Godwin


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Godwin

or

Godwine

(both: gŏd`wĭn), d. 1053, earl of Wessex. He became chief adviser to King CanuteCanute
, 995?–1035, king of England, Norway, and Denmark. The younger son of Sweyn of Denmark, Canute accompanied his father on the expedition of 1013 that invaded England and forced Æthelred to flee to Normandy.
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, was created (c.1018) an earl, and was given great wealth and lands. After Canute's death (1035) Godwin and Queen Emma, Canute's widow, supported the claims to succession of her son HarthacanuteHarthacanute
, Hardicanute,
or Hardecanute
, d. 1042, king of Denmark (1035–42) and of the English (1040–42); son of Canute and Emma. On his father's death (1035) he succeeded to the throne of Denmark, where he was already the effective ruler.
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, against those of Canute's illegitimate son Harold HarefootHarold Harefoot,
d. 1040, king of the English (1037–40), illegitimate son of Canute and Ælfgifu of Northampton. On his father's death (1035) he disputed the succession of his half-brother Harthacanute to the English throne.
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. Godwin apparently permitted the murder of another claimant to the throne, Alfred Ætheling, son of Queen Emma by her first husband, ÆthelredÆthelred,
965?–1016, king of England (978–1016), called Æthelred the Unready [Old Eng. unrœd=without counsel]. He was the son of Edgar and the half-brother of Edward the Martyr, whom he succeeded.
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 the Unready, and brother of Edward (later Edward the ConfessorEdward the Confessor,
d. 1066, king of the English (1042–66), son of Æthelred the Unready and his Norman wife, Emma. After the Danish conquest (1013–16) of England, Edward grew up at the Norman court, although his mother returned to England and married the
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). This brutality seems to have earned Godwin the enmity of Harthacanute and of Edward, who succeeded Harthacanute. Nevertheless, Godwin became even more powerful; he secured earldoms for his sons Sweyn and HaroldHarold,
1022?–1066, king of England (1066). The son of Godwin, earl of Wessex, he belonged to the most powerful noble family of England in the reign of Edward the Confessor. Through Godwin's influence Harold was made earl of East Anglia.
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 and married (1045) his daughter, Edith, to Edward. In 1051, when Edward ordered Godwin to punish the people of Dover for a fracas with Eustace IIEustace II
, d. 1093, count of Boulogne. He was the brother-in-law of Edward the Confessor of England. Visiting England in 1051, he and his followers became involved in a brawl with the citizens of Dover.
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 of Boulogne and his retinue, Godwin took the opportunity to challenge the king's strength by refusing. Edward met the challenge and exiled Godwin and his family. However, in 1052, taking advantage of the popular dislike of the king's Norman friends, Godwin and his sons led an armed invasion of England, and the settlement they forced upon Edward restored Godwin to his former importance and outlawed many of the Norman newcomers. Godwin was succeeded as earl of Wessex by his son Harold.

Bibliography

See F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (3d ed. 1971).

Godwin

1. died 1053, Earl of Wessex. He was chief adviser to Canute and Edward the Confessor. His son succeeded Edward to the throne as Harold II
2. William. 1756--1836, British political philospher and novelist. In An Enquiry concerning Political Justice (1793), he rejected government and social institutions, including marriage. His views greatly influenced English romantic writers
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