The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


Eadgyth (c. 1022-75), queen of *Edward the Confessor. Eadgyth was the eldest daughter of Earl *Godwine, the most powerful nobleman of his day, and sister of *Harold II. She married Edward in 1045 soon after his succession. There were rumours that the marriage was never consummated and certainly there were no children. She was disgraced with her family in 1051 but restored the following year. Eadgyth seems to have favoured her brother *Tostig against Harold and, after his death at *Stamford Bridge, transferred her support to William of Normandy. She spent the rest of her life in retirement at Winchester, which she held as part of her marriage settlement.


Eadgyth, known as 'Swanneshals' ('Swan-neck'). Mistress of Harold II, Eadgyth probably bore all his children except his posthumous, legitimate son. After Harold was slain, she was given the task of finding his body and delivering it to William the Conqueror for burial. Eadgyth was the likely benefactress of St Benet's abbey, granted Thurgarten in her native Norfolk.


Eadwig (d. 959), king of England ( 955-9). The elder son of King *Edmund, Eadwig succeeded at the age of about 15 on the death of his uncle *Edred. A desire to move away from those who had been influential in the reigns of his father and uncle may explain the confiscation of his grandmother's property, the exile of Abbot *Dunstan, and the retirement to a monastery of senior ealdorman Æthelstan 'Half-King', all in 956. Rivalry at court may also explain opposition to his marriage to Ælfgifu, his third cousin once removed, and their separation in 958 on the grounds of consanguinity. The succession in 957 of his younger brother as king of the Mercians and Northumbrians has been interpreted as revolt against Eadwig's rule, but contemporary sources suggest it was a peaceful, planned event with *Edgar recognizing Eadwig's overriding authority. Ælfgifu's brother Æthelweard in his Chronicon says Eadwig was known as 'All-Fair' and that he 'deserved to be loved'.


Ealdgyth, wife of Harold II. She was daughter of the Mercian earl Ælfgar, an1d previously married to the Welsh king *Gruffydd, defeated by Harold in 1063, slain by his own men. Harold probably married her to ensure the allegiance of her brothers, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria. Ealdgyth bore him a son after his death.


ealdorman in early usage could indicate a patriarch, prince, or ruler. This should nuance the impact of the term in the laws of King *Ine, c. 700, where the ealdorman appears as a functionary, in charge of a scir (shire) and subject to dismissal. In another context such men would probably appear as subreguli (under-kings). The shires concerned may already have been the historic shires of Wessex, which the * Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's account of the *Vikings showed to have been in existence by the 9th cent., the forces of each led by an ealdorman. A grander usage of the term is its application to King *Alfred's son-in-law, *Æthelred, ealdorman of the Mercians. He was almost a king. In the 10th cent. shire ealdormen disappear. The term is then applied to such great men as Athelstan 'half-king', ealdorman of much of eastern England. From the early 11th cent. the Scandinavian term *'earl' is used for such potentates. But the general sense of 'ealdorman' as indicative of authority gave the term lasting life, in particular in towns.


Ealdred (d. 1069) was a political churchman. Starting as a monk at Winchester, he became successively abbot of Tavistock, bishop of Worcester, and, finally, in 1060 archbishop of York. As bishop of Worcester he took an active role in resisting Welsh encroachments. *Edward the Confessor used him on diplomatic missions to Rome and to the emperor, and in 1058 he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. His wish to hold the bishopric of Worcester in commendam with the archbishopric of York led to difficulties with the papacy. Ealdred was an active church-builder and tried to improve clerical discipline. He may have crowned *Harold Godwineson and certainly crowned William the Conqueror. He died at York in September 1069 just before the city was burned and devastated by a large Danish raid.


Eardwulf (d. c. 810), king of Northumbria ( 796-c.810). Before his accession Eardwulf was an *ealdorman and it is not known whether he was of royal descent. He became king at a particularly disturbed period in Northumbrian politics and within four years of his accession had defeated an attempted coup and had two rivals murdered. He attacked *Cenwulf of Mercia in 801 for harbouring his enemies. In 806 or 808 he was forced into exile, but soon returned with help provided by the Frankish king Charles the Great; however, not long afterwards he was succeeded by his son Eanred. Subsequently Eardwulf was venerated as St Hardulf and his remains housed at the Mercian monastery of Breedon-


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 1044

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.