William was notorious for his bad relations with the Church. He feuded with them throughout his reign. The clergy for their part regarded him as a sodomite and a wrathful man. There are many anecdotes in support of both claims.
The king was shot by a friend during a hunt in the New Forest and died of his wound. Almost at once, competing theories arose to explain the death. Some believed it was an accident; others saw a conspiracy by a rival family or by the Church. In the 20th century, anthropologist Margaret Murray advanced the idea that Rufus was a sacrificial pagan king who went knowingly to his fate.