On This Day, 1066: Harold Godwinson Crowned.

On This Day, 1066: Harold Godwinson is crowned Harold II, King of England following the death of Edward The Confessor.

Harold Godwinson Harold II England Hastings

This would prove to be a interesting year in British history, and one that would end in a dynastic change and new future for England.

Upon ascending to the throne, Harold II would have many issues to deal with during his short reign, for his throne was coveted by many.

William The Conqueror England Normandy Hastings 1066

Harold’s coronation was disputed by William, the Duke of Normandy (who was also Harold’s cousin) and he intended to invade and seize the throne – An endeavour in which he ultimately succeeds.

Harald Hardrada Stamford Bridge Hastings 1066

In addition to William however, Harald III Hardrada of Norway and Tostig (Harold II’s brother) also had plans for England.

1066 would be a bloody year for England, with Tostig launching a series of devastating raids and forging an alliance with Harald of Norway.

Harold II would not vacate his throne without a fight, however. In September he strikes a crushing blow against Harald at the battle of Stamford Bridge.

Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066 Harold II Harald Hardrada

Emboldened by victory, Harold II marches south to meet William in the field, and at Hastings in October his battle weary force is defeated by the Norman invaders.

The Battle of Hastings was a wretched, bloody affair with heavy losses incurred by both sides. Harold II’s shield wall held firm throughout ferocious fighting, but was ultimately broken.

Battle of Hastings 1066 William the Conqueror Harold II

William’s stronger, better prepared army was able to outlast and prevail over the broken Saxon force.

Harold II died nobly, however. Fighting to the death on the field in legendary circumstances, where he is allegedly shot through the eye with an arrow.

William the Conqueror coronation Christmas Day 1066

His death marks the end of an era in English history. The Saxon era had come and gone and the first Norman king was crowned on Christmas Day.


6 thoughts on “On This Day, 1066: Harold Godwinson Crowned.

Add yours

    1. It is bizarre that given the Normans’ campaign to assert dominance in England, that culturally speaking there aren’t any cataclysmic changes.

      We do know that under William, land and titles were granted to those within his court – which is the natural course when trying to control a kingdom you’ve just conquered.

      Your comment has peaked my curiosity and I will probably look into this now!


  1. You do know that Normandy was at one time a formidable Viking stronghold do you not? My Viking ancestors traveled there and settled Normandy and then moved on to Scotland where they became the Earls of Ross and later the Lairds of Balnagown. My direct ancestor came to American as an indentured servant following capture by the English after battling for Scottish Independence from the English crown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed! If I recall correctly it was Charles the Simple (?) that granted land to Norsemen in the 10th century.

      European history is so fascinating and intertwined – something we’d do well to remember in such times.


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