PARANORMAL X

PRESENTS

ROYAL HAUNTS

The Normans

 

 

William I
King of England 1066 - 1087; Duke William II of Normandy 1036 - 1087.
Born : Around 1027 at Faleise, Normandy.
Died : September 9th, 1087 in France.
Interred : St. Stephen's, Caen, Normandy.
Edward the Confessor could possibly be seen as the first King of England as it was his face on the coinage of the country as a whole. Prior to Edward, rulers such as Alfred the Great of the Saxons held onto pieces of land made up of kingdoms.

Edward was said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime and one can understand why people wanted a reformation of the monarchy after Cromwell's demise when believing the monarch could cure what was called "The King’s Evil." Whether the monarch had this power is very doubtful as the line of succession continued. It was Edward the Confessor that put it into regular practice in a ceremony of touching. This was to alleviate those suffering from a disease of the glands known as scrofula which was then known as "The King’s Evil," the monarch's sacred touch being the cure. It is said that Charles II touched over 9000 during his time but the practice died out after the reign of Queen Anne in 1714.

The wife of Edward the Confessor, and sister of Harold Godwinson, Editha, was reputed to haunt Ladye Place in Berkshire. It is now decimated, turned into a housing complex and the land sold in lots to build on what was once a beautiful landscape. It was at the hall that a "Grey Lady" haunted. On the death of Edward the Confessor, Editha went to spend what time was left to her as a nun. She is believed to have been buried at Ladye Place and when an archaeological dig tried to discover her last resting place there was a reported increase of ghost sightings, but these were not of the Grey Lady but monks who also inhabited the area at one time. Along with others, the monks were run out during the scourge of Henry VIII's reign. With land sold off and new buildings, it is highly unlikely that Editha’s remains will ever be found.

William II of Normandy, which is now annexed to France, claimed his cousin, Edward the Confessor had named him successor, but Harold Godwinson saw himself as the true heir and when Edward died in 1066 claimed succession. William's claim to the crown came from what occurred two years earlier when Harold's ship was wrecked and he found himself captive in Normandy. Under duress Harold pledged the throne to William who came to take his prize. This led to the Battle of Hastings where Harold II was mortally wounded and William proclaimed King, his victory being portrayed in the Bayeux Tapestry which in reality is an immense work of embroidery on display at the museum of Queen Matilda in Bayeux, France.

The Abbey at Hastings was commissioned by William I as a monument to those on both sides who died at the site. With no concerns for history, or reasons for the abbeys existence, it now stands a ruin thanks to Henry VIII and his abolition of all Catholic relics.

The battlefield is haunted with the armies who fought in the campaign re-enacting the event, usually in the skies above the actual battle site, though this does not appear to have been witnessed in recent times. The ground is also said to sweat blood after a heavy rainfall due to the slaughter that took place. However, there is a high content of iron in the soil which could also account for the red tinge to puddles.

A High Altar at the Abbey was said to be placed on the spot where Harold fell but this has long since been replaced by a fir tree. A fountain of blood is said to have spurted from the ground, this being the blood of the many who did not survive the battle. Harold is also seen on occasion, the arrow that killed him still protruding from his eye. In 1030 he had founded Waltham Abbey and that is where he was interred, though since the dissolution it is difficult to say where in the grounds that may be.

There is what seems to be a residual haunting at the nearby ruins of Pevensey Castle with those fortunate to have heard the sounds of fighting. This phenomena is heard at night and is thought to date back to the Norman Conquest. In William of Normandy’s bid to take the crown of England he landed at Pervensey Bay with a well equipped army. The procession can be seen on bright moonlit nights, their armour glinting, but no sound can be heard as the phantom army makes its way over the marshes. This is said to be a reoccurring event from when William made a failed attempt to take the Castle. The scene ends with the apparitions fading beside or into the moat.

The tradition of the French was to begin with numbering the monarchs afresh when taking a country, but for those that followed William the Conqueror it only effects the Edward's.

William quickly asserted himself, making many changes. Under his Norman rule the Doomsday Book was compiled, this being the first census, the Romans implementing something similar when taking a country. Now England was under a new foreign rule French took priority over the English language. A mixing of the two later became the medieval language of the country.

Fortifying England from invaders like himself, William had fortresses built, including the now famous Tower of London which is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the world.

