, still running, a long time with his eyes, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun's rays. At this instant Walter [attempted] to transfix another stag... [but] unknowingly, and without power to prevent it, O gracious God! pierced [the king's] breast with a fatal arrow.

On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word; but breaking off the shaft of the weapon where it projected from his body, and then falling upon the wound, he accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless and speechless he leaped swiftly upon his horse, and escaped by spurring him to his utmost speed. Indeed there was none to pursue him, some conniving at his flight, others pitying him, and all intent on other matters. Some began to fortify their dwellings, others to plunder, and the rest to look out for a new king.

A few countrymen conveyed the body, placed on a cart, to the cathedral at Winchester, the blood dripping from it all the way. Here it was committed to the ground within the tower, attended by many of the nobility... Next year the tower fell... [William Rufus] died in [1100]... aged above forty years... He was a man much to be pitied by the clergy, for throwing away the soul they laboured to save; to be beloved by stipendiary soldiers for the multitude of his gifts; but not to be lamented by the people, because he suffered their substance to be plundered.[22]

The Anglo-Norman chronicler Geoffrey Gaimar provides a variant story of the king's death scene: dying from a battle wound and delirious, the desperate William kept calling out for the corpus domini (Lord’s body, i.e., the Eucharist) until a huntsman acted as lay priest and gave him flowering herbs as his viaticum.[23]

To the chroniclers - men of the Church - such an 'act of God' was a just end for a wicked king. Over the following centuries, the obvious suggestion that one of William's enemies may have had a hand in this extraordinary event has repeatedly been made: chroniclers of the time point out themselves that Walter was renowned as a keen bowman, and thus was unlikely to have fired such an impetuous shot.[citation needed] Moreover, William's brother Henry, who was among the hunting party that day, benefited directly from William's death, shortly thereafter being crowned king.

Abbot Suger, another chronicler, was Tirel's friend and sheltered him in his French exile. He said later:

It was laid to the charge of a certain noble, Walter Tirel, that he had shot the king with an arrow; but I have often heard him, when he had nothing to fear nor to hope, solemnly swear that on the day in question he was not in the part of the forest where the king was hunting, nor ever saw him in the forest at all.[24]

William's remains are in Winchester Cathedral, scattered among royal mortuary chests positioned on the presbytery screen, flanking the choir.[citation needed]

[edit] The Rufus Stone

A stone known as the Rufus Stone marks the spot where he supposedly fell. grid reference SU270124

The inscription on the Rufus Stone reads:

Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis, and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city.

The current monument is made of cast iron and was erected in 1865.

The Rufus Stone

The Rufus Stone (side 1)
The Rufus Stone (side 2)
The Rufus Stone (side 3)

[edit] Sources

Major sources for William Rufus include Orderic Vitalis, William of Malmesbury, and Eadmer. Studies by Frank Barlow and Emma Mason have replaced the judgmental Victorian account of Freeman, E.A., The Reign of William Rufus and the Accession of Henry the First (2 vols.), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1882, in which the king is said to have combined 'the habits of the ancient Greek and modern Turk' with unseemly irreligion, and which portrays his realm anachronistically as a precursor of the United Kingdom.

[edit] Fictional treatments

William is indirectly the subject of two historical novels by George Shipway, The Paladin and The Wolf Time. The main character of the novels is Walter Tirel (or Tyrell), his supposed assassin, and the main thrust of the plot of the novels is that the assassination was engineered by Henry I.

The death of William Rufus is portrayed in Edward Rutherfurd's 2000 fictionalised history of the New Forest, The Forest. In Rutherfurd's version of events, the king's death takes place nowhere near the Rufus Stone, and Walter Tyrrell is framed for it by the powerful Clare family. Also, Purkiss is a clever story teller who manages (much later) to convince Charles II that one of his ancestors had been involved.

William Rufus is a major character in Valerie Anand's 1989 historical novel, King of the Wood (1989). He is also a major character in Parke Godwin's Robin and the King (1993), the second volume in Godwin's reinterpretation of the Robin Hood legend. William Rufus and his relationship with Tyrell is mentioned and the manner of his death is included in Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris. He is a character in Stephen R. Lawhead's King Raven Trilogy about Robin Hood.

