Notes to: King Edward of Holy Memory

Note 01

Another contender for the Danish throne might have been Harald, son of Thorkell 'the Tall'. It seems pretty certain that Harald was married to Cnut's niece, Gunnhild. He may well be the son of Thorkell brought up, in England, by Cnut. It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that the Earl Harald (Harald dux) who is signatory to a charter of 1042 (S1396) is the same Harald. However, he is also thought to be the, "innocent Danish prince", Harald whom Adam of Bremen reports was murdered, on behalf of Magnus (because he "appeared to stand nearer the sceptre than did Magnus"), by Ordulf (son of Duke Bernhard II of Saxony), who had recently married Magnus' sister. This Harald's death has been dated to 13th November 1042.
Swein Estrithson, then, was sole leader of Danish resistance to the Norwegians. Swein, himself, was one of Adam of Bremen's sources. Adam blurs into one event Magnus' success in establishing himself as king of Norway (actually 1035) and his invasion of Denmark - dating the whole just prior to Harthacnut's death in 1042. In this story, Harthacnut put, "his kinsman", Swein in charge of a fleet to oppose Magnus. Swein was defeated, and returned to England to find Harthacnut dead. Adam goes on to assert that Edward thought Swein might "claim the English sceptre for himself". To appease Swein, Edward agreed that, even if he had sons, Swein would be his heir. Happy with the deal, Swein returned to Denmark.
Be that as it may, Swein's challenge to Magnus would, inevitably, prevent the latter from giving his undivided attention to an invasion of England, and the English court appear to have sent encouraging signals to Swein. His brothers, Beorn and Osbeorn lived prosperously in England (Beorn receiving an earldom, which included Hertfordshire), and it may have been in Swein's interest that Harald's widow, Gunnhild (with her sons, Hemming and Thorkell), was expelled from England, in 1044 (she found her way to Denmark, via Bruges).

Note 02

In the 'Heimskringla', Snorri Sturluson tells of the three battles thus far fought by Swein and Magnus. Each had ended in victory for Magnus, and Swein's flight. At this stage, Snorri suggests that Magnus, after a diplomatic exchange with Edward, shelved his invasion plans.
There now appeared on the scene Magnus' uncle (a half-brother of his father), Harald 'Hardrada' ('Stern Council', i.e. 'the Ruthless'), who had had an adventurous career in southern and eastern Europe (including a period in the military service of the Byzantine Empire).
Harold and Swein met at the Swedish court (where Swein had taken refuge), they formed an alliance, and, having collected an army, invaded Denmark. Magnus made preparations to oppose them. Before battle was joined, however, Magnus, secretly, made an offer to share his kingdom with Harald. Swein was suspicious of Harald's loyalties, and, after an argument, had an assassin make an attempt on Harald's life. This act of treachery persuaded Harald that he should join Magnus. Magnus stood by his offer: "I give thee half of the Norwegian power, with all the scat and duties, and all the domains thereunto belonging, with the condition that everywhere thou shalt be as lawful king in Norway as I am myself; but when we are both together in one place, I shall be the first man in seat, service and salutation; and if there be three of us together of equal dignity, that I shall sit in the middle, and shall have the royal tent-ground and the royal landing-place."

Note 03

In his talks with Adam of Bremen, Swein Estrithson appears to have enhanced his own role in these events. According to Adam, Swein: "... drove Magnus from Denmark. When the latter again resumed the war, he died on shipboard."  Adam says that, following the death of Magnus, Swein ruled both Denmark and Norway, "and is said to have got ready a fleet to subject England to his jurisdiction". The "most saintly king Edward", preferring "peace to victory", gave tribute to Swein - thereby accepting his supremacy ("young king Suein [Swein] had three kingdoms at his disposition"), and Adam repeats the assertion that Edward made Swein his heir. In this story, Harald 'Hardrada' now shows up, swears allegiance to Swein, and is given Norway to rule as Swein's regent. (In a scholium, however, Adam correctly states that Harald had fought alongside Magnus, against Swein). Harald realises he has popular Norwegian support, and rebels against Swein: "Between Harold and Suein there was war all the days of their lives."
There were hostilities between Harald and Swein until a peace was agreed in 1064. The 'Heimskringla': "At last the best men, and those who were the wisest, came between the kings, and settled the peace thus: that Harald should have Norway, and Svein [Swein] Denmark, according to the boundaries of old established between Denmark and Norway; neither of them should pay to the other for any damage sustained; the war should cease as it now stood, each retaining what he had got; and this peace should endure as long as they were kings."

