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William II (Known as William Rufus) (r. 1087-1100)

Strong, outspoken and ruddy (hence his nickname 'Rufus'), William II (reigned 1087-1100) extended his father's policies, taking royal power to the far north of England. Ruthless in his relations with his brother Robert, William extended his grip on the duchy of Normandy under an agreement between the brothers in 1091. (Robert went on crusade in 1096.)

William's relations with the Church were not easy; he took over Archbishop Lanfranc's revenues after the latter's death in 1089, kept other bishoprics vacant to make use of their revenues, and had numerous arguments with Lanfranc's popular successor, Anselm. William died on 2 August 1100, after being shot by an arrow whilst hunting in the New Forest. He was succeeded by his young brother, Henry I 'Beauclec'.


King William II (Rufus) and King Henry I © The British Library Board, Cotton Vitellius A. XIII