7 February 2014

King

I know that one or two visitors have been seething with annoyance about my changeable profile picture or avatar. Sorry about that. So far I have been Father Christmas, Alf Garnett, Captain James Cook (greatest Yorkshireman ever), Popeye's arch-enemy Bluto and the bard of Hull - Philip Larkin. But who am I now? Surely you must recognise him? Why, it's King Henry I of England - the only British monarch to be born in Yorkshire.
Yes, he was born at Selby in September 1068, the youngest son of William the Conqueror and he died in France in December 1135. He was the king from 1100 until his death.

He won the support of the Saxons by granting them a charter and marrying a Saxon princess, Edith, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland. She was known as Matilda after her marriage, a name more acceptable to the Norman barons than her Saxon name Edith. Henry's daughter was also called Matilda. He was an able administrator, and established a professional bureaucracy and a system of travelling judges. He was called Beauclerc because of his scholarly interests.

In 1101 his elder brother Robert, Duke of Normandy, attempted to seize the crown by invading England. However, after the Treaty of Alton, Robert agreed to recognise his brother Henry as King and returned to Normandy. They fought again in 1106 at The Battle of Tinchebrai at which Robert was captured and Henry became Duke of Normandy as well as King of England. 

An energetic, decisive and occasionally cruel ruler, Henry centralised the administration of England and Normandy in the royal court, using 'viceroys' in Normandy and a group of advisers in England to act on his behalf when he was absent across the Channel. Henry successfully sought to increase royal revenues, as shown by the official records of his exchequer (the Pipe Roll of 1130, the first exchequer account to survive).

Henry's only legitimate son and heir, William, was drowned in 1120 in the wreck of the White Ship and Henry tried to settle the succession on his daughter Matilda and her son Henry (later Henry II). However, Matilda widow of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor, was unpopular when she re-married into the House of Anjou rival of the House of Normandy. The throne was taken by Henry's nephew Stephen, who, towards the end of his reign, agreed to adopt Matilda's son as his heir.

Henry died in Normandy in 1135 of food poisoning according to legend from eating a 'surfeit of Lampreys' (an eel type fish).During his life he also enjoyed a surfeit of women, using his regal position to take many mistresses and he fathered at least twenty five children. Henry I's body was buried in Reading Abbey after it was returned to England sewn into a bull's skin but the exact location of his grave is uncertain. It is very possible that his silver coffin was removed or stolen during the dissolution of the monasteries as decreed by Henry VIII some three hundred years after Henry I gobbled down those squiggly lampreys. Zzzzzzzzzz....Are you asleep yet?

17 comments:

  1. Ooo I did enjoy that, thanks for shaing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Next time I'm invited to a fancy dress party I shall go as King Henry I. Lady guests will scream with delight...or maybe horror.

      Delete
  2. It takes more than a few paragraphs on an English king to get me to sleep!
    Until now, I knew next to nothing about Henry I, and I simply love learning new things.
    By the way, the beautiful weather of yesterday has not lasted. It is grey and rainy out there today, so I am making use of my day off by doing householdy stuff that usually has to wait until the weekend, reading, blogging, playing and so on.
    As for your avatar - nothing wrong with changing that according to your mood or to fit the occasion. Why would anybody be annoyed about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would they be annoyed? Perhaps because they are Australian! Sorry you haven't been able to undertake your long walk Arian. When you do manage it I hope you will capture photos of it to post on your blog. Now back to the ironing young woman!

      Delete
    2. Yorky, being one of your Australian readers, I am certainly not annoyed by your changing avatar. I love seeing a new face every couple of weeks. I thing it is great! But you would know that already despite your suggestion. I am sure neither Lee, nor Helsie are annoyed either.

      Delete
    3. Shhh Carol! Helen might be listening!

      Delete
    4. Yep, I still like the pudding face the best.
      I enjoyed your little history lesson , now put your pudding face back on !!!

      Delete
  3. I too enjoy the change of avatar.
    The latest is very dignified even if his behaviour wasn't.
    I think you should stick to famous folk from Humberside........Who?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is this thing you call "Humberside"? It was never embraced by the proud people of The East Riding of Yorkshire who boast numerous famous sons and daughters including William Wilberforce, St John of Beverley, Amy Johnson, Maureen Lipman, Alan Plater, Tom Courtenay, Andrew Marvell, Mick Ronson and the innovative blogger Sir Yorkshire Pudding of Holderness etc. etc..

      Delete
    2. Start out with the Hull-born Housemartins and why their ex-singer now runs a pub in Lancashire ...
      On the King topic, extremely interesting, thanks!

      Delete
  4. I do like this latest avatar and especially your very interesting bio of his life. With at least 25 children under his belt (no pun intended), everyone in Yorkshire today might be his descendant. Have you looked into the possibility?

    I wasn't annoyed by the ever-changing avatars but I thought the last one should go because people might think it was actually you. I don't think you will be confused with Henry I. Matilda, possibly, but not Henry I.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob, I suspect he's more of an Edith.

      Delete
    2. No Adrian, I am more of a Bomber Graham! And Mr Bob, I believe that the shelling of Henry in Yorkshire was unintentional. He moved on soon after his birth. His wild oats were mainly sown in the south of England and in Normandy where he spent much of his time so I doubt very much that I am connected with him in any way. Wasn't Brague originally a Norman name?

      Delete
  5. Brague was originally (and still is) a river in the département of Alpes-Maritimes and the région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southeastern France, about as far from Normandy as it is possible to get and still be in France. It empties into the Mediterranean Sea between Cannes and Nice, near the resort town of Antibes. Why do you ask?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob - it's just that I thought I saw a passing resemblance between your good self and King Henry I. It is very possible he took his holidays in southeastern France.

      Delete
  6. Paul Heaton, lead singer of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South was born in Sheffield.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I never cease to be amazed (though I'm not sure why) by all the things I've forgotten. Mind you history was never a favourite topic of mine at school. It'll be interesting to see whether, if I'm tested on this post in a year, I'll remember any of it.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.