The Normangevin Dynasty: A Story of Kings and Queens

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Bobby Barrows

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Normangevin.PNG


In all the annals of European History, there is no more extraordinary family than that of the Normangevin Dynasty; this breed of Normans would go on to monumentally redirect the history of Europe in the 11th Century CE, beginning with the conquest of England from the Anglo-Saxons. Furthermore, in the 12th and 13th Centuries, they would grow to become significant rivals with the Kingdom of France. A series of wars during that time would have long-reaching consequences not just for the British Isles, but Continental Europe as well. The name Normangevin originates from the two holdings of Normandy and Anjou. Normandy, and by extension, the Normans, are named so from their origins from the Norse raiders of Scandinavia. "Normandy", in Old French, means "Land of the Northman"; these lands were plotted and gifted to the Norse adventurer Rollo by the Frankish king Charles the Simple in 911, in exchange for a cessation to Rollo's sieges, his oath of fealty, and a conversion from the Pagan Norse religion to Christianity.

We shall now go through the history of the Normangevin Dynasty, beginning with the conquest of England in the year 1066. Thanks in large part to contemporary records, archaeological details, and censuses taken, we will now retell the story of this grand and glorious dynasty. Documents will be translated roughly from their original languages, Old Norman, Anglo-Saxon, and Middle English. From King Richard I "One Eye" of England, to modern times, we welcome you into history in the making...


The Normangevin Dynasty
A Story of Kings and Queens


Europe 1066.PNG

(Western Europe, 1066 C.E.)
 

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Man, who knew the Vikings will get to see/experience Brexit
Well, actually.

Charles III (the current King of England) is fully descended from Rollo of Normandy, though not through male-line descent. So yes; the Vikings eventually experienced Brexit in a roundabout way.
 

Alexa

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Well, actually.

Charles III (the current King of England) is fully descended from Rollo of Normandy, though not through male-line descent. So yes; the Vikings eventually experienced Brexit in a roundabout way.
...are you related to the great house of Buzzkillingtons?
 

Bobby Barrows

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PARTIE I
Richard I "One Eye", Before England (1038-1066)

Chapter I
An Affair of Norman Proportions


The man, known to history as King Richard I "One Eye" of England, was born on 18 July 1038, in what is today the city of Angers, France. Richard was the illegitimate child of
Robert I The Magnificent, Duke of Normandy, and Ermengarde Ingelger, Countess of Anjou. The famous tale describes a clandestine meeting between the two as children, and a promise to marry one another when they came of age, but political machinations kept them from fulfilling their promises, and an extramarital affair between the two led to Richard's birth. The truth of the matter is perhaps a little more mundane. Duke Robert was a full 18 years older than Ermengarde, and the two hadn't met before 1036 when Ermengarde came of age at 16. It is believed that 1036 is the latest date from which both could have met for the first time, as Henry I, King of the Franks, held special ceremonies during that timeframe, inviting all subjects and vassals to his tournaments and banquets.

Robert of Normandy was the direct descendent of
Rollo of Normandy, the Viking invader that was settled on the Northern shores of France in the Mid-10th Century. Ermengarde, on the other hand, was the daughter of Fulk III "The Black", the Count of Anjou from 987 until he died in 1040, from which his county was handed down to his only surviving daughter. It would have been given to Ermengarde's brother Geoffrey, had he not died tragically in 1034 of an undisclosed illness, possibly Tuberculosis. Ermengarde herself was first betrothed to Geoffrey II, Count of Gâtinais in 1035, and they married the next year.

Not much is known about Robert's marriage, on the other hand. It is understood that he was married before his late 20s, but never bore any children. It is believed that Robert never consummated his marriage for various reasons. It is known however that Robert was a loyal subject of King Henry, sheltering him from his mother and younger brother (also known as
Robert I "The Old", Duke of Burgundy) in 1030 until a compromise could be worked out between the family. For his loyalty, Robert was granted more land in Northern France, primarily the county of Vexin. It is not known when exactly Robert and Ermengarde eloped in a lascivious affair, but when it became apparent that Ermengarde was pregnant, the scandal was exposed.

