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Friday, May 2, 2014

Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King #52ancestors

King Harold II, (1022-1066) son of Godwin, the Earl of Wessex, was the last Anglo-Saxon king before the Norman conquest of William I. 
HAROLD Godwinson, son of GODWIN Earl of Wessex & his wife Gytha of Denmark ([1022/25]-killed in battle of Hastings 14 Oct 1066, bur [Waltham Abbey]). His parentage is confirmed in several places in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[2030]. He was created Earl of the East Angles, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1044 by King Edward "the Confessor". King Edward granted him part of the earldom of his brother Svein, after the latter was outlawed following his seduction of the Abbess of Leominster. 
After joining his father's threatened armed rebellion against the king in 1051, he fled to Ireland with his brother Leofwine[2031]. He returned from Ireland the following year and joined forces with his father[2032]. Harold was appointed to succeed his father as Earl of Wessex in 1053, his own earldom of the East Angles passing to Ælfgar son of Leofric Earl of Mercia[2033]. He led the counter-offensive against Gruffydd ap Llywellyn Prince of Wales in 1063, in reprisal for Welsh raids[2034].
On a mission to France in [1064], he was captured by Guy [de Ponthieu] Comte d'Abbeville and imprisoned at Beaurain. Guillaume II Duke of Normandy, Guy's suzerain, secured Harold's release, possibly in return for the latter's acknowledgement of Duke Guillaume as successor to the English throne, the event being recorded in the Bayeux tapestry.
Harold Godwinsson's visit to Normandy, and swearing allegiance to Duke William, is recorded by William of Jumièges[2035]. According to Eadmer[2036], the reason for Harold's visit to Normandy was to negotiate the release of his brother Wulfnoth and nephew Haakon, both of whom had been held hostage there since 1051.

In spite of earlier promises to Duke Guillaume, on his deathbed King Edward "the Confessor" bequeathed the kingdom to Harold. The choice was unopposed at court and Harold succeeded as HAROLD II King of England, crowned 6 Jan 1066. It is unclear whether there was a meeting, formal or informal, of a council to consider the matter, or whether members of such council took part in some form of election as it might be recognised today. There would probably have been little need for formality as the succession was presumably a foregone conclusion.
Duke Guillaume branded Harold a perjurer and appealed to Pope Alexander II for support. After receiving a papal banner in response to this request, the duke gathered a sizable army during Summer 1066 ready for invasion. In response to the invasion by his brother Tostig and Harald III "Hardråde" King of Norway (who also claimed the throne of England), King Harold marched northwards and defeated the invaders at Stamford Bridge 25 Sep 1066. Harold returned south, but meanwhile Duke William's army had set sail from Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme 28 Sep. King Harold hastily reassembled his army to meet this second invasion at Hastings 14 Oct 1066, where he was killed. According to the Waltham Chronicle written some time after 1177, King Harold's body was identified on the battlefield by his mistress Eadgyth Swanneshals and taken to Waltham for burial[2037]. William of Malmesbury also says that King Harold was buried at Waltham, though by his mother[2038].
