Medieval and Middle Ages History Timelines - Edward (The Confessor, King of England )
Edward the Confessor also known as Saint Edward the Confessor, was among the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from to The son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, Edward .. William may have visited Edward during Godwin's exile, and he is thought to. Medieval and Middle Ages History Timelines - Edward (The Confessor, King of tree show Edward's ancestors and his relationship to William the Conqueror. The incident occurred in Dover where a fight broke out between the Norman. William the Conqueror. Aged about 39 in , William was the child of a teenage romance between Robert 'the Magnificent', Duke of Normandy and Herleva.
It is unclear what exactly happened at Edward's deathbed.
One story, deriving from the Vita Edwardia biography of Edward, claims that Edward was attended by his wife Edith, Harold, Archbishop Stigand, and Robert FitzWimarcand that the king named Harold as his successor. The Norman sources do not dispute the fact that Harold was named as the next king, but they declare that Harold's oath and Edward's earlier promise of the throne could not be changed on Edward's deathbed. Later English sources stated that Harold had been elected as king by the clergy and magnates of England.
English sources claim that Ealdredthe Archbishop of Yorkperformed the ceremony, while Norman sources state that the coronation was performed by Stigand, who was considered a non-canonical archbishop by the papacy.
Tostig appears to have received little local support, and further raids into Lincolnshire and near the River Humber met with no more success, so he retreated to Scotland, where he remained for a time. Harold assembled an army and a fleet to repel William's anticipated invasion force, deploying troops and ships along the English Channel for most of the summer. Although some sort of formal assembly probably was held, it is unlikely that any debate took place, as the duke had by then established control over his nobles, and most of those assembled would have been anxious to secure their share of the rewards from the conquest of England.
Henry was still a minor, however, and Sweyn was more likely to support Harold, who could then help Sweyn against the Norwegian king, so these claims should be treated with caution.
Although Alexander did give papal approval to the conquest after it succeeded, no other source claims papal support prior to the invasion. To deal with Norman affairs, William put the government of Normandy into the hands of his wife for the duration of the invasion.
William the Conqueror
The fleet carried an invasion force that included, in addition to troops from William's own territories of Normandy and Maine, large numbers of mercenaries, allies, and volunteers from Brittanynortheastern France, and Flanders, together with smaller numbers from other parts of Europe. Although the army and fleet were ready by early August, adverse winds kept the ships in Normandy until late September. There were probably other reasons for William's delay, including intelligence reports from England revealing that Harold's forces were deployed along the coast.
William would have preferred to delay the invasion until he could make an unopposed landing. King Harold received word of their invasion and marched north, defeating the invaders and killing Tostig and Hardrada on 25 September at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. William then moved to Hastingsa few miles to the east, where he built a castle as a base of operations. From there, he ravaged the interior and waited for Harold's return from the north, refusing to venture far from the sea, his line of communication with Normandy.
Battle of Hastings After defeating Harald Hardrada and Tostig, Harold left much of his army in the north, including Morcar and Edwin, and marched the rest south to deal with the threatened Norman invasion.
Edward the Confessor - Wikipedia
Harold stopped in London, and was there for about a week before marching to Hastings, so it is likely that he spent about a week on his march south, averaging about 27 miles 43 kilometres per day,  for the distance of approximately miles kilometres.
The exact events preceding the battle are obscure, with contradictory accounts in the sources, but all agree that William led his army from his castle and advanced towards the enemy. Some of William's Breton troops panicked and fled, and some of the English troops appear to have pursued the fleeing Bretons until they themselves were attacked and destroyed by Norman cavalry.
During the Bretons' flight, rumours swept through the Norman forces that the duke had been killed, but William succeeded in rallying his troops.
Two further Norman retreats were feigned, to once again draw the English into pursuit and expose them to repeated attacks by the Norman cavalry. The Bayeux Tapestry has been claimed to show Harold's death by an arrow to the eye, but that may be a later reworking of the tapestry to conform to 12th-century stories in which Harold was slain by an arrow wound to the head.
- The death of Edward the Confessor and the conflicting claims to the English Crown
The English dead, who included some of Harold's brothers and his housecarlswere left on the battlefield. Gytha, Harold's mother, offered the victorious duke the weight of her son's body in gold for its custody, but her offer was refused. Waltham Abbeywhich had been founded by Harold, later claimed that his body had been secretly buried there.
After waiting a short while, William secured Doverparts of Kent, and Canterburywhile also sending a force to capture Winchesterwhere the royal treasury was. Next he led his forces around the south and west of London, burning along the way. He finally crossed the Thames at Wallingford in early December. William then sent forces into London to construct a castle; he was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day Ecclesiastical offices continued to be held by the same bishops as before the invasion, including the uncanonical Stigand.
He left his half-brother Odo, the Bishop of Bayeux, in charge of England along with another influential supporter, William fitzOsbernthe son of his former guardian. English resistance had also begun, with Eadric the Wild attacking Hereford and revolts at Exeterwhere Harold's mother Gytha was a focus of resistance.
The town held out for 18 days, and after it fell to William he built a castle to secure his control.
Harold's sons were meanwhile raiding the southwest of England from a base in Ireland. Their forces landed near Bristol but were defeated by Eadnoth. By Easter, William was at Winchester, where he was soon joined by his wife Matilda, who was crowned in May So why did the reign of the placid and pious Confessor give way to such bloodshed and chaos?