Ermengarde soon after divorced her husband, Geoffrey, and Robert would be granted an annulment for his, and the two married in late 1038, months after Richard was born. Not much is known exactly about Richard's childhood. It is understood that he was given a normal education in line with noble families of the era but found a special interest in warfare and military tactics. Richard was also legitimized by both Robert and Ermengarde after his 10th birthday in 1048. Sadly, Robert would die of a disease in 1050, leaving the 12-year-old Richard in a dangerous position. A minor in a position of power in the Medieval world always laid the groundwork for dangerous possibilities, as there would be many competing factions vying for dominance and influence over the young man.


Chapter 2
The One-Eyed Duke


Richard de Normangevin.PNG

(Portrait of Richard I "One-Eye" de Normangevin c. 1059)

Perhaps the most influential of those who would look over the young Duke was Richard, Count of Evreux. For this documentary, we shall refer to this Richard as Richard of Evreux. Richard of Evreux was already in his mid-60s and had served Duke Robert faithfully for many years by this point. He would exert the most influence of anyone on young Richard, and it was in large part thanks to his guidance, that young Richard was able to survive to adulthood and exert his power over his duchy of Normandy. Indeed, Richard of Evreux was highly trusted by young Richard; and it is no small wonder as Count Richard of Evreux was already the most powerful vassal of Robert, and that continued well into Richard's reign. Richard of Evreux would receive several titles later on in Richard's reign, most notably the title of "Ducal Regent" during matters from where Richard would be absent from his realm.

Additionally, as the primary heir of the County of Anjou, he inherited the title from his mother in 1055, following the death of his mother Countess Ermengarde. In 1056, Richard finally arrived in Vermandois and paid homage to King Henry I of France. With that, he was finally in control of his realm, free from the shackles of regency. At age 18, Richard "One Eye" was now able to do as he pleased.

Richard himself was known to be a gregarious man, holding many social events during his early reign in the 1050s; he was of average height but carried an imposing physique, with a strong, clear voice, and long brown hair that went down to his shoulders. He also was possessed of a pronounced jaw, and piercing blue eyes that were said to hold the fury of an army of angels. Perhaps the most important thing about Richard was his ambition; he knew an opportunity when he saw it, and wasn't afraid to take risks if he felt the positives outweighed the potential negatives. Of course, Richard was not without controversy, as many of his detractors would bring attention to his many faults as a person.

Richard carried with him an inflammatory temper, flaring up at any perceived slights; one episode was so bad, as the story goes, that he threw his shoes into a river and declared to a local cobbler that "Vous allez vous pendre par vos chaussures et vous noyer, par Dieu! [You will hang by your shoes and drown, by God!]" after the cobbler refused to help the young Duke when an argument ensued over Richard's payment to the cobbler. Richard's anger issues are likely what led to his alcoholism throughout his life. Additionally, later chroniclers have found implicit evidence of Richard having unorthodox tastes regarding sexuality. Among some of the epithets he was given by contemporaries was the nickname "Le Méchant Lubrique", which, translated into English, means "The Lustful Villain". Indeed, Richard made no secret that he enjoyed the company of a fine lady, but he never committed adultery, as far as we know, after becoming King of England in 1066.

Richard's epithet of "One Eye" occurred after a disease, hypothesized to be extremely early-onset macular degeneration, took away eyesight in his left eye; after being forced to wear an eyepatch afterward, it was believed one of Richard's childhood friends, Guilles de Bullion, jokingly called him "Richard Borgne". Borgne, of course, is French for "One-Eyed"; and thus the name stuck. For his Franco-Norman subjects, he was commonly called Richard Borgne; later on, during his reign as King of England, he would be known to the Anglo-Saxons as "Richard An Ēagan".