William married Matilda of Flanders, and though records are sketchy on how many children were produced, four sons are said to have survived infancy. Instead of naming his eldest son as complete successor, William split the kingdoms he had won in battle.His eldest son, Robert rebelled against his father with his mother taking his side and there was much rivalry, jealousy and intrigue between the brothers. Richard died, presumably while out hunting in the New Forest, killed by a stag.

William the Conqueror died at around the age of 60, succumbing to injuries after falling from his horse during a siege. His son Robert became Duke of Normandy and William Rufus, King of England while the youngest, Henry, sat in the wings awaiting his chance.



William II
King of England 1087 – 1100.
Born : Between 1056-1060 at Normandy.
Died : August 2nd, 1100 in the New Forest, Southamptonshire.
Interred : Westminster Cathedral, London.
As King of England, William Rufus obtained the powers of Scotland, parts of Wales and Normandy. The powerful kingdom that William the Conqueror had pieced together was split between his sons by his own bequest. This also made them rivals as the eldest son was given Normandy.

England was an inconsequential island at the side of Normandy and it was the eldest son, Robert Curthose who inherited the duchy from his father. William received England and his younger brother, Henry 5000 pounds of silver, this being normal practice for the Normans to split lands, giving the original holdings to the eldest son while the second received conquered lands. Henry was expected to go into the church, receiving a classical education as an ecclastical life could be very lucrative. However, there was wrangling between the brothers and it is William who appears to have been the peace-maker. When Robert took up the call of the pope to go on the First Crusade, he left William as Regent of Normandy. In return Robert received 10,000 marks from William to fund the expensive venture and a pact was made that if anything happened to either of them the other would gain accession, so cutting out their younger brother, Henry.

Having made enemies, especially with the church, William's death remains an enigma. Already losing one brother in a hunting accident, the same fate befell William. Those with him stated his death was no more than an accident, the arrow that killed him being deflected. What is known, William died from an arrow piercing his chest while out hunting in the New Forest where his brother Richard had died 19-years earlier. The fact that they left the King where he lay either dead or dying is another mystery. A monument is placed near Minehead which is known as The Rufus Stone, marking the spot where he died. If the marker is in the correct spot, it would be difficult for an arrow to be deflected as those present stated, the line of trees being just the same as when William went out on that fateful day in the pursuit of game.

During his thirteen year reign William made many enemies, especially the church, taking revenues he was not entitled to and forcing Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury into exile. He led an army against the nobles who he accused of treachery such as the Earl of Northumberland, Robert de Mowbry who refused to attend court. Even William's lifestyle was questioned as it was suggested that his lack of taking a bride was due to homosexual tendencies. The clothing of the court tended to veer towards feminine dress with long shirts, long cloaks, and long hair. There were arguments with the King of Scotland, Malcolm III, who was forced to pay William homage. His forays in Wales were not so successful and his success was limited against the French. Before his untimely death plans were afoot to take Aquitaine. And so William had incurred the wrath of so many in powerful positions that it is hard to say who would have instigated an assassination as all would have been able to afford the sum acquired to carry out such a deed.

If it was more than the accident it claimed to be then the church rid itself of a King that took more of their profits than they liked. King Malcolm had died with William vouching for Edgar over Malcolm's son. This let King Edgar off the hook when it came to paying back favours. But the one who gained the most was his brother, Henry, coming at a favourable time with Robert's absence. Henry lost no time declaring himself King of England and eventually gaining the duchy of Normandy, usurping the throne from Robert who spent the rest of his life incarcerated.

It is said that William Rufus appears by the Rufus Stone on the anniversary of his death, (though this date would have changed when the calendars were altered). He then proceeds on foot towards Winchester.


Henry I
King of England 1100 – 1135.
Born : Between 1068-1069 at Selby, North Yorkshire.
Died : December 1st, 1135 at Rouen, France.
Interred : Reading Abbey, Berkshire.
With William II having no wife and not even an illegitimate child to his name, Henry was proclaimed king as William the Conqueror's youngest son with a hasty coronation taking place at Westminster three days after his brother’s death. At his father’s bequest, Henry had already received five thousand pounds of silver so attaining a kingdom was somewhat of a bonus. But still Henry was not satisfied and the feud continued on Robert's return from the Crusade's. Henry invaded Normandy and imprisoned his brother, once again fusing the kingdoms of England and Normandy under one rule.

