Henry was the youngest son of King William the Conqueror and brother of his predecessor, William Rufus. When his brother was killed, Henry left his body in the woods and rushed off to Winchester to secure the throne before anyone else did. The first half of his reign consisted of invasions of Normandy and quarrels with the Pope. However, Henry won through in both quarters, and so was then able to concentrate on consolidating the power of the Norman kings. He appointed able men to his government and set up new institutions to collect taxes. Despite a successful reign, Henry failed to leave a male heir. His son had been killed in the infamous ‘White Ship’ and, though the Barons promised to accept his daughter as Queen, she was destined never to sit on the English throne.
For more details of King Henry I's life, take a look at our Royal Berkshire History website.
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