Chapter 3
The Other Kings of England


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(Extent of Cnut the Great's Realm, 1028-1035)

Richard's claim to the English throne is a long and complicated tale; it originates from the crises of the early 1010s until the ascension of
Edward the Confessor in 1042. Æthelred II the Unready, the King of England in 1013, fled to Normandy after the invasion of Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark and Norway. Æthelred himself was married to Emma of Normandy(his second wife at the time), the sister of Richard's paternal grandfather Richard II "The Good", Duke of Normandy. In quick succession, Æthelred would take back the Kingdom from Sweyn, but died three years later in 1016; Edmund Ironside, Æthelred's eldest surviving son, inherited the English throne but died over seven months later after being defeated by Sweyn Forkbeard's son, Cnut The Great. Cnut reigned as King of England, Denmark, and Norway for the better part of 19 years. When Cnut died in 1035, Harold Harefoot inherited the English throne but died five years later in 1040. Harold's brother Harthacnut, King of Denmark, then took the English throne. However, when Harthacnut suddenly died in 1042, Æthelred The Unready's surviving son, and Harthacnut's Half-Brother (by Emma of Normandy's marriage to Cnut the Great) Edward the Confessor finally became the true King of England.

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(St. Edward The Confessor, King of England 1042-1066)

However, during Edward the Confessor's exile from England, he primarily sheltered in Normandy, where he was very well acquainted with Robert I of Normandy. Both were First Cousins between one another, and they had struck up a long friendship that would last them the rest of Robert's life. In 1035, there was an attempt to restore the House of Wessex (Edward the Confessor's royal family) to the throne. Edward and Alfred Ætheling landed in Sussex with a small group of Norman bodyguards but were betrayed by a powerful Earl of the realm, Godwin, Earl of Wessex. Alfred Ætheling, Edward's brother, was captured and subsequently blinded by Godwin; he died sometime later of his grievous injuries. The story goes that Godwin blinded Alfred with red-hot pokers; a particularly gruesome way to die. Edward himself never forgave Godwin for this indignity, and King Harthacnut himself later prosecuted Godwin for the crime against his half-brother. Both Edward and Harthacnut considered Godwin guilty of the crime, but unsurprisingly, Godwin remained a powerful Earl for the rest of his life, despite facing exile twice throughout his tenure.

Alas, during the reign of Edward the Confessor, the Godwin family became much stronger, as Edward capitulated to them and gave them many powerful and influential titles throughout the Kingdom's realm. The matter of succession was heavily disputed throughout Edward's reign, however. Edward the Confessor never had children with his wife
Edith Godwinson of Wessex (the daughter of Godwin of Wessex), either out of a sense of piety, or some other reason. During his exile in Normandy however, it is believed that Edward had promised his cousin Duke Robert of Normandy that he would inherit the English throne. When Robert died in 1050, Edward instead looked to Richard and offered him the right of succession in 1051. It is asserted that Edward did promise the throne to Richard Borgne; this was further solidified by a meeting between Richard and Edward's most powerful vassal: Harold Godwinson. In 1062, 12 years into Richard's tenure as the Duke of Normandy, Harold Godwinson shipwrecked at Pontheiu, whereby Richard offered to shelter Harold until he could safely return. The reason for Harold's journey is dubious and uncertain even to most modern historians. Norman chroniclers however agree with Richard's story that Harold came to affirm Edward's "promise" to Richard for the throne of England.

Chapter 4
A Betrayal, and Call to War


Of course, there would have been no real way for Edward the Confessor to promise the throne of England to Richard in such a fashion. The truth of the matter is that the power to affirm a successor and new king was the King's council, the Witenagemot; without their affirmation, no man could truly be proclaimed king. Nevertheless, Richard took these two incidents and ran with them, staking his rightful claim to the throne of England. However, Richard wasn't just the only contender for the throne of England...