Henry's marriage was very politically motivated as it united the lines of the Norman with the English of old. His first wife, Edith, was the daughter of the Scottish King, Malcolm III. The union produced four children, two being sons, though this is disputed and some say there was only one son. Unfortunately he or both died in a shipwreck in 1120 and with Edith having died two years previous, Henry remarried but there were no children from this second marriage to Adeliza, which only left him with illegitimate male offspring. Henry acknowledged the most illegitimate offspring of any king to the English throne, making provisions for twenty-five children to various mistresses.

In an unusual act Henry named his eldest daughter his successor. This forward thinking was alien to the majority, that a female could take the place of a man. Though the barons pledged their loyalty to the heir apparent, it brought divisions, throwing the country into unrest and civil war.

The official verdict of Henry's death is food poisoning, but these were dangerous time. His remains were shipped from his hunting lodge in Rouan and he was interred at the abbey he had founded at Reading.


STEPHEN
King of England 1135 – 1154.
Born : About 1096 at Bloise, France.
Died : October 25th, 1154 at Dover.
Interred : Faverhsam Abbey, Kent.
When Stephen’s uncle, Henry I, aged 67, died after eating lampreys at his hunting lodge near Rouen, Stephen saw his opportunity to take the throne.

Although the knights had pledged their allegiance to Henry’s daughter the vow seems to have meant nothing once the king was dead.

Apart from being a female in a world that belonged to man, Matilda had married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou, a sworn enemy who at the time was at war with Normandy. Those finding themselves unable to accept an Anjou king backed Stephen.

On receiving news of his uncle’s death, Stephen instantly set sail for England and twenty-two days after Henry’s demise was crowned by his brother Henry who was Bishop of Canterbury.

Stephen’s reign started off well with popular support but soon found troubles and instead of being the peace-maker and like Normandy England found itself fending off their enemies. Geoffrey Plantagenet overcame Normandy and took control while England persevered Welsh uprisings and Scotland also took advantage of the weakened position. There were also those who remained loyal to the old King seeing Matilda as the true claimant with Henry naming her his successor.

After a tumultuous reign that brought nothing but Civil War, Stephen was captured at the Battle of Lincoln. While he was incarcerated at Bristol, Matilda made her way to London with plans to be crowned Empress at Westminster. However, she did not ingratiate herself upon the people and ignoring any advice, demanded money from those who had already paid dearly in the ensuing wars.

The tide quickly turned back in Stephens favour and by 1548, evidently without the backing of her husband, Matilda gave up her claim to the throne and returned to Normandy. The conflict finally came to an end when Stephen made an agreement with Matilda’s son, Henry, declaring him his successor and the two agreed to work together to return order to the country.

As with other kings such as Edward the Confessor, Stephen founded a monastery at Faversham and when he died in October 1154 that is where he was interred.


Matilda
Lady of the English April to November 1141.
Born : February 7th, 1102.
Died : September 10th, 1167 at Rouen, France.
Interred : Rouen Cathedral, Rouen, France.
As with most noble marriages and being the daughter of Henry I, Matilda married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. Changing her name from Adelaide to her mother’s name of Matilda, there were no children in the marriage that lasted nine years. Being a widow, she married a second time to Geoffrey of Anjou, known as Plantagenet from the flower used as an emblem. Geoffrey was twelve years younger and had his own agenda on getting his hands on Normandy lands.

On her fathers death Matilda expected to take control of England only to find her cousin had usurped her. She found support from one of her father’s illegitimate offspring with Robert of Gloucester being her staunchest ally.

At one point in the Civil War things turned in her favour when Stephen was taken priosoner at the Battle of Lincoln. However, Matilda appears to have been a stubborn and haughty woman who expected too much. Having entered London with her army there was feasting in advance of her being crowned but the people turned on her and she was ran out.

With the death of Richard of Gloucester and no help from her husband, Matilda abandoned her claim on the English throne. She returned to Normandy where in 1151 she found herself a widow yet again. Her eldest succeeded his father though at the time there were rumours that he was the son of King Stephen.

Matilda died in 1169, seeing her son become the King of England. She is interred at the Cathedral in Rouen.


Paranormal X 2009

 
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