The Perry-Poole Family Tree - Person Sheet
The Perry-Poole Family Tree - Person Sheet
NameHarold II Godwinson , King of England
Birthabt 1025
Death14 Oct 1066, Battle of Hastings, England
FatherGodwin , Earl of Wessex (~1001-1053)
Misc. Notes
Harold Godwinson, or Harold II of England (c. 1025 – October 14, 1066) was the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. He ruled from January 5 to October 14, 1066 when he was killed at the Battle of Hastings.

When Harold’s father, Godwin, died in 1053, Harold succeeded him as Earl of Wessex (a province at that time covering the southernmost third of England). This made him the second most powerful figure in England after the king.

In 1058 Harold also became Earl of Hereford, and he replaced his late father as the focus of opposition to growing Norman influence in England under the restored Saxon monarchy (1042 - 1066) of Edward the Confessor, who had spent more than a quarter of a century in exile in Normandy.

He gained glory in a series of campaigns (1062 - 1063) against the ruler of Gwynedd, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, who had conquered all of Wales; this conflict ended with Gruffydd's defeat (and death at the hands of his own troops) in 1063.

In 1045, Harold was shipwrecked in Ponthieu and was turned over to the court of Duke William of Normandy. William considered himself to be the successor of the childless Edward the Confessor, and obtained from Harold an oath to support William as the future king of England. It was alleged that William forced Harold to swear to support his claim to the throne, only revealing after the event that the box on which he had made his oath contained holy relics. After Harold's death, Normans were quick to point out that in accepting the crown of England, Harold had perjured himself of this oath. The chronicler Orderic Vitalis wrote: "This Englishman was very tall and handsome, remarkable for his physical strength, his courage and eloquence, his ready jests and acts of valor. But what were these gifts to him without honor, which is the root of all good?"

In 1065 Harold supported Northumbrian rebels against his brother Tostig who replaced him with Morcar, due to unjust taxation instituted by Tostig. This strengthened his acceptability as Edward's successor, but fatally divided his own family, driving Tostig into alliance with King Harald Hardrada ("Hard Reign") of Norway.

About January 1066, Harold married Aldith (or Aldgyth), daughter of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia, and widow of the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. Aldith had two sons - possibly twins - named Harold and Ulf (b ca November 1066), both of whom survived into adulthood and probably ended their lives in exile. After her husband's death, the queen is said to have fled for refuge to her brothers Edwin, Earl of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria but both men made their peace with the Conqueror initially before rebelling and losing their lands and lives. Aldith may have fled abroad (possibly with Harold's mother Gytha, or with Harold's illegitimate daughter Gytha).

Harold also had several illegitimate children by his famous mistress (or wife, according to Danish law), "Ealdgyth Swan-neck" or "Edith Swan-neck" or "Edith Swanneck". Among them was a daughter Gytha, later wife of the Russian prince Vladimir Monomachus or Vladimir Monomakh. Through descendants of this Anglo-Russian marriage, Harold is thus ancestor of later English kings.
Spouses
Deathabt 1086
ChildrenGytha (-1098)
Last Modified 4 Apr 2006Created 14 Jan 2022 using Reunion for Macintosh
Created Friday, January 14, 2022 by Mike Perry

using Reunion for Macintosh