In 1066, Edward the Confessor became sickly and would eventually die on 5 January 1066. One of the most controversial and consequential events that would happen then would be Harold Godwinson's claim that, with his dying breaths, Edward declared that England should go to Harold, and not Richard Borgne of Normandy. On the same day of Edward's funeral, Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England on 6 January 1066. It was an affront to everything that had been established years beforehand in the eyes of Richard Borgne. After all, twice he had been affirmed by Edward the Confessor as the true heir apparent to the English throne. Harold had even sworn "on holy relics" to Richard's claim in 1062! This was tantamount to treason, and when Richard heard of this betrayal, he declared, "Je serai roi d'Angleterre, et Harold sera pendu par le cou, au nom de Dieu! [I will be king of England, and Harold will be hanged by the neck, in the name of God!]".

Before Richard could press his claim through warfare, he first had to attain support for his claim. Richard acquired consent from
Pope Alexander II to invade England in mid-1066. According to the chronicler William of Poitiers, Richard then attained support for his claim from the King of Germany, Italy, & Burgundy, Henry IV, the future Holy Roman Emperor, and another pretender to the English throne, Danish King Sweyn II. Sweyn II was the grandson of Sweyn Forkbeard, and by right, had a legitimate familial claim to the English crown. However, it should be noted that conflicting reports of Sweyn's support for Richard did exist, as Sweyn's support was perhaps given to another pretender...

The
King of Norway, Harald Hardrada, claimed a right to the English throne citing the recent Anglo-Danish wars for the crown. Hardrada originally vied for Sweyn II's crown of Denmark, but a compromise was made between the two, and Harald instead turned his attention to England. Hardrada had a largely fulfilling life, have been a member of the Byzantine Empire's Varangian Guard; Harald Hardrada battled all across the Eastern Mediterranean. Asia Minor, Sicily, the Levant, Bulgaria, and Constantinople itself, he was by far the most experienced military commander of all contenders for the Kingdom of England. Additionally, Harold Godwinson's brother, Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria, formally swore allegiance to Harald, and would become Hardrada's partner in his military campaign for the English throne.

With this, the scene was set. The history of Europe would change from this moment onwards, and a great battle for the future of England would commence. In September of 1066, Harold Godwinson's English army, Harald Hardrada's Norwegian army, and Richard "Borgne" de Normangevin's Norman army would clash with one another for the English throne. This would come to be known to history, as the "Anglo-Danish-Norman War".
 
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PARTIE II
Richard I "One-Eye" and The Anglo-Danish-Norman War (1066-1068)

battle-hastings-warrior.jpg

CHAPTER I
Harald's Landing


War has come to England; two factions have claimed rightful ascent to the throne of England. After Harold Godwinson's coronation as King of England in February of 1066 following Edward the Confessor's death, it was clear that this transition would not come peaceably. The King of Norway, Harald III "Hardrada" Sigurdsson, and the Duke of Normandy, Richard Borgne de Normangevin, both had legitimate claims to Harold's kingdom; it would only be a matter of time before they invaded. In September of 1066, the invasions would arrive, and with it, the most consequential series of events in English history would proceed.

Harald Hardrada would be the first to arrive on English soil, leaving Norway with his great Viking army on the 1st of September. Tostig Godwinson, exiled by his brother Harold months earlier, had begun preliminary raids up and down the coast of Eastern England during the summer; the two men's armies would meet at the shores of what today is known as The Bay Beach. Harald and Tostig's army stood at approximately 15,000 men (this number is believed to include 10,500 Norwegians, 3,000 Anglo-Saxon rebels, and 1,500 Scottish volunteers). According to Anglo-Saxon contemporary writers, Harald and Tostig's army moved quickly, burning the entire city of Scarborough to the ground, and moved towards York shortly after.

Harold Godwinson would not meet the Viking army head-on until the 2nd of October after Harald's army had already secured York. The official reason was Harold had been expecting Richard Borgne to land on English soil first; Harold's army had been stationed in Kent while Harald ravaged Northern England. When Harold heard the news of Harald's landing and subsequent capture of York, he moved his army of 17,000 men (a large army for the time) North at once. The two armies would meet in a marshy bog in what is today known as Skipwith Common.

