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Dynasty: Normans
Ruler: Stephen
Reigned: 1135 - 1154
Denomination: AR "Watford" type Penny
Mint/Moneyer: Lincoln/Reinald
Date of Issue: c. 1136 - c. 1145
Obverse: Bust right, crowned and diademed, holding sceptre in right hand. "(+ST)IEFNE"
Reverse: Cross moline with lis in angles. "+(RENAUT ON LIN)"
Reference: Spink 1278 North 873
Weight: 1.1 gms
Diameter: 18.9 mm

STEPHEN of Blois

STEPHEN of Blois (circa 22nd December 1097 to 25th October 1154), (House of Blois) King of England (1135-1154), was probably born in Blois, France. He was the grandson of King William I (the Conqueror) and nephew of Henry I. In 1125 Stephen swore fidelity to Henry's daughter Matilda, who was to succeed her father to the throne. Upon Henry's death, however, Stephen proclaimed himself king. He was opposed by many English barons and by Matilda and her supporters, and his reign was troubled by anarchy and constant internal war. For six months in 1141 he was Matilda's prisoner, during which time she reigned as queen. Stephen was restored to the throne, but for five years Matilda and many of the nobles continued to oppose him. During the course of the frequent civil wars, much of the land was ravaged, and England was plunged into almost complete chaos. In 1148 Matilda left England and gave up her claim in favour of her son, Henry of Anjou, later Henry II. Henry then waged war against Stephen until 1153, when Stephen was forced to make Henry his heir.

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