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People Born in Caen
Caen in People's Lives
William the Conqueror: I fought and won a battle here in 1047, riding into battle beside Henry I of France. I had been kept busy putting down uprisings and rebellions since I first took control of the duchy of Normandy in 1035, but with this solid victory, the people of Normandy at last accepted me as their leader. I was 19 years old and had successfully made my first conquering victory, even if of my own land. Later in my life, in 1051, Pope Leo IX ordered that I build a monastery here in order for his approval of my marriage. I did so, and requested that I be buried in it after I died. I perished in 1087 in Rouen, and my body was taken here to be buried, as I had asked. The funeral, widely attended by the most powerful men in the European world, was disrupted when a peasant stood up and started an outcry that his family had been illegally robbed of their land, which happened to be where the very church they were standing in had been built. He was hurriedly hushed and paid, but another disrupption occurred when it was found that my coffin would not fit in the grave, forcing workers to force and splinter it into the grave, causing a foul odor to fill the church. Many took it as a bad sign, possibly one of evil spirits.