William the Conqueror’s last big bang

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William the Conqueror, who got this name due to his profession, was a Normann duke who became the king of England after having defeated the English King Harold II at the the battle of Hasting. But what was his last big bang?William was crowned King of England as William I on Christmas Day, 1066. That must have been the happiest Christmas of his life, as Santa dropped an entire country under his Christmas tree. During his reign, he transformed England quite a bit: he built stone castles and implemented some major changes in the administration and government. He put his French-speaking Normann nobles into key positions and French was the official language of the country for the next 300 years.

William died on September 9th, 1087 in consequence of a horse riding accident. After poor thing had yielded up his soul, everyone who had attended his deathbed, rushed to mind their own business. Members of the clergy in Rouen sent the corpse to Caen to be laid to rest there according to William’s last will.

The king’s last big bang happened at his funeral. In 1087, September was quite warm and decomposition obviously didn’t stop for time between his death and funeral. When the monks tried to squeeze the body – that was overweight anyway – into the custom-made stone sarcophagus, the sarcophagus turned out to be too small and the corpse burst. Horrible soul smell filled the church and the mourners scattered.

(source of the photo: my own photo)

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