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Godwinist, seems pointedly to combine both statements; CHAP. VII. "All folk chose Eadward, and received him to King, as was his right by birth." "1 There can be no doubt that this last is the truest setting forth both of the law and of the facts of the case. The people chose Eadward, and without the Union of choice of the people he would have had no right to reign. and hereBut they chose him because he was the one available de- ditary right. scendant of the old kingly stock, because he was the one man at hand who enjoyed that preference by right of birth, which required that, in all ordinary cases, the choice of the electors should be confined to the descendants of former Kings. It might therefore be said with perfect truth that Eadward was chosen because the Kingdom was his by right of birth. But it is absolutely necessary, for Eadward the true understanding of the case, to remember that this succession right by birth does not imply that Eadward would have according been, according to modern ideas, the next in succession to notions. the Crown. Eadward's right by birth would have been no right by birth at all in the eyes of a modern lawyer. The younger son of Æthelred could, according to our present ideas, have no right to succeed while any representative of his elder brother survived. The heir, in our sense of the word, was not the Eadward who was close at hand in England or Normandy, but the Eadward who was far away in

not next in

to modern

him gecynde wæs." "Right of birth" does not very well express
“gecynde,” but I do not see how better to translate it. The word occurs
again in Chron. Wig. 1066, as applied to young Eadgar. It will be
remembered that the Abingdon Chronicle is the only one which charges
Godwine with a share in the death of Elfred. See vol. i. p. 756.
The Biographer (p. 396) speaks of Eadward as reigning "ex Dei gratiâ et
hæreditario jure." This is of course a courtier's view. "Hæreditario
jure" must here mean a right derived from ancestors, not a right to be
handed on to descendants, as must be the meaning of the words in the
Waltham Charter, Cod. Dipl. iv. 154.


1 Chron. Wig. 1042. "Eall folc geceas pa Eadward, and underfengon hine to kyninge, eallswa him wel gecynde was." This expression is the exact counterpart of that in which Rudolf Glaber describes the election of Lewis in 946. See vol. i. p. 597.

CHAP. VII. exile in Hungary or Russia. Modern writers constantly speak of this Eadward and of his son Eadgar as the lawful heirs of the Confessor. On the contrary, according to modern notions, the Confessor was their lawful heir, and, according to modern notions, the Confessor must be pronounced to have usurped a throne which of right belonged The right to his nephew. In his own time such subtleties were branch not unknown. Any son of Ethelred, any descendant of the thought of. old stock, satisfied the sentiment of royal birth, which was all that was needed.1 To search over the world for the son of an elder brother, while the younger brother was close at hand, was an idea which would never have entered the mind of any Englishman of the eleventh century.

of the elder

crowned at

3, 1043.

Eadward If any ceremony of coronation had gone before the Winches- meeting at Gillingham, it was deemed needful that, after ter, April that more solemn national acceptance of Eadward's claims, the rite should be repeated on the next great festival of the Church. Eadward was accordingly crowned on Easter Day at Winchester,2 the usual place for an Easter Gemót, by Archbishop Eadsige, assisted by Elfric of York and most of the other prelates of England. We are expressly told that the Metropolitan gave much good exhortation Eadsige; both to the newly-made King and to his people. The peculiar circumstances of the time might well suggest Kingdom. such a special admonition. There was a King, well-nigh


tion of


of the

1 With the expressions used about the succession of Eadward compare the still stronger expressions used by Florence about the succession of Eadred in 946 ; "Proximus hæres Edredus, fratri succedens, regnum naturale [gecynde] suscepit." Yet Eadmund left two sons, both of whom afterwards reigned. 3 Flor. Wig.

2 Chron. Flor. Wig. See Appendix A.


Chronn. Ab. and Petrib. Eadsige arcebisceop hine halgade, and toforan eallum þam folce wel lærde, and to his agenre neode and ealles folces wel monude." So Will. Malms. ii. 197; "Ab Edsio archiepiscopo sacra regnandi præcepta edoctus, quæ ille tunc memoriâ libenter recondidit, et postea sancte factis propalavit."




