William II (b.1056 r.1087-1100)
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William II (b.1056 r.1087-1100)

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There exists no proof as
To who shot William Rufus
But shooting him would seem
To have been quite a sound scheme
E.C. Bentley, More Biography.

Additional Information on
William II (b.1056 r.1087-1100)

William I left 3 sons to dispute his inheritance. The first to reach England was William (the middle son) who had been the King's favourite - and to whom he had supposedly left the country. William II was known as 'Rufus' because of his red face and hair. William was a good soldier and was well known for his chivalry and generosity to his knights. However, he was a violent man who used brute force to get his way, was ruthless to the point of cruelty, and recklessly greedy. His reign saw many quarrels with the church, in fact some church leaders and monks disapproved of his long hair which they saw as a sign of a man who drank, gambled and was immoral!

However, he kept the peace and suppressed two rebellions with success. He may not have been a popular king, but he was a successful one. William was killed in 1100 by an arrow through his heart whilst hunting in the New Forest. This may have been an accident, but some say he was murdered by his own brother Henry, who suspiciously rushed to London to be crowned just four days later.


He was hated by almost all his people and abhorrent to God. This his end testified, for he died in the midst of his sins without repentance or any atonement for his misdeeds.
- Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1120.

Then was there flowing hair and extravagant dress; and then was invented the fashion of shoes with curved points; then the model for young men was to rival women in delicacy of person, to mince their gait, to walk with loose gesture, and half naked. Enervated and effeminate, they unwillingly remained what nature had made them; the assailers of others' chastity, prodigal of their own. Troops of pathics and droves of harlots followed the court...
- William of Malmesbury, De Gestis Regnum Anglorum, 1140.

A few of the peasants carried his corpse to the cathedral in Winchester in a horse drawn waggon with blood dripping from it the whole way. There in the cathedral crossing, under the tower, he was interred in the presence of many great men, mourned by few.
- William of Malmesbury, De Gestis Regnum Anglorum, 1140.

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