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THE ELECTION AND CORONATION OF EADWARD. 517
In all the versions the time is filled up by negotiation, not by war. In most of them the negotiation is carried on between Eadward and Godwine; in all those which mention Godwine at all, he stands forth as the leading man in the business, in fact as the man who makes Eadward King. We see glimpses of two Assemblies, the former being that hasty Gemót in London which chose Eadward before the burial of Harthacnut, and a later one at Gillingham or elsewhere shortly before the coronation. Again, all the accounts, except that of William of Malmesbury, conceive Eadward as being in Normandy. The inferior writers assert it; the contemporary Biographer clearly implies it. Putting these hints together, I have ventured to construct the narrative in the text. Eadward is chosen in London immediately on the death of Harthacnut; as he is absent, an embassy, doubtless headed by Godwine, is sent to offer him the Crown. The case is thus far almost identical with the story of the first election of Eadward's half-brother Harthacnut. Delay is caused in both cases by the election of a King who is absent. Eadward does not indeed tarry so long as Harthacnut did; but his indecision, his unwillingness to accept the Crown, the negotiations which were needed to overcome that unwillingness, cause delay, and give time for an adverse party to form itself. A second Assembly, that recorded by William of Malmesbury, was therefore needed to overcome all objections, and to elect Eadward, now present in person, in a more formal manner. We thus get, from one quarter or another, a credible narrative, which fills up the gap in the Chronicles without contradicting their statements. A few special points must be noticed.
1. We see that most of our statements assert or imply that Eadward was in Normandy. Now it is most certain that Eadward had been recalled to England by Harthacnut (vol. i. p. 518), and that the English court was now his usual dwelling-place. But this is quite consistent with the notion, which I have ventured to throw out in the text, that Eadward was at this moment in Normandy on some temporary visit or pilgrimage. This view explains all the statements. The fact that Eadward was in Normandy at the moment a fact which we may surely accept on the credit of the Biographer, to say nothing of the Norman charters quoted above-led careless writers to forget his recall by Harthacnut, and to speak as if he had never left Normandy since the accession of
Cnut. On the other hand, the fact of his recall led William of Malmesbury to forget or to disbelieve that he was in Normandy at the time of Harthacnut's death. Then the Winchester Annalist, aware of Eadward's absence, tried to patch it in to William's account, which was not an easy matter. That an embassy should be sent to Eadward in Normandy is credible enough. It was also credible that Eadward, if in England, might throw himself into the arms of Godwine. But no story can be more unlikely than that which represents Eadward, when safe in Normandy, as coming of his own accord to England to put himself into the hands of the man whom the same account represents as the murderer of his brother.
2. I accept the second Assembly as the only means of reconciling the different accounts and of meeting the probabilities of the case. And I accept Gillingham as its place, on the authority of William of Malmesbury. It is true that one of William's manuscripts places it in London, while the Winchester Annalist transfers it to his own city and his own church. The universal law of criticism comes in here. If a thing happened either in London or at Winchester, no transcriber or copyist would be likely to remove it to Gillingham. But nothing was more natural than for a transcriber to alter Gillingham into London, if he thought that he could thereby bring his text into conformity with the Chronicles. The Winchester writer would have every motive to confound the Gemót at Gillingham with the consecration which shortly followed at Winchester. The very strangeness of the choice of Gillingham for such an Assembly is the best proof that it is the right place. By Gillingham, I may add, William of Malmesbury must have meant the West-Saxon Gillingham, already mentioned in his history (ii. 180). The Kentish Gillingham would connect itself more naturally with the Biographer's statement of a coronation at Canterbury, but the other is the more obvious place for a Meeting which was followed by a coronation at Winchester.
3. The reader must judge for himself as to the amount of value to be attached to the statements of William of Poitiers and the Hyde writer as to the influence of the Duke of the Normans in the matter. It must not be forgotten that in 1042 William was only fourteen years old, and in the midst of the troubles of his minority. It is quite possible that William or his advisers may, perhaps even then with some vague designs on the English Crown, have pressed
THE ELECTION AND CORONATION OF EADWARD. 519
the acceptance of that Crown on Eadward. And, in any case, the story could hardly have arisen, unless embassies of some sort had passed between England and Normandy in the course of the business. It so far falls in with my view of Eadward's position.
4. The statement of the Biographer that Eadward was crowned at Canterbury seems at first sight very strange. There can be no doubt that the final ceremony took place at Winchester. That the Biographer's account is rhetorical and somewhat confused is no more than his usual fashion. But it would be strange if a contemporary made a mistake on a point of this kind. The only conjecture that I can offer is that the ceremony was performed twice. Coronations were sometimes repeated in those days, and the motive for repeating the rite in Eadward's case is perfectly intelligible. The first coronation at Canterbury was an attempt to confirm the first election in London. In the eyes of those who rejected that election, a second coronation as well as a second election was needed. And if we read the Biographer's account narrowly, it is plain that he distinguishes between the ceremony at Canterbury, which he evidently looks on as happening immediately on Eadward's landing, and the reception of the foreign ambassadors, which takes place when the news had reached foreign courts (" exhilaratus quod eum in paternâ sede inthronizatum dedicerat"). But their reception must surely be placed at the final and solemn consecration at Winchester. A twofold coronation, as well as a twofold Gemót, will solve all difficulties.
