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King Stephen (1135 - 1154)

Name: King Stephen
Born: c.1097 at Blois, France
Parents: Stephen, Count of Blois, and Adela (daughter of William I)
Relation to Charles III: 1st cousin 26 times removed
House of: Blois
Ascended to the throne: December 22, 1135
Crowned: December 26, 1135 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Matilda, Daughter of Eustace III, Count of Boulogne
Children: 3 sons and 2 daughters, plus at least 5 illegitimate children
Died: October 25, 1154 at Dover, Kent
Buried at: Faversham, Kent
Reigned for: 18 years, 10 months, 3 days
Succeeded by: Henry II his 1st cousin once removed

King of England from 1135. A grandson of William the Conqueror, he was elected king in 1135, although he had previously recognized Henry I's daughter Matilda as heiress to the throne. Matilda landed in England in 1139, and civil war disrupted the country with fighting between Stephen and forces loyal to Matilda. Stephen was briefly taken prisoner and Matilda declared Queen until she was defeated at the Battle of Farringdon in 1145. In 1153 Stephen acknowledged Matilda's son, Henry II, as his own heir

Timeline for King Stephen

Year Event
1135Stephen usurps the throne from Matilda, Henry’s daughter.
1136The Earl of Norfolk leads the first rebellion against Stephen starting civil war known as 'The Anarchy'.
1136Owain Gwynedd of Wales defeats the English at Crug Mawr
1138Robert, Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I, deserts Stephen and pledges allegiance to Matilda.
1138David I of Scotland invades England in support of his niece, Matilda, but is defeated at Northallerton.
1139Matilda leaves France and lands in England.
1141Matilda’s forces take Stephen prisoner at the Battle of Lincoln, and Matilda is proclaimed queen.
1141Earl Robert is captured and exchanged for Stephen’s freedom.
1145Stephen defeats Matilda’s forces at the Battle of Faringdon.
1148Matilda abandons her cause and leaves England.
1147Matilda's son Henry Plantagenet (later Henry II) invades England but runs out of money. Stephen pays for Henry's return to Normandy
1151Matilda's husband Geoffrey of Anjou dies and their son, Henry Plantagenet, succeeds his father as Count of Anjou.
1153Henry lands in England again, and gathers support for further war against Stephen.
1153Henry and Stephen agree terms for ending the civil war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Westminster, Stephen is to remain King for life, but thereafter the throne passes to Henry.
1154Stephen dies.