William I or William the Conqueror

Previous king: Harold       Reigned: 1066-1087       Next king: William II (son)

William I William became Duke of Normandy (in France) in 1035. He wanted to become King of England after Edward the Confessor died. The Ango-Saxons made Harold their new king instead. So William invaded England and fought Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Harold was killed, and William became king. The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidery seventy metres long made soon after the battle, which tells the story of William invading England.

Tower of London William built many castles to help him conquer England. One of these is the White Tower, in the Tower of London (see right).

The Doomsday Book was written in 1086. This listed the towns and villages of England. It was written so William could tax his new kingdom more efficiently, but it is interesting today because it tells us about England in detail nearly a thousand years ago.

William was the first of the Norman kings. Although Normandy is in France, 'Norman' means 'North man' and the Normans were Vikings rather than French. However, they did speak French, and French became the language of the English court for centuries.

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