There is one more point to be discussed. According to William of Malmesbury, there was an opposition, seemingly a rather strong one, made to Eadward's election. He does not say on whose behalf the objection was brought. But it is hardly possible that it could have been made on behalf of any one except Swegen Estrithson. The English writers indeed make no mention of Swegen in the matter, but in Adam of Bremen we find what may pass as Swegen's own version. Adam knew the Danish King personally (ii. 73), and he probably put on record what Swegen told him. It will be remembered that, just at the moment of Harthacnut's death, Swegen was in Denmark, carrying on the war with Magnus (see vol. i. p. 523). Adam then goes on thus ;
"Suein, victus a Magno, quum in Angliam remearet, Hardechnut
mortuum repperit. In cujus locum Angli prius elegerunt fratrem ejus Eduardum, quem de priori marito Imma genuit; vir sanctus et timens Deum. Isque suspectum habens Suein, quod sceptrum sibi Anglorum reposceret, cum tyranno pacem fecit, constituens eum proximum se mortuo regni Anglorum hæredem, vel si filios susceperit. Tali pacto mitigatus Suein in Daniam remeavit." (ii. 74)
I may here note that the word "prius" in this passage distinctly refers to the first election in London. And, whether we believe Swegen's story of the bargain between himself and Eadward or not, we have here quite enough to make an opposition on Swegen's behalf highly probable. "Tyrannus" is of course to be taken in the sense of "pretender."
Another passage of Adam (iii. 13) must here be mentioned ; "Simul eo tempore separabant se Angli a regno Danorum, filiis Gudwini rebellionis auctoribus, quos amitæ Regis Danorum filios esse diximus, et quorum sororem Eduardus Rex duxit uxorem. Hi namque, factâ conspiratione, fratres Suein Regis, qui in Angliâ Duces erant, alterum Bern statim obtruncant, alterum Osbern cum suis omnibus ejecerunt a patriâ."
This at first sight appears to be an account of the separation between Denmark and England on the death of Harthacnut. It is not however really so. It must be taken in connexion with a passage two chapters back (iii. 11), in which Adam gives a most strange version of the events which followed the death of Magnus in 1048. In the true account, Swegen then asked for English help, which was refused, and a peace was concluded between England and Harold Hardrada (see p. 93). But Adam makes Swegen possess both Denmark and Norway, and then prepare to invade England ("Suein duo regna possedit, classemque parâsse dicitur, ut Angliam suo juri subjiceret "). Eadward agrees to pay tribute, and renews the promise of the succession ("verum sanctissimus Rex Edwardus, quum justitiâ regnum gubernaret, tunc quoque pacem eligens, victori obtulit tributum, statuens eum, ut supra dictum est, post se regni hæredem "). This must be another version of the intended expedition of Magnus (see p. 73). On the strength of this tribute, Adam seems to look upon Swegen as at least overlord of England ("quum Rex juvenis Suein tria pro libitu suo regna tenuerit"). He seems to look on Beorn and Osbeorn as
THE LEGENDARY HISTORY OF EADWARD.
Swegen's representatives in England, and the murder of Beorn by Swegen is made into the groundwork of a story of "rebellio," "conspiratio," and what not, about the sons of Godwine in general.
The only historical value of this very confused account is that it helps us to the very probable fact of the banishment of Osbeorn, of whom we do not hear in the English writers till 1069. But the story is very curious, as it is the evident groundwork of the wonderful tale in Saxo (p. 202). Saxo looks on Swegen as the natural sovereign of England after the death of Harthacnut. Going to Denmark to assert his rights there, he left his interests in England in the hands of his cousins the sons of Godwine. From Eadward himself he feared nothing, unlike Harthacnut, who (see vol. i. p. 518, n. 5) had dreaded his ambition, and who therefore made him his colleague in the Kingdom, lest he should attempt to gain the whole ("Retinendæ insulæ spem non solum in Godovini filiis, quibus sanguine admodum conjunctus fuerat, reponens, sed etiam ex ipsâ consortis sui "-Eadwardi sc.- -“ stoliditate desidiâque præsumens"). But Harold the son of Godwine betrays Swegen's trust, makes Eadward King, and massacres the Danes, according to the story in vol. i. p. 771.
I do not profess to harmonize every detail of the conflicting stories about Eadward, Magnus, and Swegen. But I think that there is enough evidence to lead us to believe that Eadward's election was opposed by a Danish party in Swegen's interest, and that these were the persons who were marked at the time and gradually punished afterwards. See pp. 9, 63, 71, 89.
NOTE B. p. 21.
THE LEGENDARY HISTORY OF EADWARD.
THERE is something very remarkable in that gradual developement of popular reverence for King Eadward which at last ended in his being acknowledged as the Patron Saint of England. I have endeavoured in the text to point out the chief causes from which this feeling arose; how Eadward was, in different ways, the one person whom Normans and Englishmen could unite in honouring.