Harold Godwinson

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Harold Godwinson
King of England (more...)
Penny of Harold Godwinson.png
Reign5 January — 14 October 1066
Coronation6 January 1066
PredecessorEdward the Confessor
SuccessorEdgar the Ætheling or William the Conqueror
BornCirca 1022
Wessex, England
Died(1066-10-14)14 October 1066
Battle of Hastings, Sussex
BurialWaltham Abbey, Essex, or Bosham (disputed)
SpouseEdith Swanneck
Edith of Mercia
Full name
Harold Godwinson
HouseHouse of Godwin
FatherGodwin, Earl of Wessex
MotherGytha Thorkelsdóttir
HAROLD SACRAMENTUM FECIT VVILLELMO DUCI ("Harold made an oath to Duke William"). Bayeux Tapestry: This scene is said to have taken place at Bagia (Bayeux, probably in Bayeux Cathedral). It shows Harold touching two altars with the enthroned Duke looking on, and is central to the Norman Invasion of England

Harold Godwinson or King Harold II of England (c. 1022 – 14 October 1066) was an English king. He ruled England after king Edward the Confessor died. He ruled from 5 January 1066 until he was killed at the Battle of Hastings. This was the end of Anglo-Saxon England.

Career[change | change source]

Harold was the son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and Gytha, a Danish noblewoman.[1] His sister, Edith, was married to the king he succeeded, Edward the Confessor.[2] About that same time Harold became Earl of East Anglia.[3] When his father died in 1053, Harold inherited his earldom of Wessex.[3] Elfgar, son of Leofric of Mercia was appointed to replace Harold in East Anglia. Berkshire and Somerset were joined to Wessex again.[3] Wessex itself was, in those days, an enormous amount of land that covered about a third of England. Harold ruled over a large portion of England, making him the most powerful man in the whole kingdom, after the King.

Harold Godwinson had three brothers: Tostig, Swegen and Gryth. He claimed to have been made King by Edward the confessor. Before Harold Godwinson became king, he swore to help William, Duke of Normandy to become king.

In September 1066 Harold Godwinson defeated an invasion from the north by Harald Hardrada. He returned south to fight Duke William's invasion. He was killed, it is generally assumed, by an arrow shot by one of William's archers, but some reports say he was cut down by many soldiers.

References[change | change source]

  1. Orderic Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, Volume II, Books III And IV, ed. Marjorie Chibnall (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 216
  2. The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester; With the Two Continuations, trans. Thomas Forester (London: Henry G. Bohn; New York: AMS Press, 1854), pp. 150-52
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 561–569

He had 250,00 men He owned the south of England