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House of Blois - King Stephen

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King Stephen
Name: King Stephen
Father: Stephen, Count of Blois
Mother: Adela (daughter of William I)
Born: c.1097 at Blois, France
Ascended to the throne: December 22, 1135
Crowned: December 26, 1135 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Matilda, Daughter of Eustace III, Count of Boulogne
Died: October 25, 1154 at Dover, Kent
Buried at: Faversham, Kent

King of England from 1135. A grandson of William the Conqueror, he was elected king in 1135, although he had previously recognized Henry I's daughter Matilda as heiress to the throne. Matilda landed in England in 1139, and civil war disrupted the country with fighting between Stephen and forces loyal to Matilda. Stephen was briefly taken prisoner and Matilda declared Queen until she was defeated at the Battle of Farringdon in 1145. In 1153 Stephen acknowledged Matilda's son, Henry II, as his own heir


Timeline

 1135 

 Stephen usurps the throne from Matilda, Henry’s daughter. 

 1136 

 The Earl of Norfolk leads the first rebellion against Stephen starting civil war known as 'The Anarchy'.  

 1136 

 Owain Gwynedd of Wales defeats the English at Crug Mawr 

 1138 

 Robert, Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I, deserts Stephen and pledges allegiance to Matilda. 

 1138 

 David I of Scotland invades England in support of his niece, Matilda, but is defeated at Northallerton. 

 1139 

 Matilda leaves France and lands in England. 

 1141 

 Matilda’s forces take Stephen prisoner at the Battle of Lincoln, and Matilda is proclaimed queen. 

 1141 

 Earl Robert is captured and exchanged for Stephen’s freedom. 

 1145 

 Stephen defeats Matilda’s forces at the Battle of Faringdon. 

 1148 

 Matilda abandons her cause and leaves England. 

 1147 

 Matilda's son Henry Plantagenet (later Henry II) invades England but runs out of money. Stephen pays for Henry's return to Normandy 

 1151 

 Matilda's husband Geoffrey of Anjou dies and their son, Henry Plantagenet, succeeds his father as Count of Anjou. 

 1153 

 Henry lands in England again, and gathers support for further war against Stephen. 

 1153 

 Henry and Stephen agree terms for ending the civil war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Westminster, Stephen is to remain King for life, but thereafter the throne passes to Henry. 

 1154 

 Stephen dies. 

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