Archive for the ‘The Sons of Godwine’ Category

Rise of Edwin and Morcar, Ill-fated Earls

If the mid-eleventh century is dominated by any theme, the rivalry between the great houses ranks close to the top. When Edward the Confessor became king, England was dominated by the Three Great Earls: Godwine of Wessex, Leofric of Mercia, and Siward of Northumbria. Edward made it his policy to leverage one (or two) against […]

New Release: THE SONS OF GODWINE

Emerging from the long shadow cast by his formidable father, Harold Godwineson showed himself to be a worthy successor to the Earldom of Wessex. In the following twelve years, he became the King’s most trusted advisor, practically taking the reins of government into his own hands. And on Edward the Confessor’s death, Harold Godwineson mounted […]

My review of HAROLD II: The Doomed Saxon King by Peter Rex

I’m not quite sure where I would put this volume in my own line-up of pre-conquest history books. On the one hand, it covered the issues intelligently and carefully. On the other hand, many of the major books he cites in his bibliography are already on my bookshelf…especially the 20th century sources. So on the […]

Malcolm III and Tostig Godwineson

The friendship between Tostig Godwineson and King Malcolm of Scotland seems to have been largely overlooked, but it seems to me that it had a significant impact on Tostig’s career. When Tostig was made Earl of Northumbria in 1055, Malcolm had been unofficial king for a year or so. As usual, there is much confusion regarding […]

The Children of Harold Godwineson

Like much of the eleventh century, the fate of Harold’s children is somewhat vague. We have a pretty good idea about the immediate years after the Battle of Hastings, but with the exception of Harold’s daughter Gytha we don’t exactly know what happened to them. Harold’s long relationship with his handfasted wife Edith Swanneck produced […]

Did Harold die from an Arrow in the Eye?

The Bayeux Tapestry gave us an iconic image of Harold pulling an arrow from his eye. It must be Harold: the name is embroidered around his head and spear. And since the Tapestry is created so close in time to the actual event, it is considered one of the major sources of documentation and hence […]

Map of Stamfordbridge Campaign

Once again I stumbled across a very helpful map in Volume 3 of Freeman’s History of the Norman Conquest. In my mind I had trouble locating the relative locations of these important spots so this is very helpful to me. The sequence of events: 1) Harald Hardrada lands at Riccall, leaving his fleet there. The […]

Did Edward the Confessor give the crown to Duke William?

In my mind, this is one of the most provocative questions of the Middle Ages. In 1066, Duke William acted with the surety of someone who believed in what he was doing. To take such a big risk, he must have had good reason. William did not have a drop of royal blood in him, […]

Review of “The House of Godwine” by Emma Mason

The House of Godwine: The History of a Dynasty by Emma Mason My rating: 5 of 5 stars I read this book some months ago, and today, as I was looking up a detail for more clarification, I realized that this volume was full of paper slips marking important passages. Then I realized I never […]

Where is Harold Godwineson Buried?

Despite all the brouhaha back in 2014 about scanning the grounds of Waltham Abbey for the body of Harold, the more recent theory that he lies in one of four tombs under St Michael’s Church in Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, or the fanciful conjecture that he survived the battle and lived in obscurity, I wonder if […]