Claimants to the English Throne in 1066

William the Conqueror was NOT the only Claimant to the English Throne in 1066..

  1. Harold Godwinson became King of England on the death of Edward the Confessor on 6 January 1066.
    Harold was supposedly named heir by Edward the Confessor, and officially elected King by the Witenagemot. (The Witenagemot was composed of the nation’s highest echelon of both ecclesiastical and secular officers)
  2. Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, also laid a claim to the English throne, as the rightful ruler of England due to an agreement between his father, King Magnus I of Norway, and Hardicanute (son of King Canute of England and Emma of Normandy). Hardicanute was the King of England between 17th March 1040 and 8th June 1042. (King Canute was the King of England between 1016 and 1035).
  3. William of Normandy was another claimant to the English throne as a First cousin once removed of Edward the Confessor (King of England 8 June 1042 to 5 January 1066), and supposedly named heir in 1052 by Edward the Confessor.

Harold Godwinson’s Brother Tostig.

Tostig Godwinson (Born: 1026 Died: 25 September 1066) was the the Earl of Northumbria and brother of King Harold Godwinson.
Tostig was exiled by his brother in 1065, for ‘unlawful actions done under his Earlship‘, and sought the support of William of Normandy (soon to be William the Conqueror) to assist him in his fight against Harold, but William, although promising to help, was not acting as fast as Tostig would like.
Tostig then went to Norway and enlisted the help of Hardrada, the King of Norway, in a joint attack on England.

The Norwegian Claim and Invasion of England in 1066.

Hardrada, King of Norway, invaded England with an invasion fleet of approximately 300 ships and somewhere in the region of 12,000 and 18,000 men, arriving on the 18th September 1066.

They proceeded to defeated an English army at Fulford, in the North of England and then marched on York.
On the 25th September 1066, Harold Godwinson, arriving quickly from London, defeated Harald Hardrada’s Norwegian army, and Harald Hardrada, along with Harold’s brother Tostig, were killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

The Norman  Claim and Invasion of England in 1066.

On the 28th September 1066, William of Normandy landed on the south coast of England, while Harold had begun marching south from the Battle of Stamford Bridge, a distance of 270 miles (435 kilometres) between the two battle sites.  Leaving the majority of his tired army to march South, Harold and his mounted troops rode fast for London raising a fresh army to face William.
On the 14th October 1066, William of Normandy defeated this new, mainly untested, English army at the now famous Battle of Hastings and Harold was killed.

On the 25th December 1066, William of Normandy was crowned king of England, and about 4,000 English earls were dispossessed and replaced by about 200 Norman and compliant English barons.


  • 5 January 1066: King Edward (Edward the Confessor),  King of England, died.
  • 6 January 1066: Harold Godwinson was crowned Harold II, King of England
  • 20th September 1066: The Battle of Fulford. The King of Norway beat the English Army commanded by the Northern Earls Edwin and Morcar.
  • 25th September 1066: The Battle of Stamford Bridge. The English Army, commanded by King Harold, beat the King of Norway and his army.
  • 14 October 1066: The Battle of Hastings. William of Normandy beat the English Army, commanded by King Harold.
  • 25th December 1066: William of Normandy was crowned king of England.

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