HAROLD (Godwinesson) - Archontology
HAROLD (Godwinesson)


b. c. 1020
d. 14 Oct 1066, near Hastings, Sussex

Title: Rex (King) (see note on royal styles)
Term: 5 Jan 1066 - 14 Oct 1066
Chronology: 5 Jan 1066, acceded after the death of his brother-in-law, Eadweard the Confessor
  6 Jan 1066, consecrated, Westminster Abbey [?] (see note on consecrations)
  14 Oct 1066, died (in battle)
Names/titles: Also called: Harold Godwinesson, or Godwinson; earl of East Anglia (styled "dux" or earl) [1045 - after Oct 1051, 15 Sep 1052 - after 15 Apr 1053]; earl of Wessex [after 15 Apr 1053]

Harold was the son of Godwine, earl of Wessex and Kent, and King Eadweard's brother-in-law. He was made earl of East Anglia in 1045 and succeeded to his father's earldom upon the latter's death on 15 Apr 1053. In the reign of ineffectual Eadweard the Confessor Harold acquired a great power in England. On Eadweard's death (4/5 Jan 1066), the king's council (witan) confirmed Harold as king passing the late king's grand-nephew, Eadgar. Harold was hastily crowned on 6 Jan 1066 either by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, as pointed out in the Norman sources, or by Ealdred, Archbishop of York, as confirmed by the English. Harold repealed the invasion of other claimant, Harald Hardråde of Norway, who was aided by Harold's alienated brother Tostig. They invaded England and were defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, near York (25 Sep 1066). However, William, duke of Normandy (later King William the Conqueror), also laid claim to the throne of England and landed in Sussex (28 Sep 1066). Harold swiftly marched southward to meet the Normans and attacked them on Senlac Hill, north of Hastings, on 14 Oct 1066. In an all-day battle the king and his brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine, were killed. Biography sources: [1][2][3][4][5]

[1] Handbook of British Chronology (1986)
[2] "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," ed. and trans. by G.N. Garmonsway (Everyman Press, London, 1953, reissued 1972, 1994).
[3] "The Blackwell Encyclopædia of Anglo-Saxon England", ed. by Michael Lapidge (Oxford, Blackwell, 1999).
[4] "Harold: The Last Anglo-Saxon King", by Ian W. Walker (Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1997).
[5] "Harold and William: The Battle for England A.D. 1064-1066", by Benton Rain Patterson (Cooper Square Press, New York 2001).
  Image: coin of King Harold (obverse legend: +HAROLD REX A[?]).