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(Artist's Depiction of The Battle of Horsscoh Lacu)

This encounter between the two armies would become known locally (in Anglo-Saxon) as the Gefeoht æt Horsscoh Lacu; in Modern English, it is known as the Battle of Horseshoe Pond. While the Vikings formed a shield wall against the English footmen, Harold's cavalry would be critical in the battle. In the end, though, the fight ended in a stalemate; Harold's army Suffered high losses during the skirmish, as his aggressive tactics would prove to be a failure. Harold's army would lose almost a third of its effective fighting force; that being said, Harold's cavalry inflicted key losses on Harald Hardrada's army, and Harald would lose 4,000 of his men. Harold would be forced to retreat into the Mercian countryside. Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson would not move to intercept Harold's retreating army, instead opting to consolidate power in Northern England by capturing Northumbria in late October. Harald's army would winter in York and wait for Spring before committing to more action.
Chapter II
The Kentish Campaign


landing_of_william_the_conqueror_at_hastings-Charles-Dixon.jpg

(Artist's Depiction of Richard's Landing at Pevensey)

A few days following Harold Godwinson's move towards the Viking armies, Richard Borgne's army would land at Pevensey on the 25th of September. Thanks to financial aid from his liege-lord Philip I of the Franks, Pope Alexander II, and the German King Henry IV, Richard assembled a great Norman army of approximately 12,000 men. His army would be a mixture of footmen and cavalry, similar to the makeup of the English army. Upon Richard's landing in Pevensey, he quickly set up a base of operations in the nearby town. He intended to capture Southern England and set up a sea route to reinforce his army over the winter.

Immediately, Richard's army would move and capture the city of Lewes in Sussex, where several minor members of the Godwin clan were housed. With little resistance, his army plundered the city, taking goods, grain, and supplies needed to feed them for the winter (alongside the supply route established at Pevensey). Richard was a man of his word, and upon capturing some of these minor members, he would see to it that they were summarily executed; to him, all members of the House of Godwin were traitors, and their audacity of claiming England for themselves required retribution by his hand. Following the capture of Lewes in late September, his army would move towards the county of Kent and the extremely powerful Archbishop of Canterbury. Richard planned to use the official Papal Dispensation granted unto him by Alexander II to force the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Stigand, to accept his claim on the throne of England.

Richard's attempt to capture York would be delayed slightly due in part to Harold Godwinson's brother,
Leofwine Godwinson, Duke of Kent. Though most of England's military was camped with Harold Godwinson, Leofwine raised an emergency defense force of approximately 2500 men; Leofwine planned to stall Richard and drive him back to Lewes. The two armies would encounter one another just outside Hæestingas, known today as Hastings. Leofwine's forces were camped on higher ground and forced Richard to engage his army with them. The Battle of Hastings highlighted Leofwine's remarkable bravery in the face of overwhelming odds; his men were eventually defeated over a few hours due to a strategy that Richard had developed while preparing for his invasion.

Richard's infantry would perform several phases of attacking and retreating, attempting to goad the Anglo-Saxons into charging, giving the Norman cavalry a chance to inflict many casualties. Leofwine tried to keep his men from falling for this trap, keeping them still like a stone wall; in the end, the whittling numbers of Leofwine's army left him surrounded by the Normans, and seeing no alternative, Leofwine attempted to escape before this encirclement snapped shut. Leofwine's horse was killed in the escape, and Leofwine himself was captured.


M-Spr21-Hastings-1.jpg


Upon the arrest of Leofwine Godwinson, his army surrendered to Richard Borgne. Borgne allowed the Anglo-Saxons to stand down or join his numbers. While some returned to their farms, others proclaimed their support of the Normans and joined Richard's numbers eagerly. Within days, the Normans marched into the city of Canterbury. Richard Borgne came before Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and upon presenting his case (as well as Pope Alexander II's support for his cause), Stigand proclaimed Richard the true King of England. Later historians believe that Stigand was hesitant to support Richard; it is rumored that Richard had either intimidated Stigand or bought him out with an outrageous bribe. Finally, Leofwine Godwinson, the Duke of Kent, was hanged on the 25th of October, 1066.

