CONTENDERS OF THE ENGLISH THRONE IN 1066

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  • Created by: Kate Hutt
  • Created on: 09-04-12 12:26

WHO WOULD SUCCEED EDWARD THE CONFESSOR?

EDWARD DIED IN JANUARY 1066.

THREE MEN BELIEVED THEY COULD SUCCEED HIM:

  • HAROLD GODWINSSON
  • HAROLD HARDRADA
  • WILLIAM DUKE OF NORMANDY

EDGAR THE ATHELING was a fourth contender, as though he was very young, he was the closest relative to Edward. 

Edward the Confessor and his wife, Edith (daughter of Harold Godwinsson) were unable to conceive, so did not have any direct heirs to the throne.

WHY DID THE GODWINS FALL FROM POWER IN 1051?

-In 1050, Eadsige the Archbishop Of Canterbury died. The monks of Canterbury wished to elect Elric, a relative of Godwin. However, Edward instead chose his own favourite, ROBERT OF JUMIEGES, who had been bishop of London since 1044.

-Robert Of Jumieges and Godwin antagonized each other all throughout the 1940's. Edward built up his own FACTIONS, giving his supporters (usually Normans) extra land etc. 

-Godwins prestige and reputation at court had fallen as his oldest son, Swegn, had murdered Beorn (an earl since 1046, nephew to both Godwin and Canute)

-Godwin was suspected of Treachery of disobeying Edwards orders in 1051. There was nothing left to do but flee the country.

WILLIAM OF NORMANDY VISITING ENGLAND IN WINTER OF 1051/2

  • It is recorded in the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE that Duke William visited King Edward the Confessor during the winter of 1051/2. 
  • This was a smart time to visit, given the open struggle between Edward and Godwin, and Edwards Norman Factions at court. 
  • It is unclear whether EDWARD OFFERED THE THRONE TO William...The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not state this, and Norman sources say that Edward sent Robert of Jumieges (Archbishop of Canterbury) to offer William the throne-portraying that William was the HEIR-DESIGNATE. 

GODWIN RETURNS A YEAR LATER

  • SWEGN has died
  • Godwin and his sons took a large fleet up the Thames, gathering support (by force or popularity) and arrived in London with support from the people of London. The King's army would not fight, so Edward made peace with Godwin.

GODWIN DIES IN 1053, leaving the Earldom of Wessex to 27-year-old HAROLD. The Godwin siblings gained greater power towards the later 1050s than Godwin would have dared to hope:

-TOSTIG=EARL OF NORTHUMBRIA

-GRYTH=EAST ANGLIA

-LEOFWINE=EARLDOM IN THE SOUTH-EAST

-HAROLD=GAINED HERTFORDSHIRE WHEN THE PREVIOUS EARL DIED IN 1057.

HAROLD WAS EVEN NAMED "SUB-REGULUS"

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