On television, William was portrayed by Peter Firth in the 1990 play Blood Royal: William the Conqueror.

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

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

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

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), the second surviving son of William I the Conqueror[1], was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending his control in Wales. William was commonly called "Rufus", perhaps because of his red-faced appearance.

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and was little liked by those he governed; according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was "hated by almost all his people." The chroniclers of his time took a dim view of Rufus because many literate men of the day were men of the Church, against which Rufus fought hard and long; and in Norman tradition, William Rufus scorned the English and their culture.[2]

William himself seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He never married or had illegitimate children; William's favourite was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099, an appointment based on political requirements, for a see that was at the same time a great feudal fief. William was roundly denounced in his time and after his death for his numerous homosexual liaisons.[3]

Early years

William's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime between the years 1056 and 1060. He was the third of four sons, born in his father's duchy of Normandy, which would be inherited in due course by his elder brother, Robert Curthose. During his youth, he was educated under the eye of Lanfranc and seemingly destined to be a great lord but not a king, until the death of the Conqueror's second son, Richard, put him in the line of succession. His father's favourite son, William succeeded to the throne of England on his father's death, but there was always hostility between him and his eldest brother—though they became reconciled after an attempted coup in 1091 by the youngest brother, Henry.

Relations between the three brothers had never been excellent; Orderic Vitalis relates an incident that took place at L'aigle, in 1077 or 1078: William and Henry, having grown bored with casting dice, decided to make mischief by pouring stinking water on their brother Robert from an upper gallery, thus infuriating and shaming him. A brawl broke out, and their father King William was forced to intercede to restore order.

Appearance

According to William of Malmesbury, William Rufus was "thickset and muscular with a protruding belly; a dandy dressed in the height of fashion, however outrageous, he wore his blond hair long, parted in the centre and off the face so that his forehead was bare; and in his red, choleric face were eyes of changeable colour, speckled with flecks of light" (Barlow).

[edit] England and France

The division of William the Conqueror's lands into two parts presented a dilemma for those nobles who held land on both sides of the Channel. Since the younger William and Robert were natural rivals, these nobles worried that they could not hope to please both of their lords, and thus ran the risk of losing the favour of one ruler or the other (or both of them).[4] The only solution, as they saw it, was to unite England and Normandy once more under one ruler. The pursuit of this aim led them to revolt against William in favour of Robert in the Rebellion of 1088, under the leadership of the powerful Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror. [5]Robert failed to appear in England to rally his supporters, and William won the support of the English with silver and promises of better government, and defeated the rebellion, thus securing his authority. In 1091 he invaded Normandy, crushing Robert's forces and forcing him to cede a portion of his lands. The two made up their differences and William agreed to help Robert recover lands lost to France, notably Maine.

Thus William Rufus was secure in the most powerful kingdom in Europe (with the contemporary eclipse of the Salian Emperors) and, within England, the least trammeled by feudal obligations. As in Normandy, his bishops and abbots were bound to him by feudal obligations; and his right of investiture in the Norman tradition was unquestioned within the kingdom, during the age of the Investiture Controversy that brought excommunication upon the Salian Emperor Henry IV. Anglo-Norman royal institutions reached an efficiency unknown in medieval Europe, and the king's personal power through an effective and loyal chancery penetrated to the local level to an extent unmatched in France. Without the Capetians' ideological trappings of an anointed monarchy forever entangled with the hierarchy of the Church, the King's administration and the King's law unified the kingdom, rendering the English King relatively impervious to papal condemnation, as the reign of William Rufus demonstrated.

