King Edward the Confessor of England 1003 – 1066

Edward the Confessor

Father – King Aethelred the Unready
Mother – Emma of Normandy
Spouse – Edith of Wessex
Children – No children

King of England – 1042 – 1066
Predecessor – Harthacnut – 1040 – 1042
Successor – Harold Godwinson – 1066

1003 (during)
King Edward the Confessor was born to King Aethelred the Unready and his second wife, Emma of Normandy.
1004 (during)
The Viking leader, Sweyn Forkbeard, destroyed the town of Norwich.
1005 (around)
Edward’s brother, Alfred, was born to King Aethelred and Emma of Normandy.
1005 (16th November)
Aelfric of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, died. He left his fleet of ships to the people of Kent. He left his best ship to King Aethelred.
1006 (around)
Edward’s sister, Godgifu, was born to Aethelred and Emma of Normandy.
1006 (during)
King Aethelred appointed Aelheah Archbishop of Canterbury.
1006 (July)
Sweyn Forkbeard and the Vikings returned and made a series of raids on Kent and Sussex.
1007 (during)
King Aethelred was unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat the Vikings and so was forced to make a Danegeld payment to keep the Vikings away. The sum demanded was £36,000 (12 kg of silver).
1008 (during)
Aethelred decided that he could not keep paying off the Danes and so decided to build a new fleet of ships.
1009 (during)
A group of Vikings led by Thorkell the Tall made a series of devastating raids on the coast. Aethelred was unable to defeat the Vikings using his new ships because his Captain, Wulfnoth had taken 20 boats on a piracy mission. Another Captain, Brihtric, who had tried to stop Wulfnoth had run several ships aground.
1010 (during)
The Danes invaded East Anglia. A battle was fought near Ipswich which left the Danes in control of the town.
1011 (during)
The Danish Vikings captured Canterbury and took Archbishop Aelheah prisoner.
1012 (19th April)
The Danish Vikings in Canterbury went on a drunken raid and murdered Archbishop Aelheah of Canterbury. The Viking leader, Thorkell the Tall, tried to stop the murder but was unsuccessful. He was so angry at his comrades that he defected and joined Aethelred’s forces.
1012 (April)
Aethelred made another Danegeld payment of £48,000 (17 kg of silver) to stop the destruction being caused by the Vikings.
1013 (during)
Lyfing was appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
1013 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and took Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. London alone held out against the Danes.
1013 (December)
Having conquered the majority of England, Sweyn Forkbeard proclaimed himself King of England. Edward, his father, mother, brother and sister fled to Normandy.
1014 (February)
Edward and his family returned to England after Sweyn Forkbeard died.
1016 (23rd April)
King Athelred died and Edward’s half-brother, Edmund Ironside became King.
1016 (18th October)
Battle of Assandun
 – Cnut, son of Sweyn Forkbeard, was victorious over the Anglo Saxons led by King Edmund. In order to maintain peace Edmund agreed to share control of England with Cnut.
1016 (30th November)
Edward’s half-brother, King Edmund II, died and Cnut became King of all England.
1016 (December)
Edward, his younger brother Alfred and their sister Godgifu were sent back to Normandy.
1017 (July)
Edward’s mother, Emma of Normandy, married King Cnut.
1018 (during)
Edward’s half-brother Harthacnut was born to Emma of Normandy and King Cnut.
1024 (around)
Edward’s sister, Godgifu, married Drogo of Mantes.
1030 (around)
Edward believed that he was the true King of England and that Cnut was a usurper. He spent time practising his swordmanship in readiness for the time when he could invade England and take the crown.
1034 (around)
Some sources state that Robert, Duke of Normandy, attempted to invade England in support of Edward’s claim to the English throne, but his force was blown off course.
1035 (12th November)
King Canute died and Edward’s half-brother, Harthacnut, was proclaimed King. However because he was absent in Denmark, Canute’s son Harold, by his first wife, was appointed regent.
1035 (late December)
Edward and his younger brother, Alfred, sailed to England after receiving an invitation to visit their mother. Edward landed at Southampton and Alfred landed in Kent. Alfred was met by Earl Godwin who blinded him and sent him to Ely where he later died. On hearing of his brother’s fate, Edward returned to Normandy. Emma claimed that the letter of invitation had been forged by Harold I.
