To begin to tell the story of Harold II, we must return to the reign of Canute. Following the departure of Aethelred the Unready to Normandy in 1013, after a reign of semi incompetence and mismanagement, he left the country to be defended by his son, Edmund Ironside. For three years he battled against the Danish invaders until finally being defeated at Ashingdon on the 18th October 1016. Edmund was granted Wessex as a peace offering, but died or was murdered soon afterwards. Son of Sweyn Forkbeard, Canute, was declared king of England in 1017.
Canute was a good king. He upheld the peace and was true to his oath to the Witan. This son of a Pagan was totally captivated by England. It is often said that England conquered Canute rather than the other way round. Canute was baptized and set about building churches and monasteries and promoting the faith as Edgar had done. In 1027, Canute even went to Rome on Pilgrimage where he laid a tribute to St Peter. He slowly rebuilt everything his countrymen had destroyed in the previous centuries. Canute was not only king of England but of Denmark and latterly of Norway. Canute died at the age of 40.Series of murders followed. At the end the only surviving heir to the thrown was Edward, brother of the murdered Alfred the Aetheling and son of Emma and Aethelred the Unready. As far as Godwin was concerned, this was the worst scenario. A king with Norman leanings would threaten his power. He already was the king of England in all but name. It was thought that he was responsible for the death of Alfred the Aetheling and now his brother at the age of 40 came to power. So affected was Edward by the way he had been treated by his mother, he removed her entitlement to her land and confiscated all her possessions. He had Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury removed but later re-instated. A deeply religious man, he promised to go on a pilgrimage to Rome but never did. As penance He was ordered by the Pope to build a church. This was called the Church of St Peter and was situated to the West of London. It is now known as Westminster Abbey.
Canutes conversion to Christianity led him to the meeting with Harold's father. Harold's father was also a religious man, who spent his younger days in Sussex. Godwin, which was his surname, was on a visit to the shrine of Dicul, who was a missionary, and St Wilfred. Located in Bosham, which is near Chichester, became a great favourite with Canute.
So much so that he built a home and church there. It was here that Godwin and Canute met. Bosham is the famed location where Canute was said to have attempted to turn back the tide. It was an act to show that he was not as powerful as God but merely mortal. The act was meant to fail. Godwin at this time was a thegn (a noble fighting man). Canute and Godwin became friends, culminating in his appointment as the Earl of Wessex. To become the Earl of Wessex was a position of such power that he only needed to answer to the king. Canute who was the king of England, Denmark and later Norway, bestowed great power on Earl Godwin. He became acknowledged as the Bretwalda of all England.
Ďaľšie referáty z kategórie
The battle of Hastings
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|Referát vhodný pre:||Stredná odborná škola||Počet A4:||14.1|
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