25 Facts About Harold Godwinson


Harold Godwinson's death marked the end of Anglo-Saxon rule over England.


Harold Godwinson was a member of a prominent Anglo-Saxon family with ties to Cnut the Great.


Harold Godwinson became a powerful earl after the death of his father, Godwin, Earl of Wessex.


When Harold Godwinson Harefoot died in 1040, Harthacnut ascended the English throne and Godwin's power was imperiled by his earlier involvement in Alfred's murder, but an oath and large gift secured the new king's favour for Godwin.


Harold Godwinson was aged about 25 in 1045, which makes his birth year around 1020.


Harold Godwinson probably entered the relationship in part to secure support in his new earldom.


In 1049, Harold Godwinson was in command of a ship or ships that were sent with a fleet to aid Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor against Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, who was in revolt against Henry.


Earl Godwin died in 1053, and Harold Godwinson succeeded him as Earl of Wessex, which made him the most powerful lay figure in England after the king.


In 1055 Harold Godwinson drove back the Welsh, who had burned Hereford.


Harold Godwinson became Earl of Hereford in 1058, and replaced his late father as the focus of opposition to growing Norman influence in England under the restored monarchy of Edward the Confessor, who had spent more than 25 years in exile in Normandy.


Harold Godwinson led a series of successful campaigns against Gruffydd ap Llywelyn of Gwynedd, king of Wales.


The earliest post-conquest Norman chroniclers report that King Edward had previously sent Robert of Jumieges, the archbishop of Canterbury, to appoint as his heir Edward's maternal kinsman, Duke William II of Normandy, and that at this later date Harold Godwinson was sent to swear fealty.


The Bayeux Tapestry, and other Norman sources, then record that Harold Godwinson swore an oath on sacred relics to William to support his claim to the English throne.


In preparation of the invasion, Harold Godwinson assembled his troops on the Isle of Wight, but the invasion fleet remained in port for almost seven months, perhaps due to unfavourable winds.


Harold Godwinson gave no name, but spoke to Tostig, offering the return of his earldom if he would turn against Hardrada.


Tostig asked what his brother Harold Godwinson would be willing to give Hardrada for his trouble.


Harold Godwinson established his army in hastily built earthworks near Hastings.


The widely held belief that Harold Godwinson died by an arrow to the eye is a subject of much scholarly debate.


Twelfth-century Anglo-Norman histories, such as William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum Anglorum and Henry of Huntingdon's Historia Anglorum recount that Harold Godwinson died by an arrow wound to his head.


Harold Godwinson included in his reproduction the parts of the work that previously had been damaged or missing with his own hypothesized depictions.


The account of the contemporary chronicler William of Poitiers states that the body of Harold Godwinson was given to William Malet for burial:.


Harold Godwinson's corpse was brought into the Duke's camp, and William gave it for burial to William, surnamed Malet, and not to Harold's mother, who offered for the body of her beloved son its weight in gold.


The poem claims Harold Godwinson was buried by the sea, which is consistent with William of Poitiers' account and with the identification of the grave at Bosham Church that is only yards from Chichester Harbour and in sight of the English Channel.


Legends grew up that Harold Godwinson had not died at Hastings but instead fled England or that he later ended his life as a hermit at Chester or Canterbury.


Harold Godwinson was married to Edith the Fair for approximately twenty years and had at least five children with her.