Betrothed ([1064]) to ADELISA de Normandie, daughter of GUILLAUME II Duke of Normandy & his wife Mathilde de Flandre ([1055]-7 Dec, 1066 or after). Orderic Vitalis records the betrothal of Adelaide and Harold Godwinson, listing her after Agatha and before Constance in his description of the careers of the daughters of King William[2039]. The sources are contradictory concerning the name of the daughter betrothed to Harold Godwinson, as well as the timing of her death. The only near certainty is that it would presumably have been the oldest available daughter who was betrothed to Harold. Matthew of Paris does not name her but lists her fourth among the daughters of King William, while distinguishing her from the fifth daughter betrothed to "Aldefonso Galiciæ regi"[2040]. Guillaume de Jumièges records that Duke Guillaume betrothed his daughter Adelise to Harold, in a later passage (in which he does not repeat her name) stating that she was the third daughter and that she died a virgin although she was of an age to marry[2041]. Chibnall specifies[2042] that this reference is contained in the interpolations written by Orderic Vitalis, the latter chronicler therefore contradicting his statement in his own work that Agatha was the name of the daughter who was betrothed to King Harold. Orderic Vitalis says that Adelaide "a most fair maiden vowed herself to God when she reached marriageable age and made a pious end under the protection of Roger of Beaumont"[2043]. The daughter betrothed to Harold was alive in early 1066, according to Eadmer of Canterbury[2044] who says that Duke Guillaume requested King Harold, soon after his accession, to keep his promise to marry his daughter. This is contradicted by William of Malmesbury[2045], who says that her death before that of Edward "the Confessor" was taken by King Harold II as marking absolution from his oath to Duke Guillaume. She died as a nun at Préaux[2046]. The necrology of Chartres cathedral records the death "VII Id Dec" of "Adeliza filia regis Anglorum", stating that her father made a donation for her soul[2047]. The necrology of Saint-Nicaise de Meulan records the death of "Adelina filia regis Anglorum", undated but listed among deaths at the end of the calendar year[2048].
m ([1064/early 1066]) as her second husband, EALDGYTH of Mercia, widow of GRUFFYDD ap Llywellyn Prince of Gwynedd and Powys, daughter of ÆLFGAR Earl of Mercia & his first wife Ælfgifu. Florence of Worcester´s genealogies name "regina Aldgitha, comitis Ælfgari filia" as mother of King Harold´s son "Haroldum"[2049]. Orderic Vitalis records that "Edwinus…et Morcarus comites, filii Algari…Edgivam sororem eorum" married firstly "Gritfridi…regis Guallorum" and secondly "Heraldo"[2050]. Her parentage and marriage with King Harold is confirmed by Florence of Worcester who records that "earls Edwin and Morcar…sent off their sister Queen Elgitha to Chester" after the battle of Hastings[2051].
Mistress (1): EADGYTH "Swanneshals [Swan-neck]", [daughter of --- & his wife Wulfgyth] (-after 1066). A mid-12th century manuscript concerning the foundation of Waltham abbey names "Editham cognomento Swanneshals" as "cubicularia" of King Harold when recording that she recovered the king´s body for burial after the battle of Hastings[2052]. The later Vita Haroldi records that "a certain woman of a shrewd intelligence, Edith by name" recovered the king´s body from the battlefield, chosen to do so "because she loved him exceedingly…[and] had been frequently present in the secret places of his chamber"[2053]. The only source so far identified which refers to an earlier document which names Eadgyth is the history of the abbey of St Benet, Holme, written by John of Oxnead in 1292, which records donations to the abbey, confirmed by King Edward in 1046, including the donation by "Edgyue Swanneshals" of "Thurgertone" (Thurgarton, Norfolk)[2054]. The fact of this donation is confirmed by the corresponding charter of King Edward, reproduced in Dugdale´s Monasticon[2055], which refers to the donation of "ecclesiam de Thurgartun cum tota villa" but omits the name of the donor. Barlow suggests that Eadgyth may have been "Ealdgyth" named in the will of her mother "Wulfgyth", dated to [1042/53], who bequeathed land "at Stisted, Essex to her sons Ælfketel and Ketel…at Saxlingham, Norfolk and Somerton, Suffolk to her daughters Gode and Bote, at Chadacre, Suffolk and Ashford to her daughter Ealdgyth, and at Fritton to Earl Godwin and Earl Harold"[2056]. The connection between Wulfgyth´s family and St Benet´s, Hulme is confirmed by the testament of "Ketel" (named in his mother´s will quoted above), dated to [1052/66], which includes bequests of land to the abbey[2057]. However, Ketel´s testament names his two sisters Gode and Bote, who are also named in their mother´s will, but does not name "Ealdgyth", suggesting that the latter may have predeceased her brother. None of the sources so far identified suggests, even indirectly, that Eadgyth "Swanneshals" was the mother of the seven illegitimate children of King Harold who are shown below, but this has been assumed to be the case in secondary sources.
