Friday, January 6, 2012

Harold Godwinson Crowned

‘Those who occupied the gallery to whom this injurious and unpolite speech was addressed, were the family of Cedric the Saxon, with that of his ally and kinsman, Athelstane of Coningsburgh, a personage, who, on account of his descent from the last Saxon monarchs of England, was held in the highest respect by all the Saxon natives of the north of England….

"The baffled envoy," continued Cedric, pursuing with animation his tale, though it interested not the listener, "retreated, to carry to Tosti and his ally the ominous answer of his injured brother. It was then that the distant towers of York, and the bloody streams of the Derwent, beheld that direful conflict, in which, after displaying the most undaunted valour, the King of Norway, and Tosti, both fell, with ten thousand of their bravest followers. Who would have thought that upon the proud day when this battle was won, the very gale which waved the Saxon banners in triumph, was filling the Norman sails, and impelling them to the fatal shores of Sussex?—Who would have thought that Harold, within a few brief days, would himself possess no more of his kingdom, than the share which he allotted in his wrath to the Norwegian invader?—Who would have thought that you, noble Athelstane—that you, descended of Harold's blood, and that I, whose father was not the worst defender of the Saxon crown, should be prisoners to a vile Norman, in the very hall in which our ancestors held such high festival?"...

"The Lady Rowena," answered Athelstane, with the most steady countenance, "is my affianced bride. I will be drawn by wild horses before I consent to part with her. The slave Wamba has this day saved the life of my father Cedric—I will lose mine ere a hair of his head be injured."

Walter Scott’s Athelstane the Unready, in “Ivanhoe”, is descended from Harold Godwinson, who was crowned King Harold II of England on January 6, 1066. The last Saxon king’s reign ended nine months later at Hastings.


  1. To BobSinc; Excellent Blog.

    I thought that Scott indicated in Ivanhoe that Cedric was descended from Hereward the Wake, whereas Rowena was descended from Kings Alfred -and Harold Godwinsson. Have I got this wrong ? DP

  2. Thanks for the challenge, DP, and I've adjusted the post from its original. Looking back, it was Athelstane the Unready who was identified as directly descended from Harold Godwinson. Cedric was noted as kin to Athelstane. Cedric is affectionately referred to as father Cedric several times by Athelstane. I see Rowena as descended from Alfred.