Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


1022?–1066, king of England (1066). The son of GodwinGodwin
or Godwine
, d. 1053, earl of Wessex. He became chief adviser to King Canute, 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
..... Click the link for more information.
, earl of Wessex, he belonged to the most powerful noble family of England in the reign of 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
..... Click the link for more information.
. Through Godwin's influence Harold was made earl of East AngliaEast Anglia
, kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, comprising the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. It was settled in the late 5th cent. by so-called Angles from northern Germany and Scandinavia.
..... Click the link for more information.
. He went into exile with his father in 1051, returning to help him regain power the next year. His succession (1053) to the earldom of Wessex and to Godwin's great estates made Harold the most powerful figure in England except for the king, and he aspired to become heir to the throne. He gained glory by a successful campaign against the Welsh leader Gruffydd ap LlywelynGruffydd ap Llywelyn or Llewelyn
, d. 1063, ruler of Wales (1039–63). A series of campaigns against other Welsh princes made him the ruler of virtually all Wales.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in 1062–63. Shortly after this (probably in 1064), Harold was apparently shipwrecked on the coast of Ponthieu and was surrendered by the count of Ponthieu to William, duke of NormandyNormandy
, Fr. Normandie , region and former province, NW France, bordering on the English Channel. It now includes five departments—Manche, Calvados, Eure, Seine-Maritime, and Orne. Normandy is a region of flat farmland, forests, and gentle hills.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (later William IWilliam I
or William the Conqueror,
1027?–1087, king of England (1066–87). Earnest and resourceful, William was not only one of the greatest of English monarchs but a pivotal figure in European history as well.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of England). Harold then, possibly under coercion, took an oath to support William's candidacy to the English throne. When the Northumbrians revolted (1065) against Harold's brother TostigTostig
, d. 1066, earl of Northumbria; son of Earl Godwin of Wessex. He was banished with his father in 1051 and returned with him in their armed invasion of 1052. Made earl of Northumbria in 1055, Tostig jointly invaded (1063) Wales with his brother Harold (later King Harold of
..... Click the link for more information.
 and chose Morcar in his place as earl of Northumbria, Harold took Morcar's part. The family was thus divided when Edward the Confessor died (1066), after naming Harold his heir instead of William. Harold was also the choice of the council to be king. William of Normandy immediately undertook an invasion. At the same time, Tostig, with Harold IIIHarold III
or Harold Hardrada
, Norse Harald Harðráði [Harold stern council], d. 1066, king of Norway (1046–66), half-brother of Olaf II.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of Norway, invaded England in the north. Harold went north and soundly defeated them (Sept. 25, 1066) at the battle of Stamford Bridge, in which both Tostig and Harold III were slain. Then the harassed king hurried south to oppose William, who had landed at Pevensey. Harold established his forces in hastily built earthworks near HastingsHastings,
city (1991 pop. 74,979) and district, East Sussex, SE England. A resort and residential city, Hastings is backed by cliffs and has a 3-mi (4.8-km) marine esplanade, parks, and bathing beaches. The site was occupied in Roman times.
..... Click the link for more information.
. They fought valiantly but were finally put to rout, and Harold was killed.


See biography by P. Compton (1961); F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (3d ed. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in classic literature ?
But when I say that I think that Harold is not happy I mean in his daily life.
Charles Westmacott had ceased to knock the tennis balls about, and was chatting with Clara Walker, while Ida and Harold Denver were still talking by the railing with little outbursts of laughter.
Like his own Childe Harold, "With pleasure drugg'd he almost long'd for woe." So to Greece he went, and the last nine months of his life were spent to such good purpose that when he died the whole Greek nation mourned.
The majesty of Nature, especially of the mountains and the ocean, stirs him to feeling which often results in superb stanzas, like the well-known ones at the end of 'Childe Harold' beginning 'Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll'!
"Well, then, we will presume that she had come on a visit to England, and that this Harold had persuaded her to fly with him."
It is clear that some time has elapsed since this Harold established these relations with the girl--some weeks, at any rate--since the brother in Greece has had time to hear of it and come across.
While there she had met a young man named Harold Latimer, who had acquired an ascendancy over he and had eventually persuaded her to fly with him.
The concentrated gaze of a hidden observer provokes a warning sensation of nervous unrest in such as these, but though twenty pairs of savage eyes were gazing fixedly at Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick, the fact aroused no responsive sensation of impending danger in his placid breast.
Harold Skimpole," said my guardian, evidently surprised.
There was a heavy silence, and at last Harold March said, "But where is the real relic?"
Harold March frowned at the tablecloth; then, after an interval, he said: "I think I understand your notion of how the thing was actually done; according to that, Morris just made a hole and fished it up with a magnet at the end of a string.
Harold worked hard for his success, but he p roved that when you combine sweat with the belief you can do a certain thing, tremendous results follow.