17th March 1040. Harold Harefoot.

The Danes ruled England for 26 years. After Harthacnut’s death the English throne reverted to the House of Wessex under Edward the Confessor (1042-66), whose successor Harold Godwinson was defeated at Hastings later in the year.

Coin of harold harefoot.

Coin of Harold Harefoot.

Today in 1040 the 3rd Danish king Harold Harefoot died at Oxford at about the age of 25. He had been King of England since 1037 and survived several attempts to unseat him.(1)

Harthacnut was a son of King Cnut, who had married Emma of Normandy in 1016, and both he and his half-brother Harefoot were heirs to the throne of the Danes and England.(2)

The North and the Danish Fleet in London favoured Harthacnut whilst Wessex favoured the younger Harold Harefoot, whose mother was English, and who in fact reigned first.

One of history’s ‘ifs’ is had Harefoot reigned longer and with a firm hand, his half-brother Harthacnut might never had returned from abroad, and Emma’s other son Edward the Confessor might never have come to England. No Edward: no Conquest, for hadn’t he promised William the Norman the throne?(3)




Harold was later buried at Westminster and with Harthacnut as king had his half-brother exhumed and despatched into the marshy Thames. Brotherly love!

However Harthacnut buried beside his father Cnut at Winchester, later had his bones disturbed along with those of Cnut, Emma and William Rufus when they were dug up and scattered by the Parliamentarians in 1642.

Harold Harefoot was later said to have been buried at St. Clement Danes in the Strand, London which in the 13thc was part of the Densemanestret (Danes’ Man’s Street).

If true some sort of restitution.

(1) First Danish King was Sweyn Forkbeard whose son Cnut fathered Kings Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut.

(2) King Cnut reigned 1016-35 to be succeeded by Harefoot.

(3) Emma had previously married Ethelred the Unready, whose issue was Edward the Confessor.

Ref: aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk./bad-way-to-die/Pic Image.

Ref: wikipedia.org/harold_harefoot.

Ref: Family tree, late medieval MS. BL Royal 14 BVI.

Ref: coinsweekly.com/Image.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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