Gytha Thorkelsdottir Timeline c1000-c1072

Gytha ThorkelsdorritFather – Thorkel Sprakling
Mother – Unknown
Spouse – Earl Godwin (1001 – 1053)
Children – Sweyn (1020 – 1052), Harold (1020 – 1066), Edith (1025 – 1075), Tostig (1026 – 1066), Gyrth (1032 – 1066), Leofwine (1035 – 1066), Wulfnoth (1037 – 1094)


1000 (around)
A daughter, Gytha Thorkelsdottir was born to Earl Thorkel Sprakling in Denmark.
1019 (during)
Gytha married Godwin, Earl of Wessex.
1019 (Summer)
Gytha’s husband, Godwin, accompanied King Cnut when he went to Denmark to claim the Kingdom.
1020 (around)
A son, Sweyn, was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1022 (during)
A son, Harold, was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1025 (during)
A daughter, Edith, was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1026 (during)
A son, Tostig, was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1032 (during)
A son, Gyrth, was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1035 (during)
A son, Leofwine was born to Gytha and Godwin.
1037 (during)
A son, Wulfnoth, was born to Earl Godwin and his wife, Gytha Thorkelsdottir
1043 (during)
Gytha’s son, Sweyn became Earl of Hertfordshire.
1045 (23rd January)
Gytha’s daughter, Edith, married King Edward the Confessor.
1045 (during)
Gytha’s son, Harold, became Earl of East Anglia.
1045 (during)
Gytha’s son, Harold, married Edith the Fair, also known as Swanneck. They were married by the Danish handfasting ceremony.
1046 (during)
Edward the Confessor banished Gytha’s son Sweyn after he attempted to abduct Eadgifu, the abess of Leominster.
1049 (during)
Gytha’s son, Sweyn, was allowed to return to England after he begged forgiveness.
1051 (late Summer)
Following a brawl in Dover where several Normans were killed, King Edward the Confessor ordered that the people of Dover should be punished for the deaths of his Norman friends. He ordered Gytha’s husband, Godwin Earl of Wessex, to carry out the punishment.
1051 (September)
Earl Godwin refused to carry out King Edward the Confessor’s order to punish the town of Dover and instead raised an army against the King. The King also raised troops but neither side was prepared to start a civil war so the matter was referred to the Witan.
1051 (24th September)
The Witan met to discuss Earl Godwin’s refusal to carry out the King’s orders. They decided that Godwin and his family should be banished. The Godwin family left England but Godwin’s youngest son, Wulfnoth was left with King Edward as hostage. Godwin, Gytha, Sweyn, Tostig and Gyrth went to Flanders while Harold and Leofwine went to Dublin.
1051 (during)
Gytha’s son, Tostig married Judith of Flanders.
1052 (Summer)
Earl Godwin of Wessex raised an army and accompanied by his sons, Harold and Tostig, launched an attack on England. They quickly took the South and Edward, unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat them, was forced to sue for peace. It was agreed that all the Godwin family could return to England and that their titles and land would be restored to them.
1052 (Summer)
Gytha’s son, Sweyn chose not to return to England but left on Crusade instead.
1052 (29th September)
Gytha’s son, Sweyn became ill and died.
1053 (15th April)
Gytha’s husband, Earl Godwin of Wessex died. Her son Harold succeeded him as Earl of Wessex.
1055 (during)
Gytha’s son, Tostig became Earl of Northumbria.
1058 (date unknown)
Gytha’s son, Harold, was created Earl of Hereford
1065 (during)
The people of Northumbria rebelled against the rule of Tostig. Harold was sent to deal with the situation and sided with the people and sent his brother into exile.
1066 (5th January)
King Edward the Confessor died. It was claimed that he nominated Gytha’s son, Harold as his successor.
1066 (6th January)
Gytha’s son, Harold Godwinson was crowned King Harold II
1066 (March)
Gytha’s son, Harold, married Edith, daughter of the Earl of Mercia. This was likely a political marriage to strenghten ties with Mercia and ensure Harold has support in case his rule was challenged.
1066 (8th September)
Harald Hardrada supported by Gytha’s son Tostig, who had been exiled by Harold, invaded England. They landed at the mouth of the River Tyne.
1066 (20th September)
Battle of Fulford
Harold’s earls Morcar and Edwin were defeated by Harald Hardrada and Tostig. The two earls fled the battlefield.
1066 (after 20th September)
After hearing of Hardrada’s invasion, Gytha’s son, King Harold marched rapidly north.
1066 (25th September)
Battle of Stamford Bridge
Gytha’s son, Harold won a decisive victory over the Norwegian invaders. Both Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson were killed.
1066 (28th September)
William, Duke of Normandy sailed overnight and landed at Pevensey on the South coast of England in the morning. He was surprised to find no army waiting for him.
1066 (14th October)
Battle of Hastings
This decisive battle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans saw the Normans victorious. Gytha’s sons, Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine were killed in the battle.
1066 (after 14th October)
Gytha begged William of Normandy to return Harold’s body to the family but he refused.
1066 (late October)
Gytha fled to Exeter where she began to raise a force to defeat William of Normandy. She was likely accompanied by Harold’s sons, Godwin, Edmund and Magnus.
1067 (after 7th December) or 1068 (during)
William lay siege to the city of Exeter hoping to put down Gytha’s rebellion. He dug tunnels under the city walls to weaken them and the city fell after 18 days. Gytha and her grandchildren fled to the island of Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel.
1068 (Summer)
Harold Godwinson’s sons, Godwin, Edmund and Magnus Haroldson had been in Ireland raising support. They now tried to take Bristol as their base in England but the people of Bristol were worried about the consequences of supporting the Haroldsons and they returned to Ireland to rethink strategy. They disappear from records following this attempted invasion and it is likely that they went abroad.
1068 (late Summer)
It is believed that Gytha left England. She either entered the convent at St Omer or returned to Denmark.
1072 (around)
Gytha died.


Published Feb 19, 2018 @ 12:45 – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018 – 2020). Gytha Thorkelsdottir c1000 – c1072.


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