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The Norman Claim Background - England in Turmoil England had been in a power struggle for approximately two hundred years. England had been formed of many.

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Presentation on theme: "The Norman Claim Background - England in Turmoil England had been in a power struggle for approximately two hundred years. England had been formed of many."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Norman Claim Background - England in Turmoil England had been in a power struggle for approximately two hundred years. England had been formed of many small kingdoms including Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and Cornwall. The Saxons saw themselves as several different countries ruled by one English King - Edward the Confessor (in preference to any foreign kings such as King Canute who was also the King of Denmark) The Relationship between Normandy and England Normandy had close ties of friendship with Wessex dating back to 988. In 988 a formal treaty was arranged between Wessex and Normandy by the Pope. The treaty signed by Normandy and Wessex agreed not to harbor the other’s enemies, namely, the Vikings! Normandy was the closest land opposite Wessex separated by the channel and they were natural trading partners. The rulers of the House of Wessex had used Normandy as their refuge in times of trouble. Edward the Confessor had lived in Normandy and had many friends there. He even brought Norman advisors to his court in England; Robert of Jumieges had been Archbishop of Canterbury and Norman landholders were increasingly common in England. In 1051 Edward the announced that a Norman should succeed him and become King of England Duke William the Bastard's Claim to the English Throne Duke William the Bastard justified his claim through his blood relationship with Edward the Confessor (they were distant cousins) William strengthened this claim by stating that Edward the Confessor had designated him as his successor in William claimed Harold Godwinson had sworn a sacred oath of allegiance to him and to his right to the throne during a visit to Normandy in 1064 or When Harold broke the oath William received religious and political backing from Rome to start a Holy Crusade against Harold who the Pope had excommunicated!

2 The Viking Claim Background to the Viking claim of Harald Hardrada In 1016 the Viking King Canute became King of England, Denmark and Norway. He ruled until King Canute was succeeded by Hardicanute who ruled England until King Hardicanute had no heir and promised the English throne to King Magnus of Norway. The Saxon, Edward the Confessor, seized the English throne in 1042 King Magnus of Norway was too old to battle Edward the Confessor for the English throne. Magnus's heir was Hardrada Hardrada's claim to the English throne Hardrada asserted that he, as Magnus's heir, was the rightful ruler of England due to the agreement between Magnus and Hardicanute the Danish ruler of England. Hardrada may well have realised his claim was weak but this would not have bothered him. He was an exceptionally experienced warrior and had a powerful army. He had fought all over the world and had already used force to convince Magnus of Norway to appoint him as co-king and heir. Due to his exploits, Harald was very wealthy and also the only claimant who had genuine experience of running a country. He could also count on support from a significant minority of Scandinavians in England – particularly the North. The likelihood of a Norman invasion in the South plus the defection of Tostig to Hardrada’s side might have made the situation in England too tempting to ignore.

3 The Godwinson Claim Background to the Harold Godwinson claim Harold Gowinson's claim to the throne of England was not based on a strong blood tie. He was a relative of Edward only through Edward’s marriage to Harold’s sister, Edith. However he was the Earl of Wessex, one of the most powerful Nobles in England. He had been an advisor to Edward the Confessor He had proved himself to be a good fighter in campaigns against the Welsh and a good leader when he exiled his brother Tostig. His father and family had dominated the Witan ( the English council of ruling elders) who advised the king for many years. He was the richest man in England. Edward the Confessor considered the Normans as friends, had employed Normans as advisors and even designated a Norman should succeed him to the English throne The Anglo Saxons resented Edward the Confessor's close ties with the Normans and Harold Godwinson applied so much pressure on Edward the Confessor that his Norman advisors were sent back to Normandy. Harold and his family had established alliances with all the major nobles of England, notably when he deposed his brother Tostig as Earl of Northumbia and replaced him with Morcar. As a result, Edwin the Earl of Mercia and Morcar the Earl of Northumbria (brothers), previous enemies of Godwinson, had pledged to support Harold Godwinson Harold's claim to the English throne Harold Godwinson asserted that he had been chosen by Edward the Confessor to be the next King of England - when King Edward the Confessor lay dying his wife Edith and Harold Godwinson were at his bedside. According to Harold, King Edward's dying words were: "I commend my wife and all my kingdom to your care“ Even though Edward had been clear he wanted a Norman successor, in medieval law a king’s deathbed wish overrode all prior agreements. The Witan (a council consisting of 60 of England's most powerful nobles) offered the crown to Harold in preference to all other contenders – probably because he was Anglo-Saxon and capable of defending the realm (unlike the Aethling).

4 The Aetheling Claim Background to the Edgar the Aetheling Claim Edgar the Aethling's claim to the throne of England was based on a strong blood tie with the Anglo Saxon Kings of England – the House of Cerdic. He was the grandson of Edmund Ironside. He was a direct descendent of Alfred the Great - the most respected of all Anglo-Saxon Kings. Along with his father, Edward the Exile, Edgar had spent much of his life in Hungary. He and his father had been recalled to England by the King in Unfortunately Edgar’s father died shortly after arriving but Edward the Confessor took the boy and his sisters into his care. It is possible Edward was hoping to live long enough to appoint Edgar his heir. Edgar the Aetheling's claim to the English throne Edgar the Aetheling was the rightful heir to Edward the Confessor and should have been crowned King of England as he was the closest surviving male relative of the king but he was only ten years old when Edward the Confessor died. He did not have the wealth, power or strength of Harold Godwinson He did not have the support of the Witan (the English council which consisted of 60 of the most powerful nobles in England) who were well aware of the international situation. Edgar the Aetheling was not considered strong enough to hold the throne and defend the realm from the Normans and the Vikings He did not stand a chance against the might of Harold Godwinson


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