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Stephen versus Matilda

War Name : Stephen versus Matilda

Date(s) : 1135 - 1154


Originally the successor to the English throne after Henry I was to be his daughter Matilda but baronial suspicion of a female monarch caused them to name Stephen of Blois as King.

The backing of the prominent Robert of Gloucester and her husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou enabled Matilda to contest the throne and civil war ensued. The course of the turbulent 18 years which followed was anything but decisive but eventually following the death of Stephen's only son, Matilda's son was named heir and peace declared. Stephen died less than a year later and Henry II was crowned.

Much has been made of Stephen's chaotic reign but in fairness he ended up fighting on 4 fronts at once. War against Matilda and Robert in the west country, the Welsh and the Scots in opportunistic actions and Geoffrey in France would have taxed the finest leaders. Also in his defence, much of the political and administrative framework created by Henry I was preserved sufficiently for Henry II to pick up following his ascending the throne.

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