Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


DASSIER, Jean: England, 1731, Bronze, 41 mm
Obv: Bust of William I with winged helmet to indicate the rapidity of the conquest. GULIELMUS. I. CONQUAESTOR. D. G. ANG. REX.  (William I, the Conqueror, by the Grace of God, King of England).
Seated on pedestal of tomb are a captive and England lamenting her subjugation. Pedestal is ornamented with a bas-relief representing the surrender of the keys of London to the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.
Exergue: NAT J023. COR. J066. MORT. J087
Signed: J.D.
The date of the birth should have been 1027.
Ref: M.I. i, p.2; Med. Hist. Engl. 1/1; Eimer 27/1; Eisler I, 253/3; Thompson 21/01;  Weiss BW592

William I (William the Conqueror or William of Normandy) (1027-1087) (reigned 1066-1087) was one of the greatest soldiers and rulers of the Middle Ages and became the mightiest feudal lord in France, changing the course of England’s history by his conquest. William was born in Falaise, Normandy, the illegitimate son of Robert I of Normandy. He became Duke of Normandy (as William II) in 1035. In 1051, William visited his cousin Edward the Confessor in England and, because Edward was childless, William was designated the successor to the English throne. In 1054 William married Matilda, a descendant of Alfred the Great, thus supporting further his right to be king of England. Following Edward’s death, William claimed the English throne. However, Harold, Earl of Essex, usurped the throne for himself, causing William to invade England, where in 1066 he defeated and killed Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Ruthlessly crushing internal resistance, William defeated the invading Danes and enforced his rule over the whole kingdom during a period that would come to be known as the Norman Conquest. He rewarded his supporters with grants of land and eventually replaced almost the entire Anglo-Saxon feudal ruling class with Normans. He invaded Scotland in 1072 and Wales in 1081. One of his lasting legacies was his commissioning of a survey of the English kingdom, known as the Domesday Book. This study, which is the most complete survey of lands in mediaeval Europe, now serves as an important primary historical source. William died in 1087 in a campaign against Philip I of France. He was succeeded on the throne by his son William II. (O’Brien)

LINK to portrait of William I (from National Portrait Gallery)

LINK to the Domesday Book (from Wikipedia)