The Supporting Cast: Harold’s Brothers

Harold Godwinson was accompanied into battle at Hastings by two of his brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine.  Gyrth was the fourth son of Earl Godwin, Leofwine the fifth – both were younger brothers to Harold.

Following the death of their father in April 1053, the Godwinsons managed to retain their hold on England. Harold inherited the Earldom of Wessex and became second in power only to the king. Gyrth was made Earl of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire. Leofwine was made Earl of Kent, Essex, Middlesex, Hertford, Surrey and probably Buckinghamshire. Together the Godwinsons controlled almost all of East England by the time William landed in 1066.

According to Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury, Gyrth tried (ineffectually) to prevent Harold from engaging William of Normandy in battle, saying that he instead could lead the English forces. Harold, however, ignored Gyrth’s advice.

 

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Published in: on November 2, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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