Fascinating Facts: Henry I [1100-1135]
- Brother of William II, who had made a pact with their brother Robert Curthose (Duke of Normandy) to exclude Henry from the succession of both England and Normandy. When William died, Robert was out of the country, so Henry seized control.
- He was cold-blooded and cruel. He once tore out a captive's eyes with his bare hands.
- Unlike other Norman kings, he could read and write.
- He was constantly engaged in intrigue, devious and deceitful and broke faith with nearly everyone.
- When Robert proved weak in Normandy, Henry campaigned to take control, captured his brother, and imprisoned him for life.
- He loved hawks and had hundreds at court and would go hunting at dawn. He preferred rare white falcons.
- In 1120 Henry and his whole family sailed from France to England. The White Ship carrying the young people, children of the king and many nobles, delayed leaving while they partied. When it eventually sailed it struck a rock and sank. Only one man survived.
- In 1135, aged 67, Henry died from eating too many lamprey eels. As the famous book 1066 and All That said, he died of a surfeit.