Godwin (Earl of Wessex)

 Born     Born At  
 Died  1053   Buried At  
ing Canute gave Godwin the title of Earl of Wessex and Godwin very quickly rose to be extremely powerful. The area of Wessex on the south coast of England contained many wealthy cites. Godwin was so respected that he married Gytha, the sister of Earl UIf of Denmark who was married to Canute's sister. Godwin remained in power after the death of Canute and during the short reigns of Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut. In 1036 Godwin may have been responsible for the murder of Alfred, Edward the Confessor's brother. Alfred had arrived in England to claim the throne but had been killed. In 1043 Edward the Confessor became King of England and there must have been some tension between the men, but Godwin remained in power and Edward even married Godwin's daughter Edith. From that point onwards Godwin more or less ran the entire country.


A brief interruption occurred when Godwin opposed Edward's Norman advisors and in 1051 the Godwins revolted against the king. Edward expelled them from the country and at about the same time he promised William (the Conqueror) that he could have a claim to the English throne after Edward died. This may have been a ploy by Edward to prevent the Godwins claiming the throne themselves. In 1052 the Godwins, including Harold Godwinson, invaded England with a large army and Edward had to reinstate them to their former positions. Earl Godwin died in following year.


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1035 Nov 12  Canute dies
 King Canute died at Shaftesbury leaving the rule of the country in dispute between Harthacnut (the son of Emma) and Harold Harefoot (the son of Aelfgifu). The Earls of Northumbria and Mercia supported Harold's claim while Earl Godwine supported Harthacanute's. Canute's body was taken to Winchester to be buried. Harthacnut was in Denmark at the time of his father's death and was unable to travel to England because of invasion threats.

Episode: Viking Invasions  
1036   Alfred is murdered by Godwine
 Both Edward the Confessor and Alfred, his younger brother, came to England at different times during this year to try and take back the English throne. Edward's attempt failed. Some time later Alfred landed in England but his army was met by Earl Godwine and was defeated. Alfred was captured and killed by the Earl. 
   Harold declared regent of England
 With Harthacnut still in Denmark a meeting was held at Oxford that chose Harold to act as regent of England.  
1045 Jan  Edward marries
 Edward married Edith, the daughter of Earl Godwine. Godwine was then in an extremely powerful position being related to the King of England.

Episode: Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwine  
1051   Edward expels the Godwine family
 An incident occurred when Eustace II Count of Boulogne visited Edward the Confessor, his brother-in-law. The incident occurred in Dover where a fight broke out between the Norman visitors and the locals. Several people were killed. The area of Dover was under the control of the Godwine family and Edward the Confessor, who blamed the people of Dover for the fight, told Godwine to deal with them. Godwine refused to obey Edward's order and in response Edward raised an army and forced the Godwine family into exile.

Episode: Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwine  
1052 May  Godwines invade England
 Godwine, Earl of Wessex, his son Harold and a large fleet sailed up the Thames to London forcing Edward to reinstate them into their previous positions of power.

Episode: Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwine  
1053 Apr  Harold becomes Earl of Wessex
 Godwine, Earl of Wessex, died and Harold inherited his title.

Episode: Edward the Confessor and Earl Godwine  
1055 Oct 24  Rebellion of Aelfgar of Mercia
 Aelfgar, earl of Mercia was outlawed by the witan. In revenge he built a force and allied himself with Welsh Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. After defeating the King's nephew, Radulf, they attacked Hereford and raided the church killing several canons and taking everything of value leaving the building on fire. The rebels also attacked Leominster.[1] 

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