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Dynasty: Normans
Ruler: Henry I
Reigned: 1100 - 1135
Denomination: AR Quadrilateral on Cross Fleurée type (BMC xv) Penny
Mint/Moneyer: Leofwine, Lundene (London)
Date of Issue: 1125 - 1135
Obverse: Crowned bust facing slightly left, holding scepter; "HENRICUS"
Reverse: Quadrilateral with incurved sides and fleurs at limbs; all over cross fleurée. "+ LEFP[...] ON : LVN :"
Reference: SCBI 20 (Mack), 1573; North 871; Spink 1276
Weight: 1.3 gms
Diameter: 19.6 mm


Henry was born in Selby, Yorkshire, circa September 1068 and was well-educated (probably, as a younger son, with an ecclesiastical career in mind). He came to the throne on the death of his brother William II on 3rd August 1100. He married: (1) Matilda (born Edith), daughter of Malcolm III, King of Scots, and (St) Margaret, (2) Adelicia or Adelaide, daughter of Geoffrey VII, Count of Louvain.

Henry consolidated his position by vigorous efforts to reconcile the English and the Normans. He issued a charter upholding the rights of Englishmen and retracting Rufus's unpopular taxes, and he married a Scottish princess of Anglo-Saxon descent. His chief rival was his brother, Robert of Normandy, who invaded England after returning from the First Crusade in 1101 He was repulsed, and in 1106 Henry conquered Normandy, imprisoning Robert at Cardiff until his death in 1134. Henry then had to defend the duchy against Louis VI of France, who supported Robert's son.

To end the conflict between secular and ecclesiastical authority, Henry restored Anselm as Archbishop of Canterbury. But Anselm refused to do homage to the Crown for church estates and again sought sanctuary abroad. Generally diplomatic, Henry accepted a compromise in 1107.

Henry's life was blighted in 1120 when the `White Ship', bearing both his sons, sank in the Channel. He made his barons swear to accept his daughter, Matilda, as his heir. Matilda formed the first English zoo - in the Tower of London. He died of 'a surfeit of lampreys', no doubt food-poisoning. Henry died at St Denis le Fermont, near Rouen 2 December 1135 and was buried in Reading Abbey.

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