[Mistress (2): --- (-after 1086). Domesday Book records "quædam concubina Heraldi" as holding three houses in Canterbury[2058]. It is not known whether this unnamed person was the same as Eadgyth "Swanneshals".]
King Harold II & his wife had one son:
1. HAROLD (posthumously Chester Dec 1066-after 1098). Florence of Worcester´s genealogies name "regina Aldgitha, comitis Ælfgari filia" as mother of King Harold´s son "Haroldum"[2059]. He settled at the court of Magnus II Haraldsen King of Norway. William of Malmesbury records that "Harold the son of Harold" accompanied Magnus III King of Norway when the latter invaded Orkney in 1098, captured the Isle of Man and Anglesey, forced the flight of Hugh Earl of Chester and killed Hugh Earl of Shrewsbury[2060].
King Harold & [Mistress (1)] had [seven] illegitimate children:
2. GODWIN ([1045/55]-after 1069). Florence of Worcester records that "Haroldi regis filii Godwinus, Eadmundus, Magnus" returned from Ireland and landed in Somerset where they were defeated, in a passage which deals with events in mid-1068[2061]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that "the sons of King Harold" (unnamed, and without specifying how many sons there were) came from Ireland and landed in "the mouth of the Taw", where they were defeated by "Earl Brian", before returning to Ireland[2062]. Florence of Worcester records that "duo Haroldi filiis" sailed from Ireland 24 Jun [1069] and landed "in Ostio flumis Tavi"[2063]. He and his brothers may later have taken refuge with Svend II Estrithsen King of Denmark.
3. EDMUND ([1047/55]-after 1069). Florence of Worcester records that "Haroldi regis filii Godwinus, Eadmundus, Magnus" returned from Ireland and landed in Somerset where they were defeated, in a passage which deals with events in mid-1068[2064]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that "the sons of King Harold" (unnamed, and without specifying how many sons there were) came from Ireland and landed in "the mouth of the Taw", where they were defeated by "Earl Brian", before returning to Ireland[2065]. Florence of Worcester records that "duo Haroldi filiis" sailed from Ireland 24 Jun [1069] and landed "in Ostio flumis Tavi"[2066].
4. MAGNUS ([1050/55]-after [1069]). Florence of Worcester records that "Haroldi regis filii Godwinus, Eadmundus, Magnus" returned from Ireland and landed in Somerset where they were defeated, in a passage which deals with events in mid-1068[2067]. He may also have taken part in their raids in south-west England.
5. GYTHA ([1050/55]-). Gytha is named as King Harold's daughter in Fagrskinna, which also states that she married "Valldimar Konongr sun Iarozlæifs konongs I Holmgarde". Morkinskinna records that the mother of “Haraldr Valdimarsson”, father of Malmfrid who married Sigurd King of Norway, was “Edith the daughter of Harold Godwinson” and that her husband was “the son of King Yaroslav and Ingigerdr, the daughter of Óláfr the Swede” (although this skips a generation in the generally accepted genealogy of the Rurikids)[2068]. According to Saxo Grammaticus, after her father's death she and her two brothers "immediately emigrated to Denmark" where Svend II Estrithsen King of Denmark "received them in a spirit of family duty" and arranged her marriage to "Waldemarus King of the Russians"[2069]. Her estimated birth date range is based on the birth dates of her supposed children and the estimated date of her husband's second marriage. The husband of Gytha has generally been identified as Grand Prince Vladimir "Monomach"[2070], but Morkinskinna appears to be the only source which suggests that this is correct. Baumgarten cites no Russian source which corroborates the marriage[2071], although his work is particularly thorough in its source citations. In addition, it is surprising that no single name from Gytha's family was used among the known descendants of Grand Prince Vladimir. While it is true that the Rurikid dynasty rarely imported foreign names for the male descendants, it was not unusual for females to bear names which are recognisable from the families of