Note 04

Adam of Bremen's record contains distortions which serve to enhance the status of his source, "the very well informed king of the Danes", Swein Estrithson. Adam maintains that England was a Danish dependency. Godwine's sons initiated a rebellion against Danish rule, killed Earl Beorn, and expelled his brother Osbeorn (they were, of course, brothers of King Swein). Having "seceded from the Danish kingdom", Godwine's sons "held England in their power, for Edward was contented with life alone and the empty title of king".

Note 05

"William, the earl" is William II, duke of Normandy. He was about seven years old when he succeeded his father, Robert I, in 1035. William was not only a child, he was also illegitimate (hence he was known as William 'the Bastard'), and a period of anarchy followed his succession. William of Jumièges writes: "... while Mars the god of war rampaged, whole troops of warriors lost their lives in vain ... as the madness waxed, the very guardian of the boy-duke, Gilbert count of Eu, was slain. So, at various times, were Turold the young prince's tutor and Osbern his steward ..."  Obviously, Duke William survived, but he does not appear to have become secure in his position until King Henry I of France helped him to put down a rebellion, at Val-ès-Dunes, near Caen, in 1047. William of Jumièges, says that none of Duke William's magnates "dared henceforward show a rebellious heart against him".
It may be that during William's visit to England in 1051 (assuming it actually happened), Edward promised William that he would succeed him as king.
The 1050s saw William preoccupied with the defence of Normandy against the expansionist plans of Geoffrey 'Martel' ('the Hammer'), count of Anjou (who gained control of Maine, which separated Anjou and Normandy, in 1051), and William's erstwhile ally, Henry I of France. About 1053, William married Matilda, daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders. In 1060, both King Henry and Count Geoffrey died. Anjou descended into a protracted civil war. Henry's son and successor, Philip I, was a child, and William's father-in-law, Baldwin of Flanders, became regent. William conquered Maine c.1063.

Note 06

It may have been noticed that there has been no mention of Godwine's eldest son, Earl Swein. In fact, he never returned to England from Flanders. Florence of Worcester avers that it was to atone for having killed Beorn that Swein undertook to walk barefoot from Flanders to Jerusalem. He died during the return journey - "at Constantinople, at Michaelmas [29th September, 1052]", says Manuscript C of the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'. Florence says he "died in Lycia of a disease contracted through extreme cold". William of Malmesbury, however, claims that he "was surprised by the Saracens, and put to death".
Swein's earldom was divided. Somerset and Berkshire were reunited with Wessex. Oxfordshire and Herefordshire were given to Earl Ralph. There is no indication what happened to Gloucestershire, however, the western shires which had been committed to Odda now reverted to Wessex, but Odda retained his rank and was given an earldom which covered Worcestershire, and might well have included Gloucestershire too (the district called the Hwicce equates to Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and western Warwickshire).

Note 07

Florence of Worcester names Robert the deacon, Richard fitz (son of) Scrob and his son-in-law Alfred "the king's horse thegn", and one Anfrid 'Ceocesfot' as being amongst the Normans allowed to remain in England. Florence also notes that William, the expelled bishop of London: "... being a good natured man, was recalled in a short time, and again received into his bishopric. Osbern, surnamed Pentecost, and his companion Hugh, surrendered their castles, and, by the licence of earl Leofric passing through his earldom, went into Scotland, and were there kindly received by Macbeoth [Macbeth], king of the Scots."

