William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England.
He defeated Saxon king Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 ushering in the Norman Conquest, from which he gets his nickname.
The Normans, from Normandy in Northern France, became the rulers of England and overlords of the mostly Saxon people living there. As part of his subjugation of his new lands, William began a programme of castle building – something else he brought over from France with him – including, in 1068, the beginning of construction of a castle at Nottingham, high on the sandstone rock. He died in 1087 but before his death he ordered the Doomsday Book be created – the first great survey of England to be carried out.
Connection: ordered the building of Nottingham Castle in 1068
Born: around 1028
Died: 9th September 1087
Did you know? When William died his body began to decompose and bloat before his funeral – when they tried to lower him into his grave, they found the hole was now too small. When the attendants attempted to push the rotten king into the opening, his body exploded!