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William the Conqueror

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William the Conqueror (1027 – 1087):
- Duke of Normandy and King of England
- Victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 then
coronation in the Abbey of Westminster
- Château de Caen and Château de Falaise
- Men's and Ladies' Abbeys
- Bayeux Tapestry


Illegitimate son of Arlette, a tanner's daughter, and of Robert the Magnificent, William was born in Falaise in 1027. William the Bastard became William II of Normandy (1035), William the Conqueror, and finally William I, King of England.
He belonged to the sixth generation of Norman dukes since Rollon.
In 1050, he married Matilda of Flanders and promised to build the Men's Abbey dedicated to Saint Stephen and the Ladies' Abbey dedicated to Saint Trinity, both in Caen.
With the help of King Henry I of France, he succeeded in establishing his power, essentially after having defeated the rebellious barons at the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes in 1047.

In 1066, William claimed the throne of England, alleging that Edward the Confessor, the heirless Anglo-Saxon King of England, had designated him as his successor.
William landed in England on the 28th of September 1066 and defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings on the 14th of October. He ascended to the throne and was crowned in the Abbey of Westminster on Christmas day 1066, a tradition that has since been maintained among all English monarchs.
He also ordered the construction of a number of buildings and castles, in particular the Tower of London. William died in 1087. He was buried in the Abbey Church of St Stephen in Caen.

In Bayeux, Queen Matilda's tapestry depicts the events leading to the conquest of England in 1066.
In 1059, William and his wife Matilda founded the Men's and Ladies' Abbeys in Caen.
Around 1060, William ordered for a rampart to be built around the rocky outcrop dominating the River Orne. Hence emerged Caen's first castle that has preserved the same structure to this very day.
In the Château de Falaise, only a few faint traces of William's dungeon remain; it was William's youngest son, Henry I «Beauclerc», who ordered the construction of the oldest remaining buildings that today constitute the fortification of the inner bailey (1123).

  • Statue Guillaume 1er
  • Tapisserie de Bayeux
  • Château de Falaise
  • Abbaye aux hommes Caen
  • Abbaye aux Dames