William 1 William The Conqueror

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

William 1 (William The Conqueror)


Born 1027 or 1028, in Falaise, France; died Sept. 9, 1087, in Rouen. King of England beginning in 1066.

In 1035 William became duke of Normandy. He annexed the County of Maine (1062) and part of the lands belonging to the count of Anjou. After declaring himself the successor of the Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor, William I, leading an army of Norman, French, and Italian feudal lords and vassals, landed in England in 1066. At Hastings on Oct. 14, 1066, he defeated the army of the Anglo-Saxon king Harold and became the king of England. Having confiscated the lands of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, William I in his policy relied on the support of Norman knights, the small and middle landowners who had gone over to the side of the conquerors, and also the church. During his reign the direct vassal dependency of all feudal landowners on the king was established, which facilitated the strengthening of the royal power. The condition of the peasantry under William I grew considerably worse. By his decree in 1086 a land census, the so-called Domesday Book, was taken, transferring many free peasants into the serf class (villeins). Uprisings against William I did not cease until the middle of the 1070’s.


Stenton, F. M. William the Conqueror … . New York-London, 1928.
Brooke, C. The Saxon and Norman Kings. London, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.