Richard's message to the people of England was simple. With the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury's support, he was the rightful King of England; the Godwins were, in the Anglo-Saxon language: "Lǣwan æt Angelþeod". Richard Borgne, in his Franco-Norman language, referred to them as "Traîtres d'Angleterre"... "Traitors of England". His army would winter in Canterbury, and Richard would attempt to build up support from the local populace in the meantime. Richard's entire campaign was built around the propaganda that Richard was coming to "free the English from the tyranny of the Godwins." Of course, most historians recognize the hypocrisy and contradictory nature of Richard's claims, having murdered several Godwins without trial, and plundering the city of Lewes for his own ends.
Chapter III
Harald vs. Richard


During the winter of 1066-67, Richard Borgne sent a letter back to his regent, Count Richard of Evreux, asking for more men to be called to service for the next spring. Additionally, Richard would also send several dispatches to many of the Norman nobles that resided in England, calling for their support of his claim. A major revolt would result from this in East Anglia, and heralds would arrive at Richard's camp proclaiming that the nobles of East Anglia would support his efforts, having killed Harold Godwinson's brother Gyrth in battle outside of Norfolk in March of 1067.

During the winter, Harold Godwinson, facing major occupations of his land from both the South and the North, wintered in western Mercia, particularly in the county of Oxfordshire. After hearing the news of both East Anglia's fall, and the death of his beloved brother, Harold reportedly wept. He is reported to have uttered, "Be God, Lundenwic willa be gefinges! [By God, London will be captured!]" It was understood that with East Anglia falling, and with London but a few days from Richard's army in Canterbury, Harold would not be able to defend it.

As soon as April came, Richard prepared his army and marched on London. With little resistance, he took control of the surrounding areas of Essex. By chance, the great council that had declared Harold Godwinson, the Witenagemot, was convened in the city; Richard, feeling his oats, had the entire council publicly put to death. He then declared to the people of London that, "God dómes þás firas swá lǣwum! [God judges these men as traitors!]" Richard, wise beyond his years, was fluent in many languages: his native Franco-Norman, Greek, Latin, Norse, and even Anglo-Saxon. He used this fluency to his advantage; he would whip up crowds with stirring speeches and was able to move some of his most cynical critics with his rhetoric.

With the death of the Witan, all that was left was Harold Godwinson to defeat, and it all would seem to fall into place for Richard Borgne. By late May, Richard's would occupy the Isle of Wight and the lands of Cornwall. All of Southern England had been captured by Richard Borgne's army. Seeing Harold Godwinson as the lesser threat, Richard moved his army North, towards the Vikings.

Harald Hardrada's Vikings, by comparison, had conquered the entirety of Northern England, from what is today known as Lincolnshire, to the lands Lancashire. The Normans and Vikings met on the battlefield for the first time in the Battle of York on the 15th of July, 1067. Richard would face his first major loss of the war, seeing his army of 11,000 men brutalized by 10,000 Vikings. The hit and run tactics with his Cavalry that worked against the Anglo-Saxons seemed to be useless against the extremely well-trained Scandinavians. On the final charge by the Normans, the Scandinavians instead surged forward down the hill that they had planted themselves upon, and routed Richard's army utterly. 4,500 Normans died in the battle, while 2,000 Vikings died instead.

Feeling confident in his army's effectiveness, Harald Hardrada chased the retreating Normans towards the city of Leeds. What Harald hadn't realized though, was that Richard Borgne was preparing his trap upon the Vikings. In the Battle of Leeds a few days after the Battle of York, Richard's infantry placed themselves on high ground and formed a shield wall. It was Harald's turn to be on the offense, rather than defense. For several hours, the Vikings tried to break through the Norman wall, but were unable. Yet Richard and his cavalry were suspiciously missing. Suddenly, from behind the Viking army came the entirety of Richard's 1,500 cavalrymen, with the Duke of Normandy at the head. The trap succeeded, and the Vikings were caught completely off guard.

