Godwin family influence I

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 20-05-17 15:50
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  • The Early Godwin influence
    • Edward the Confessor's marriage
      • 1045 - Edward becomes more closely tied to Godwin family by marrying Godwin's daughter, Edith
      • Godwin's father-in-law to King and secured family position
      • Some argued Edward chose to marry Edith
        • Renowned beauty
        • Need to cement alliance with most powerful man in England
        • Need to produce heir (Edward was 40 at time and coronation oath encouraged him to provide heir given recent instabilities)
      • Some argue Edward was forced
        • Edward deliberately didn't conceive a child with her to restrict Godwin's influence
          • Little evidence and stories gained credence after struggle in 1051 and Conquest
    • Growing Godwin power
      • Edward's base in South of England meant he resided in Godwin's earldom of Wessex
        • Godwin could influence and control Edward
      • Influencing Edward seen in growing family power and influence
        • Godwin's eldest son,  Swegn, was made an earl in 1043
        • By 1050, Swegn's earldom included Hereford, Gloucester, Oxford, Berkshire and Somerset
        • Godwin's second son, Harold, was appointed Earl of East Anglia in 1045
        • Godwin's nephew, Beorn Estrithson, was given an earldom in east midlands
      • Example seen in events surrounding Swegn
        • 1946 seduced abbess of Leominster and in 1049 murdered Earl Beorn
        • Exiled for both offences but Godwin was able to secure recalled in 1050 and restoration as earl
    • The decline of Godwin power
      • Growing Norman influence challenged Godwin's predominance
      • Behaviour of Swegn damaged Godwin's reputation (King declared Swegn nithing)
      • Edward used Swegn's exile to strengthen royal position in west by giving part of his earldom to Ralf of Mantes
        • Introduced  some Norman features (building castles and garrisoning them)
      • Edward used Beorn's death to bring in Bretons, Robert fitz Wimarc and Ralf the Staller, to East Anglia
      • Therefore appears Norman and French influence in England was increasing at Godwin's expense and this was also reflected in Church appointments.
    • The Dover Fracas
      • 1051
      • Completed Godwin's decline from power
      • Earl Godwin's refusal to punish people of Dover for attacking Eustace of Boulogne (Norman friend of Edward's) resulted in King summoning council and army to Gloucester
      • Godwin appeared there with own army and agreed he would be tried by council in London
      • On his way to London, Godwin's men deserted him and other important Earls (Leofric of Mercia and Siward of Northumbria) didn't support him
      • Godwin left isolated and Edward had military supremacy
      • Edward's triumph
        • Godwin and his sons outlawed
        • Queen Edith banished to a nunnery
        • Leofric's son was given part of Harold's earldom
        • Swegn's earldom divided
        • King kept most of Wessex
      • Edward overplayed hand - earls who rallied to him believed Godwin was rebel and about to start civil war
      • Edward willing to see Godwin stand trial but not willing for Edward to take personal revenge and increase influence of Normans (might have been part of Norman succession plan)


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