King Stephen

King Stephen

Stephen, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois and Adela, daughter of William I was born in about 1097. His father went on the First Crusade and was killed at Ramlah in 1102. Adela ruled Blois and Chartes until 1107 when she handed over power to her son Theobald.

In 1125 Stephen married Matilda of Boulogne and two years later swore an oath recognizing his cousin, Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, as heir to the English throne. However, when Henry died in December 1135, Stephen broke his promise and quickly had himself crowned king of England.

At the time of her father's death, Matilda was with her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou in Normandy. It was not until 1139 that Matilda landed in England with her army. Stephen was eventually captured at the battle of Lincoln (February, 1141). When Matilda went to be crowned the first queen of England, the people of London rebelled and she was forced to flee from the area.

Stephen's army captured Matilda's half-brother, Robert of Gloucester. An exchange of prisoners was agreed, and Stephen obtained his freedom.

The civil war continued until the signing of the Treaty of Winchester in November, 1153. This treaty recognised Matilda's eldest son, Henry, as the next king of England. In return, Matilda agreed that Stephen's son, William, would be allowed to keep his family lands in Normandy.

Stephen, the last of the Norman kings, died in October 1154.