His reign ran between 2nd August 1100 and 1st December 1135. He is reputed to have been an effective ruler, although some consider him harsh. He skilfully manipulated the barons in England and Normandy. In England, he built on the existing Anglo-Saxon system of justice, local government and taxation. He encouraged ecclesiastical reform, but became embroiled in a serious dispute in 1101 with Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury, which was resolved through a compromise solution in 1105.
Matilda was intelligent and resourceful and wielded a level of agency that was uncommon for women of the time, taking an active role in government when her husband was away; many surviving charters are signed by her. She took a great interest in architecture and instigated the building of many Norman-style buildings, including Waltham Abbey and Holy Trinity Aldgate. She also commissioned the building of the first arched bridge in England, at Stratford-le-Bow, as well as a bathhouse with piped-in water and public lavatories at Queenhithe. Her court was one of literature and culture, filled with musicians and poets. She was also pious and sympathetic with the poor, with William of Malmesbury describing her as attending church barefoot at Lent, and washing the feet and kissing the hands of the sick.
Henry and Matilda had two children. Their daughter Matilda would become Holy Roman Empress, German Queen and Queen of Italy while their son William Adelin would die in the White Ship disaster of 1120.
Henry's failure to produce a legitimate son from his second marriage led to the succession crisis of The Anarchy.
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