King William II (Rufus) was killed while hunting in the New Forest.

William was the third son of William the conqueror & ruled England from 1087 until his death.

William was known as Rufus (Latin for red) because of his red hair & red faced appearance.

He was unpopular with everyone;

The Bishops didn’t like his lack of religious piety.

His younger brother Henry wanted the throne.

The Peasantry didn’t like his treatment of poachers, You could be maimed or hanged for attempting it, & you would have your eyes poked out just for disturbing the Royal deer.

He was said to be assembling an army on the south coast, to invade France, so anyone French wanted him dead.

On the 2nd of August, 1100, William was out in the New Forest hunting deer.

That morning a monk warned William that he had a vision of his death, William said  he had no interest in the dreams of snoring monks.

One of the hunting party, Walter Tirel fired an arrow, that landed in the kings chest, killing him.

What happened is unsure, its said the arrow was fired at a deer but missed, other accounts say it deflected of a tree into the king.

Its also thought that the arrow was fired from some unknown assassin hiding in the forest.

Walter Tirel fled the scene & returned to his home…….in France!

Williams younger brother also fled the scene, he rushed to Winchester to secure the crown & left servants to cart the corpse back.

Williams body arrived at Winchester the next morning & was buried in the Cathedral by midday.

The church & the locals didn’t want William in the cathedral, they said he was too wicked to end up in such a holy place.

When the Cathedral was struck by lightning, William got the blame, that was seven years later!

Today the “Rufus Stone” stands in the New Forest, where the Oak tree once stood that the arrow deflected from.

 

 

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