Heroes of the Dark Ages

William the Conqueror-King John-Joan of Arc

William the Conqueror

Name: Duke William

Born: 1028 Death: 1087

Place of Birth: Normandy (Modern day France)

Place of Death: Normandy

Characteristics: Intelligent



Memorable Moments

Born the son of a Duke, William was destined to be a great ruler. Upon his father’s death in 1035, he inherited his power. At the age of 15 he was knighted by King Henry of France.  As a child, Normandy was suffering from riots and crime. By 1047, William put down many riots and rebellions in which increased his power.  During the time, King Edward promised William the throne of England, but there were many problems when it came to appointing the next king. Nobles of England appointed Harold to be the next King of England. William was to be the true successor of King Edward but his crown was stolen and William wanted to take back what was rightfully his.  In 1066, William crossed into the English Channel with an army of Norman knights and defeated the Anglo-Saxon army and killed King Harold in the Battle of Hastings.

"War... is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror."

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Battle of Hastings


Becoming King of England increased Williams’s power and over the years William ended many civil conflicts such as riots and rebellions. William conquered the lands of those who resisted him and became known as the Conqueror. During his reign as King of England, William created the Doomsday Books, the first official written document that recorded the land people owned.

King John

Name: John Lackland

Born: 12/24/1166 Death: 10/19/1216

Lived in: England

Place of Birth: Beaumont Palace, Oxford,

Place of Death: Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

Characteristics: Villianous



Memorable Moments

John became King of England upon the death of his brother Richard the Lion-Hearted in 1199. John also became Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou. John wasn't known as a great king. In 1202, one of the barons of England filed a complaint on him and persuaded King Philip II that John was unfit to manage some of his french lands. John was forced to give away some of his land in France, he offered to give lane to Arthur, his nephew,but he wanted to keep Normandy for himself. Later, Arthur disappeared and rumors were passed stating that John killed him. The Barons were angry about how John handled the situation and the lands of Anjou and Normandy were lost. In 1207, issues between the Pope and John on deciding the next archbishop of Canterbury led England to be banned from church services. The Pope later excommunicated John in 1209. A few years later in 1213 they made peace, and John regained his support.


King John was very disliked among the people of England. John enforced a large tax on the people of England to fund the war against King Philip II. John was unable to reclaim the lands he lost to Philip and the barons were angry. In 1215, a group of barons revolted against John and forced him to sign a document known as the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta limited the power of a king so that there would never be a cruel king like John. The most significant accomplishment King John had was signing the Magna Carta. Overall King John was one of England's worse king.

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Magna Carta

"To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.".

Quote from the Magna Carta stating everyone has the right to a fair trial

Joan of Arc

Name: Jeanne d'Arc

Birth: January 6th 1412 Death: May 30th 1431

Lived in: France

Place of Birth: Domrémy, France

Place of Death: Rouen, France

Characteristics: Brave



Memorable Moments

Joan of Arc was a peasant who didn't know how to read or write. As a child the only the she had was a strong faith. Joan and her mother were devoted Catholics. She became more than a catholic when she started seeing and hearing visions from saints. The visions led Joan to believe that God gave her a mission to free France from England. In 1429, Joan asked a french commander to take her to see King Charles and later the commander took her. The king was desperate for aid so he was willing to speak to her. Before the Charles spoke to her, he tested her by switching places with a noble. Joan realized the “king” was not the king and pointed out the “real” king. King Charles was amazed by Joan's unusual powers, and gave her some armor, a banner, and an army to lead. In April 1429, Joan led her army to Orléans to reclaim the land back from the English. At first, the commanders were uncomfortable when following her commands then they realized her plans worked well. Ten days later she reclaimed Orléans.

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying."

-Joan of Arc

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Siege of Orléans


After the Siege of Orléans, Joan persuaded Charles to get a proper coronation. They traveled to the Cathedral in Riems and won several battles going through the enemy territory. On July 17th 1429, Joan stood next to Charles as he had a proper coronation and became King of France. After the coronation, Joan was eager to reclaim Paris. Charles wasn't to sure if it would be a good thing to do but he allowed her to try. Joan was wounded in one of the battles near Paris and was captured by burgundians in May 1430. The burgundians sold Joan to England and she was put on trial. English tried her for witchcraft and heresy and she was burned on the stake on May 30th 1431.

In 1455, 24 years after Joan's death, her mother asked for a retrial. Pope Callistus III gave her a new hearing and the Pope found her not guilty. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV declared Joan of Arc to be a saint.