The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream

by Charles Spencer

25th November 2020 marks the 900th anniversary of one of the greatest disasters that England has ever suffered: the sinking of the White Ship – the repercussions of which would change English and European history for ever.

In this fascinating new book, Charles Spencer relates not only the lead up to the tragedy, but analyses its aftermath, evoking the harsh and brutal story of the Normans from Conquest to Anarchy.


King Henry I was sailing for England in triumph after four years of fighting the French. Henry I and his retinue had set out first. The White Ship – considered the fastest afloat – would follow, carrying the young prince, Henry’s beloved son and heir, William AEtheling.

It was the middle of the night when a drunken helmsman rammed the ship into rocks.


As Helen Castor has written: “Here is a story, marvellously told, of the post-Conquest kings – and one almost-queen – of England: unpredictable, violently dramatic and never less than compelling.”

Hardback, William Collins, £25 – signed copies available

To order a copy, please email or telephone 0207 439 9921 – we look forward to hearing from you.

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