One of the most flamboyant warriors of the Middle Ages who conquered England in 1066 and reversed its history was William I of Normandy. William was the most powerful noble knight in France who created numerous political alliances. His alternative name was William the Bastard (Guillaume le Bâtard) due to his unlawful birth. His father was Robert I, Duke of Normandy, his mother Herleva was an unmarried young woman. Anyway, he was a legitimate heir of his father since he was his only child.
Born in 1028 in a Norman town of Falaise, William soon lost his father at the age of 8. Robert died on his way back from Jerusalem pilgrimage. The Norman noble and the king of France Henry I recognized William as the new Duke.
Such inheritance had its severe price consisting of intrigues and cruelty. The Bastard’s life was under a constant threat, but his mother repeatedly proved to be his guardian angel. His three nominated guardians and tutor were murdered.
William’s early years were a period of misrule and anarchy when local vassals tried to usurp total influence on Normandy.
Leadership in Normandy Regained
William became knight when aged 15. He had already hardened himself in his early years full of hardships and menaces. The young Duke of Normandy attempted to restore the government structure lost recently. Inevitably, he had to deal with numerous rebellions masterminded mostly by his noble relatives.
The year 1047 brought a culmination to this adversarial process. The French king Henry eventually rendered aid to William, and in an alliance, they distressed the rebel force at Val-ès-Dunes to the southest of Caen. That battle became the first victorious duel of William, after which he learnt a lot how to take weighed-up risks.
The future Conqueror made direct plans and was willing to improvise. Ruthless in battles, he managed to turn any chance to his favor immediately. Any discovered disadvantage resulted in William’s swift withdrawal.
William continuously coveted to regain and further multiply all profits and powers formerly lost. He proved to be an outstanding administrator and talented negotiator. William I of Normandy was keen to develop and enrich the Norman church. He appointed bishops, including his half-brother Odo, who reinforced the Norman church and religion by means of financial assets and managerial techniques.