Caen Mens Abbey William the Conqueror Grave

The gravestone of William the Conqueror in St Stephen’s Monastery in Caen, France

Here is buried the victorious William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of England, builder and founder (of this abbey) who died in the year 1087.

The peaceful grave site of William the Conqueror is a complete antithesis to a life spent in battle. He died from injuries sustained by his stumbling horse, his grossly obese frame spearing against the pommel of his saddle, dying a few weeks later. The bloated body burst as attendants pushed William’s huge frame into the poorly measured sarcophagus.

Even in death, his grave has been disturbed both during the War of Religions and the French Revolution to the point that only a thigh bone survives.

Caen is rarely on a traveller’s itinerary though a visit to the impressively elegant Benedictine Men’s Abbey (Abbaye des Hommes) of St Stephen is well wanrranted. The abbey was built as a penance by William himself, for marrying his cousin, Matilda (who is buried in the equally elegant Abbaye des Dames across the road). Whatever its history, it is a strangely moving experience to stand and ponder in front of the resting place of such a hugely significant figure in world history.

Footnote: Only around 20 kilometres from Caen, is the town of Bayeux, with the superb (and well displayed) Bayeux Tapestry telling the story of William’s successful conqueroring of Britain.

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4 Responses to Photo of the Week: William the Conqueror Grave (Caen, France)

  • I’m almost ashamed to admit it but I was just in Caen and did not see this, though I was about a block away, or did I see the Bayeux Tapestry. Too busy doing the beaches of Normandy and the American Cemetery. So much to see in France.

    • Mark H says:

      You missed something special with the Bayeux Tapestry but there is so much to see in France, especially in that area. I guess you’ve moved on now but Monet’s Garden at Giverny is also a good experience and not that far away either.

  • That place is rich in history, and there are so many things to see while in there. I personally have a lot of appreciation for the Gothic style of the middle age buildings, a must see to say the least!

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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