foreign princesses who married into the family, the obvious example being the Scandinavian name Ingeborg used by Vladimir's son Mstislav for his daughter by Christina of Sweden. It is probable that Gytha herself would not have been considered a good marriage prospect at the time: her mother was obscure, she herself was illegitimate, her father had been killed ignominiously, her family lived in exile without influential connections, and her brothers had fallen into complete obscurity. If a Russian marriage was arranged for her, it is more likely that her husband was one of the lesser princes of the dynasty. The fact that the Scandinavian sources consistently propose a name similar to Vladimir should not be viewed as conclusive, as the difficult Russian first names were frequently transcribed into contemporary western sources with more creativity than accuracy. The inevitable, if disappointing, conclusion is that this Russian marriage of Gytha's should be viewed with caution. [m ([1070]) as his first wife, VLADIMIR Vsevolodich of Pereiaslavl and Suzdal, son of VSEVOLOD Iaroslavich Prince of Pereiaslavl and Suzdal [later VSEVOLOD I Grand Prince of Kiev] & his first wife Maria [Irina] of Byzantium (1053-19 May 1125). He succeeded 1077 as Prince of Smolensk, 1078 as Prince of Chernigov, and 1113 as VLADIMIR "Monomach" Grand Prince of Kiev.]
6. [ULF (-after 1087). His parentage is confirmed by Florence of Worcester who records that Robert III "Curthose" Duke of Normandy released "Ulfam Haroldi quondam regis Anglorum filium, Dunechaldumque regis Scottorum Malcolmi filium" from custody after his father's death in Sep 1087, knighted them and allowed them to leave Normandy[2072]. Freeman ascribes Ulf to Harold's legitimate marriage[2073]. If this is correct, the chronology dictates that he must have been twin with his brother Harold. Freeman appears to base his hypothesis firstly on the assumption that Ulf was younger than his brothers, and secondly on the unlikelihood of his having been held hostage in Normandy if he had been illegitimate. However, the first point indicates nothing about the identity of his mother, and the second point does not appear to be a valid supposition considering the general acceptance of illegitimate birth at the time especially if the children were born from a semi-formal "marriage" of the type practised among the Norman ducal family. Barlow is dubious about Freeman´s hypothesis[2074].]
7. child (stillborn or died young, bur Christ Church, Canterbury[2075]). The Memorials of St Dunstan record that "filium comitis Haraldi" had been buried in Christ Church, Canterbury, next to the tomb of St Dunstan, recording that this had caused offence[2076].
8. GUNHILD (-after 1093). The primary source which confirms her parentage has not yet been identified. Nun at Wilton Abbey. She was abducted from the abbey in 1093 by Alain "Rufus/the Red" Lord of Richmond. She lived with him until he died soon afterwards, subsequently living with his brother and successor Alain "Niger/the Black"[2077].
Mistress (1) of: ALAN "Rufus/the Red" Lord of Richmond, son of EUDES de Bretagne Comte de Penthièvre & his wife Orguen [Agnes] de Cornouaïlle (-4 Aug 1089[2078], bur Bury St Edmunds).
Mistress (2) of: ALAN "Niger/the Black" Lord of Richmond, son of EUDES de Bretagne Comte de Penthièvre & his wife Orguen [Agnes] de Cornouaïlle (-1098[2079]).
Harold reigned from 5 January 1066, until his death at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October of that same year, fighting the Norman invaders, led by William the Conqueror. Harold and Richard III are the only English monarchs to have died in battle.  
Harold Godwinsson, King of England is my 27th great grandfather.

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his father →  Ingeborg af Novgorod Fyrst Mseilavs datter af Rusland Mstislawna 
his mother →  Mstislav I Vladimirovich the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev 
her father →  Gytha (Gyda, Gyða) Haraldsdóttir 
his mother → Harold Godwinsson, King of England 
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