The Info List - Edward The Confessor

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Edward the Confessor[a] (Old English: Ēadƿeard Andettere [æːɑdwæɑrˠd ɑndetere], Latin: Eduardus Confessor Classical Latin: [ɛ.dʊˈar.dʊs kɔ̃ˈfɛs.sɔr]; c. 1003 – 5 January 1066), also known as Saint
Edward the Confessor, was among the last Anglo-Saxon
kings of England. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066. The son of Æthelred the Unready
Æthelred the Unready
and Emma of Normandy, Edward succeeded Cnut the Great's son – and his own half brother – Harthacnut, restoring the rule of the House of Wessex after the period of Danish rule since Cnut (better known as Canute) conquered England in 1016. When Edward died in 1066, he was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, who was defeated and killed in the same year by the Normans
under William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
at the Battle of Hastings. Edgar the Ætheling, who was of the House of Wessex, was proclaimed king after the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
in 1066, but never ruled and was deposed after about eight weeks. Historians disagree about Edward's fairly long (24-year) reign. His nickname reflects the traditional image of him as unworldly and pious. Confessor reflects his reputation as a saint who did not suffer martyrdom, as opposed to King Edward the Martyr. Some portray Edward the Confessor's reign as leading to the disintegration of royal power in England and the advance in power of the House of Godwin, due to the infighting that began after his heirless death. Biographers Frank Barlow and Peter Rex, on the other hand, portray Edward as a successful king, one who was energetic, resourceful and sometimes ruthless; they argue that the Norman conquest shortly after his death tarnished his image.[1][2] However, Richard Mortimer argues that the return of the Godwins from exile in 1052 "meant the effective end of his exercise of power", citing Edward's reduced activity as implying "a withdrawal from affairs".[3] About a century later, in 1161, Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
canonised the late king. Saint
Edward was one of England's national saints until King Edward III adopted Saint
George as the national patron saint in about 1350. Saint
Edward's feast day is 13 October, celebrated by both the Church of England
Church of England
and the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
in England and Wales.


1 Early years and exile 2 Early reign 3 Crisis of 1051–52 4 Later reign 5 Succession 6 Westminster Abbey 7 Canonisation 8 Appearance and character 9 Ancestry 10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 Bibliography 14 Further reading 15 External links

Early years and exile[edit] Edward was the seventh son of Æthelred the Unready, and the first by his second wife, Emma of Normandy. Edward was born between 1003 and 1005 in Islip, Oxfordshire,[1] and is first recorded as a 'witness' to two charters in 1005. He had one full brother, Alfred, and a sister, Godgifu. In charters he was always listed behind his older half-brothers, showing that he ranked behind them.[4] During his childhood England was the target of Viking
raids and invasions under Sweyn Forkbeard
Sweyn Forkbeard
and his son, Cnut. Following Sweyn's seizure of the throne in 1013, Emma fled to Normandy, followed by Edward and Alfred, and then by Æthelred. Sweyn died in February 1014, and leading Englishmen invited Æthelred back on condition that he promised to rule 'more justly' than before. Æthelred agreed, sending Edward back with his ambassadors.[5] Æthelred died in April 1016, and he was succeeded by Edward's older half-brother Edmund Ironside, who carried on the fight against Sweyn's son, Cnut. According to Scandinavian tradition, Edward fought alongside Edmund; as Edward was at most thirteen years old at the time, the story is disputed.[6][7] Edmund died in November 1016, and Cnut became undisputed king. Edward then again went into exile with his brother and sister; in 1017 his mother married Cnut.[1] In the same year Cnut had Edward's last surviving elder half-brother, Eadwig, executed,[8] leaving Edward as the leading Anglo-Saxon
claimant to the throne.[citation needed]

of Edward the Confessor

Edward spent a quarter of a century in exile, probably mainly in Normandy, although there is no evidence of his location until the early 1030s. He probably received support from his sister Godgifu, who married Drogo of Mantes, count of Vexin
in about 1024. In the early 1030s Edward witnessed four charters in Normandy, signing two of them as king of England. According to the Norman chronicler, William of Jumièges, Robert I, Duke of Normandy
attempted an invasion of England to place Edward on the throne in about 1034, but it was blown off course to Jersey. He also received support for his claim to the throne from a number of continental abbots, particularly Robert, abbot of the Norman abbey of Jumièges, who was later to become Edward's Archbishop of Canterbury.[9] Edward was said to have developed an intense personal piety during this period, but modern historians regard this as a product of the later medieval campaign for his canonisation. In Frank Barlow's view "in his lifestyle would seem to have been that of a typical member of the rustic nobility".[1][10] He appeared to have a slim prospect of acceding to the English throne during this period, and his ambitious mother was more interested in supporting Harthacnut, her son by Cnut.[1][11] Cnut died in 1035, and Harthacnut
succeeded him as king of Denmark. It is unclear whether he intended to keep England as well, but he was too busy defending his position in Denmark
to come to England to assert his claim to the throne. It was therefore decided that his elder half-brother Harold Harefoot
Harold Harefoot
should act as regent, while Emma held Wessex on Harthacnut's behalf.[12] In 1036 Edward and his brother Alfred separately came to England. Emma later claimed that they came in response to a letter forged by Harold inviting them to visit her, but historians believe that she probably did invite them in an effort to counter Harold's growing popularity.[1][13] Alfred was captured by Godwin, Earl of Wessex who turned him over to Harold Harefoot. He had Alfred blinded by forcing red-hot pokers into his eyes to make him unsuitable for kingship, and Alfred died soon after as a result of his wounds. The murder is thought to be the source of much of Edward's later hatred for the Earl and one of the primary reasons for Godwin's banishment in autumn 1051.[10] Edward is said to have fought a successful skirmish near Southampton, and then retreated back to Normandy.[14][b] He thus showed his prudence, but he had some reputation as a soldier in Normandy
and Scandinavia.[15] In 1037 Harold was accepted as king, and the following year he expelled Emma, who retreated to Bruges. She then summoned Edward and demanded his help for Harthacnut, but he refused as he had no resources to launch an invasion, and disclaimed any interest for himself in the throne.[1][15] Harthacnut, his position in Denmark
now secure, did plan an invasion, but Harold died in 1040, and Harthacnut was able to cross unopposed with his mother to take the English throne.[citation needed] In 1041 Harthacnut
invited Edward back to England, probably as heir because he knew he had not long to live.[12] The 12th century Quadripartitus, in an account regarded as convincing by historian John Maddicott, states that he was recalled by the intervention of Bishop Ælfwine of Winchester and Earl Godwin. Edward met "the thegns of all England" at Hursteshever, probably modern Hurst Spit
Hurst Spit
opposite the Isle of Wight. There he was received as king in return for his oath that he would continue the laws of Cnut.[16] According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Edward was sworn in as king alongside Harthacnut, but a diploma issued by Harthacnut
in 1042 describes him as the king's brother.[17] Early reign[edit]

