This timeline details all Dukes of Normandy from 911 to 1259.
In 911 the Viking Rollo was granted Normandy by the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte following the siege of Chatres. Although all rulers of Normandy are generally referred to as Duke, the first rulers actually used the title Count. The title Duke was first used by Richard II around 1006. Normandy remained a self-governing entity until it was assimilated into France by King Philip II of France. It was officially ceded by King Henry III in 1259.
Married – Poppa of Bayeux
Rollo was granted Normandy by the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte.
Nicknamed – Longsword
Married – 1. Luitgarde of Vermandois
William became ruler of Normandy before the death of his father. He had no children by his wife but did have a son, Richard, by his mistress. William was assassinated by Arnulf, Count of Flanders.
Nickname – the Fearless
Married – 1. Emma of Paris; 2. Gunnor
William became ruler of Normandy following the death of his father. Normandy became a Feudal society under his rule.
Nickname – the Good
Married – 1. Judith of Brittany; 2. Poppa of Envermeu
Richard was a minor when he succeeded so his uncle Rodulf of Ivry, acted as regent. He allied Normandy to Brittany through his marriage. In 1003 he made an alliance with England when his sister, Emma, married King Aethelred the Unready.
Married – Did not marry
Became King after the death of his father. His younger brother, Robert led a revolt against his rule but was unsuccessful. Richard died after ruling for less than a year.
Nickname – the Magnificent
Married – Did not marry
Succeeded after his brother died. There were rumours that Robert had poisoned his brother to take the throne. Robert set about stabilising Normandy. He did not marry but had a son, William, by his mistress, Herleva. William died while on crusade in 1035.
Nickname – the Conqueror
Married – Matilda of Flanders
William is arguably the most famous of the Dukes of Normandy. He inherited the title aged about 8 years old. During his minority he was subject to numerous attempts to abduct or assassinate him. William invaded England in 1066 claiming he had been promised the throne by Edward the Confessor. After beating King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings he became King of England. On his death his lands were divided between his two eldest sons – Robert gained Normandy while William gained England.
Nickname – the Curthose (short stockings)
Married – Sybilla of Conversano
Robert became Duke of Normandy on his father’s death. As the eldest son, he believed he should have inherited England as well as Normandy. Robert made peace with his brother William, King of England after they agreed to be each other’s heirs. William died while hunting in the New Forest in 1100 and Robert’s younger brother, Henry became King of England. Robert invaded England but was captured and imprisoned by his brother in 1105.
Nickname – Beauclerc (good administrator)
Married – 1. Edith of Scotland (Matilda); 2. Adeliza of Louvain
Henry, King of England, began to rule Normandy after capturing and imprisoning his brother Robert. Henry avoided using the term Duke of Normandy because many people believed that Robert’s young son William Clito was the rightful heir. After the death of Henry’s only son, William, in the White Ship Disaster, Clito became more of a threat because he could claim the throne of England on Henry’s death. However, Clito died in 1128 after an arm wound festered. When Henry died in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois took the title.
Married – Matilda of Boulogne
Stephen had taken the throne of England after the death of Henry I over Henry’s daughter, Matilda. The conflict between Stephen and Matilda led to a civil war known as The Anarchy. Stephen was captured and imprisoned in 1141. With Stephen imprisoned, Matilda’s husband Geoffrey Plantagenet took control of Normandy.
Nickname – the Handsome
Married – Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England
Geoffrey married Matilda in 1128 as part of a treaty between Anjou and England. He became Count of Anjou the following year when his father left for Jerusalem. Geoffrey supported Matilda through the years of Civil War when she tried to take England from Stephen. After defeating Stephen in Normandy, Geoffrey assumed the title of Duke. He passed the title to his son, Henry in 1150.
Nickname – Curtmantle (short tunic)
Married – Eleanor of Aquitaine
Henry became Duke of Normandy in 1150 after his father passed the title to him. In 1151, Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine six weeks after her marriage to King Louis VII was annulled. This gave him control of Aquitaine and also angered Louis. In 1154 Henry became King of England following the death of King Stephen. His later years were marked by conflict with his wife and five sons.
Nickname – the Lionheart
Married – Berengaria of Navarre
Richard became Duke of Normandy following the death of his father. The title was to have gone to his elder brother, Henry, but he had already died. Richard joined the third Crusade and was absent for long periods. He died, childless, in 1199 after a crossbow wound festered.
Nickname – Lackland
Married – 1. Isabella of Gloucester; 2. Isabella of Angouleme
John became Duke of Normandy and King of England after the death of his brother Richard. He lost Normandy to Philip II of France in 1204. Although John attempted to regain Normandy by conquest he was not successful. Despite the defeat John retained the title of Duke.
Married – Eleanor of Provence
Henry’s father had lost control of Normandy in 1204 but had not officially given up the title. Henry attempted to regain Normandy from the French but was unsuccessful. He signed the Treaty of Paris in 1259 officially renouncing the title Duke of Normandy.
Published May 12, 2022 @ 12:35 pm – Updated – [last-modified]
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). Dukes of Normandy 911 – 1259.