To what extent did a strong succession mean a strong reign in the years 1066-1189?

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To what extent did a strong succession mean a strong reign in the years 1066-1189?

An analysis of the five king’s in question and there ability to cope with rebellions would help elucidate the extent to which a King’s reign would be effective. Rebellions had to be dealt with swiftly and effectively in order to safeguard the kings reign. The support of the people of London became paramount especially between the years 1130 and 1135 when this was a vital factor in deciding who would obtain the monarchy. Additionally, the new king would have to seize the treasury and therefore control the kingdoms finances. The concept of iconography was still in existence and was perhaps the most noteworthy method of identifying the new king. This included being crowned publically by a religious figure of high status. The latter is the systematic establishment of these factors within the kings’ reign as well as a solid construction of governmental infrastructure. Although a strong succession may have assisted the maintenance of strong reign, perhaps it was the individual qualities of the king himself that determined the way he governed his kingdom that demonstrated a strong reign.

        Firstly, the suppression of the rebellions, and the complete annihilation of opposition was paramount if a King was to secure and maintain a successful reign. Perhaps the king that encountered the most rebellions was William the conqueror. This was inevitable as he was the first monarch to seize an unchartered England. After his victory at Hastings, the conqueror travelled straight to Winchester and seized the treasury, perhaps recognising the substantial importance of such an institution if he were to emphasise his absolute rule over his newly acquired jurisdiction. Within two weeks of his invasion, William was crowned publically by a high ranking bishop, therefore reinforcing the idea of iconography. It was without doubt that those loyal to Harold would attempt to oppose the new Norman kings role, either perhaps to test the strength of their new king or to purge him from power completely. The rebellion of the Norman earls in 1075 seemed to confirm William the Conqueror’s security and strength of his kingship. The rebellion was stifled from the outset, partly because of the intervention of the Conquerors regent, Lanfranc, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. Many of the rebels who participated in the uprising were blinded and murdered. This demonstrated his authority and control of his kingdom, which reinforced his reputation as a strong king, authoritative king, perhaps derived from his personality. William went onto show great adaptation and innovation within the governmental infrastructure of England. The meticulous control of his new kingdom can again demonstrate his authoritative, intolerant, supremely dominant personality that lead to a strong, efficient reign as king. In direct juxtaposition however, Stephen, who most certainly had the strongest succession of all the Norman kings, failed to effectively deal with such a threat to his kingship. Stephen possibly had the ultimate succession, with help from his brother, Henry, the Bishop of Winchester, he not only gained influential religious support, but his brother was able to ensure that he claimed the treasury before Matilda. However, he was not able to convert his succession into a strong reign as he indecisively dealt with the empress. He allowed Matilda and her husband Geoffrey safe passage from Arundel in 1139 when they landed in England. Matilda and Geoffrey’s very presence was enough to set a precedent of rebellions within Stephen’s kingdom that invariably lead to his so

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called “anarchical” reign. There is evidence to suggest that if Stephen were to hastily annihilate the empress and her husband, he may have been able to demonstrate his

strength and intolerance as king whilst simultaneously enforcing his unopposed rule. Without such opposition, Stephen would have been able to strengthen his status as undisputed king. However, it was his gallant and pious personality that contributed to his instable kingship and lead to the twenty years of “anarchy”. It is paramount that in order to succeed as king, the monarch in power impose his almighty supremacy and intolerant rule ...

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