A sealed writ of Edward the Confessor

Following Harthacnut's death on 8 June 1042, Godwin, the most powerful of the English earls, supported Edward, who succeeded to the throne.[1] The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle describes the popularity he enjoyed at his accession – "before he [Harthacnut] was buried, all the people chose Edward as king in London."[18] Edward was crowned at the cathedral of Winchester, the royal seat of the West Saxons, on 3 April 1043.[19] Edward complained that his mother had "done less for him than he wanted before he became king, and also afterwards". In November 1043 he rode to Winchester with his three leading earls, Leofric of Mercia, Godwin and Siward of Northumbria, to deprive her of her property, possibly because she was holding on to treasure which belonged to the king. Her adviser, Stigand, was deprived of his bishopric of Elmham in East Anglia. However, both were soon restored to favour. Emma died in 1052.[20] Edward's position when he came to the throne was weak. Effective rule required keeping on terms with the three leading earls, but loyalty to the ancient house of Wessex had been eroded by the period of Danish rule, and only Leofric was descended from a family which had served Æthelred. Siward was probably Danish, and although Godwin was English, he was one of Cnut's new men, married to Cnut's former sister-in-law. However, in his early years Edward restored the traditional strong monarchy, showing himself, in Frank Barlow's view, "a vigorous and ambitious man, a true son of the impetuous Æthelred and the formidable Emma."[1] In 1043 Godwin's eldest son Sweyn was appointed to an earldom in the south-west midlands, and on 23 January 1045 Edward married Godwin's daughter Edith. Soon afterwards, her brother Harold and her Danish cousin Beorn Estrithson, were also given earldoms in southern England. Godwin and his family now ruled subordinately all of Southern England. However, in 1047 Sweyn was banished for abducting the Abbess of Leominster. In 1049 he returned to try to regain his earldom, but this was said to have been opposed by Harold and Beorn, probably because they had been given Sweyn's land in his absence. Sweyn murdered his cousin Beorn and went again into exile, and Edward's nephew, Ralph was given Beorn's earldom, but the following year Sweyn's father was able to secure his reinstatement.[21] The wealth of Edward's lands exceeded that of the greatest earls, but they were scattered among the southern earldoms. He had no personal powerbase, and he does not seem to have attempted to build one. In 1050–51 he even paid off the fourteen foreign ships which constituted his standing navy and abolished the tax raised to pay for it.[1][22] However, in ecclesiastical and foreign affairs he was able to follow his own policy. King Magnus I of Norway aspired to the English throne, and in 1045 and 1046, fearing an invasion, Edward took command of the fleet at Sandwich. Beorn's elder brother, Sweyn II of Denmark
"submitted himself to Edward as a son", hoping for his help in his battle with Magnus for control of Denmark, but in 1047 Edward rejected Godwin's demand that he send aid to Sweyn, and it was only Magnus's death in October that saved England from attack and allowed Sweyn to take the Danish throne.[1] Modern historians reject the traditional view that Edward mainly employed Norman favourites, but he did have foreigners in his household, including a few Normans, who became unpopular. Chief among them was Robert, abbot of the Norman abbey of Jumièges, who had known Edward from the 1030s and came to England with him in 1041, becoming bishop of London in 1043. According to the Vita Edwardi, he became "always the most powerful confidential adviser to the king".[23] Crisis of 1051–52[edit]

Edward's seal: SIGILLVM EADWARDI ANGLORVM BASILEI (Seal of Edward crowned/King of the English).

In ecclesiastical appointments, Edward and his advisers showed a bias against candidates with local connections, and when the clergy and monks of Canterbury
elected a relative of Godwin as Archbishop of Canterbury
in 1051, Edward rejected him and appointed Robert of Jumièges, who claimed that Godwin was in illegal possession of some archiepiscopal estates. In September Edward was visited by his brother-in-law, Godgifu's second husband, Eustace II of Boulogne. His men caused an affray in Dover, and Edward ordered Godwin as earl of Kent to punish the town's burgesses, but he took their side and refused. Edward seized the chance to bring his over-mighty earl to heel. Archbishop Robert accused Godwin of plotting to kill the king, just as he had killed his brother Alfred in 1036, while Leofric and Siward supported the king and called up their vassals. Sweyn and Harold called up their own vassals, but neither side wanted a fight, and Godwin and Sweyn appear to have each given a son as hostage, who were sent to Normandy. The Godwins' position disintegrated as their men were not willing to fight the king. When Stigand, who was acting as intermediary, conveyed the king's jest that Godwin could have his peace if he could restore Alfred and his companions alive and well, Godwin and his sons fled, going to Flanders and Ireland.[1] Edward repudiated Edith and sent her to a nunnery, perhaps because she was childless,[24] and Archbishop Robert urged her divorce.[1]

Silver penny of Edward the Confessor

Sweyn went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem (dying on his way back), but Godwin and his other sons returned with an army following a year later, and received considerable support, while Leofric and Siward failed to support the king. Both sides were concerned that a civil war would leave the country open to foreign invasion. The king was furious, but he was forced to give way and restore Godwin and Harold to their earldoms, while Robert of Jumièges
Robert of Jumièges
and other Frenchmen fled, fearing Godwin's vengeance. Edith was restored as queen, and Stigand, who had again acted as an intermediary between the two sides in the crisis, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
in Robert's place. Stigand
retained his existing bishopric of Winchester, and his pluralism was to be a continuing source of dispute with the pope.[1][25] Edward's nephew, Earl Ralph, who had been one of his chief supporters in the crisis of 1051–52, may have received Sweyn's marcher earldom of Hereford at this time.[26] Later reign[edit] Until the mid-1050s Edward was able to structure his earldoms so as to prevent the Godwins becoming dominant. Godwin himself died in 1053 and although Harold succeeded to his earldom of Wessex, none of his other brothers were earls at this date. His house was then weaker than it had been since Edward's succession, but a succession of deaths in 1055–57 completely changed the picture. In 1055 Siward died but his son was considered too young to command Northumbria, and Harold's brother, Tostig was appointed. In 1057 Leofric and Ralph died, and Leofric's son Ælfgar succeeded as Earl of Mercia, while Harold's brother Gyrth succeeded Ælfgar as Earl of East Anglia. The fourth surviving Godwin brother, Leofwine, was given an earldom in the south-east carved out of Harold's territory, and Harold received Ralph's territory in compensation. Thus by 1057 the Godwin brothers controlled all of England subordinately apart from Mercia. It is not known whether Edward approved of this transformation or whether he had to accept it, but from this time he seems to have begun to withdraw from active politics, devoting himself to hunting, which he pursued each day after attending church.[1][27] In the 1050s, Edward pursued an aggressive, and generally successful, policy in dealing with Scotland
and Wales. Malcolm Canmore was an exile at Edward's court after his father, Duncan I, was in 1040 killed in battle against men led by Macbeth who seized the Scottish throne. In 1054 Edward sent Siward to invade Scotland. He defeated Macbeth, and Malcolm, who had accompanied the expedition, gained control of southern Scotland. By 1058 Malcolm had killed Macbeth in battle and taken the Scottish throne. In 1059 he visited Edward, but in 1061 he started raiding Northumbria
with the aim of adding it to his territory.[1][28] In 1053 Edward ordered the assassination of the south Welsh prince Rhys ap Rhydderch in reprisal for a raid on England, and Rhys's head was delivered to him.[1] In 1055 Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
established himself as the ruler of all Wales, and allied himself with Ælfgar of Mercia, who had been outlawed for treason. They defeated Earl Ralph at Hereford, and Harold had to collect forces from nearly all of England to drive the invaders back into Wales. Peace was concluded with the reinstatement of Ælfgar, who was able to succeed as Earl of Mercia
on his father's death in 1057. Gruffydd swore an oath to be a faithful under-king of Edward. Ælfgar appears to have died in 1062 and his young son Edwin was allowed to succeed as Earl of Mercia, but Harold then launched a surprise attack on Gruffydd. He escaped, but when Harold and Tostig attacked again the following year, he retreated and was killed by Welsh enemies. Edward and Harold were then able to impose vassalage on some Welsh princes.[29][30]

Harold meeting Edward shortly before his death, depicted in scene 25 of the Bayeux Tapestry

In October 1065 Harold's brother, Tostig, the earl of Northumbria, was hunting with the king when his thegns in Northumbria
rebelled against his rule, which they claimed was oppressive, and killed some 200 of his followers. They nominated Morcar, the brother of Edwin of Mercia, as earl, and invited the brothers to join them in marching south. They met Harold at Northampton, and Tostig accused Harold before the king of conspiring with the rebels. Tostig seems to have been a favourite with the king and queen, who demanded that the revolt be suppressed, but neither Harold nor anyone else would fight to support Tostig. Edward was forced to submit to his banishment, and the humiliation may have caused a series of strokes which led to his death.[1][31] He was too weak to attend the dedication of his new church at Westminster, which was then still incomplete, on 28 December.[32][33] Edward probably entrusted the kingdom to Harold and Edith shortly before he died on 5 January 1066. On 6 January he was buried in Westminster Abbey, and Harold was crowned on the same day.[1] Succession[edit] Starting as early as William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury
in the early 12th century, historians have puzzled over Edward's intentions for the succession. One school of thought supports the Norman case that Edward always intended William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
to be his heir, accepting the medieval claim that Edward had already decided to be celibate before he married, but most historians believe that he hoped to have an heir by Edith at least until his quarrel with Godwin in 1051. William may have visited Edward during Godwin's exile, and he is thought to have promised William the succession at this time, but historians disagree how seriously he meant the promise, and whether he later changed his mind.[c] Edmund Ironside's son, Edward Ætheling, had the best claim to be considered Edward's heir. He had been taken as a young child to Hungary, and in 1054 Bishop Ealdred of Worcester visited the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III to secure his return, probably with a view to becoming Edward's heir. The exile returned to England in 1057 with his family, but died almost immediately.[34] His son Edgar, who was then about five years old, was brought up at the English court. He was given the designation Ætheling, meaning throneworthy, which may mean that Edward considered making him his heir, and he was briefly declared king after Harold's death in 1066.[35] However, Edgar was absent from witness lists of Edward's diplomas, and there is no evidence in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
that he was a substantial landowner, which suggests that he was marginalised at the end of Edward's reign.[36] After the mid-1050s, Edward seems to have withdrawn from affairs as he became increasingly dependent on the Godwins, and may have become reconciled to the idea that one of them would succeed him. The Normans claimed that Edward sent Harold to Normandy
in about 1064 to confirm the promise of the succession to William. The strongest evidence comes from a Norman apologist, William of Poitiers. According to his account, shortly before the Battle of Hastings, Harold sent William an envoy who admitted that Edward had promised the throne to William but argued that this was over-ridden by his deathbed promise to Harold. In reply, William did not dispute the deathbed promise, but argued that Edward's prior promise to him took precedence.[37] In Stephen Baxter's view, Edward's "handling of the succession issue was dangerously indecisive, and contributed to one of the greatest catastrophes to which the English have ever succumbed."[38] Westminster Abbey[edit]