1037 (during)
Edward’s half-brother, Harthacnut, had not returned to England to take the throne so Harold was crowned King Harold I.
1038 (during)
Edward’s mother, Emma was exiled from England by Harold I. She went to Bruges and met with her son, Harthacnut. Together they planned to invade England and remove Harold.
1040 (17th March)
Harold I died. Harthacnut was able to return to England and became King.
1041 (date unknown)
Harthacnut invited Edward to England where he was nominated as Harthacnut’s heir.
1042 (8th June)
King Harthacnut died and Edward became King. He is known to history as King Edward the Confessor because of his strong religious belief and because he ordered the construction of Westminster Abbey.
1043 (3rd April)
Edward was crowned King at Winchester Cathedral.
1043 (summer)
Edward created Sweyn Godwinson Earl of Hertfordshire. Sweyn was the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex, the most powerful nobleman in England.
1043 (November)
Edward was very critical of the lack of support his mother had given him. It is also thought that she had in her possession jewels that belonged to the crown. As a punishment Edward temporarily confiscated her property in Winchester.
1044 (23rd January)
Having spent very little of his life in England, Edward did not have much support among the nobility. He arranged a marriage with Edith of Wessex, daughter of Earl Godwin of Wessex.
1045 (23rd January)
Edward the Confessor married Edith of Wessex.
1045 (during)
Edward’s brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson was made Earl of East Anglia.
1046 (during)
Edward the Confessor banished Earl Godwin’s son, Sweyn, after he attempted to abduct Eadgifu the abess of Leominster.
1049 (during)
Edward allowed Sweyn Godwinson to return to England.
1051 (Summer)
Edward was visited by Eustace II Count of Boulogne and his retinue who became involved in a drunken fight in Dover and several Normans were killed. Edward ordered Earl Godwin to punish the townspeople of Dover but Godwin refused and raised an army against the King. Civil war was avoided when the Witan stepped in and banished Godwin and his family.
1051 (Autumn)
William Duke of Normandy paid a visit to England where he visited Edward the Confessor. It is likely that William was seeking approval for his marriage to Matilda of Flanders which had been banned by the Pope. He later claimed that during this visit Edward promised him the English crown.
1052 (during)
Earl Godwin and his sons returned at the head of an army. Edward was unable to raise sufficient forces to challenge the Godwin family and so had to negotiate a truce. It was agreed that Godwin and his sons could return and their lands would be restored and Edward would drastically reduce the number of Norman advisors.
1052 (during)
Edward devoted much of his time to the rebuilding of St Peter’s Abbey. The new building was to be called the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster but would be known as Westminster Abbey.
1053 (15th April)
Earl Godwin of Wessex died. His son Harold Godwinson succeeded him.
1054 (during)
King Edward the Confessor learned that Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, was still alive and living on the continent. He sent Ealdred, Bishop of Worcester to effect his return to England.
1056 (during)
King Edward the Confessor of England sent Harold Godwinson Earl of Wessex, to try to put pressure on Edward the Exile and his family to return England. It is almost certain that King Edward wanted to make Edward his heir.
1057 (late)
Edward the Exile returned to England with his wife Agatha, son Edgar Aetheling, and daughters Margaret and Cristina.
1057 (19th April)
Edward the Exile died. There are no records of his being in poor health and it is likely that he was murdered. He was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.
1065 (28th December)
Westminster Abbey was consecrated.
1066 (4th January)
King Edward died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. He was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson as Harold II


Published Jul 19, 2013 @ 3:28 pm – Updated – Mar 15, 2020 @ 11:26 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2013 – 2020). King Edward the Confessor of England 1003 – 1066. Available: Last accessed [date]