English History Timeline 1120-1129

King Henry I

This timeline gives a chronological listing of the main events in English History for the years 1120 – 1129

The monarch for this period was King Henry I


1120 (25th November)
White Ship Disaster
Having spent time in Normandy, King Henry, his nobles and army prepared to return to England.
Henry left for England leaving his son, William Adelin and around 300 other younger members of the court to take another vessel, the White Ship. Young William ordered for wine to be brought aboard and passengers and crew drank large amounts.
William knew the White Ship was a fast vessel and ordered the Captain to speed up and try to overtake the King’s ship. However, the ship struck a rock and capsized. It is said that William was escorted away in a spare boat but returned to the wreck to try to save his half-sister. The boat was swamped and William drowned.
Only one man survived the disaster, a butcher who managed to hold on to the rock until help arrived.
The disaster created a succession problem because William was King Henry’s only son.
1121 (during)
The treaty between King Henry I and Fulk of Anjou had been sealed with the marriage of Fulk’s daughter to Henry’s son William Adelin. With William’s death in the White Ship Disaster the treaty began to unravel. Fulk demanded the return of his daughter and her dowry. Fulk’s daughter, Matilda, was returned but Henry refused to return her dowry, a large tract of land in The Maine. Fulk of Anjou decided to take the land and then began a series of raids along the Normandy-Anjou border.
1121 (24th January)
King Henry I married Adeliza of Louvain. He hoped to have more sons to secure the succession. The wedding ceremony was performed at Windsor Castle.
1121 (June)
Reading Abbey was founded.
1122 (20th October)
Ralph d’Escures, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
1123 (during)
St Bartholomew’s hospital was founded in London by Rahere, a favourite courtier of Henry I.
1123 (18th February)
William de Corbeil became Archbishop of Canterbury.
1123 (Summer)
Henry sent Robert of Gloucester and Ranulf le Meschin to Normandy to suppress the revolts and raids along the Normandy border.
1123 (26th August)
Godfrey became the first Bishop of Bath.
1123 (late)
Henry went to Normandy to deal with the worsening situation. He put rebel castles to siege.
1124 (26th March)
Henry I defeated rebels at Bourgtheroulde in Normandy.
1125 (during)
Historian William of Malmesbury completed his histories of England – Gesta Regum Anglorum and Gesta Pontificum Anglorum.
1125 (23rd May)
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor husband of Henry I’s daughter Matilda, died.
1126 (during)
Edgar Aetheling, the last surviving member of the House of Wessex, died. The exact date of his death is unknown but the last recorded account of him was in 1125 so it is likely that he died early in 1126.
1126 (during)
Henry I’s daughter Matilda, whose husband had died the previous year, was recalled to England.
1126 (Christmas)
King Henry I gathered together all the most important nobles and required them to swear an oath to recognise his daughter, Matilda as Queen, if he should die without male issue. This was an unprecedented move and many nobles doubted the ability of a woman to rule.
1127 (during)
Henry approached Count Fulk of Anjou with a proposal for a marriage alliance between his daughter, Matilda, and the Count’s son, Geoffrey. Geoffrey had earned the nickname Plantagenet because he wore a sprig of broom (planta genista) as an emblem. The marriage proposal was welcomed by Fulk since it would enable him and his Angevin House to take over the Anglo-Norman realm.
1127 (2nd March)
Charles of Flanders was assassinated. William Clito, son of Robert Curthose, was chosen to succeed as Count of Flanders. This opened up the possibility of a threat to Normandy from Flanders.
1128 (17th June)
Henry’s daughter Matilda married Geoffrey 15 year old son of Count Fulk of Anjou. He was styled Plantagenet because he used to wear a sprig of broom (planta genista) as an emblem.
1128 (28th July)
William Clito, Count of Flanders, died. This brought an end to opposition to Henry’s position in Normandy.
1128 (5th September)
Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham and former favourite of William II, died.
1129 (during)
Count Fulk of Anjou left to go to Jerusalem. Henry’s son-in-law, Geoffrey Plantagenet took over as Count of Anjou.
1129 (late)
Matilda left her husband Geoffrey and returned to her father in Normandy stating that she could not continue with the marriage.
1129 (4th October)
Henry of Blois became Bishop of Winchester.


First published 2016; updated and republished May 16 2022 @ 2:08 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016 – 2022). English History 1120 – 1129.

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