and God

the last of his race, a King chosen by the distinct expres- CHAP. VII. sion of the will of the people, as the representative of English nationality in opposition to foreign rule. But the King so chosen as the embodiment of English feeling was himself an Englishman in little more than in the accident of being born on English ground1 as the son of a father who was a disgrace to the English name. There was a Kingdom to be guarded against foreign claimants, and there were the wounds inflicted by two unfortunate, though happily short, reigns to be healed at home. The duties which were laid upon the shoulders of the new King were neither few nor easy. He had Relations indeed at hand the mightiest and wisest of guardians to Eadward help him in his task. But we can well understand that wine. the feelings of Eadward towards the man to whom he owed his Crown were feelings of awe rather than of love. There could be little real sympathy between the stout Englishman and the nursling of the Norman court, between the chieftain great alike in battle and in council and the timid devotee who shrank from the toils and responsibilities of an earthly Kingdom. And we can well believe that, notwithstanding Godwine's solemn acquittal, some prejudice still lingered in the mind of Eadward against the man who had once been charged with his brother's death. And again, though it was to Godwine Relations and his West-Saxons that Eadward mainly owed his three great Crown, yet Godwine and his West-Saxons did not make Earls. up the whole of England. Their counsels and interests had to be reconciled with the possibly opposing counsels and interests of the other Earldoms and of their rulers. Eadward could not afford to despise the strong arm of the mighty Dane who ruled his countrymen north of the Humber. He could not afford to despise the possible

of the

1 At Githslep, now Islip, in Oxfordshire. Cod. Dipl. iv. 215.

CHAP. VII. prejudices of the great Earl of central England, who, descendant of ancient Ealdormen, perhaps of ancient Kings, may well have looked with some degree of ill-will on the upstarts north and south of him. Eadward, called to the throne by the unanimous voice of the whole nation, was bound to be King of the English, and not merely King of the West-Saxons. He was bound yet more strongly to be King of the English in a still higher sense, to cast off the trammels of his Norman education, and to reign as became the heir of Elfred and Æthelstan. We have now to see how far the good exhortations of Eadsige were effectual; how far the King chosen to the Crown which was his right by birth discharged the duties which were laid upon him alike by his birth and by his election.


dors at



It was perhaps ominous of the character of Eadward's ambassa- future reign that his coronation was attended by an appaEadward's rently unusual assemblage of the Ambassadors of foreign princes.1 It was natural that Eadward should be better known, and that his election should awaken a greater interest, in foreign lands than could usually be the case with an English King. He was connected by birth or marriage with several continental sovereigns, and his long residence in Normandy must have brought him more nearly within Eadward's the circle of ordinary continental princeship than could commonly be the case with the Lord of the Island Empire, the Cæsar as it were of another world. The revolutions of England also, and the great career of Cnut, had evidently fixed the attention of Europe on English affairs to an unusual degree. Add to this that, when a King was chosen and crowned immediately on the death of his predecessor, the presence of congratulatory embassies from other princes was hardly possible. But the delay in Eadward's consecration allowed that great Easter-feast at Winchester to be adorned with the presence of the Vita Eadw. 395.



dors from

representatives of all the chief sovereigns of Western CHAP. VII. Christendom. Some there were whom England was, then as ever, bound to welcome as friends and brethren, and some whose presence, however friendly was the guise of the moment, might to an eye which could scan the future have seemed a foreboding of the evil to come. First came Ambassathe ambassadors of the prince who at once held the highest King Henry; place on earth and adorned it with the noblest display of every kingly virtue. King Henry of Germany, soon to appear before the world as the illustrious Emperor,1 the great reformer of a corrupted Church, sent an embassy to congratulate his brother-in-law 2 on the happy change in his fortunes, to exchange promises of peace and friendship, and to present gifts such as Imperial, splendour and liberality might deem worthy of the one prince whom a future Emperor could look on as his peer. The King from the King of the of the French too, a prince bearing the same name as the French; mighty Frank, but far indeed from being a partaker in his glory, sent his representatives to congratulate one whom he too claimed as a kinsman,5 and to exchange pledges of mutual good-will between the two realms. And, along with the representatives of Imperial and royal from other majesty, came the humbler envoys of the chief Dukes and French princes;



1 Vita Eadw. 395. "Primus ipse Romanorum Imperator Heinricus," &c. But Henry was not crowned Emperor till 1047. Hermannus Contractus in anno.

2 On the marriage of Henry and Gunhild, see vol. i. pp. 455-6.

3 Vita Eadw. 395. Munera imperiali liberalitate exhibenda mittit, et quæ tantos decebat terrarum dominos." Ethelred of Rievaux (X Scriptt, 375), who seems here to copy the Biographer, says the same.

4 Vita Eadw. 325. "Rex quoque Francorum item Heinricus nomine."

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5 Ib. "Ejusdem Anglorum Regis vicinâ carnis propinquitate consanguineus." The Biographer throughout makes the most of his hero, but there is a marked difference in his tone towards the German King and towards any other prince. The expression "terrarum domini," reserved for the lords of the continental and the insular Empires, is most remark. able. I am at a loss to see what kindred there was between Eadward and Henry of Paris.




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