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 King William “Rufus” de Normandie, II

King William “Rufus” de Normandie, II

Birth
France
Death 2 Aug 1100 (aged 43–44)
New Forest District, Hampshire, England
Burial Winchester, City of Winchester, Hampshire, England
Plot Bones are in one of the chests high above the choir of the Cathedral
Memorial ID 1947 · View Source
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English Royalty. He was third son of William I and Matilda of Flanders and at his father's request, came to the throne upon the King's death in 1087. Often called the Red King or Rufus, he had strawberry blond hair and a fiery, ruddy complexion with a personality that was just as fiery. He was unpopular and said to be very cruel to his subjects, had fits of rage from a quick temper, and extremely greedy to the point of stealing the church's money. The Roman Catholic Church declared this behavior was unaccepted, so he responded by doing everything he could to undermine the workings of the church. In 1088, several powerful Norman barons revolted against William. He put down the revolt and strengthened his position. Later, he gained control of Normandy by financing the ventures of his brother Robert, Duke of Normandy in the First Crusade in 1095. He also invaded Scotland and brought it under his control in 1097. His thirteen-year reign ended when he died while deer hunting with a group in New Forest near the village of Minstead. The circumstances around Rufus's death still remain a mystery. A stone, known as the Rufus Stone, marks the spot where he was found a day later by a farmer. The inscription on the Rufus Stone tells the story: "Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis, and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city." The church refused to give him a Christian funeral. Some historians state that his death was not an accident but a murderous plot of his brother Henry, who was part of the group hunting. Sadly Rufus' body did not rest in peace as during an English Civil war in the 17th century, Parliamentarian soldiers opened his grave throwing his remains through the church windows. At the restoration of the monarchy, his few remaining bones were gathered, along with those of other royals, and placed into the present mortuary chests high above the choir area in the cathedral. Rufus, who never married, died leaving no heir to the throne. After hearing of Rufus' death, his brother Henry rushed to secure the throne before his older brother Robert could act.

Bio by: Linda Davis



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1947
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for King William “Rufus” de Normandie, II (c.1056–2 Aug 1100), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1947, citing Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, City of Winchester, Hampshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .