History of England
I have decided that I want to write about a subject not much studied any more, at least not in America – the history of England. I have been studying English history from a young age; really, ever since I could get my fingers on a G. A. Henty or R. M. Ballantyne book. In my study of English history, I have decided to start where most historians consider to be the beginning of a civilized England.
I have only my first article and my most recent article on this page. For other articles on the English monarchy, hit the red Archive button on the above right.
King Harthacnut was king of Denmark from 1028 and nominal king of England since 1035. On the death of Harald Harefoot, Harthacnut sailed for England and was immediately accepted as king. He was an unpopular king, as he levied large taxes and ruled autocratically. (Former kings were wont to rule with the council of the Witan.) It is known that Harthacnut had bouts of sickness even before his advent in England; in 1041 in preparation for his death, Harthacnut invited his brother Edward the Confessor to come to England from his exile in Normandy. Harthacnut died the following year at the age of 24. One source claims that on June 8 1042, Harthacnut attended a wedding, where he toasted the bride; as he was drinking, he had a stroke and died. Another source claims that he was mistakenly poisoned by Alfifa, Cnut’s first wife and the mother of Harald Harefoot. Anyhow, it is commonly believed that at some point Harthacnut was poisoned while drinking. This seems plausible to us, as he was not a popular ruler. Harthacnut was succeeded by Magnus in Denmark and Edward the Confessor in England.
King Edward the Confessor
King Edward succeeded his half-brother Harthacnut in the year 1042. He, like King Edward the Martyr, was celibate for religious reasons, and therefore had no children.
King Edward built Westminster Abbey, consecrated in 1065. He was buried there in 1066. He was canonized in 1161. The "Confessor" part of King Edward's name means that although sainted, King Edward was not martyred, as was King Edward the Martyr.
King Edward the Confessor was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, his most powerful earl, who reigned for nine months; however, he was defeated and killed by William the Conqueror’s Norman army nine months later at the Battle of Hastings. Besides Harold Godwinson, King Edward was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. He was the seventh son of Edward the Unready, one of eight sons and one of three to become king.
The Bayeux tapestry depicted events between Edward the Confessor’s coronation until William the Conqueror’s coronation. You can see a picture of it here.
The seal is inscribed, "SIGILLVM EADWARDI ANGLORVM BASILEI." (Read the "V"s as "U"s.)