William Longsword

William Longsword
Count of Rouen
SuccessorRichard I
Bornc. 893
Bayeux or Rouen
Died17 December 942 (aged 48–49)
Picquigny on the Somme
SpouseLuitgarde of Vermandois
IssueRichard I of Normandy
HouseHouse of Normandy

William Longsword (French: Guillaume Longue-Épée, Latin: Willermus Longa Spata, Old Norse: Vilhjálmr Langaspjót; c. 893 – 17 December 942) was the second ruler of Normandy, from 927 until his assassination in 942.[1]

He is sometimes anachronistically dubbed "Duke of Normandy", even though the title duke (dux) did not come into common usage until the 11th century.[2] Longsword was known at the time by the title Count (Latin comes) of Rouen.[3][4] Flodoard—always detailed about titles—consistently referred to both Rollo and his son William as principes (chieftains) of the Norse.[5]


William Longsword was born "overseas"[a][6] to the Viking Rollo (while he was still a pagan) and his Christian wife Poppa of Bayeux.[7][8] Dudo of Saint-Quentin in his panegyric of the Norman dukes describes Poppa as the daughter of a Count Berengar, the dominant prince of that region.[9] In the 11th-century Annales Rouennaises (Annals of Rouen), she is called the daughter of Guy, Count of Senlis,[10] otherwise unknown to history.[b] Despite the uncertainty of her parentage she was undoubtedly a member of the Frankish aristocracy.[11] According to the Longsword's planctus, he was baptized a Christian probably at the same time as his father,[12] which Orderic Vitalis stated was in 912, by Franco, Archbishop of Rouen.[13]