William I., the Conqueror (10271087)

William I., the Conqueror, king of England, born at Falaise; became Duke of Normandy by the death of his father; being an illegitimate son had to establish his power with the sword; being the cousin of Edward the Confessor was nominated by him his successor to the English throne, which being usurped by Harold, he invaded England and defeated Harold at Senlac in 1066 and assumed the royal power, which he established over the length and breadth of the country in 1068; he rewarded his followers with grants of land and lordships over them, subject to the crown; the Doomsday Book (q.v.) was compiled by his order, and the kingdom brought into closer relation with the Church of Rome, his adviser in Church matters being Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury (q.v.); died by a fall from his horse when suppressing rebellion in Normandy, and was buried at Caen. He was, as characterised by Carlyle, “in rude outline a true God-made king, of most flashing discernment, of most strong lion-heart—in whom, as it were, within a frame of oak and iron the gods had planted the soul of 'a man of genius' ... the essential element, as of all such men, not scorching fire (merely), but shining illuminative light ... the most sure-eyed perception of what is what on this God's earth.” His invasion of England is known as the Norman Conquest, and it involved the introduction of the feudal system and Norman manners in the habits and speech of the English people (10271087).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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