DsUbzcUWwAAHOMy.jpg

(Richard's Charge, July 1067)

The Vikings were slaughtered en masse in the ensuing chaos, as the Norman infantry charged from the hill, and the Cavalry from behind. Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson only managed to escape with a few thousand men by nightfall back to York. Richard had, through brilliant tactics, defeated an army larger than his own. It was a miraculous victory, but one short-lived; news arrived to Richard Borgne: Harold Godwinson was sieging London. This Anglo-Saxon King refused to die quietly.​
Chapter IV
Harold's Last Stand


Following Richard's move North to face off against the Vikings, Harold, who's army had begun to dwindle from desertion or starvation, marched South towards Winchester, which had been captured by the Normans a month later. Harold required the aid of Welsh mercenaries and some Anglo-Saxon loyalists from conquered territory. Harold first arrived in Winchester in June, the royal seat of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Richard Borgne had diplomatically managed to bring the city to his side, but Harold would raise several loyal levies to his army, swelling his numbers to approximately 6,000 men.

Harold's army would then slowly wean their away across the Southern countryside, being careful not to engage any forces loyal to Richard. A few skirmishes in the Sussex locale did break out, but Harold handled these insurrectionists with ease before marching on London by late July. Seeing the city surrounded by fortifications, Harold's army would attempt to take back the city, and bring back some legitimacy to his reign. What Godwinson hadn't realized was that the Normans were coming from two directions. Richard's main forces had fought against the Vikings to mixed results, and had immediately begun marching back to face the Anglo-Saxons. Additionally, Southward in Pevensey, 1,000 more Norman levies had arrived with
William, the new Count of Evreux, arriving at the head of this smaller army. William became the Count of Evreux following the passing of Richard of Evreux a month before. William Evreux and Richard Borgne were close friends with one another; William had initially landed with the main Norman army, but returned to Normandy to train the new levies.

On the 20th of September 1067, Harold's army encountered Richard's combined army of 8,000 men, including 1,200 Cavalrymen. This encounter would come to be known as the Battle of London. Scant reports by contemporaries actually detail the events of the battle itself. What is known is that Harold's army broke either immediately, or after several hours of hit-and-run from the Norman cavalry. Nevertheless, Richard Borgne had captured Harold Godwinson. It is believed that the first words that Harold Godwinson told Richard upon his capture was, "Swá God āġeaf mec... [So God has abandoned me...]" Richard Borgne was unmoved by Harold's pleas for clemency, and he was instead brought in chains into the city of London.

Unlike his relatives, Harold Godwinson was given a formal trial overseen by Richard himself; the result was a forgone conclusion. Harold was found guilty of treason and attempting to usurp the throne of England from the rightful heir: Richard Borgne. On the 10th of October, 1067, Harold Godwinson was publicly executed on the orders of Richard Borgne. For the winter, Richard's army would stay in Southern England, rather than attempting to drive the Vikings out quite yet.
Chapter 5
The Last Act


With Harold Godwinson dead, it would have appeared that Richard Borgne and his Norman army had one enemy left: Harald Hardrada. But unfortunately, not all things are so simple. In the lands unconquered by neither Harald or Richard, a new claimant rose up; one that perhaps had a more legitimate claim than either man: Edgar Etheling. Edgar was the grandson of Edmund Ironside, and the great-grandson of Ethelred the Unready. The young 15-year old boy claimed his right to the throne, calling for all Anglo-Saxons to rise up in defense of the true King of England, which referred to himself. An army began to mount in the Spring of 1068. Richard rushed his army in March, before the snows had melted and the warm winds had risen up. His arrival in Western Mercia took Edgar completely by surprise, and without a proper army to fight against the Normans, Edgar negotiated a surrender to Richard. Edgar's uprising lasted less than four months, and in the aftermath, Edgar recognized Richard as the King of England in exchange for some land in Mercia and a barony in Oxford. Edgar would no longer pose a threat to the Normans for the rest of his life.