Note 08

Henry of Huntingdon: "... the stout Earl Siward being seized with dysentery, perceived that his end was approaching; upon which he said, "Shame on me that I did not die in one of the many battles I have fought, but am reserved to die with disgrace the death of a sick cow! At least put on my armour of proof, gird the sword by my side, place the helmet on my head, let me have my shield in my left hand, and my gold-inlaid battle-axe in my right hand, that the bravest of soldiers may die in a soldiers garb." Thus he spoke, and when armed according to his desire, he gave up the ghost."
'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Manuscript D: "In this year [1055] died Syhward [Siward] the earl at York, and he lies at Galmanho, in the minster which himself caused to be built, and consecrated in God's and Olaf's name."

Note 09

In 'The Welsh Kings', Kari Maund expresses the view that Ælfgar had already been negotiating an alliance with Gruffudd ("to help counterbalance the faction of Earl Harold and his brothers"), and that it was the "opening of private negotiations with this dangerous neighbour" which had led to the accusation of treason against him.

Note 10

In 'Anglo-Saxon England', Sir Frank Stenton writes of Ralph: "So far as can be seen, he was the real founder of the system of organized castle-building which under the Norman kings made Herefordshire a principal bulwark of the midlands against assault from Wales."

Note 11

Florence of Worcester asserts that Earl Ralph: "... ordered the English, contrary to their custom, to fight on horseback. But just as they were about to join battle, the earl with his Frenchmen and Normans set the example by flight: the English seeing this, fled with their commander: and nearly the whole body of the enemy pursued them, slew four or five hundred of them, and wounded a great number."
Earl Ralph is also known as Ralph 'the Timid'.

Note 12

Odda was, apparently, also known as Æthelwine. Florence of Worcester calls him by that name, and says he was "the cherisher of churches, the entertainer of the poor, the defender of widows and orphans, the overthrower of tyrants, the guardian of virginity".  Odda died without an heir, and his property seems to have passed to his "relation" King Edward.
At Deerhurst is an Anglo-Saxon chapel (known as Odda's Chapel) incorporated into a later, half-timbered, farmhouse. The chapel is dated by a stone inscription (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) which reads: "Earl Odda had this Royal Hall built and dedicated in honour of the Holy Trinity for the soul of his brother, Ælfric, which left the body in this place. Bishop Ealdred dedicated it the second of the Ides of April in the fourteenth year of the reign of Edward, King of the English [i.e. on 12th April 1056]."
Florence of Worcester notes that Ælfric died on the 22nd December 1053.

Note 13

On 22nd December 1060, Archbishop Cynesige of York died. Bishop Ealdred was chosen as his successor. On his journey to Rome, to collect his pallium, Ealdred was accompanied by Tostig and his wife, and Tostig's brother, Gyrth.
Also travelling to Rome were Giso, designated bishop of Wells, and Walter, designated bishop of Hereford. They were going to be consecrated by the pope - a task which, had it not been for the doubtful legality of his position, Stigand would normally have been expected to perform.
The party arrived in Rome by Easter (15th April) 1061. Manuscript D of the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' makes the, somewhat enigmatic, comment that: "... the bishop and the earl met with great difficulty as they returned home."  The details of their Roman adventure, however, are revealed in the 'Vita Ædwardi Regis' and William of Malmesbury's 'Vita Wulfstani' (Life of St.Wulfstan).
When he was appointed archbishop of York, Ealdred had also retained the bishopric of Worcester (a not unprecedented state of affairs). This was unacceptable to Rome, and, after a long debate, Pope Nicholas II not only refused Ealdred the pallium, but also stripped him of his episcopal rank. Ealdred's case had taken so long that Tostig had already sent his wife and most of his entourage home. Soon after leaving Rome, Tostig and Ealdred's group were set upon and robbed. They made their way back to Rome. Tostig, already angered by the pope's ruling against Ealdred, must have been furious, and the pope was afraid of him. At any rate, the combination of fear of Tostig, compassion for the group's distress, and Ealdred's previous humble acceptance of Nicholas' ruling, softened the pope's attitude. Ealdred was reinstated and given the pallium, but on the condition that he relinquish the see of Worcester. On 8th September 1062, at York, the new bishop of Worcester, Wulfstan, was consecrated by Archbishop Ealdred.
It seems that Tostig had a lieutenant, named Copsig, to whom he could entrust the government of Northumbria in his absence. Symeon of Durham, in his 'Historia Ecclesiae Dunelmensis' (History of the Church of Durham), notes that Copsig "had charge of the whole earldom under Tosti".

