Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Begin End Event Description Keywords Related Events
1135 1154

Stephen of Blois

Stephen of Blois, the son of William the Conqueror's daughter, claimed the throne of England in 1135. He was supported by the citizens of London, his brother the Bishop of Winchester and the Bishop Roger of Salisbury despite having taken an oath of fealty to Henry I's daughter Matilda. This led to a long civil war which brought great misery and devastation to the country.

Stephen of Blois (1097-1154), King of England from 1135 to 1154, was the third son of Stephen, count of Blois and Chartres, and Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror. After the death of Henry I, Stephen became king instead of the Empress Matilda, a would-be female ruler. She was rejected because she was married to the count of Anjou and thus did not appeal to the Normans.

Stephen and Matilda had multiple confrontations over the throne, one of them particularly hard fought in 1141-44, which brought great misery and devastation to the country. Eventually, a compromise was reached between the opposing parties, which ensured the succession of Matilda's son, Henry of Anjou (Plantagenet), later Henry II. This solution was generally welcomed and when Stephen died in 1154, a new period of strong monarchic government began with the ascension of Henry Plantagenet.
History, Middle English Period, Political, Kings + Rulers