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EARL GODWINE

[WESK291] King Aethelwulf of Wessex m1. Osburh of Hampshire
. [GODW261] King Athelred I of Wessex m. Wulfrida
. . [GODW271] --- (male of female) m. ?
. . . [GODW281] --- m. ?
. . . . [GODW291] --- (male or female) m. ?
. . . . . [GODW301] Athelweard the chronicler m. Athelflaed
. . . . . . [GODW311] Athelmaer m. ?
. . . . . . . [GODW321] Thegn Wulfnoth of Sussex m. ?
. . . . . . . . [GODW331] Earl Godwine of Wessex m2. Gytha
. . . . . . . . . [GODW341] King Harold II Godwinsson of England m1. Edith swanneshals
. . . . . . . . . . [GODW352] Aethelreda of England m. [DUNB351] Earl Gospatric of Northumbria

[GODW261] Aethelred I (born c.837, 3rd son of Athelwulf & Osburh, see ANGLO-SAXON KINGS), King of Wessex (845-71), married (c.867-68) Wulfrida. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Meredune (Hants), and died shortly afterwards (23rd April 871). It is said he left two infant sons, Athelwolf and Athelhelm, too young to succeed him as king.

[GODW271] unknown.

[GODW281] unknown, male.

[GODW291] unknown.

[GODW301] Athelweard the chronicler, claimed he was "grandson's grandson of Athelred I".

There is no certainty over the three intermediate generations between Aethelred and Aethelweard, and Mike Ashley only quotes two, viz Athelhelm and Athelfrith. There is no certainty either over his claim to royal descent, and his wording suggests the descent could have been partly through the female line.

Athelweard married Athelflaed, and died c.998.

[GODW311] Athelmaer, died 1016.

[GODW321] Wulfnoth cild (born c.983), Thegn of Sussex, died 1015.

[GODW331] Godwine, Earl of Wessex (1018-53), married 1. Thyra (daughter of Swein forkbeard); then 2. (1019) Gytha Torkelsdottir (daughter of Thorkill/Thorgils, but her pedigree is said to have been an invention to give her and her numerous sons claim to royal descent). He died at Winchester (15th April 1053).

Edith (daughter of Godwine & Gytha) married King Edward the confessor of England.

[GODW341] Harold Godwinsson (born c.1022, son of Godwine & Gytha), Earl of East Anglia (1045), Earl of Wessex (1053), became King Harold II of England (1066). He married 1. Edith swanneshals [swan-neck]; then 2. [MERC352] (1064-66) Ealdgyth (daughter of Earl Aeflgar see MERCIA EARLDOM (2), and widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, see GWYNEDD KINGDOM (2)).

Harold was cured of paralysis after praying before the Holy Cross of Waltham which was kept in the Anglo-Saxon stone church at Waltham. Afterwards Harold had the church rebuilt (c.1060). The church was refounded as a priory (1177), being later raised to abbey status (1184). The abbey appears to have rebuilt on the site of Harold's church as the east wall of 14th Century lady chapel (built on in the angle between the nave and south transept of the abbey) shows Anglo-Saxon honeycomb stonework. This east wall would have been an interior wall of the south transept, afterwards becoming simply an external wall of the lady chapel after the front portion of the abbey was demolished in 1554. The nave was spared after the townspeople claimed it as their parish church, so that the east wall of the present church bisects the front two Norman pillars of the old nave.

      
  east wall of Lady Chapel
(17 October 2011)

 

The northern Earls, Edwin and Morcar, were beaten at the Battle of Fulford (20th September 1066) by Viking forces under King Hardraada of Norway with his renegade English ally Tostig, though both Edwin and Morcar managed to escape.

On his march from Stamford Bridge to Hastings to meet the Norman invaders, Harold stopped at Waltham Church to pray.

King Harold II of England beat the Viking forces under King Hardraada of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (25th September 1066). Three weeks later King Harold II, fighting with a by now much depleted force, was killed at the Battle of Hastings (14th October 1066). An abbey was afterwards built on the site, with the High Altar positioned on the very spot where he was killed.

 
   
                                  Site of the high altar at Battle Abbey
modern stone slab reads
  THE TRADITIONAL SITE OF
THE HIGH ALTAR AT BATTLE ABBEY
FOUNDED TO COMMEMORATE
THE VICTORY OF DUKE WILLIAM
ON 14 OCTOBER 1066
THE HIGH ALTAR WAS PLACED TO MARK
THE SPOT WHERE KING HAROLD DIED 
  (9 July 2011)

It is said that Harold's body was afterwards buried by the High Altar at Waltham Church, and that it was later moved to the nave (c.1120), when the influx of sightseers became disruptive. But there is a stone tablet in the grounds to the south of the lady chapel that reads:

THIS STONE MARKS THE POSITION
OF THE HIGH ALTAR
BEHIND WHICH KING HAROLD
IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN BURIED
1066

This is the sport where is was assumed until quite recently that the High Altar would have been in the earlier church. But to the east of the lady chapel is a stone "cairn" (with an informative display board) which may represent an alternative site of his body, but the truth (at the present time) is that nobody really knows.

      
  Stone cairn
(17 October 2011)

[GODW352] Aethelreda (born c.1042, daughter of King Harold II, by his 1st wife Edith) married [DUNB351] Earl Gospatric (see DUNBAR EARLDOM).