Young Girls from the Middle Ages


Daughter of William the Conqueror

Adele, Daughter of WIlliam the ConquererAdele was the daughter of William of Normandy, also known as William the Conquerer, and Matilda of Flanders. William eventually conquered England and became King there.

Adele was born around the year 1062 in Normandy, France. Some scholars think she might have been born as late as 1067. The information on the children is not very clear. There are some sources that say William and Mathilda had 10 children, but others say nine. Because birth dates for girls were not always recorded, it is hard to be sure.

It is possible that her family spent some time in England after her father became king.

Adele was likely to have been around four years old when her father left to invade England and conquer King Harold.

The invasion is depicted in a tapestry that was commissioned in 1077 by Adele’s uncle, the Bishop Odo. The tapestry is known as the Bayeux Tapestry and is currently exhibited in a museum in Bayeux, France. It was more than likely made in a monastery in England. It was always a French traditional belief that the Queen was responsible for the production of the tapestry.

Adele was also able to read and was taught by various teachers. One of the first copies of the St. Alban Psalter was made especially for her. Many young girls and women read every day from their book of hours.

Adele was one of ten of William and Matilda’s children to live past the age of twenty. In fact, Adele lived to be 70-75 years-old, while one of her brothers lived to be 74. Very few people during Adele’s time lived to be that old!

Click to enlarge image

  • Castle Gate

    A gate at the castle in Caen, France.

  • Ruins of William's castle. The original castle was destroyed by bombings during World War II.

  • Prayer Book

    A manuscript like the one Adele received when she was ten years old.

  • Another manuscript. Manuscript comes from the Latin words manus for 'hand' and scribere for 'to write'.

  • Bayeux Tapestry

    A scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

  • Bayeux Tapestry

    A scene from the tapestry of Bayeux.

  • William's Castle illustration

    A diagram of what William's castle looked like.

  • Castle Tower

    A castle tower in William's city of Caen, France. Adele might have waited for the delivery of the sheep in a tower like this one.


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