Note 14

In the 1150s, the English philosopher, John of Salisbury (c.1115-1180), in the 'Policraticus', wrote: "The recent history of the English tells how, when the Britons had made an irruption and were ravaging England, Duke Harold was sent by the most pious King Edward to subdue them. He was an able warrior with an illustrious record of praiseworthy achievements ... When, therefore, he discovered the nimbleness of the nation he had to deal with, he selected light-armed soldiers so that he might meet them on equal terms. He decided, in other words, to campaign with a light armament shod with boots, their chests protected with straps of very tough hide, carrying small round shields to ward off missiles, and using as offensive weapons javelins and a pointed sword. Thus he was able to cling to their heels as they fled and pressed them so hard that "foot repulsed foot and spear repulsed spear," and the boss of one shield that of another. And so he reached Snowdon, the Hill of Snows itself, and wasted the whole country, and prolonging the campaign to two years, captured their chiefs and presented their heads to the king who had sent him; and slaying every male who could be found, even down to the pitiful little boys, he thus pacified the province at the mouth of the sword. He established a law that any Briton who was found with a weapon beyond a certain limit which he set for them, to wit the Foss of Offa, was to have his right hand cut off by the officials of the king. And thus by the valor of this leader the power of the Britons was so broken that almost the entire race seemed to disappear and by the indulgence of the aforesaid king, their women were married to Englishmen."
According to a yarn, appearing in the 'Vita Gundleii' (Life of St.Gwynllyw), possibly composed c.1130, some English merchants refused to pay their dues at the trading centre sited on the mouth of the Usk (now Newport). As a result, the anchor of their ship was removed and taken to the church of St.Gwynllyw. The English sailors and merchants complained to Earl Harold, who promptly led and army to ravage the area. Some of Harold's men broke into St.Gwynllyw's church. They failed to spot the anchor, but plundered goods deposited in the church for safe keeping: "Cheeses were divided by the robbers, but, when they were being cut into, they appeared bloody within; the whole army was astounded, restoring everything, which it had seized, with ready hands. Moreover, the earl Harold among the first offered of his own to the altar, being pricked with terrible compunction. Thence he returned, greatly fearing that more revenge would be taken, promising never to violate the sanctuary of the venerable church."

Note 15

As can be seen from the following passage in the 'Vita Ædwardi Regis', Edward's magnificent new minster was built some distance from the existing church - enabling the small community of monks to carry on with their devotions during construction: "And so at the king's command the building, nobly begun, was made ready, and there was no weighing of the cost, past or future, as long as it proved worthy of, and acceptable to, God and St.Peter. The house of the principal altar, raised up with most lofty vaulting, is surrounded by dressed stone, evenly jointed. Moreover, the circumference of that temple is enclosed on both sides by a double arch of stones, with the structure of the work strongly consolidated from different directions. Next is the crossing of the church, which is to hold in its midst the choir of God's choristers, and, with its twin abutments from either side, support the high apex of the central tower. It rises simply at first with a low and sturdy vault, swells with many a stair spiralling up in artistic profusion, but then with a plain wall climbs to the wooded roof which is covered with lead. And indeed, methodically arranged above and below, are chapels to be consecrated through their altars to the memory of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins. Moreover, the whole complex of this enormous building is set at a sufficient distance from the east end of the old church to allow not only the brethren dwelling there to continue with their service to Christ but also some part of the nave, which is to lie in between, to advance a good way."
William of Malmesbury notes that Edward was buried: "... in the said church, which he, first in England, had erected after that kind of style which now almost all attempt to rival at enormous expense."
Westminster Abbey (with work still in progress), as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry