Talk:Harold Godwinson

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Whole article needs editing[edit]

This article needs an edit or rewrite. Certain aspects are sloppy (including parts I added), and some scope needs to be given to the idea of Anglo Saxons vs Norman, and the Historical context of Harold's very short career and defeat at Hastings.

The problem of sources needs to be addressed more fully - especially with Poitiers, whose veracity is questioned by almost every historian out there. However, Poitiers is a useful source for the invasion preparations: he is the one who gives an account of the storm that upset William's first invasion attempt. I'll attempt a rewrite at some point. It's still a sensitive subject even today - I will go on the premise that he should be referred to as a king, as should William I. This is, though, one of those articles where the debate needs to be fleshed out a little, and some context given to the opposing views, and basic historiography. This is important, especially for kids who may still be being taught (as I was) by the anti-Norman school of thought.User:prolethead


And why are you promoting yourself here? ---Michael K. Smith 17:16, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I have removed chapter from his book because it has no place here.


This article is very heavily biased towards the Saxon point of view - I'm making a few edits to balance it a little. Much of the criticism, e.g. of Norman sources is valid, but is written in an overtly hostile manner. Mon Vier 18:44, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Looking at the article, I'm not sure how to proceed. Much of it - for example, the bits about Harold's mission and William's claim to the throne - are impossible to prove either way but are clearly not written in an encyclopaedic style. I'll leave this for somebody who knows the period better than me to do, and content myself with a few minor cleanups. Mon Vier 18:50, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Harold Godwinson[edit]

Harold Godwinson is not normally given an ordinal because if he were then Edward the Confessor would have been "Edward III of England" and then Edward I of England (Hammer of the Scots) would have been Edward IV of England... lets not go there. Philip Baird Shearer 01:17, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

- Are you sure about that? The regnal name Edward is an unusual case, since ordinal numbering pretty much started anew in England after the Norman conquest, and Edward is the only name to have been used by monarchs both pre- and post-conquest. Pre-conquest, of the Wessex line there were also two Saxon Ethelreds, two Harolds and two Edmunds, and up until a few years ago IIRC they were all routinely given ordinals. Certainly at school we were taught Harold II. The Edwards don't need ordinals because they have all been given distinguishing nicknames, as have the second Ethelred, second Edmund and first Harold, so maybe a case could be made for removing their ordinals, but the nicknameless Ethelred I and Edmund I are both universally known as such. Fosse8 13:03, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

It is normal practice to give ordinal numbers to the Anglo-Saxon kings. This was the case when I took my degree less than a decade ago and remains as such (I still work within History). The numbering was begun again subsequent to the Norman Conquest. Valiant Son 15:20, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
So we're agreed. To add to the confusion, I've also seen the family name spelled Godwineson and Godwinsson. Can the article be moved back to Harold II of England then?
The spelling of names from this period is fraut with problems. In effect we are transliterating from another language. (Although Old English is an antecedent of Modern English the differences are so significant as to make the two languages almost uninteligible from each other - although they share a lot of vocabulary and grammar). The end result is that an approximation is produced for all proper nouns. However, the problem with moving the article back to Harold II of England is that, although technically accurate, many people simply won't think (or know) to look for the article under this name (one of the great long term successes of the Anglo-Norman hegemony was the suppression of the idea that Harold was a legally constituted monarch - he was btw). I would suggest a compromise could be to redirect searches if required. Valiant Son 15:25, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Might I comment that Godwinson, as a usurper (William of Normandy was the declared heir of Edward Confessor, and Godwinson had sworn holy oaths to uphold Wiliam's rights) hardly deserves to be listed as King, and certainly not to receive a regnal number.
Goodness! Is there a possibly more POV statement than that? In any event, this POV doesn't conform to the histories of the period, which record that kings of England were not made simply by the reigning king declaring a successor, but rather by approval of the witan. ——Preost talk contribs 16:24, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Furthermore, whether or not Harold was a "usurper" is not relevant to deciding whether he was King or not - he quite clearly was, given that he was crowned as such in Westminster Abbey with the full approval of the witan and other powers in the land, and clearly recognised as at least de facto monarch at the time. If having a rather shaky claim to the throne were grounds for denying historical monarchs the badge of "true" kingship, we'd have to start pruning Wikipedia of quite a few other figures too - just from England, Stephen of Blois, Henry II, Henry IV, Richard III, Henry VII and Jane Grey all spring immediately to mind... 01:27, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
This kind of bias plagues discussion of the subject even today. If Harold was declared king by the Witan, he was king. I made alterations to the "powerful nobleman" section due to its credulous readings of Norman propaganda, specifically that of Poitiers. If Harold had won, the propaganda would have been equally spurious and detrimental to history. A good source for people not familiar with the debate should read Edwin Tetlow's "The Enigma of Hastings," notable for its relative lack of bias in the debate, or indeed The Anglo Saxons, edited by Campbell (even better as an introduction). Let's not dismiss people as usurpers as the previous writer stated, there are many English monarchs who had shaky claims to the throne - including some of the greatest. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Prolethead (talkcontribs) 05:12, 22 January 2007 (UTC).

Harold was most certainly not a usurper. Under Anglo-Saxon law, the previous King did not have the power to unilaterally declare his successor. Only the witan had the power to make a man king, and in fact the witan declared Harold king. In fact, it was William the Bastard, as he was then known, who was the usurper and illegally made himself king through conquest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

William the Bastard claimed hereditary rights to the throne through descent through Queen Emma as his great aunt. This is nonsense since she was only a consort and this would give the right of accession to princess Diana's or Camilla Parker-Bowles relatives. Quite apart from William's illegitimacy, which was contrary to the Synod of Chelsea which declared that Kings could not be "born in adultery". Athelstan and Harald Harefoot were illegitimate but not conceived in adultery as William was. If Harold was the descendant of the Wessex Kings (vis- Harold- Godwin-Wulfnoth-Aethelmaer se Greata- Aethelweard the Historian- Eadric -Aethelthryth - Aethelhelm- King Ethelred I) he had a better claim than Edward the Confessor, as Alfred's line was junior to Ethelred. It is also recorded that Edward designated Harold his heir on his deathbed. -Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 13:58, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Harold the Saxon?[edit]

  • Halló! es:Harold II de Inglaterra mentions "Harold el Sajón". If he was called this way it should be mentioned to be consistent with the articles about other rulers. Best ragrds Gangleri · Th · T 11:30, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

What is the propnunciation of harold godwinson? my crazy friend lawrence, is pretty nuts.

I think it's HAR-old GOD-WIN-sun (the "sun" pronounced with a soft 'u', almost like an 'e'). Killfest2 (Daniel.Bryant) 01:40, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Lawrence is now angry.

This is getting a little bit weird...I'm about to delete it. Killfest2 (Daniel.Bryant) 01:42, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm trying to prove I'm right. It's obviously GODWINSON, not GODWINESON! Lawrence is a silly billy!

It is GOD-win-son, not GOD-win-e-son. Q.E.D. Okay, thank you. I have now been proved right! Killfest2 (Daniel.Bryant) 01:45, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm quite sure that I've read that he was also known (informally, I presume) as Harold the Bald. Dick Kimball (talk) 16:47, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Family tree[edit]

I used the Template:Familytree template to redraw the family tree in the article. It was pretty unreadable in the state it was in, so I had to do some research to reconstruct it, mostly using information from other Wikipedia articles. I hope that it is accurate. --  timc  talk   17:29, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Lack of continuity[edit]

Is there any reason why Harold Godwinson's page claims that Edgar Ætheling was his successor, but that William the Conqueror's page sites Harold as his immediate predecessor? I am aware of the rather strange circumstances here - obviously Edgar was never actually crowned - but he was King, and Wikipedians need to decide whether or not they actually want him in the English Royal line. Can anyone shed any light on why things are as they currently are? Vincentvivi 14:46, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Edgar was not a king. While the Witan did elect him he was never crowned nor sanctified as king. It is accurate to say that Harold was William the Conqueror's predecessor.Valiant Son (talk) 23:55, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
The question depends on what was considered to be the definitive act in the king-making process, the event before which a man was not a king and after which he was. In the case of Anglo-Saxon England, election by the witan seems to have been the key procedure, since it was common for coronation to be long delayed after a king had been chosen and had begun to rule. This contrasts with French kings of this period, who were crowned as a matter of urgency after the previous king's death, so as to establish their position before anyone else could mount a challenge or even preempt them by getting crowned first. Presumably there was no such hurry in England because in the English tradition coronation was essentially a religious and symbolic procedure rather than a strictly legal and constitutional one. This would be analogous to the Roman/Byzantine situation, where coronation was a standard part of making an emperor, but the definitive act was acclamation, and an emperor was considered to reign from the moment of acclamation onwards.
From a later period of English history, "Edward V" is generally acknowledged as having been king, even though he too was never crowned. Obviously the constitutional position in the fifteenth century was different, but it illustrates the fact that coronation is not necessarily to be regarded as definitive.
Zburh (talk) 00:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Harald Harefoot was never crowned either. I think Athelweard may have been but died a couple of weeks after (rivals to Athelstan tended to have a short life expectancy) -Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 14:29, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Under the "Marriages and Children" heading, the article states: "For some twenty years Harold was married mōrē danicō (in the Danish manner) to Ealdgyth Swan-neck (also known as Edith Swanneschals or Edith Swanneck) and had at least six children by her. The marriage was widely accepted by the laity, although Edith was considered Harold's mistress by the clergy. Their children were not treated as illegitimate."

Later it says: "Harold's mistress, Edith Swanneck, was called to identify the body... Harold's illegitimate daughter Gytha of Wessex married Vladimir Monomakh Grand Duke (Velikii Kniaz) of Kievan Rus"

So Wikipedia sides with the Clergy? I think it would be more proper to treat the majority opinion of the time as exactly that, so I'm altering the later sections. -Leng —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC).

The biography on Harold Godwinson have been vandalized. Please note the inconsistent, inappropriate post on the bottom of the biography.

Marriage in the "Danish fashion" was perhaps akin to Morganatic marriage and could be polygamous, Cnut having a "Danish wife" (Aelgifu of Northampton) simultaneously to a canonical wife (Emma of Normandy). The status of the children were disputed, with the legitimate son Hardicnut claiming his elder non-legitimate half brother Harald Harefoot had no right to be king and would have fought him had he not died of natural causes. The Archbishop of Canterbury Aethelnoth (Godwin's uncle)refused to crown him. The right of such children to the throne would have been forbidden by the Synod of Chelsea although the Danes took a much more laid-back attitude. -Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 13:43, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

This section also says "About January 1066, Harold married Edith (or Ealdgyth), daughter of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia, and widow of the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn an enemy of the English. Edith had two sons — possibly twins — named Harold and Ulf (born c. November 1066), both of whom survived into adulthood and probably lived out their lives in exile." but I see no citations for that. Several histories I've read question whether this marriage actually took place at all.ULTRAGOTHA (talk) 19:34, 2 October 2010 (UTC)ULTRAGOTHA

harold ii[edit]

can we please have this article called harold ii of england? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tefalstar (talkcontribs) 14:06, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

No, because he was never styled Harold II of England. Numbering of English kings was a Norman innovation and they didn't bother to number the Anglo-Saxon kings retrospectively).Shsilver 17:08, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
See the discussion above. It is normal historical practice to give ordinal numbers to the Anglo-Saxon kings. And to say that it was a Norman innovation is also false if by that you mean that William of Normandy or William Rufus introduced it - they didn't. Sorry, you're just wrong on this one.Valiant Son (talk) 23:57, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

So how were they known before they obtained their monikers? e.g. Edward the Martyr bfore he was "martyred". PEDANT'S CORNER ; Harald Harefoot was spelt differently. Also he was never crowmed since Archbishop Aethelnoth refused to, as he only recognised his legitimate half-brother Hardicnut -Streona. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 08:45, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

In fact Elizabeth I was never known as Elizabeth I until 1952 - 350 years after her death, but we still call her that - Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 13:45, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

This article is a duplicate of —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:38, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Not really. Harold II of England is a redirect to this article. Favonian (talk) 10:51, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Doesn't redirect for me. It says "Harold Godwinson" (Redirected from Harold II of England) but does not redirect, the URL is —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Misleading image[edit]

Harold's putative demise, shown in the Bayeux Tapestry

This image creates the misleading impression that the figure holding an arrow is labelled "Harold". In fact the embroidered label continues to the left and right, and reads in full HIC HAROLD REX INTERFECTUS EST, "King Harold was killed". Underneath the complete label is a picture of a mustached Saxon warrior being felled by a mounted Norman knight -- quite possibly intended to illustrate Harold's death. That particular tableau is isolated. The soldier with the arrow is part of a scene with several Saxons facing a Norman cavalry charge (and presumably archers as well). Nothing shows or suggests that that specific figure is Harold. RandomCritic 13:43, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Fleming's ODNB article says:

The Bayeux tapestry shows Harold's death-apparently pierced in the eye by an arrow. Whether he did, indeed, die in this manner (a death associated in the middle ages with perjurers), or was killed by the sword, will never be known.

So, something does suggest that it is Harold, namely the association with perjury. Angus McLellan (Talk) 14:06, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
That's not a very convincing argument.RandomCritic 05:35, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
The death of Harold Godwinson in the Battle of Hastings, as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Bayeuxtapeten, Haralds död, Nordisk familjebok.png
Perhaps not, but [Fleming, Robin (2004). "Harold II (1022/3?–1066)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2007-10-14. ] is a convincing reference. I do know that is not the only opinion on offer. Angus McLellan (Talk) 07:37, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
This has been discussed to death on the Bayeux Tapestry page. The article could say that it has commonly been assumed that he was killed in this manner, but there is considerable historical debate. Valiant Son (talk) 00:00, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Slight resurrection on this topic: this image over at Commons shows the part in question here, with the Norman knight on killing the Saxon who has also been interpreted to be Harold meeting his end. Although a darker image, perhaps it might be prudent to replace the current image with this one, so that both interpretations (or indeed the interpretation he was both shot in the eye and then hacked to death with a sword) are shown in the image. Could possibly use a little cropping and reuploading to Commons, but otherwise that image should serve the same purpose reasonably well. -- Sabre (talk) 20:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I second this recommendation. The image could use cropping and lightening, but given the debate as to whether Harold is supposed to be the man with the arrow in his eye, the one being hacked on the leg, both in sequence (comic book style) or even neither, the image given should show both casualty incidents, not just the first. Agricolae (talk) 03:39, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I note that Wikimedia Commons has one clear representation of the entire panel, though unfortunately black and white. I still think it's use would be less misleading than the current one, particularly considering the article currently mentions the leg wounds. Does anyone want to object to its use? Agricolae (talk) 04:50, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I've taken the initiative and added the black and white picture but also left the original picture. I think the use of both is justified so check it out (and the captions I used) to see if it looks ok. Wayne (talk) 13:18, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Harold's death[edit]

I have changed the following text at the start: "He was killed at the Battle of Hastings, by an arrow personally fired by Norman Duke William the Conqueror which struck his eye and pierced through to his brain." The circumstances of Harold's death are simply not known (and it is highly unlikely that William himself was firing arrows).

As Angusmclellan says, Fleming's ODNB article says:

The Bayeux tapestry shows Harold's death-apparently pierced in the eye by an arrow. Whether he did, indeed, die in this manner (a death associated in the middle ages with perjurers), or was killed by the sword, will never be known. (talk) 08:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Getting your eyes poked out with white-hot pokers seemed to be associated with a distressingly large number of things in the Middle Ages, including calling William a bastard to his face. -Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 08:51, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

House of Wessex[edit]

Looking at the family tree available on this site, it seems that Harold could boast an unbroken male line of descent from one of Alfred the Great's older brothers. That would make him a perfectly acceptable member of the House of Wessex, and seems like something worth mentioning in the article. Cranston Lamont (talk) 14:21, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

The family tree doesn't cite any sources and Harold's supposed royal ancestry is not mentioned by Robin Fleming, Ian Walker, Ann Williams, &c. Angus McLellan (Talk) 14:59, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

But it is by Anscombe and by Kelley -Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 09:06, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

His names[edit]

We are in danger of getting into an edit war. Someone has objected to describing him as "Haraldur Guðinason or Harold II" on the grounds that this is an inappropriate foreign name and a name by which he was never known. What language is the first name, can someone clarify? If it is Old English then it is certainly appropriate. As for the second name, in my view there are problems with numbering the pre-Norman kings of England, we are better referring to him and his predecessor as Harold Harefoot and Harold Godwinson, the names Harold I and Harold II do have a certain currency, and so deserve a mention. It is hardly a legitimate objection that this name was not used in his own time, lots of kings in lots of countries have only been numbered by later historians. PatGallacher (talk) 23:33, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

That's not the case in England though. Numbering of monarchs is a French custom that was imposed on England after 1066. To give numbers to pre-Norman monarchs leaves us with a very big problem - what about the three Edwards? Incidentally the foregn name is Old Norse, and definitely not Old English (in which his name is spelt Harold Godwinesson). TharkunColl (talk) 23:43, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Except this -son ending was inherently Scandinavian. Based on the form appearing in the ancient Anglo-Saxon pedigrees, he would be Harold Godwining, or something of the sort. That being said, there was a degree of flux, the Scandianvian control of the kingdom leading to cultural changes, and Harold himself was half-Scandinavian, so the form he would have used is up in the air. In contemporary Anglo-Saxon charters, he is simply "Harold eorl" and later "Harold king". Agricolae (talk) 17:13, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying the first issue. The second issue is more problematic. It is my understanding that numbering English monarchs did not start immediately after 1066, it was only decided a while later to number them from the Norman Conquest. I totally agree that you run into all sorts of problems, particularly with the 3 pre-Conquest Edwards, and you also have the problem of who you regard as the 1st King of England. Most reference works give Egbert, my inclination is to give it to Alfred, but Athelstan has a few supporters. The introduction to biographies should give the different names by which someone has been known which are not clearly spurious. PatGallacher (talk) 23:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Presumably Edward the Martyr was not called that until he was dead. - Streona —Preceding unsigned comment added by Streona (talkcontribs) 09:00, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Also various of the kings of the English ("Rex Anglorum") did not have control over all of what is now England. Egbert the Great was acknowledged as the overlord of the othwer sub kingdoms after 829 and abolished the post of Bretwalda. Alfred only ruled England south of the Danelaw, which was gradually retaken- or taken- during Edward the Elder's reign, completed at the Battle of Brunanburh by Athelstan the Glorious. Control of the north continued to be disputed under Edmund the Magnificent and a Norse kingdom under Erik Bloodaxe seceded from King Edred who rectified the matter with ruthless efficiency. Edwy the fair divided the kingdom with his brother Edgar the Peaceful and Ethelred the Unready lost it completely. So most of the kings could not claim to be king of the whole of England through all their reigns and Egbert's claim would be as good as any. What they were however was Kings of the English, if not of England. -Streona (talk) 14:41, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:35, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Image of Silver Penny[edit]

On the link to the image it cames to awebsite which describes it as a "coin" but there is a further link. The image originates from the National Portrait Gallery which defines it as a "Silver Penny of Harold II designed by Theodoric II in 1066". So Angusmclellan is right in so describing it.--Streona (talk) 13:42, 8 June 2008 (UTC)


--Charles (talk) 22:36, 6 January 2009 (UTC) Waltham Abbey claims to have his body, but there were also two corpses discovered near Bosham that correspond to the descriptions of both Harold and Godwin. However the Bishop of Chichester has refused access for DNA profiling, which might also help to clear up the dispute over Harold's ancestry (Godwin- Wulfnoth- Aethelmaer Se greata- Aethelweard the Historian- Eadric- Athelthryth- Aethelnoth- King Ethelred I). Waltham Abbey was founded by Harold and also seems to be where Henry I met with Harold around 1100 -this presumably being Harold's son, born in 1066 or 1067, Harold Haroldsson, who is very possibly the corpse at Waltham Abbey, not Harold Godwinsson.--Streona (talk) 23:49, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Is there any evidence the Harold was initially buried at the battle site? Most seem to think he was taken straight back to the family church at Bosham.--Charles (talk) 10:46, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Ah. A grave overlooking the sea at Bosham. That makes perfect sense.--Charles (talk) 22:36, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Edward's promises[edit]

I have rewritten, consolidated, expanded, and documented the sections relating the Edward's supposed promise to William and his supposed selection of Harold. The issue of the promise has been subject to repeated reverts, yet the prior version had some material that was unsupportable (or at least unsupported, e.g. that Edward may have promised the throne to Edgar: I have never seen this suggested, and it seems only a convenient replacement for the apparently unfavorable but documented claim that he had offered it to William; or the speculation about the meaning of Edward's pointing; or a non-standard definition of Ætheling that seemed to beg the question), or contradictory (calling Edgar Edward's heir while also stating that the throne passed by election). Given that these sections are now documented, it would be useful if any additions or significant changes would also be documented. Agricolae (talk) 05:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)


I have removed the ancestry section. It is simply too much debated and a pedigree format does not permit all of the arguments required to make it NPOV. That Wulfnoth was really son of AEthelmaer is accepted by many genealogists but few historians, and contradicts the primary record. That Thorkel was son of Syrbjorn is questioned (it is widely suggested to be an invention to give Sweyn Estrithson a paternal royal descent). Even if he was, that he was son of Styrbjorn by Thyra has been rejected by the only recent serious scholarship on her family (which concluded she had just one daughter). Thus, the only certainty is with the parents and the grandfathers, and the grandfathers are notable largely only as parents to their children. The pedigree then isn't really showing us anything more informative than the simple statement of who his parents were. Perhaps some mention could be made in the text or a footnote about some of these possible connections, but to put them in pedigree format gives them an unjustified imprimatur. Agricolae (talk) 18:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Bosham is by the sea![edit]

The comment: "the poem also claims Harold was buried by the sea which eliminates Bosham.[14]" is untrue. Bosham is by the sea, in fact most of it floods at high tide! Robruss24 (talk) 11:30, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Quite right. I have changed that bit.--Charles (talk) 22:38, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was not moved -- Aervanath (talk) 07:06, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I propose that this article be renamed "Harold II of England", in line with the naming convention Wikipedia uses for other British royals. If you think Harold was a usurper and thus not entitled to a royal name, I refer you to Richard III of England. Encyclopedia Britannica uses the form "Harold II." There are many more hits on Google Scholar for Harold II England than for "Harold Godwinson", even though Harold Godwinson is the correct way to refer to him before he became king. Kauffner (talk) 15:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd submit there is a difference: those names describe the man's character as king, or his reign. "Harold Godwinson" is a pre-royal name, as if he was never king (or even duke of Wessex). The standard on Wiki is to follow common usage. In this case, common usage is "King Harold," which gets about 30 times more Google hits than "King Harold Godwinson." Kauffner (talk) 07:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Harold Godwinson is how covered in history classes and how more likely to be recognized by non-scholars. Google "harold godwinson" 38,200 vs. "Harold II of England" 6,480 (commonly recognized name is preferred to schollarly one). Harold II doesn't even have enough searches to register in Google search trends Harold Godwinson, Harold II of England. As it stands, King Harold is not relevant as a search comparison, since would include other King Harolds (e.g. Harold Hardrada, Harold Harefoot, King Harold (Shrek), and various other kings of Denmark, Norway, etc. King Harold) as well as things named after various such King Harolds. Also, the proposal is not to rename the article King Harold. Harold Godwinson is much more readily recognized than "Harold arbitrary number." (And in what way do Harefoot or Forkbeard describe the respective monarch's characters as king?) Zodon (talk) 07:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
"Of England" is just a Wiki style thing. Check Henry I. The royal Henrys are in the format "of [country]", although I doubt this is most common form of their names. The issue to Google is whether or not is "Godwinson" is part of Harold's common usage name. King Harold England gives you eight times more Google hits than "Harold Godwinson". I went through several pages and all the hits I saw were relevant. Here is the rule from WP:NCNT: If a monarch or prince is overwhelmingly known, in English, by a cognomen, it may be used, and there is then no need to disambiguate by adding Country. Examples: Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Louis the Pious, Henry the Lion, Skanderbeg, etc... But there must be consensus so strong that it would be surprising to omit the epithet. Kauffner (talk) 09:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We should follow the actual convention in English: the numbering of monarchs begins with the Conquest; otherwise Edward the Abdicator becomes Edward X - which nobody says. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose this is nothing to do with him allegedly being a usurper. "Harold II" or "Harold II of England" are sometimes used, and should be retained as redirects. However I would argue that the least problematic approach is to treat English regnal numbers as starting at the Norman Conquest, and disambiguate pre-Conquest kings by cognomen. The numbering of post-Conquest Edwards is far too well-established for us to change. The pre-Conquest Edwards are never numbered, and it would be inconsistent to number some kings but not others during a period. You also have the problem of deciding who was the first king of England, I would give this title to Alfred the Great, but many sources say Egbert, and some say Athelstan, this has implications for the numbering of the Edwards and Ethelreds. If we did this move we would have to move Harold Harefoot to "Harold I of England" and I envisage debates about some other monarchs (do we describe them as "of England" or "of Wessex"?) According to Wikipedia naming standards, under some circumstances it is acceptable to refer to a monarch by a cognomen if it is unambiguous. PatGallacher (talk) 17:13, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak support. He was King of England, wasn't he? And he was not some ancient pre-conquest chieftain, but actually the conquested king. Give the guy some respect, he earned it the hard way. See also Elizabeth Windsor. BTW: us foreigners could hardly tell who "Harold Godwinson" might have been, but "Harold II of England" gives a pretty good hint. Stating the obvious can be helpful to some. -- Matthead  Discuß   23:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That argument misses the point of Wikipedia naming conventions. The reason why most monarchs's articles are of the form "Joe III of Ruritania" is to distinguish them from other monarchs called Joe III. Otherwise, we would not have articles like Charles the Fat, Sweyn Forkbeard, most Lithuanian monarchs, monarchs who are not well-known and it is not obvious from the article title who they were. Names of articles should aim for clarity and consistency, not necessarily giving the subject respect, although I recognise there are limits. PatGallacher (talk) 11:20, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't Matthead was arguing for "of England", but rather comparing "Godwinson" to "Windsor" (i.e. both are surnames as opposed to royal names). Kauffner (talk) 12:57, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


The hits on google scholar for "Harold II" begin with a medical paper by Ickes, Harold II, and continue for a page of false positives. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:31, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Common usage is "King Harold" -- I don't think anyone disputes this. When you Wikify this name according to WP:NCNT, you get "Harold II of England." Encarta and Britannica both use "Harold II". Numbering is restarted in 1066, so "Edward X" is a red herring. The numeral issue is a style question and not something to be decided by Googling. But for what its worth, King "Harold II" England gives you 773 hits on Google Scholar while "Harold Godwinson" gives you 406. Kauffner (talk) 04:01, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
"Common usage is "King Harold" -- I don't think anyone disputes this. " - People do dispute this - as pointed out above, common usage and more readily recognized as Harold Godwinson. (Perhaps this is a cultural thing - might depend on what country you are in. King Harold might be common where you are, but less commonly used other places.) Zodon (talk) 06:53, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Marriages and children[edit]

In this section, it was said that Harold II's blood was reintroduced to the English royal house through Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III. She did have that descent, but so did Edward III, through his mother Isabella of France, who was actually the first to bring the line back to England. So I substituted Isabella for Philippa accordingly.

Isabella was a granddaughter of Isabella of Aragon, the wife of Philip III of France. Isabella of Aragon's mother, Violant of Hungary, was a daughter of Andrew II of Hungary, a grandson of Géza II by Euphrosyne of Kiev, herself a granddaughter of Harold II's daughter Gytha. (talk) 16:17, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Copyright problems[edit]

A friend mentioned something to me today about the "Harold survived to old age" myths, and I was reading the article for some background; it's a bit limited, so I opened the ODNB to see if it had anything more. This worries me a bit: the 12th century, legend says that Harold had indeed survived the battle, had spent two years in Winchester after the battle recovering from his wounds, and then travelled to Germany, where he spent years wandering as a pilgrim. As an old man, he supposedly returned to England, and lived as a hermit in a cave near Dover. As he lay dying, he confessed that although he went by the name of Christian, he had been born Harold Godwinson. [Wikipedia]
By the twelfth century a number of legends, all no doubt spurious, were in circulation, that Harold had indeed survived the battle. In one version, Harold spent two years recovering from his wounds in Winchester. After he was restored to health he left England for Germany, and spent many years wandering as a pilgrim. As an old man he returned to England, and after living ten years as a hermit in a cave outside Dover, he travelled to Chester, where he lived once again as a hermit. As he lay dying, he confessed that although he went by the name of Christian, he had been born Harold Godwineson. [ODNB]

This is some distance beyond mere paraphrase, and it's a bit worrying; I've traced it back to this revision, which seems to include a few other verbatim phrases from the ODNB; I'll dig through the article and try to rewrite these. Shimgray | talk | 20:55, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the offending sections. The "Legend" section is going to need entirely new material, and I don't think I'm the person to do it, but the rest have been rewritten. Shimgray | talk | 18:52, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

King of England versus King of the English[edit]

The pre-conquest kings of England all are styled 'King of the English' and their succession info boxes are largely minimal in content. Harold though gets the full treatment with his succession info box and he is styled 'King of England' even though this usage is supposedly not correct, Henry II being the first to use 'King of England'. What's the thought here behind using the style 'King of England' for Harold? --Sephiroth9611 (talk) 02:04, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Having had no reply to this for over a year, I going to edit the succession infobox to read "King of the English" per the information given in the opening paragraph of Henry II of England and in keeping with the other Anglo-Saxon kings. Please comment if you disagree. --Sephiroth9611 (talk) 15:49, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Birth date?[edit]

I know that a lot of birth dates are contested because of a lack of records, but there is a discrepancy with this article and the one for Sweyn Godwinson, Harold's brother. That page says that Sweyn is the oldest, but Harold's birth date is given as one year before Sweyn's. Vpw (talk) 06:54, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

This date is given in Barlow's biography of Edward the Confessor, p. 90, but the Online DNB gives 1022 or 1023 for Harold and no date for Sweyn. I have therefore altered Sweyn's birth date to c 1020. Dudley Miles (talk) 11:32, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Edward being ambiguous about the succession in the Bayeux Embroidery[edit]

The article says "The intent of this charge is ambiguous, as is the Bayeux Tapestry, which simply depicts Edward pointing at a man thought to represent Harold."

The image on the embroidery of Edward pointing to Harold is from Harold's return from Normandy in 1064. It's at the end of that scene. Later on the embroidery there is an image of Edward speaking on his deathbed. The embroidery is still ambiguous about the succession but at a different point. Page 120 of The Bayeux Tapestry by Wolfgang Grape (and other books).ULTRAGOTHA (talk) 19:41, 3 October 2010 (UTC)ULTRAGOTHA

Death on Tapestry (again)[edit]

I have some concerns about the new legend for the Tapestry illustration of his death - it appears to contain a good deal of personal analysis. I have never seen it suggested that the soldier on the ground at one point had an arrow in his eye - I have only seen debate as to whether the arrow in the eye of the standing figure actually originally went in his eye, or whether its current placement is the result of retouching. Likewise, that the Tapestry frequently identifies someone by putting their name around their head - it may well be the case, but that is the kind of statement that requires a WP:RS. The same for the reasons it may not be a sequence, continuity errors, etc. Is this material from a source, or from an editor. (Perhaps worth mentioning is that the Tapestry is not an immediate nor NPOV record, and its account could have been influenced by propaganda, etc. - again with appropriate citation. At least one 'retouch' theory I have seen argues that the standing knight was simply holding a spear or arrow, and that after the story of his death by arrow in eye became more prominent, the Tapestry was adjusted to conform.) Agricolae (talk) 18:13, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

In addition to the issues regarding sourcing, there's also the issue that the caption is far too long now – its 180 words, while the section it is in is barely bigger at 200. A caption is only supposed to be a brief snippet to back up a point made in the text, not an analysis unto itself. The previous caption was itself was probably borderline in length. I think we need to move any indepth analysis of the death scene in the Tapestry from the caption into the death section and leave the caption as something saying not a lot more than "This is Harold's death in the Bayeux tapestry. There's a debate as to which of these two dead guys is Harold". -- Sabre (talk) 18:42, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
The expanded caption was my edit, which I will expand further here. This image is surely a, if not "the", key piece of evidence about Harold's death. I prefer to give the reader the story from the horse's mouth. Let them see it for themselves, and study it with reference to text below. This is not just a pretty picture to illustrate the text, it is the evidence itself, and deserves a full rather than superficial caption. I'm not certain what the objection is to a long caption, is it that it doesn't look nice, that it's against WP guidelines, or that it hampers reader comprehension? I'm sure we've all come accross superficial captions which don't say enough, and leave us asking important questions, especiallly with the BT "What does the Latin stitching mean?" User:Agricolae refers to "the story of his death by arrow in eye". I would suggest that the origin of this story is this very image. The Bayeux Tapestry is probably the earliest source on the events at Hastings, William of Poitiers following close after. Made no doubt on the order of Bishop Odo, of Bayeux, who is a proven Companions of William the Conqueror. The Tapestry is indeed an immediate record, and surely states the POV as the Normans collectively understood it, thus they are likely to have all agreed that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye. Odo would have had no propaganda point to make on this issue, surely, it could not have been more that a mere curiosity, as it is today. As for the compositional naming device of stitching a name around a subject's helmet, surely no RS is needed, rather just advising an observation of many other examples in the Tapestry, (i.e "source: see BT") that is what the caption says in effect. I would be willing to cite other examples if required, for example Eustace II, Count of Boulogne(which please see), where his Latin name E...TIUS is similarly placed around his image, although higher up in the upper margin. There are many other examples. (That article's image lacks any caption at all, unfortunately) As for the theory mentioned in the caption regarding other arrows inserted/removed, etc., not my text. This could certainly be removed from the caption if felt to be too long. I merely picked this up from the existing main body of text in the article and repeated it, for balance. I don't find it particularly convincing, but the point was made, apparently supported by sources of some sort. Hope this answers all the points above.(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 19:15, 30 November 2010 (UTC))
You seem to be arguing for the image being given at all - no one is questioning that. What is being questioned is the length of the caption and its content. It is a bit disproportionate to have a caption longer than the section it accompanies. That being said, it is the content that bothers me. You admit here that you are giving YOUR opinion and observations. As editors, we don't get to have an opinion and we don't get to make an observation. Making further observations (other examples of the same trend) is not going to make it any better. If you have a RS that makes that observation, then it is legitimate, but if you don't then I suggest you publish a scholarly paper on your observation, then it can be cited. If you are giving your own view of things, it doesn't belong, whether your view is about the accuracy of the Tapestry, what the Tapestry is trying to describe, or the relative propaganda value in it. (In none of these am I in agreement with you, it would seem, which is why editors shouldn't give their personal opinion.) As to the restitching issue, I stand by that, no matter who wrote it - I have never seen a source claiming restitching of the fallen man, only an analysis of restitching of the standing man holding the arrow, with the suggestion that this man was originally simply holding a spear or arrow, and that it was restitched to go into the eye after other sources reported that as the form of Harold's death. I have also seen sources that claim that the arrow in the eye reported by later chroniclers is derived from the Tapestry. I would like to see a source for all of the claims currently in the article and caption, or have them removed. Agricolae (talk) 20:03, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you about all the text on "restitching", I originated none of it, only repeated what was there in the article before, to which I attempted to add a caveat to the effect that it was not credible, hence my text re continuity etc. I would be happy to see this downgraded to mere speculation, which nevertheless has its place in WP, if only to state and then destroy yet another "urban myth" unsupported by evidence. It should not be deleted in my opinion. Now, as to your argument that my text on names embroidered on the Tapestry is an opinion. This does not amount to an opinion or a theory as you suggest, but is an invitation to the reader to consult a source, not a book, but an annotated tapestry. It would certainly not be a worthy topic for a "scholarly article", the matter is verified by simple observation. I take it you would be happy with a source which said "see Wm of Poitiers", this is similar. The problem is that the source is not immediately accessible to all - I have a book which provides illustrations of the whole Tapestry so am in a fortunate position to be able to consult it for myself. I will shortly amend the caption which I hope will meet with your approval. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 13:39, 3 December 2010 (UTC))
Umm, no. Wikipedia editors are explicitly told not to do original research and present their conclusions, but rather to rely on the secondary works of scholars. This is one of the central pillars of Wikipedia - WP:NOR, which includes drawing any conclusion not reached by the source, even if all of the elements are present WP:SYNTH. To tell people to "go see if you don't reach this conclusion too" is no better than "when I look at it this is what I see." Agricolae (talk) 14:05, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
I will accept your argument. I note you have added a cite tag to my text that sources were "unreliable". I thought we had agreed on this point, to quote from your above post "I have never seen a source claiming restitching of the fallen man". I have consulted the footnote showing the drawings and no source is given there for the stitching and unstitching assertion, hence my caveat that the source was "unreliable", perhaps too strong a term for you, if so please amend rather than leave the cite tag. Better to prove that a source is reliable than to question whether a non-existent source is not reliable, surely. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 14:36, 3 December 2010 (UTC))
I am unaware that there are any sources that say this - reliable or not. It was never cited by the editor who put it in, and I think it possible that editor got confused over a story about the upright Harold and applied it to the recumbent one. But then with the newer edit, we convert this unsourced statement into a statement that there are sources (still uncited) but they are unreliable, a different animal all together. Agricolae (talk) 01:55, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 April 2012[edit]

Please change the translation of "Harold rex interfectus est" in the "Death" section from "Harold the King is killed" to "Harold the King has been killed". The reason is that "interfectus est" is a Latin perfect passive tense (source for verification: Kennedy, Latin grammar) and so can be translated as either "was killed" or "has been killed", but not as "is killed", which in Latin would be rendered as "interficitur". This is important as the Tapestry is quite precise in distinguishing present and perfect tenses, and which one is used in this scene alters our understanding of whether it depicts Harold bring killed (with an arrow through his eye) or Harold *after* he has been killed (being trampled by a horse). Thanks!

Howdood (talk) 08:32, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Done (translated to "was killed" as it is the more common translation in the literature). Looks like a classic case of a misguided analogy to English. --Tyrannus Mundi (talk) 16:12, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 April 2012 (bis)[edit]

In this article there is a mention of the fictional account of the events leading up to the battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, ie The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz, indicating there is *citation needed*. I have this book in front of me now. It was published in 1950 (copyright 1949), which seems to have been prior to the use of ISBN codes, by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. In the foreword by G M Trevelyan, O. M. it is stated that [Hope Muntz] was 'Canadian born and brought up in the Winchester region and south of England.' I not been able to find out much more about her except that she was an expert in the Anglo-Saxon era of English history and that her work was more likely to have been found in the academic world than in popular fiction.

There was also this link to a grave marker which I believe is likely to be that of the same Hope Muntz.

The book also has a set of genealogical trees which are helpful to the reader as well as a chronological table of the historical events covered by the book.

I am not sure if this is the sort of information required to fill in the 'citation needed'. It is probably obvious I am not a scholar but merely someone who thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Jellylava (talk) 15:36, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Jellylava (talk) 15:36, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

It is unclear to me why this specific entry was tagged, and some of the others were not. Perhaps you could ask Felix Folio Secundus, who tagged it in Dec 2010. On one level, it may just be requesting a citation for the book itself (giving author, title, publication information). However, based on the principle of WP:NOR, it may be requesting a secondary source making reference to the book. Reading the book and saying 'this book talks about X' would be original research, which is a no-no. Rather, it would be good if a secondary source (book review, survey of historical fiction, author's obituary) reports this to be the content of the book, and then we cite the secondary source. Either way, no biographical information on the author is necessary (or appropriate). On another level, there is a move to eliminate these 'popular culture' sections from articles, as they are of dubious value to conveying the concept of who the individual was, and they tend to grow into lists of every obscure reference to the person in any pulp-fiction novel, B-movie, TV episode, video game, or comedy routine. Agricolae (talk) 15:57, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I have added details of the 1st British edition of the book instead of the tag; the American edition would only differ in what relates to the publisher.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 18:06, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Unless I've misunderstood, this should clear up the requested edit so I've marked it as answered. --Tyrannus Mundi (talk) 22:28, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

This section has recently been deleted twice

Fictional accounts based on the events surrounding Harold's brief reign as king of England have been published, notably the play Harold, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in 1876; and the novel Last of the Saxon Kings, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in 1848. Rudyard Kipling wrote a short story, included in his 1910 collection, Rewards and Fairies, where an aged King Harold meets Henry I and dies in the arms of a Saxon knight. Modern novels have included The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz,[1] The Interim King by James Colman McMillan,[citation needed], Lord of Sunset by Parke Godwin, The Last English King by Julian Rathbone, Warriors of the Dragon Gold by Ray Bryant, and the novel God's Concubine by Sara Douglass. The one-act play A Choice of Kings by John Mortimer deals with his deception by William after his shipwreck.

Like User:Rothorpe I feel at least some of it should be retained as it includes three works by well known English authors and another by the Anglo-Saxon scholar Hope Muntz. As it is not large enough to form a separate article it ought to be included here.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 12:28, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ The Golden Warrior: the story of Harold and William. London: Chatto and Windus, 1948
But ... what does this tell us about Harold himself? We need secondary sources for this information - not the stories themselves. If we have secondary coverage telling how his portrayal in fiction changes over time, then that's useful. A bare listing of a few stories he's appeared in is just trivia. (And trust me, this is the very tip of the iceberg of the portrayals.... he occurs in most any novel dealing with the time period .. should we list all of them? Ealdgyth - Talk 12:37, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Dudley Miles says "This section tells us nothing about the historical Harold" and I have to agree with him and Ealdgyth. Mentioning how depictions have affected historiography for instance would be worth including, but a simple list of books etc in while Harold is a character doesn't belong in this article. Nev1 (talk) 14:19, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

"Widely regarded"[edit]

" Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England, widely regarded as the last Anglo-Saxon king before the Norman conquest."

What does this mean , "widely regarded" ? Is there any room for debate or uncertainty about this ?Eregli bob (talk) 08:51, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there is - Edgar Ætheling was elected king after Hastings, but never crowned and his claim was rendered moot by William's subsequent entry into London. Most historians don't count Edgar, but some do. Agricolae (talk) 09:12, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
As Edgar's election took place after the Norman Conquest, surely we don't need 'widely regarded' either way? AlexTiefling (talk) 13:07, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Actually - Edgar's election took place before William's crowning ... so even on the most conservative dating of the Norman Conquest, the election took place during. Some historians would place the ending of the Conquest at either the crushing of the Revolt of the Earls (common) or with William II's crushing of the revolt in 1088 or even with Henry I's crowning in 1100 (both of these are much less common, but still found). Edgar was mooted about as king a couple of times after William's crowning also... he just never got very far. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:41, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Pointless edit war King of England vs King of the English[edit]

Edit warring over this is pointless, in wikipedia terms they are synonymous, both redirect to List of English monarchs.--20:37, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Actually, it does have some differences in meaning - and the sources treat the terms differently. By about 1000 or so, the concept of England as opposed to just a people called the English had emerged, so the terminology is important. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:40, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
There are two things to address, the first is with regards content, to my shame I have to admit my ignorance of the nuances of the differences between the two; these nuances needs to be explained in the "List of English monarchs" article. The second is the edit war, once it became clear that the phrasing was being disputed it needed to be discussed.--KTo288 (talk) 07:38, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
On the first point the correct place is Style of the British sovereign, where it is briefly covered, although the only source cited is very dated. On the second there is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms#New user changing "King of the English" to "King of England". Dudley Miles (talk) 09:55, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the links, maybe King of the English at the very least should be edited so that it redirects to Style_of_the_British_sovereign#Style_of_the_sovereign rather than the list. I was unaware of the discussion, it wouldn't seemed to have helped in this case, though as the title reads New user changing "King of the English" to "King of England where as in this case it was "King of England" being changed to "King of the English". Given that the article has been stable around the wording "King of England" for at least the past two years, I take it that that is the consensus as to Harold's status. Unless decided otherwise on the talk page of the article in question, that is here, most pending edits reviewers will revert to the stable version of the article.
So just to get the discussion started about this article on this talk page is everyone happy that "King of England" is correct.--KTo288 (talk) 11:08, 20 February 2015 (UTC)


Is there anything to back up the claim that he was Orthodox, made in the introduction? I'm referring to this (corresponding to a single edit) :

He is considered by some Orthodox Christians and theologians to be the last Orthodox King of England and a possible passion-bearer, after conspiracy by William the Conqueror and Pope Alexander II to secure a strict Roman Rite over the British Isles, which at the time may not have yet realized the effects of the East-West Schism.[2]

19:44, 18 May 2015‎ Sigehelmus (talk | contribs)‎ . . (33,324 bytes) (+399)‎ . . (undo | thank) [automatically accepted]

The given sources are an orthodox religious wiki and a single work with a questionable tone, e.g.

The result of the Norman Conquest was that the English Church and people were integrated into the heretical “Church” of Western, Papist Christendom, which had just, in 1054, fallen away from communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, represented by the Eastern Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

This does not seem to be reputable and believable. I will revert that particular change, as this seems to be an claim without sufficient backing. At there very least it is still being researched (see e.g. for an opposing view) and does not belong into the introduction paragraph. Chieron (talk) 22:25, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

It's cobblers. In very broad terms, the English church had been an adherent of the 'Roman' tendency in pre-schism Christianity since the Synod of Whitby in 664. Even before that, the 'Celtic' tendency was not significantly less 'Roman' than its continental rivals. William the Conqueror's papal backing was about a disagreement among Christians who were all on the Western side of the Great Schism, and would have been on the Western side of any significant dispute prior to 1054. AlexTiefling (talk) 09:18, 23 September 2015 (UTC)
Howarth in 1066 says nothing about Harold and the Orthodox Church. There is nothing in the pages dealing with Howarth's rather far-fetched idea of a conspiracy between William/Lanfranc and the papacy that mentions anything about the Celtic Rite or the Orthodox Church or the East-West Schism. Howarth does not seem to support the information being cited to him. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:54, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

First image[edit]

I don't think the image that currently appears in the infobox is the best one we have available: besides the poor resolution, there's a very ugly smudge right next to Harold's right hand. There are many other pictures available on Wikimedia Commons which are far better, both qualitatively and aesthetically, from the Bayeux Tapestry to some of Harold's coins. – Swa cwæð Ælfgar (talk) 19:29, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Uploaded one with a better resolution (with the same smudge though). --Thibaut120094 (talk) 19:35, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
IP editor recently replaced the image in infobox from an illuminated manuscript with a coin. Any opinions? I am not in favor, there being so few kings of this era for whom we can use anything other than a coin that I think we should take advantage of the opportunity when it arises. Agricolae (talk) 14:09, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I have looked through the AS king articles and only one or two use a coin in the infobox. Most use illustrations in later medieval manuscripts, similar to the one in the Harold article which was replaced by a coin. I would not be in favour of going back to that one as, like so many pictures of Harold, it is propaganda against him, in this case showing him crowning himself. However, I agree that the coin image is dull, so I suggest swapping it with the iconic Bayeux Tapestry image of him being shot in the eye. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:35, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
But ... the eye shot is also propaganda. It's not clear if he did get shot in the eye or not. I'm partial to the Harold pic from the tapestry of him riding a horse with a hawk on the hand - this avoids the two propaganda issues. Granted, it's also a progaganda image, but only about 1 in a 1000 people will see it and know that its from the supposed visit that Harold paid to William before Edward's death... when supposedly Harold swore to uphold William's claim to the English throne. If we use the eye shot that prominently, I worry that we are implying that we think it's true.
By the by ... I may get back to work on this soonish. Another Core Contest is coming up and I just may add Harold to whatever other article I work on. (The other choice of a second article is Thomas Becket) Ealdgyth - Talk 19:54, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I assume you mean Harold2.jpg? I would be fine with that. Dudley Miles (talk) 20:11, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I thought she meant this one: BayeuxTapestryScene13.jpg Agricolae (talk) 21:33, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I was thinking of the one Dudley put up, but the second one works too. The one below works also. I'd rather avoid the manuscript one, it's a bit propagandish. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:37, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
It is also a lot later than I thought. I am always in favor of (near-)contemporary, if available. I know Harold didn't actually sit for either the moneyer or the stitcher, but they both were living within Harold's contemporary milieu - you just can't beat the tapestry for its cultural information, like the difference in hairstyles between the Normans and English. Agricolae (talk) 21:46, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
The second one seems to me a better quality image than the top one but it is too wide. The coronation one is OK but not so interesting. How about cropping Harold on his horse from the middle image? Dudley Miles (talk) 21:53, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
[e/c] I would also be against the arrow image - propaganda and possible retouching, plus, with the possible exception of saints with martyrdom cults, we ted not to show people in their death agonies in their infobox portraits. I also like the one Ealdgyth mentioned, if it is the same one I am thinking of ('HIC WIDO ADDVXIT HAROLDVM AD WILGELM', better than the similar one earlier, as he is riding to Guy's castle), the downside being that he is facing the non-preferred direction. Another good one is when he is offered the crown ('HIC DEDERVNT HAROLDO CORONA REGIS' - his name is even well centered overhead). Other options (with my reaction to them): the oath to William (outstretched arms make it awkward, plus this is one of the more propagandistic images), his coronation (too 'busy' with text) or the comet panel (awkward posture). Most of the others have other people too close, identification is ambiguous, or they just aren't that iconic. Agricolae (talk) 20:37, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Here is the other one I mentioned. I would probably prefer this one (cropped).
BayeuxTapestryScene29.jpg Agricolae (talk) 21:33, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Since the initial image is again being swapped, I would suggest we reach a consensus to avoid repeated changes. The following seem to be the candidates for the infobox image (actual size). To simplify the choice, I am grouping related images together and we can decide which version to use if that is the direction consensus leads. Agricolae (talk) 18:47, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

1. A. BayeuxTapestryScene29(crop).jpg 1.B. BayeuxTapestryScene29(crop2).jpg Harold offered crown, from Bayeux Tapestry

2. Harold Godwinson 02.jpg Harold crowning himself from 13th century MS

3. Harold II 1066.jpg Coin of Harold

4. A. Harold2.jpg 4.B. BayeuxTapestryScene13(crop).jpg 4.C. BayeuxTapestryScene13(crop2).jpg Harold on horse from Bayeux Tapestry

Well. I had hoped for more discussion given how frequently the image gets changed, but I guess I will implement it. Agricolae (talk) 14:18, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Harold Godƿinson?[edit]

Is there any source for the Old English name form, given at the start of the article? In Old English, patronymics did not end with -son, but -ing, and the king's name in patronymic form would have been Harold Godƿining, not Godƿinson, which is just the Modern English form spelled with a wynn. Agricolae (talk) 06:11, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

I don't have a source. I think it's been there a long long time... Ealdgyth - Talk 12:19, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Harold Godwinson is probably a post-Anglo-Saxon designation (translation of Old Norse?). The Anglo-Saxon Chronice only briefly mentions him once as plain "Harold" in the entry for 1066: "Her forðferde Eaduuard king. ⁊ Harold eorl feng to ðam rice ⁊ heold hit .xl. wucena." We should probably remove "Godƿinson" pending further evidence. BabelStone (talk) 15:14, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Changed from the Old English Harold Gōdwines sunu to Modern English with a wynn Harold Godƿinson by retired editor John of Lancaster in this edit on 18 July 2012. BabelStone (talk) 15:24, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
I see from the history that it dates from 2012, when an editor replaced Harold Gōdwines sunu with Harold Godƿinson, the edit summary simply "English usage".[1] Harold Gōdƿines sunu (Harold, Godwin's son) would be an appropriate way of representing the person in Old English, but the second part is a description, and not a name per se. I checked ASC, and though he is described as a son of Godwin, I don't see him referred to either as "Harold Godwinson" or "Harold Godwin's son". I do find "Harold Godwining" used by one book from 1935, while a 2005 book snippet calls him "Harold Godwines sunu". ASC E does refer to Tostige Godƿines sunu in 1055, while ASC F names Sƿegen Godƿines sunu in 1048, so Harold Godƿines sunu is supportable, and probably prefereble to Godƿining. I also have my doubts about the Old Norse, added this January - the 12th century ON Ágrip af Nóregskonungasǫgum calls him Haralds Goðinasonar. It may be OR to include this, but if we are to include an OR ON name, it should be the right one. I am going to go ahead and make the substitutions, but I will have to delete the pronuncuation, as I am not familiar enough with how OE is pronounced to match the new name form. Agricolae (talk) 15:51, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Probably for the best - it looks like the pronunciation was wrong anyhow. Agricolae (talk) 18:35, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
In the "Index of Personal Names" of his 2008 version of the Ágrip af Nóregskonungasǫgum (Driscoll, MJ, ed. (2008). Ágrip af Nóregskonungasǫgum: A Twelfth-Century Synoptic History of the Kings of Norway (PDF). Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series (series vol. 10) (2nd ed.). London: Viking Society for Northern Research. ISBN 978 0 903521 75 8. ), Matthew Driscoll renders the names in standard Old Norse. Harold's name is given as Haraldr Goðinason (page 117). I think that's the form we should use instead of a direct quotation from a particular passage. The index likewise gives Tostig's name as Tósti Goðinason (page 119).--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 23:23, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Indexes often aren't even compiled by the author, but instead by a (non-expert) editorial assistant. Likewise, it is unclear that this index is trying to represent Old Norse forms. (As I look at the sentence, I do think "Haralds" is a posessive - Harold's brother - and this doesn't represent the stand-alone form.) The same passage [2] is also indexed here [3] as Haraldr Goðinason, but the book is in Danish and I can't be certain that this isn't trying to render the name in that modern language. The Hungrvaka gives "Haralldr Goðina son" [4] which it also indexes as Haraldr Goðinason [5], but again I can't tell what the indexer's intent is, as the index contains a mixture of English and Scandinavian forms - I can't be certain they are not trying to represent it in a modern Scandinavian language or some kind of anachronistic hybrid.
Here is my question though. Why include at all a form we can't find used until 100 years after his death in some pretty obscure sources? If there was a modern author who in describing Harold thought it was worth giving his Old Norse name form, then I would be all in favor of following suit, but that doesn't appear to be the case, so why are we struggling so hard to force the issue? Even going from the index, this all smacks too much of original research to dig it out of indexes to primary sources. Agricolae (talk) 00:34, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
Speaking for myself, I can't see why the Old Norse form of his name is at all relevant. I don't think anyone thinks he spoke Old Norse and he wasn't King of Norway... so... axe it. When did it get added? Ealdgyth - Talk 00:58, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
It was added last Nov. Agricolae (talk) 01:05, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
I bet I can guess. I'm in favor of removal. I'd be in favor of removing all the non modern names. Ealdgyth - Talk 04:46, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake - that was when the pronunciation was added. The ON was added in early January by User:Greenshed. I am going to revert my change to the ON because while I am not sure the former was right, I am pretty sure mine is wrong. This should not be taken as an endorsement of inclusion, just that I don't want to propagate my own error. Agricolae (talk) 05:13, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm okay with removing it too. It doesn't seem super relevant, and isn't used by a reliable secondary source that we know of. Same goes for the other names. If someone ever comes up a source (other than a primary source) that uses the Old English form I'd definitely like to see it used in the article, but until then maybe it ought to be left out.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 01:03, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

Family background[edit]

At the end of the Family background section, we explicitly say Sweyn was the eldest and Harold second son, citing Mason p. 10. I can't see this page in any of the available previews, but on p. 35 Mason is explicit in the order of the daughters, and the sons are presented as older three (with Tostig) and younger three, while on p. 76, Mason makes Wulfnoth the youngest. In specifying just Sweyn and Harold based on Mason, our account seemed to imply she thought the order of the others is uncertain, but it looks like this isn't the case. Can someone with access to Mason's p. 10 clarify?

Moving on to the last sentence, we place Harold's birth about 1020, but in the infobox it gives c.1022, and in the lead it gave (precisely) 1022 (now changed). I realize that there is no practical difference between c.1020 and c.1022, but we either need to follow our cited source and switch to c.1020 in the infobox and lead, or provide a ref for the 1022 date. Agricolae (talk) 13:19, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

The page 10 ref is wrong. It is about the monastic revival. DNB on Harold says he was the second son after Sweyn, born 1022 or 1023. Mason p. 35, as you no doubt know, puts their birth date a bit later, both born in the mid-1020s. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:55, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Given that the ref name is Mason35, I suspect that p.35 was intended. By my reading, Mason is naming them in order by sex, so I would favor a rephrase to that effect, rather than just talking about Sweyn and Harold, but I haven't thought of an elegant way of doing it. As regards the date, we should probably pull in more sources and see if there is a consensus, but I doubt it - a GB search for 'Harold Godwinson born' turns up a whole range of guesses. De Vries, The Norwegian Invasion of England, quotes two authors, Henry R. Lyon, "Harold, son of Godwin", Societies and Peoples: Studies in the History of England and Wales, c. 600-1200, 1992, p. 303, "Harold was born in the early years of the 1020's, not later than 1026 and probably in 1021 or 1022", with DeVries adding that Frank Barlow (in Vita Ædwardi 1992, pp. 6-8 n.10) only gives 1022. Freeman, Norman Conquest II:155: count not "have been born before 1021, perhaps not till 1022 or later." Agricolae (talk) 15:29, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
I'll try to dig some later in the week, when I'm not covered in paint. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:52, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Okay, so yeah - "Mason35" would be a citation I put it - its my normal naming syntax, but it would have been to page 35, not 10. I either typo'd or someone changed it later ... As for sources - Barlow in Edward the Confessor says "Godwin's elder children, Edith, Swegn, and Harold, were probably mature at Edward's accession; but Tostig, Gyrth, and Leofwine may have spent some time there [the royal household] with their sister" (p. 163). He sources the first phrase to his translation of the Vita Edwardi Regis p. 4 n. 2. Barlow in The Godwins points out on p. 71 that Harold was thought to be younger than Tostig in King Harald's Saga. Peter Rex in Harold II says "Harold, actually his [Godwin's] second son (Swein appears to have been the eldest)" but gives no source. (p. 30) and then "Harold was now [at the time of his receiving East Anglia as an earldom] about twenty-five years of age, suggesting a birth date around 1020" (p. 31). Stenton concurs that Harold was the second son (p. 561 of the third edition of Anglo-Saxon England) Ian Walker in Harold: The Last Anglo-Saxon King (p. 19) agrees that Harold was about 25 in 1045 when he began to be styled earl. On page 12, Walker says that Harold was the second son of Godwin's. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:39, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Just to clarify here, I am not questioning that Harold was second, just that the way it is expressed gives the impression that only the order of the first two sons is solid. I will try a minor rephrase to put focus on Harold and held minimize this perception. Agricolae (talk) 18:57, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
No worries, I didn't think you did. Just might as well marshall all the sources while I was digging... no data goes wasted, or something like that. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:04, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
That's all I got - everything else I checked on my shelves doesn't discuss ages for Harold at any point. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:23, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
It seems solid that Tostig was third. Both Walker, Harold, and Ann Williams in DNB on Tostig say so. Walker has Gyrth fourth and does not say whether Leofwine or Wulfnoth was older. Williams mentions "at least four younger" brothers (than Tostig) Ælfgar, Gyrth, Leofwine and Wulfnoth, without specifying order. Dudley Miles (talk) 21:05, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
In my earlier survey I saw a lot calling Wulfnoth the youngest. As to Ælfgar, is a source given by Walker? Mason doesn't include a son of this name, nor do we. Agricolae (talk) 21:41, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
It is Williams not Walker who mentions him, and DNB articles - as you no doubt know - only give a list of sources at the end of the article. It is curious that she lists Godwin's sons in her Tostig article, but not her one on Godwin. Ælfgar is not listed in the genealogies in Rex, Barlow or Walker, and I cannot find him in PASE. However, our article on Godwin does list Alfgar under issue. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:21, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
I basically have tracked this down. "On the Life and Death of Earl Godwine" (The Archaeological Journal, 11:236-252, at p. 250) Freeman writes, ". . . Ælfgar rests on the authority of Ordericus alone, and is absent from Malmesbury's list. According to the Norman writer, both these two became monks, Ælfgar at Rheims, Wulfnoth at Salisbury." And in a note he provides the text: "Elfgarus et Vulnodus Deum diligentes pie legitimeque vixerunt, et in vera confessione prior Remis peregrinus et monachus, alter Salisberiæ, venerabiliter obierunt." It seems to come down to whether we follow those basing their account on Orderic or Malmesbury. Agricolae (talk) 23:41, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think it is relevant in this article, but I suggest stating in the Godwin article that Ælfgar is listed by Orderic but not Malmesbury with your reference. The ref is very dated, but there does not seem any reason to doubt that it is RS. It would be interesting to know Williams's source as she does not cite Orderic. Dudley Miles (talk) 07:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)