Edward's funeral depicted in scene 26 of the Bayeux Tapestry

Edward's Norman sympathies are most clearly seen in the major building project of his reign, Westminster Abbey, the first Norman Romanesque church in England. This was commenced between 1042 and 1052 as a royal burial church, consecrated on 28 December 1065, completed after his death in about 1090, and demolished in 1245 to make way for Henry III's new building, which still stands. It was very similar to Jumièges Abbey, which was built at the same time. Robert of Jumièges must have been closely involved in both buildings, although it is not clear which is the original and which the copy.[33] Edward does not appear to have been interested in books and associated arts, but his abbey played a vital role in the development of English Romanesque architecture, showing that he was an innovating and generous patron of the church.[39] Canonisation[edit]

Edward the Confessor

King of England, Confessor

Born 1003 Islip, Oxfordshire, England

Died (1066-01-05)5 January 1066 (aged about 62) London, England

Venerated in Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Church Anglican Communion

Canonized 7 February 1161, Rome by Pope
Alexander III

Major shrine Westminster Abbey

Feast 13 October

Attributes King crowned with nimbus, sceptre, martlet

Patronage Difficult marriages; England (before 1347); English Royal Family; Kings

The left panel of the Wilton Diptych, where Edward (centre), with Edmund the Martyr
Edmund the Martyr
(left) and John the Baptist, are depicted presenting Richard II to the Virgin Mary and Christ Child.

Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
was the first Anglo-Saxon
and the only king of England to be canonised, but he was part of a tradition of (uncanonised) English royal saints, such as Eadburh of Winchester, a daughter of Edward the Elder, Edith of Wilton, a daughter of Edgar the Peaceful, and the boy-king Edward the Martyr.[40] With his proneness to fits of rage and his love of hunting, Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
is regarded by most historians as an unlikely saint, and his canonisation as political, although some argue that his cult started so early that it must have had something credible to build on.[41] Edward displayed a worldly attitude in his church appointments. When he appointed Robert of Jumièges
Robert of Jumièges
as Archbishop of Canterbury
in 1051, he chose the leading craftsman Spearhafoc to replace Robert as Bishop of London. Robert refused to consecrate him, saying that the pope had forbidden it, but Spearhafoc occupied the bishopric for several months with Edward's support. After the Godwins fled the country, Edward expelled Spearhafoc, who fled with a large store of gold and gems which he had been given to make Edward a crown.[42] Stigand
was the first archbishop of Canterbury
not to be a monk in almost a hundred years, and he was said to have been excommunicated by several popes because he held Canterbury
and Winchester in plurality. Several bishops sought consecration abroad because of the irregularity of Stigand's position.[43] Edward usually preferred clerks to monks for the most important and richest bishoprics, and he probably accepted gifts from candidates for bishoprics and abbacies. However, his appointments were generally respectable.[1] When Odda of Deerhurst died without heirs in 1056, Edward seized lands which Odda had granted to Pershore Abbey
Pershore Abbey
and gave them to his Westminster foundation; the historian Ann Williams observes that "the Confessor did not in the 11th century have the saintly reputation which he later enjoyed, largely through the efforts of the Westminster monks themselves".[44] After 1066 there was a subdued cult of Edward as a saint, possibly discouraged by the early Norman abbots of Westminster,[45] which gradually increased in the early 12th century .[46] Osbert of Clare, the prior of Westminster Abbey, then started to campaign for Edward's canonisation, aiming to increase the wealth and power of the Abbey. By 1138, he had converted the Vita Ædwardi, the life of Edward commissioned by his widow, into a conventional saint's life.[45] He seized on an ambiguous passage which might have meant that their marriage was chaste, perhaps to give the idea that Edith's childlessness was not her fault, to claim that Edward had been celibate.[47] In 1139 Osbert went to Rome to petition for Edward's canonisation with the support of King Stephen, but he lacked the full support of the English hierarchy and Stephen had quarrelled with the church, so Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II
postponed a decision, declaring that Osbert lacked sufficient testimonials of Edward's holiness.[48] In 1159 there was a disputed election to the papacy, and Henry II's support helped to secure recognition of Pope
Alexander III. In 1160 a new abbot of Westminster, Laurence, seized the opportunity to renew Edward's claim. This time, it had the full support of the king and the English hierarchy, and a grateful pope issued the bull of canonisation on 7 February 1161,[1] the result of a conjunction of the interests of Westminster Abbey, King Henry II and Pope
Alexander III[49] He was called 'Confessor' as the name for someone who was believed to have lived a saintly life but was not a martyr.[50] In the 1230s King Henry III became attached to the cult of Saint Edward, and he commissioned a new life by Matthew Paris.[51] Henry also constructed a grand new tomb for Edward in a rebuilt Westminster Abbey in 1269.[32] He named his eldest son after him. Until about 1350, Edmund the Martyr, Gregory the Great and Edward the Confessor were regarded as English national saints, but Edward III preferred the more war-like figure of St George, and in 1348 he established the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
with St George as its patron. It was located at Windsor Castle, and its chapel of St Edward the Confessor was re-dedicated to St George, who was acclaimed in 1351 as patron of the English race.[52] Edward was never a popular saint, but he was important to the Norman dynasty, which claimed to be the successor of Edward as the last legitimate Anglo-Saxon

Audio description of the shrine of Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
by John Hall

