William The Conqueror Badly Treated In Death
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William The Conqueror Badly Treated In Death

A look at the incidents that happened to William the Conqueror after his death.

It was for winning the Battles of Hastings in 1066 that William the Conqueror is best remembered. What is not so well remembered though is how William the Conqueror was treated after his death.

William the Conqueror died in 1087 at the age of 59. His reign as King of England had began on Christmas day 1066 and he was still on the throne when he died (not literally!). When he did die, everything in his room, including the clothes he had been wearing, were stolen. It was not the most dignified start to death.

It was to get worse for the deceased King though. William the Conqueror was set to have a grand funeral at the Church of St Stephen in Caen, France but it was disrupted by a nearby fire. The people who had lined the street for the funeral of William the Conqueror left their spot to either grab buckets of water to put out the fire or simply to watch other people try and put out the fire. The body of William the Conqueror was taken up the road to the church in front of no on-lookers as they were all too busy with the fire.

The crowd did finally manage to put out the nearby fire and soon enough the church was full. Just in time to watch the monks try to fit the body of William the Conquerer in to his stone coffin that was clearly too small for his ample frame - no one having checked the measurements beforehand. Such inconveniences were not to be stood for and the monks decided to try and force the body in to the coffin.

(Image Source)

With such force did the monks try and push the body in to the coffin that it resulted in the bowels of William the Conqueror bursting and the church being filled with a horrendous stench that left the on-lookers running for the fresh air of outside. The funeral service was rushed through as more and more people ran for freedom from the smell of the King's burst bowels.

The next bit of indignity for William the Conqueror didn't happen for another 500 years. In 1562, the tomb of William the Conqueror was opened during what has been described as a 'disturbance'. The bones of his skeleton were left scattered all over the place. But when it came to cleaning the mess up and restoring the King the only bone that could be found was one of his thigh bones. The one remaining bone of William the Conqueror was reburied with all the pomp and ceremony of the original funeral (but this time it was much easier to get him in the coffin!).

Two hundred years later, during the French Revolution, William the Conqueror was deemed to be a symbol of wealth and power. The dissenters were not happy about this so decided to destroy his tomb. Granted the only part left of William the Conqueror himself to destroy was his one remaining thigh bone, but the destruction of the tomb went some way to dispelling the thought of him being a symbol of wealth and power.

In life William the Conqueror was a man of note, but in death he was certainly mistreated!

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Comments (2)

Great history...Thanks for sharing...

Nice share and very interesting, too. Well-written...great illustrations. Thanks for posting. Voted