See also

Harold KING OF ENGLAND (aft1020-1066)

1. Harold II KING OF ENGLAND, son of Godwine EARL OF WESSEX (c. 987-1053) and Gytha ( -aft1069), was born between 1020 and 1022. He died on 14 October 1066. He married Aldgyth.

 

On the death of Edward the Confessor, the Witan elected Harold Godwineson, Earl of Wessex, as King. It was claimed that Edward had willed his throne to him on his deathbed, ignoring his previous promise to William of Normandy.

Harold had been born around 1020-22, the eldest son of Godwine, Earl of Wessex and Kent and Gytha, the daughter of Harold 'Bluetooth', King of Denmark. He had fought many campaigns in Wales on Edward's behalf and defeated Gruffydd ab Llywellyn, whose widow, Aldgyth, he later married. In 1065 a revolt arose in Northumbria against the rule of Harold's tempestuous brother Tostig. The Northumbrians elected Morkere as Earl. Harold granted the rebels requests and Tostig was exiled. Tostig thereafter harboured a deep and burning resentment of his brother.

Edward the Confessor's choice of Harold as King of England was ratified by the Witan. Harold mounted the throne in 1066 and was crowned at St. Paul's Cathedral on 6th January. His brother Tostig, who had allied himself with Harold Hardrada, King of Norway, invaded England with a formidable Norwegian fleet which landed at Riccall, near York. On hearing of the news, Harold rallied his forces and marched to meet them at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire.

The new King sent a message to his brother offering to restore his Earldom, to which Tostig responded by asking what Harold was prepared to give Hardrada, "Seven feet of land for a grave" was Harold's defiant reply. Tostig refused to abandon his ally, Battle was opened by the Saxons attacking the Norwegian shield wall, which they failed to penetrate. The Saxons fell back and the Norwegians, believing them to be in retreat, broke ranks and pursued them, at which the Saxons wheeled round and attacked. Harold Hardrada was killed by an arrow, his banner was seized by Tostig who assumed command of the Norwegian army. He fell in the frantic conflict shortly after, the Norwegians fought with determination and courage but victory went to the Saxons.

The following morning, King Harold received the ominous news that William of Normandy had landed at Pevensey on the south coast and marched to confront him. At the resulting Battle of Hastings on 14th October, 1066 ( For description of battle, see William I, the Conqueror.) England's last Saxon King was killed .Harold's body was buried on the battlefield, but his remains were later moved by William I to Waltham Abbey.

Second Generation

2. Godwine EARL OF WESSEX, son of Wulfnoth, Clyd of Sussex, was born circa 0987. He married Gytha circa 1019. He died on 15 April 1053. He married Thyra Sveynsdottir.

 

3. Gytha (also known as Cytha), daughter of Thorgils "Sprakalegg" Styrbyornson and Sigrid of Halland, died after 1069. She and Godwine EARL OF WESSEX had the following children:

 

Edith ( - )

1

Harold II KING OF ENGLAND (aft1020-1066)

Tostig, Earl of Northumbria ( - )

Third Generation

4. Wulfnoth, Clyd of Sussex has few details recorded about him.

 

Wulfnoth, Clyd of Sussex had the following children:

 

2

Godwine EARL OF WESSEX (c. 987-1053)

 

5. Thorgils "Sprakalegg" Styrbyornson, son of Styrbjon Olavsson and Thyra Haralsdottir, was born circa 0965. He married Sigrid of Halland.

 

6. Sigrid of Halland has few details recorded about her. She and Thorgils "Sprakalegg" Styrbyornson had the following children:

 

3

Gytha ( -aft1069)