The shrine of Saint
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
remains where it was after the final translation of his body to a chapel east of the sanctuary on 13 October 1269 by Henry III.[54] The day of his translation, 13 October (his first translation had also been on that date in 1163), is regarded as his feast day, and each October the Abbey holds a week of festivities and prayer in his honour.[55] For some time the Abbey had claimed that it possessed a set of coronation regalia that Edward had left for use in all future coronations. Following Edward's canonisation, these were regarded as holy relics, and thereafter they were used at all English coronations from the 13th century until the destruction of the regalia by Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
in 1649.[56] 13 October is an optional feast day for Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
in the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
of England and Wales,[57] and the Church of England's calendar of saints designates it as a Lesser Festival.[58] Edward is regarded as a patron saint of difficult marriages.[59] Appearance and character[edit] The Vita Ædwardi Regis
Vita Ædwardi Regis
states "[H]e was a very proper figure of a man—of outstanding height, and distinguished by his milky white hair and beard, full face and rosy cheeks, thin white hands, and long translucent fingers; in all the rest of his body he was an unblemished royal person. Pleasant, but always dignified, he walked with eyes downcast, most graciously affable to one and all. If some cause aroused his temper, he seemed as terrible as a lion, but he never revealed his anger by railing.".[60] This, as the historian Richard Mortimer notes, 'contains obvious elements of the ideal king, expressed in flattering terms – tall and distinguished, affable, dignified and just.'[61] Edward was allegedly not above accepting bribes. According to the Ramsey Liber Benefactorum, the monastery's abbot decided that it would be dangerous to publicly contest a claim brought by "a certain powerful man", but he claimed he was able to procure a favourable judgment by giving Edward twenty marks in gold and his wife five marks.[62] Ancestry[edit]

Ancestry of Edward the Confessor[63][64]

16. Edward the Elder

8. Edmund I

17. Eadgifu of Kent

4. Edgar the Peaceful

9. Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury

19. Wynflæd

2. Æthelred the Unready

10. Ordgar, Ealdorman of Devon

5. Ælfthryth

1. Edward the Confessor

24. Rollo

12. William I, Duke of Normandy

25. Poppa of Bayeux

6. Richard I, Duke of Normandy

13. Sprota

3. Emma of Normandy

7. Gunnora

See also[edit]

Biography portal Catholicism portal Saints portal England portal

Encomium Emmae Reginae, encomium to Edward's mother Vita Ædwardi Regis, life commissioned by Edward's wife Játvarðar Saga, Icelandic saga about the king List of monarchs of Wessex List of Catholic saints St Edward's Crown Burial places of British royalty


^ The regnal numbering of English monarchs starts after the Norman conquest, which is why Edward the Confessor, who was the third King Edward, is not referred to as Edward III. ^ Pauline Stafford believes that Edward joined his mother at Winchester and returned to the continent after his brother's death. Queen Emma & Queen Edith, Blackwell, 2001, pp. 239–240 ^ Historians' views are discussed in Stephen Baxter, 'Edward the Confessor and the Succession Question', pp. 77–118, in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor, which this section is based on.


^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Barlow, Frank (2004). "Edward (St Edward; known as Edward the Confessor)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  ^ Rex, Peter (2008). King and Saint: The Life of Edward the Confessor, The History Press, p. 224. ^ Mortimer, Edward the Confessor, p. 29. ^ Simon Keynes, 'Edward the Ætheling', in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor, p. 49. ^ Rex, pp. 13, 19 ^ Barlow, Frank (1970). Edward the Confessor. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 29–36. ISBN 0-520-01671-8.  ^ Keynes, op. cit., p. 56 n. ^ James Panton (24 February 2011). Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Scarecrow Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8108-7497-8.  ^ Elisabeth van Houts, 'Edward and Normandy', in Mortimer ed., pp. 63–75. ^ a b Howarth, David
(1981). 1066: The Year of the Conquest. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-005850-8.  ^ Rex, p. 28 ^ a b Lawson, M. K. "Harthcnut" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Rex, pp. 34–35 ^ Barlow, op. cit., pp. 44–45 ^ a b Rex, p. 33 ^ Maddicott, pp. 650–666 ^ Mortimer, p. 7, Stephen Baxter, ' Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
and the Succession Question, p. 101, in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor ^ Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle (MS E) s.a. 1041 (1042), tr. Michael Swanton. ^ Barlow, op. cit., p. 61. ^ Rex, pp. 48–49. ^ Mortimer ed., maps between pages 116 and 117 ^ Mortimer op. cit., pp. 26–28 ^ Van Houts, p. 69. Richard Gem, 'Craftsmen and Administrators in the Building of the Abbey', p. 171. Both in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor. Robert of Jumièges
Robert of Jumièges
is usually described as Norman, but his origin is unknown, possibly Frankish (Van Houts, p. 70). ^ Williams, Ann "Edith (d.1075)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Rex, p. 107 ^ Williams, Ann "Ralph the Timid" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. However, Frank Barlow in his DNB article on Edward, states that Ralph received Hereford on Sweyn's first expulsion in 1047. ^ Baxter in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor, pp. 103–104 ^ Barrow, G. W. S. "Malcolm III" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2008. ^ Walker, David. "Gruffydd ap Llywelyn" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Williams, Ann. "Ælfgar" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Aird, William M. "Tostig" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ a b "Abbey History". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 5 November 2016.  ^ a b Eric Fernie, 'Edward the Confessor's Westminster Abbey', in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor, pp. 139–143 ^ Baxter, pp. 96–98 ^ Hooper, Nicholas. "Edgar Ætheling" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Baxter, pp. 98–103 ^ Baxter, pp. 103–114 ^ Baxter, p. 118 ^ Mortimer, op. cit., p. 23 ^ Bozoky, Edina. 'The Sanctity and Canonisation of Edward the Confessor', in Mortimer, ed., Edward the Confessor, pp. 178–179 ^ Mortimer, op. cit., pp. 29–32 ^ Blair, John. "Spearhafoc" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Cowdrey, H. E. J. "Stigand" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Williams, Odda of Deerhurst, p. 11 ^ a b Barlow, Frank. "Osbert of Clare" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004. ^ Rex, pp. 214–217 ^ Stephen Baxter, ' Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
and the Succession Question', in Mortimer ed., Edward the Confessor, pp. 84–85 ^ Bozoky, op. cit., pp. 180–181 ^ Bozoky, op. cit., p. 173 ^ Rex, p. 226 ^ Abstract of David
Carpenter, King Henry III and Saint
Edward the Confessor: The Origins of the Cult, English Historical Review, CXXII (498): 865–891, 2007 ^ Summerson, Henry. " Saint
George" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004. ^ Bozoky, op. cit., pp. 180–182 ^ "Abbey Treasures". www.westminster-abbey.org.  ^ "Edwardtide". www.westminster-abbey.org.  ^ Keay, A. (2002). The Crown Jewels. London: The Historic Royal Palaces. ISBN 1-873993-20-X.  ^ "Liturgical Calendar".  ^ "Holy Days".  ^ " Saint
Edward the Confessor". Saints.SQPN.com. 5 April 2013. Accessed 5 August 2013. ^ Barlow, Frank (ed. and trans.). The Life of King Edward Who Rests at Westminster (Vita Ædwardi Regis), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. 1992, p. 19. ^ Mortimer, Edward the Confessor, p. 15 ^ Molyneaux, The Formation of the English Kingdom, p. 218 ^ "ENGLAND, ANGLO-SAXON & DANISH KINGS". Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2018.  ^ David
C. Douglas, ' Rollo
of Normandy', The English Historical Review, Vol. 57, No. 228 (Oct., 1942), p. 422


