Stephen was the final king of England before the start of the Plantagenet dynasty. He was king from 1135 and during his reign there was a civil war known as The Anarchy. The war came about over an argument on who should succeed Henry I on his death as the King had no living son and for his daughter Empress Matilda to take the throne, as he had wanted, would be unprecedented and there was widespread opposition to her husband Geoffrey Plantagenet.
On Henry’s death Stephen, the grandson of William I (William the Conqueror), had himself made King. Matilda invaded England arriving in Arundel in 1139. Stephen was eventually defeated and captured at Lincoln in 1141. Matilda now had control of the country however due to opposition she was never crowned. She returned to France and her son Henry took up the fight.
In 1153 Eustace, the only legitimate son of Stephen, died whilst pillaging church possessions. It was claimed his death was from the wrath of God. Stephen then agreed in order to keep the peace that Henry would be the recognised heir to the throne.
Stephen fell ill with a bowel disorder and died in Dover on the 25 October 1154. Henry II was crowned the king of England on the 19 December 1154 in Westminster Abbey. And from that day on was the start of the amazing Plantagenet dynasty.