Edward The Confessor was the last King of England from the House of Wessex. He ruled England for 24 years during the middle of 12th century.
He received his nickname “The Confessor” 100 years after his death after being canonized by Pope Alexander III. He remained the Patron Saint of England until 1350 C.E. when Saint George was made Patron Saint of England by King Edward III.
Edward The Confessor was born in Oxfordshire, England in 1003 C.E. His father was Ethlred who was King of England. His mom was Emma of Normandy who was King Ethlred’s second wife. After his mother married Canute the Great in 1017 C.E. he became the stepson of Canute the Great.
During his early childhood years, England was constantly under attack from Danish. The Danes were ruled by Canute and his father Sweyn Forkbeard. When he was ten years old the Danes successfully marched through England. His family fled England and took up residence in Normandy.
They returned to England in 1014 C.E. after the death of Sweyn Forkbeard. His father would rule England for a short time period. When Ethelred passed away in 1016 C.E. Edward The Confessor’s brother Edmund assumed the crown of England.
During the same year Canute the Great re-invaded England. King Edmund resisted along with Edward The Confessor but Canute the Great was appointed the King of England. After Edmund’s death, Edward The Confessor went into exile in Normandy for the next 25 years.
Even though his mother had married Canute the Great, Edward The Confessor was not invited back to England until 1041 C.E. when his half-brother Harthacanute was King of England. When Hartacanute died in 1042 C.E., Edward The Confessor assumed the role of King of England.
At first Edward The Confessor had problems with his three Earls while as King of England. Two of them favored the Danes and the other the House of Wessex. He immediately removed his mother’s titles blaming her for a poor childhood.
In 1050 C.E. Edward The Confessor marched on Wales and Scotland increasing his territories. He noticed during the invasion that Earl Godwin had become more powerful and hostile. In 1051 C.E. he exiled Earl Godwin and his family to Flanders.
Edward The Confessor had become friendly with his Norman advisors and this did not sit well with Earl Godwin. In 1052 C.E. Earl Godwin and his two sons, Harold and Tostig, marched on Edward The Confessor.
Unfortunately for him he could not put an army together and was forced to remove his Norman advisors. He was also forced to return all lands back to Earl Godwin. These actions made Edward The Confessor dependent on Earl Godwin for the remainder of his reign.
Edward The Confessor spent the remainder of his reign building Westminster Abbey in London until his death in 1066 C.E.
There were several problems of succession upon the death of Edward The Confessor. Historians suggest that he actually offered his crown to four different people including William the Conqueror and Harold Godwinson, the son of Earl Godwin.
At first Harold succeeded him a King of England. Then King Harold was killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. In the end William the Conqueror became King of England.
King Ethelred of England
Canute the Great
The Westminster Abbey