Chronicle, tr. Michael Swanton, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. 2nd ed. London, 2000. Aelred of Rievaulx, Life of St. Edward the Confessor, translated Fr. Jerome
Bertram (first English translation) St. Austin Press ISBN 1-901157-75-X Barlow, Frank, Edward the Confessor, Oxford University Press, 1997 Barlow, Frank (2004). "Edward (St Edward; known as Edward the Confessor)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Maddicott, J. R. (2004). "Edward the Confessor's Return to England in 1041". English Historical Review. Oxford University Press. CXIX (482): 650–666. doi:10.1093/ehr/119.482.650.  Molyneaux, George (2015). The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-871791-1.  Mortimer, Richard ed., Edward the Confessor: The Man and the Legend, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2009 ISBN 978-1-84383-436-6 O'Brien, Bruce R.: God's peace and king's peace : the laws of Edward the Confessor, Philadelphia, Pa. : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8122-3461-8 The Life of King Edward who rests at Westminster (Vita Ædwardi Regis) ed. and trans. Frank Barlow, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992 Rex, Peter, King & Saint: The Life of Edward the Confessor, The History Press, Stroud, 2008 The Waltham Chronicle ed. and trans. Leslie Watkiss and Marjorie Chibnall, Oxford Medieval Texts, OUP, 1994 William of Malmesbury, The History of the English Kings, i, ed.and trans. R.A.B. Mynors, R.M.Thomson and M.Winterbottom, Oxford Medieval Texts, OUP 1998 Williams, Ann (1997). Land, power and politics: the family and career of Odda of Deerhurst
Odda of Deerhurst
(Deerhurst Lecture 1996). Deerhurst: Friends of Deerhurst Church. ISBN 0-9521199-2-7. 

Further reading[edit]

Keynes, Simon (1991). "The Æthelings in Normandy". Anglo-Norman Studies. The Boydell Press. XIII. ISBN 0 85115 286 4.  Licence, Tom (2016). " Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
and the Succession Question: a Fresh Look and the Sources". Anglo-Norman Studies. 39. ISBN 9781783272211. 

External links[edit]

Edward 15 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon
England Westminster Abbey: Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
and Edith Steven Muhlberger's ' Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
and his earls' Illustrated biography of Edward the Confessor BBC History: Edward the Confessor BBC News: Ancient royal tomb is uncovered Life of St Edward the Confessor, Cambridge Digital Library

Edward the Confessor House of Wessex Born: c. 1003 Died: 4 or 5 January 1066

Regnal titles

Preceded by Harthacnut King of the English 1042–1066 Succeeded by Harold Godwinson

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Saints of Anglo-Saxon

British / Welsh

Alban of St Albans Aldatus of Oxford Amphibalus
of St Albans Arilda of Oldbury Barloc
of Norbury Brannoc of Braunton Branwalator of Milton Credan of Bodmin Congar of Congresbury Dachuna of Bodmin Decuman
of Watchet Elfin of Warrington Ivo of Ramsey Judoc
of Winchester Juthwara of Sherbourne Melorius of Amesbury Nectan of Hartland Neot
of St Neots Patrick of Glastonbury Rumon
of Tavistock Samson of Dol Sativola
of Exeter Urith
of Chittlehampton

East Anglian

Æthelberht of East Anglia Æthelburh of Faremoutiers Æthelflæd of Ramsey Æthelthryth
of Ely Æthelwine of Lindsey Athwulf of Thorney Blitha of Martham Botwulf of Thorney Cissa of Crowland Cuthbald of Peterborough Eadmund of East Anglia Eadnoth of Ramsey Guthlac of Crowland Herefrith of Thorney Hiurmine of Blythburgh Huna of Thorney Pega
of Peakirk Regenhere of Northampton Seaxburh of Ely Tancred of Thorney Torthred of Thorney Tova of Thorney Walstan
of Bawburgh Wihtburh
of Ely Wulfric of Holme

East Saxon

Æthelburh of Barking Hildelith
of Barking Osgyth Sæbbi of London

Frisian, Frankish and Old Saxon

Balthild of Romsey Bertha of Kent Felix of Dommoc Grimbald of St Bertin Monegunda of Watton Odwulf of Evesham Wulfram of Grantham