And who were the men who were prepared to fight to the death for the right to succeed him? Bayeux Tapestry, Scene 1: King Edward the Confessor and Earl Harold. Wikipedia, Creative Commons, Author: Myrabella Anglo-Saxon succession Framing Edward the Confessor as the last Anglo-Saxon could give the impression that his own succession was easy — the last in a long line of Anglo-Saxon rulers, taking the throne one after another without incident. This is very far from the truth.
But Aethelred had sons from his first marriage, and when he died inhe did so in the midst of a battle for the throne between his eldest surviving son, Edmund Ironside, and Cnut the Great of Denmark. Edmund though died shortly afterwards, and at his death, Cnut succeeded to the kingdom of England. Only after seven long years did Edward eventually succeed to the kingdom of England inputting the line of Wessex back on the English throne.
To put it simply, England at this time had very few clearly established principles of royal succession; kinship to the late king, designation as his heir, support from the Church and the nobility including the men of Londonand military might were all factors — but there were no simple constitutional principles that defined who must be the next king.
He was in his late thirties and had spent much of his life in Normandy, living under the protection of the dukes of Normandy while the Danes ruled England.
Edward the Confessor
He had no powerbase of his own in England and needed the support of the three great English earls, Godwine, Leofric and Siward — and in particular of the greatest of the three, Godwine. But there everything did not go according to plan. The marriage of Edward and Edith remained childless. It suited some later religious authors to portray this childlessness as a deliberate policy — a depiction in which the king is pious and unworldly, and in which the marriage is more like a father-daughter relationship.
In fact, for much of his reign Edward was an active, dynamic man and there can be little doubt that he intended this marriage to produce an heir. Edith was significantly younger than Edward and may have seen him as something of a father figure — but she would certainly have known that the birth of a child was central to the plans of her actual father, and she knew her role.
The Godwine family remained hugely powerful with the odd hiccup, most notably in when Godwine and his sons were briefly outlawed, and Edith briefly sent to a nunnery.
Godwine himself died in and was succeeded at Earl of Wessex by his eldest surviving son, Harold. But Edward maintained good relations with the Norman court, now ruled by Duke William. In addition, in Edward sent Bishop Ealdred of Worcester to the continent to search for the son of his elder half-brother, Edmund Ironside. This son, Edward known latterly as Edward the Exileduly came to England with his Hungarian wife and their three children. But he died shortly after his arrival in England — before even seeing his uncle.
However, his wife, Agatha, and the three children were welcomed at the royal court and continued to live there. However, in Sweyn was banished for abducting the Abbess of Leominster. In he returned to try to regain his earldom, but this was said to have been opposed by Harold and Beorn, probably because they had been given Sweyn's land in his absence.
Sweyn murdered his cousin Beorn and went again into exile, and Edward's nephew, Ralph was given Beorn's earldom, but the following year Sweyn's father was able to secure his reinstatement.
He had no personal powerbase, and he does not seem to have attempted to build one. In —51 he even paid off the fourteen foreign ships which constituted his standing navy and abolished the tax raised to pay for it.
King Magnus I of Norway aspired to the English throne, and in andfearing an invasion, Edward took command of the fleet at Sandwich. Beorn's elder brother, Sweyn II of Denmark "submitted himself to Edward as a son", hoping for his help in his battle with Magnus for control of Denmark, but in Edward rejected Godwin's demand that he send aid to Sweyn, and it was only Magnus's death in October that saved England from attack and allowed Sweyn to take the Danish throne.
According to the Vita Edwardi, he became "always the most powerful confidential adviser to the king". His men caused an affray in Doverand Edward ordered Godwin as earl of Kent to punish the town's burgesses, but he took their side and refused.
Edward seized the chance to bring his over-mighty earl to heel. Archbishop Robert accused Godwin of plotting to kill the king, just as he had killed his brother Alfred inwhile Leofric and Siward supported the king and called up their vassals. Sweyn and Harold called up their own vassals, but neither side wanted a fight, and Godwin and Sweyn appear to have each given a son as hostage, who were sent to Normandy. The Godwins' position disintegrated as their men were not willing to fight the king.
When Stigand, who was acting as intermediary, conveyed the king's jest that Godwin could have his peace if he could restore Alfred and his companions alive and well, Godwin and his sons fled, going to Flanders and Ireland. Both sides were concerned that a civil war would leave the country open to foreign invasion.
Edith was restored as queen, and Stigandwho had again acted as an intermediary between the two sides in the crisis, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in Robert's place. Stigand retained his existing bishopric of Winchester, and his pluralism was to be a continuing source of dispute with the pope. Godwin himself died in and although Harold succeeded to his earldom of Wessex, none of his other brothers were earls at this date.
His house was then weaker than it had been since Edward's succession, but a succession of deaths in —57 completely changed the picture. In Siward died but his son was considered too young to command Northumbriaand Harold's brother, Tostig was appointed. The fourth surviving Godwin brother, Leofwinewas given an earldom in the south-east carved out of Harold's territory, and Harold received Ralph's territory in compensation. Thus by the Godwin brothers controlled all of England subordinately apart from Mercia.