With Richard's army now active thanks to Edgar's uprising, he marched his army North towards Harald Hardrada's armies, and additionally took all levies that Edgar had initially called. Richard then called out to all corners of his conquered lands, calling for new levies to come to his aid to drive the Vikings out once and for all. Harald Hardrada had for the most part stood pat for the Winter, making no major movements; after all, he had the numerical advantage after resupplying his army from Norway: 10,000 Viking infantrymen stood at the ready. Richard on the other hand had a mere 7,000 men following his engagements with Harold and Edgar Etheling. What Harald hadn't expected was a surprise campaign in early-Spring.

Harald's army, which was wintered near the River Derwent, did not receive news of the Norman army's arrival until they were within sight. The two armies met at what it today Stamford Bridge, and it was there where the decisive battle would commence on the 3rd of April, 1068; yet Richard's army suddenly garnered an extra thousand men, thanks to the efforts of William Evreux. It was now 8,000 Normans & Anglo-Saxons against Harald's 10,000 men. The Battle of Stamford Bridge was a brutal fight between the two armies, Richard's infantry were forced to cross the titular bridge in order to engage the Vikings, who had been caught completely off guard by the sudden appearance of the Normans. The Vikings formed an ad hoc shield wall upon a small hill, and many of the Vikings were not wearing their battle gear due to the surprise attack.

The Vikings held their ground for several hours, that is, until the cavalry arrived. While the infantry engaged the Vikings, what Harald did not know was that Richard had actually sent a portion of his own army several miles North in the dead of the night to build an improvised bridge to cross in secret. This included most of his cavalry and some of his archers. When the Vikings caught sight of the cavalry coming from the North, Harald's army began to break; Harald himself, seeing that he was militarily outmaneuvered yet again by Richard, fled with his army to the Northeast to the shores of England. 6,000 Viking soldiers were slaughtered before Harald could escape, a devastating loss to his army. Additionally, his greatest ally, Tostig Godwinson, was killed in the battle. Contemporaries describe Tostig's death as being run through with a spear by an unnamed Norman cavalryman, but later historians believe that Tostig initially survived the battle, was captured, and under Richard's orders was tortured to death by Norman soldiers. Regardless of which version you believe, Tostig Godwinson is confirmed to have died when the battle took place.

Richard spared no time assessing his victory, as he immediately worked to consolidate power in the region before Harald could make a counter attack. During the Spring and Summer of 1068, Richard would capture the Yorkish countryside, burning many of Harald's ships found along the shorelines, and capturing several cities along the way. Harald Hardrada no longer had an escape plan to return to his native Norway. Harald would wander across the countryside, avoiding Richard at all costs for most of the Summer. This gave Richard enough time to consolidate power in Northumbria. Harald originally intended to escape towards Scotland, seeking haven from the sympathetic
King Malcolm III and possibly to be given ships to return to Norway. This however became untenable, with Richard now guarding the Northern borders.

Harald's last stand came on the 10th of September, 1068. Richard surrounded Harald's army and in the Battle of Doncaster, Harald's army was decimated and completely wiped out. Harald Hardrada himself, was captured, and hauled back to London. If Richard cared about the laws and doctrines of the Medieval world, perhaps he would have spared Harald Sigurdsson's life. Yet Richard believed that to effectively prove a point, one needed to be as ruthless as possible to break the back of the enemy. The war was effectively over, but Richard would only accept Harald's death as recompense. On the 15th of October, 1068, Harald Hardrada swung from the gallows. The new King of England had the King of Norway executed, and this decision reverberated outwards to the wider European world. It was a shocking display of authoritative strength; this legitimized bastard had conquered an entire country, and broke the back of all who stood against him. Yet all that mattered to Richard at this moment, was that the war was finally over. Now came the hardest part: staying in power.

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