August 1, 1086 Day One

Today in History

Edward the Confessor, King of England, died after a series of strokes on January 5, 1066, leaving no heir to the throne. Anglo-Saxon Kings didn’t normally pick their own successors, but several believed Edward had done just that.  The king’s death touched off an international succession crisis.  The events of the following months, would change the course of world history.

Edward’s brother-in-law Harold Godwinson was elected King by the Witenagemot, an early version of our own Town Meeting. There were others with claims of their own. One of these was Harold’s younger brother Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, whose animosity for his brother would prove fatal for them both.

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After conducting a few inconclusive raids in the spring of that year, Tostig went to a Norman Duke called William “the Bastard”, looking for help. William had openly declared his intention to take the English throne, and had no use for the…

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