King Stephen of England 1097 – 1154

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King Stephen

Father – Stephen-Henry of Blois
Mother – Adela
Spouse – Matilda of Boulogne
Children – Baldwin, Eustace
King of England – 1135 – 1154
Predecessor – Henry I
Successor – Henry II



1097 (exact date unknown)
A son, Stephen, was born to Stephen-Henry, Count of Blois and his wife Adela, daughter of William I and Matilda of Flanders at Blois, France.
1099 (exact date unknown)
Stephen’s brother, Henry, was born to Stephen-Henry, Count of Blois and his wife Adela, daughter of William I.
1102 (19th May)
Stephen’s father died while on crusade and Stephen’s older brother, William became Count of Blois and Chartres.
1107 (during)
Stephen’s older brother Theobald came of age and the title of Count of Blois and Chartres was transferred to him from William who may have been mentally unfit to hold the titles.
c1107 (exact date unknown)
Stephen’s mother, Adela, sent him to the court of his uncle, King Henry I of England and Normandy.
1112 (during)
Stephen was knighted by Henry I after having fought with him in defending Normandy from challengers for the title.
1113 (during)
Stephen was created Count of Mortain by Henry I.
1120 (25th November)
Stephen was due to return to England with Henry I’s son on the White Ship but changed his mind and decided to take a later ship. The ship sank and Henry I’s son, William Audelin, heir to the English throne died.
1125 (during)
Stephen married Matilda, daughter of Eustace III of Boulogne and his wife Mary, daughter of Malcolm III, and sister of the Queen.
1126 (during)
A son, Baldwin, was born to Stephen and Matilda.
1127 (during)
Stephen was among the nobles that were required by Henry I to swear an oath to support Henry’s daughter Matilda‘s claim to the English throne.
1127 (during)
A son, Eustace, was born to Stephen and Matilda.
1135 (around)
Stephen’s son, Baldwin, died.
1135 (22nd November)
Henry I died. When Stephen, heard of the death of his uncle, he rode to Winchester, where, with the support of his brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, he took control of the treasury. Roger of Salisbury supported Stephen’s bid to be King instead of Matilda.
1135 (22nd December)
Stephen, with the support of the Barons, who generally felt that women were unfit to rule, took the throne of England.
1135 (26th December)
The Archbishop of Canterbury was persuaded to crown Stephen. It was argued that the oath of allegiance sworn to support Matilda was invalid as it had been exacted by force. A fictitious story was also put about that King Henry had changed his mind about the succession on his deathbed.
1136 (during)
A daughter, Marie, was born to Stephen and Matilda.
1136 (22nd March)
Stephen’s wife, Matilda, was crowned Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey.
1136 (during)
David I of Scotland supported Matilda’s claim to the English throne and invaded the north of England. Stephen marched north to intercept the Scottish king.
1136 (21st July)
Matilda’s half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, rebelled against Stephen on Matilda’s behalf and declared war on Stephen beginning a period of civil war.
1138 (22nd August)
Battle of the Standard
King David I of Scotland was defeated by King Stephen at the Battle of the Standard.
1139 (9th April)
King David I of Scotland and King Stephen reached an agreement and hostilities were ended between the two.
1139 (September)
Matilda landed at Arundel in Sussex to press her claim to the throne.
1139 (after September)
Supported by Robert of Gloucester, Matilda quickly gained control of the south-west of England
1141 (2nd February)
Stephen and Matilda fought a decisive battle at Lincoln. Stephen was captured and held prisoner by Matilda who declared herself Queen of England.
1141 (2nd March)
Matilda met with Stephen’s brother,the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois. Having disagreed with Stephen over the ruling of the country Henry gave his support to Matilda.
1141 (3rd March)
Matilda was given a formal welcome to Winchester and handed the keys to the treasury.
1141 (Spring)
Matilda went to Oxford before going on to London.
1141 (24th June)
Matilda had set 24th June as the date for her coronation, however a group of pro-Stephen supporters forced her to flee to Oxford before the event.
1141 (July)
Henry of Blois, seeing that Matilda did not have the support of London, decided to change sides and directed Stephen’s forces to besiege Matilda’s forces in Winchester.
1141 (31st July)
As soon as she learned of Henry of Blois’ actions Matilda set out for Winchester with her own army and lay siege to Stephen’s forces that were besieging her own forces.
1141 (early August)
Winchester was set on fire (probably by Stephen’s forces). This made it more difficult for Matilda’s forces to withstand the siege.
1141 (14th September)
The Rout of Winchester
Matilda’s forces were no longer able to withstand the siege by Stephen’s forces and tried to break out and flee north. Matilda was able to get away but Robert of Gloucester was captured.
1141 (November)
Matilda was unable to continue the war without Robert of Gloucester and refused to make peace with Stephen’s wife and so it was agreed that Robert of Gloucester would be swapped for Stephen and both were released.
1142 (During)
Matilda’s eldest son, Henry, arrived in England to help his mother’s cause.
1143 (During)
Robert of Gloucester put Wilton Castle, where Stephen was staying, under siege. However, Stephen was able to break free.
1143 (Late)
Geoffrey, Earl of East Anglia rose up against Stephen and planned a march south to London.
1144 (Summer)
Ranulf of Chester rebelled against Stephen but Matilda was unable to use this to further her claim to the throne
1144 (September)
Geoffrey, Earl of East Anglia died.
1144 (During)
Matilda’s eldest son, Henry, who Matilda and her supporters expected to be king after Stephen, returned to Anjou to begin learning how to administer the family’s lands there.
1147 (During)
Matilda’s half-brother and chief supporter, Robert of Gloucester died.
1147 (During)
Matilda’s son, Henry, returned to England with a mercenary force to try to take the throne from Stephen. The mission failed because Henry did not have sufficient funds to pay his men and his mother refused to pay the men for him.
1148 (Early)
Matilda returned to Normandy.
1153 (Early)
Henry returned to England to try to win support for his claim to the throne. He had limited success but the barons did not want to return to a state of civil war. The church acted as a mediator and it was agreed that Henry would be named Stephen’s successor and would inherit the throne when Stephen died.
1153 (17th August)
Stephen’s son, Eustace, died.
1154 (25th October)
Stephen died and Matilda’s son Henry, became King Henry II of England. He was crowned on the same day.



Published Aug 10, 2016 @ 19:14 – Updated – Jul 26, 2019 @ 1:46 pm


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016). King Stephen of England 1097 – 1154. Available: Last accessed October 23rd, 2019


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