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Who Was the Fourth King of England in 1066?

By Edited Dec 14, 2015 0 0

1066 was the year of the Battle of Hastings, when William, Duke of Normandy, later to become known as "The Conqueror" defeated Harold, the current King of England.

Edward the Confessor(84849)
Many people will know of these two kings, William and Harold, although less know of the third king, Edward the Confessor, Harold's predecessor, who died in January of 1066.

Edward the Confessor was not the same king as Edward I, who actually ascended to the throne more than two centuries later. The numbering of kings in such a way was not customarily done until after the Norman invasion; consequently, Edward I was in fact the fourth monarch called Edward.

Edward the Confessor was the second to last Anglo-Saxon King of England, although the three previous kings to him were all Danish.

A
King Harold Godwinson
fter Harold ascended to the throne, there were two invasion attempts. The first, in September, was by King Harald Hardrada of Norway, who was defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which was in the north of England near York, by Harold. Before becoming King of Norway, Harald Hardrada also served in the Varangian Guard, the royal guard of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople.

The second was less than three weeks later in the south of England at Hastings, where William defeated Harold. Harlold's defeat at Hastings may well have been caused in part by having to fight another major battle previous to it, then get his troops down to the south, which at the time was a substantial undertaking.

At this point, William II of Normandy, became William I of England. Not quite. Although the Saxons had been defeated at Hastings, there was still fighting after the battle. William may have continued to conquer the entire country, but there was a brief period where the remaining Saxons elected a new king.

Edgar the Ætheling
The Witanagemot ("meeting of wise men") assembled in London and elected Edgar the Ætheling, son of Edward the Exile, who was the son of Edmund Ironside. After Edmund Ironside died, the Danes under Cnut were able to seize control of England and Cnut became king, and Edmund's son became an exile.

His reign did not last long, and although proclaimed king, he was never crowned. Little was done by Edgar's supporters to combat the approach of William, and they negotiated with William as he approached London. In December 1066, the remainder of the Witan took Edgar to meet William at Berkhamsted, where Edgar submitted to William and his election was put aside.

William the Conqueror
Edgar was initially kept in the custody of William of Normandy, from which, in 1068, he escaped and fled to Scotland and the protection of King Malcolm III Canmore, where he led rebels in attacks against William. He was expelled from Scotland in 1072 when William invaded and forced the submission of Malcolm to William. Edgar settled in Flanders, then returned to Scotland in 1074, where he received an offer from King Philip I of France of a castle and lands near Normandy, but after a shipwreck on the way to France, he returned to Scotland again after losing many of his followers and was persuaded by Malcolm to renounce any claims to the English throne and return to England as the subject of William.

This was the end of his pursuit of the English Crown and, although he lived for many years afterwards, dying around 1126, he never again attempted to regain his lost kingdom.
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