This hammered silver penny was struck during the reign of William I (1066 - 1087), the first of the Norman Kings.
William I is familiar to all as William the Conqueror, and the year of his accession to the English throne, 1066, is one of the best remembered dates in English history. He was born in 1027 at Falaise in Normandy, the illegitimate son of Robert Duke of Normandy and a tanner's daughter called Arlette. On his father's death in 1035 he was accepted as the Duke. There were many rebellions and invasions during his reign over Normandy, but he survived them.
He is believed to have received promises to the English throne from Edward the Confessor, and the support of Harold Godwinsson, the son of Earl Godwin. On Edward's death, Harold became king as Harold II, having reputedly been nominated by Edward on his deathbed. William sought and was given papal support in his claim to the English throne, and promptly invaded England. William famously won the Battle of Hastings on the 14th October 1066, Harold being killed by an arrow through his eye. This was the last successful invasion of England.
William brought with him many substantial changes in government and administration. In 1086 he ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book. Parts of England were not subdued until 1086, and revolts continued both in England and Normandy. William died on 9th September 1087 at Rouen from an injury sustained after his horse stumbled. He left Normandy to his son Robert, and England to his younger son William II (Rufus).
During his reign he had many castles built, including the Tower of London.
When King Edward of England (Edward the Confessor) died in 1066, he left no heir to the throne. The Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson, became his successor, which led to a three-way battle between the King, Harald Hardrada (the Viking king of Norway) and William, the Duke of Normandy.
Harald Hardrada was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, leaving King Harold and the Anglo-Saxons, and William and the French-Normans to fight for the crown.
The Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October, 1066. The Saxons created a shield wall of which the Normans spent most of the battle trying to defeat. Thinking the Normans were retreating, the Saxons broke the shield in order to chase them, a mistake as the Normans had lured them away in order to kill them. Harold Godwinson was killed and the Normans defeated. William took the throne and was given the nickname William the Conqueror.
The battle is famously shown on the Bayeux Tapestry.
The only coins struck during his reigh were pennies. There were various obverse and reverse designs issued.
The obverse of William I pennies varied. William I was depicted facing left, with a bonnet, canopy, holdng a sword, with a sceptre, facing right, with stars in the background and paxs.
Bonnet Type Silver Penny
The coin illustrated shows William wearing a helmet with the appearance of a bonnet.
|William I (1066-1087)
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