Irish and Scottish

Aidan of Lindisfarne Boisil
of Melrose Echa of Crayke Ultan the Scribe Indract of Glastonbury Maildub of Malmesbury


Æbbe of Thanet (Domne Eafe) Æthelberht of Kent Æthelburh of Kent Æthelred of Kent Albinus of Canterbury Berhtwald of Canterbury Deusdedit of Canterbury Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet Eanswith
of Folkestone Eormengyth of Thanet Mildrith
of Thanet Nothhelm of Canterbury Sigeburh of Thanet


Ælfnoth of Stowe Ælfthryth of Crowland Æthelberht of Bedford Æthelmod of Leominster Æthelred of Mercia Æthelwynn of Sodbury Aldwyn of Coln Beonna of Breedon Beorhthelm of Stafford Coenwulf of Mercia Cotta of Breedon Credan of Evesham Cyneburh of Castor Cyneburh of Gloucester Cynehelm of Winchcombe Cyneswith of Peterborough Eadburh of Bicester Eadburh of Pershore Eadburh of Southwell Eadgyth of Aylesbury Eadweard of Maugersbury Ealdgyth of Stortford Earconwald
of London Egwin of Evesham Freomund of Mercia Frithuric
of Breedon Frithuswith
of Oxford Frithuwold of Chertsey Hæmma of Leominster Merefin Mildburh
of Wenlock Mildgyth Mildrith
of Thanet Milred of Worcester Oda of Canterbury Oswald of Worcester Osburh of Coventry Rumwold of Buckingham Tibba of Ryhall Werburgh
of Chester Wærstan Wigstan
of Repton Wulfhild of Barking


Acca of Hexham Æbbe "the Elder" of Coldingham Æbbe "the Younger" of Coldingham Ælfflæd of Whitby Ælfwald of Northumbria Æthelburh of Hackness Æthelgyth of Coldingham Æthelsige of Ripon Æthelwold of Farne Æthelwold of Lindisfarne Alchhild of Middleham Alchmund of Hexham Alkmund of Derby Balthere of Tyningham Beda of Jarrow Bega of Copeland Benedict Biscop Bercthun
of Beverley Billfrith of Lindisfarne Bosa of York Botwine of Ripon Ceadda of Lichfield Cedd
of Lichfield Ceolfrith
of Monkwearmouth Ceolwulf of Northumbria Cuthbert
of Durham Dryhthelm of Melrose Eadberht of Lindisfarne Eadfrith of Leominster Eadfrith of Lindisfarne Eadwine of Northumbria Ealdberht of Ripon Eanmund Eardwulf of Northumbria Eata of Hexham Ecgberht of Ripon Eoda Eosterwine of Monkwearmouth Hilda of Whitby Hyglac Iwig of Wilton John of Beverley Osana of Howden Osthryth of Bardney Oswald of Northumbria Oswine of Northumbria Sicgred of Ripon Sigfrith of Monkwearmouth Tatberht
of Ripon Wihtberht
of Ripon Wilfrith of Hexham Wilfrith II Wilgils
of Ripon


Anselm of Canterbury Augustine of Canterbury Firmin of North Crawley Birinus
of Dorchester Blaise Florentius of Peterborough Hadrian of Canterbury Honorius of Canterbury Justus
of Canterbury Laurence of Canterbury Mellitus
of Canterbury Paulinus of York Theodore of Canterbury

South Saxon

of Lyminster Cuthmann of Steyning Leofwynn
of Bishopstone

West Saxon

Æbbe of Abingdon Ælfgar of Selwood Ælfgifu of Exeter Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury Ælfheah of Canterbury Ælfheah of Winchester Æthelflæd of Romsey Æthelgar of Canterbury Æthelnoth of Canterbury Æthelwine of Athelney Æthelwold of Winchester Aldhelm
of Sherborne Benignus of Glastonbury Beocca of Chertsey Beorhthelm of Shaftesbury Beornstan of Winchester Beornwald
of Bampton Centwine of Wessex Cuthburh
of Wimborn Cwenburh
of Wimborne Dunstan
of Canterbury Eadburh of Winchester Eadgar of England Eadgyth of Polesworth Eadgyth of Wilton Eadweard the Confessor Eadweard the Martyr Eadwold of Cerne Earmund of Stoke Fleming Edor
of Chertsey Evorhilda Frithestan of Winchester Hædde of Winchester Humbert of Stokenham Hwita of Whitchurch Canonicorum Mærwynn
of Romsey Margaret of Dunfermline Swithhun of Winchester Wulfsige of Sherborne Wulfthryth of Wilton

Unclear origin

Rumbold of Mechelen

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English monarchs

England 927–1066

Æthelstan Edmund I Eadred Eadwig Edgar Edward the Martyr Æthelred the Unready Sweyn Edmund Ironside Cnut1 Harold Harefoot Harthacnut Edward the Confessor Harold Godwinson Edgar Ætheling

Kingdom of England 1066–1649

William I William II Henry I Stephen Matilda Henry II1 Henry the Young King Richard I John1 Henry III1 Edward I1 Edward II1 Edward III1 Richard II1 Henry IV1 Henry V1 Henry VI1 Edward IV1 Edward V1 Richard III1 Henry VII1 Henry VIII1 Edward VI1 Jane1 Mary I1 with Philip1 Elizabeth I1 James I2 Charles I2

Commonwealth of England, Scotland
and Ireland 1653–1659

Oliver Cromwell3 Richard Cromwell3

Kingdom of England 1660–1707

Charles II2 James II2 William III and Mary II2 Anne2

1Also ruler of Ireland 2Also ruler of Scotland
and Ireland 3Lord Protector

Debatable or disputed rulers are in italics.

