Heritage > Rulers

Stephen, 1135-1154

In an action mirroring the indecent haste with which his uncle, Henry had taken the throne upon the death of his predecessor, Stephen had himself crowned within two months of Henry's death.

The reason for this haste was, as is usual in these times, the threat from another claimant. Henry's daughter, Matilda, claimed the throne was rightfully hers. The English Barons, including Stephen, had all sworn their allegiance to Matilda upon Henry's behest.

Following much conflict, in which Normandy was taken from Stephen by Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda was imprisoned and escaped, England was in anarchy. Stephen was a weak and somewhat witless ruler. His Barons and landowners were the real masters of England, not even the once powerful Church was able to support him.

It is after some 19 years of chaos that Stephen died in Canterbury due to a variety of factors, not the least Dysentery.

He had been married to the Granddaughter of Malcolm III of Scotland, another Matilda. She had presented him with five children; Baldwin, Matilda, Eustace, Mary and William. None of these were to succeed him. It was agreed that upon his death the crown should pass to Henry, son of Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou.

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