[edit] Relations with the church, and personal beliefs

Within a few years he lost his father William I of England's advisor and confidant, the Italian-Norman Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1089. After the death of Archbishop Lanfranc, he delayed appointing a new archbishop for many years, appropriating ecclesiastical revenues in the interim. Finally, in a time of panic during his serious illness in 1093, William nominated as archbishop another Norman-Italian, Anselm of Bec–considered the greatest theologian of his generation—and this led to a long period of animosity between church and state. Anselm was a stronger supporter of the Gregorian reforms in the Church than Lanfranc had been. William and Anselm disagreed on a range of ecclesiastical issues. At one point the King declared of Anselm "that he hated him much yesterday, that he hated him much today, and that he would hate him more and more tomorrow and every other day." The English clergy, beholden to the king for their preferments and livings, were unable to support Anselm publicly. In 1095 William called a council at Rockingham to bring Anselm to heel, but the Archbishop remained firm. In October 1097, Anselm went into exile, taking his case to the Pope. The new pope, the diplomatic and flexible Urban II, was involved in a major conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, who supported an antipope. Reluctant to make another enemy, Urban came to a concordat with William Rufus, whereby William recognized Urban as pope, and Urban gave sanction to the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical status quo. Anselm remained in exile, and William was able to claim the revenues of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the end of his reign.[6]

However, this conflict was symptomatic of medieval English politics, as exemplified by the murder of Thomas Becket during the reign of the later Norman king Henry II of England, and indeed by Henry VIII's actions centuries later, and as such should not be taken as a defect of William II's reign in particular. Of course, contemporary churchmen were themselves not above engaging in such politics: it is reported that, when Archbishop Lanfranc suggested to William I of England that he imprison the rebellious bishop Odo of Bayeux, he exclaimed 'What! he is a clergyman'. Lanfranc retorted that 'you will not seize the bishop of Bayeux, but confine the earl of Kent': Odo was both bishop of Bayeux, and earl of Kent.[7] Moreover, while we have the complaints of contemporaries regarding William II's personal behaviour, on the other hand it is reported that his 'usual oath' was 'By the Face at Lucca!'[8] It seems reasonable to suppose that such an oath is indicative of William II's personal beliefs.

War and rebellion

William Rufus inherited the Anglo-Norman settlement whose details are reflected in Domesday Book (1086), a survey that could not have been undertaken anywhere else in Europe at that time and a signal of the control of the monarchy; but he did not inherit William's charisma or political skills. He was less effective than his father in channeling the Norman lords' propensity for rebellion and violence. In 1095, Robert de Mowbray, the earl of Northumbria, refused to attend the Curia Regis, the thrice-annual court where the King announced his governmental decisions to the great lords. William led an army against Robert and defeated him. Robert was dispossessed and imprisoned, and another noble, William of Eu, accused of treachery, was blinded and castrated.[9]

In external affairs, William had some successes. In 1091 he repulsed an invasion by the Scottish king, Malcolm III, forcing Malcolm to pay homage. In 1092 he built a castle at Carlisle, taking control of Cumbria, which had previously been claimed by the Scots.[10] Subsequently, the two kings quarreled over Malcolm's possessions in England, and Malcolm again invaded, ravaging Northumbria. At the Battle of Alnwick, on 13 November 1093, Malcolm was ambushed by Norman forces led by Robert de Mowbray. Malcolm and his son Edward were slain and Malcolm III's brother Donald seized the throne. William supported Malcolm's son Duncan, who held power for a short time, and then another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar. Edgar conquered Lothian in 1094 and eventually removed Donald in 1097 with William's aid in a campaign led by Edgar Ætheling. Edgar recognised William's authority over Lothian and attended William's court.

William made unsuc

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William II "Rufus", King of England's Timeline

1056
1056
Plouigneau, Bretagne, France
1077
1077
Age 21
Gerberoy, Normandie
1080
1080
Age 24
of, Hampshire, England
1087
September 26, 1087
Age 31
Westminster Abbey, London, England
1087
- 1100
Age 31
King of England
1087
Age 31
1100
August 2, 1100
Age 44

On the subsequent hunt, the party spread out as they chased their prey, and William, in the company of Walter Tyrell (or Tirel), Lord of Poix, became separated from the others. It was the last time that William was seen alive.

William was found the next day by a group of local peasants, lying dead in the woods with an arrow wound to his chest. William's body was abandoned by the nobles at the place where he fell, because the law and order of the kingdom died with the king, and they had to flee to their English or Norman estates to secure their interests.

August 2, 1100
Age 44
New Forest, Hampshire, England
August 2, 1100
Age 44
Winchester Cathedral, London, England
1100
- present
Age 44