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Saints of the Catholic Church

Virgin Mary

Mother of God (Theotokos) Immaculate Conception Perpetual virginity Assumption Marian apparition

Guadalupe Laus Miraculous Medal Lourdes Fatima

Titles of Mary


Andrew Barnabas Bartholomew James of Alphaeus James the Greater John Jude Matthew Matthias Paul Peter Philip Simon Thomas


Gabriel Michael Raphael


Anatolius Chariton the Confessor Edward the Confessor Maximus the Confessor Michael of Synnada Paphnutius the Confessor Paul I of Constantinople Salonius Theophanes the Confessor


Apollos Mary Magdalene Priscilla and Aquila Silvanus Stephen Timothy Titus Seventy disciples


Gregory the Great Ambrose Augustine of Hippo Jerome John Chrysostom Basil of Caesarea Gregory of Nazianzus Athanasius of Alexandria Cyril of Alexandria Cyril of Jerusalem John of Damascus Bede
the Venerable Ephrem the Syrian Thomas Aquinas Bonaventure Anselm of Canterbury Isidore of Seville Peter Chrysologus Leo the Great Peter Damian Bernard of Clairvaux Hilary of Poitiers Alphonsus Liguori Francis de Sales Peter Canisius John of the Cross Robert Bellarmine Albertus Magnus Anthony of Padua Lawrence of Brindisi Teresa of Ávila Catherine of Siena Thérèse of Lisieux John of Ávila Hildegard of Bingen Gregory of Narek


Matthew Mark Luke John

Church Fathers

Alexander of Alexandria Alexander of Jerusalem Ambrose
of Milan Anatolius Athanasius of Alexandria Augustine of Hippo Caesarius of Arles Caius Cappadocian Fathers Clement of Alexandria Clement of Rome Cyprian
of Carthage Cyril of Alexandria Cyril of Jerusalem Damasus I Desert Fathers Desert Mothers Dionysius of Alexandria Dionysius of Corinth Dionysius Ephrem the Syrian Epiphanius of Salamis Fulgentius of Ruspe Gregory the Great Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nyssa Hilary of Poitiers Hippolytus of Rome Ignatius of Antioch Irenaeus
of Lyons Isidore of Seville Jerome
of Stridonium John Chrysostom John of Damascus Maximus the Confessor Melito of Sardis Quadratus of Athens Papias of Hierapolis Peter Chrysologus Polycarp
of Smyrna Theophilus of Antioch Victorinus of Pettau Vincent of Lérins Zephyrinus


Canadian Martyrs Carthusian Martyrs Forty Martyrs of England and Wales Four Crowned Martyrs Great Martyr The Holy Innocents Irish Martyrs Joan of Arc Lübeck martyrs Korean Martyrs Martyrology Martyrs of Albania Martyrs of China Martyrs of Japan Martyrs of Laos Martyrs of Natal Martyrs of Otranto Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War Maximilian Kolbe Perpetua and Felicity Saints of the Cristero War Stephen Three Martyrs of Chimbote Uganda Martyrs Vietnamese Martyrs


Adam Abel Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph Joseph (father of Jesus) David Noah Solomon Matriarchs


Adeodatus I Adeodatus II Adrian III Agapetus I Agatho Alexander I Anacletus Anastasius I Anicetus Anterus Benedict II Boniface I Boniface IV Caius Callixtus I Celestine I Celestine V Clement I Cornelius Damasus I Dionysius Eleuterus Eugene I Eusebius Eutychian Evaristus Fabian Felix I Felix III Felix IV Gelasius I Gregory I Gregory II Gregory III Gregory VII Hilarius Hormisdas Hyginus Innocent I John I John XXIII John Paul II Julius I Leo I Leo II Leo III Leo IV Leo IX Linus Lucius I Marcellinus Marcellus I Mark Martin I Miltiades Nicholas I Paschal I Paul I Peter Pius I Pius V Pius X Pontian Sergius I Silverius Simplicius Siricius Sixtus I Sixtus II Sixtus III Soter Stephen I Stephen IV Sylvester I Symmachus Telesphorus Urban I Victor I Vitalian Zachary Zephyrinus Zosimus


Agabus Amos Anna Baruch ben Neriah David Dalua Elijah Ezekiel Habakkuk Haggai Hosea Isaiah Jeremiah Job Joel John the Baptist Jonah Judas Barsabbas Malachi Melchizedek Micah Moses Nahum Obadiah Samuel Seven Maccabees and their mother Simeon Zechariah (prophet) Zechariah (NT) Zephaniah


Agatha of Sicily Agnes of Rome Bernadette Soubirous Brigid of Kildare Cecilia Clare of Assisi Eulalia of Mérida Euphemia Genevieve Kateri Tekakwitha Lucy of Syracuse Maria Goretti Mother Teresa Narcisa de Jesús Rose of Lima

See also

Military saints Virtuous pagan

Catholicism portal Saints portal

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Norman conquest of England


William the Conqueror Harold Godwinson Harald Hardrada Sweyn II of Denmark


Battle of Fulford Battle of Stamford Bridge Battle of Hastings


Gyrth Godwinson Odo of Bayeux Leofwine Godwinson Hereward the Wake Edwin Morcar Tostig Waltheof Eustace of Boulogne Eadric the Wild Robert of Mortain Ralph de Gael Roger de Breteuil Companions of William the Conqueror

Associated people

Edward the Confessor Stigand Edith the Fair Edgar Ætheling Ealdred Malcolm III of Scotland Matilda of Flanders


Battle Abbey Battle, East Sussex Pevensey Tower of London


Harrying of the North Revolt of the Earls Council of London Trial of Penenden Heath


Bayeux Tapestry Domesday Book Carmen de Hastingae Proelio William of Poitiers

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 261559366 LCCN: n80040161 ISNI: 0000 0000 8981 1029 GND: 11907978X SUDOC: 028521595 BNF: cb12034111z (data) ULAN: 500283170

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