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 King Harold

 

King Harold Day
This annual Festival is becoming better and better every year! It is held every year in remembrance of the king who liked Waltham Abbey so much. Read our review of the 2007 event.

Harold Godwinson (Wikipedia article)

Harold, the last of the Saxon kings by Edward Bulwer Lytton (The Internet Archive)
(Vol 1)
(Vol 2)
(Vol 3)

A complete downloadable copy of Lytton's Harold, the last of the Saxon kings (first published in 1848). Available in either PDF or DJVU format (broadband advisable), or in plain text for slower internet connections.

The Man In The Cloth Mask
An account of the apocryphal tale of Harold's later life as an anonymous hermit after surviving the Battle of Hastings. The author includes quotes from correspondence held with Dr. Marjorie Chibnall, joint editor of The Waltham Chronicle: An Account of the Discovery of Our Holy Cross at Montacute and Its Conveyance to Waltham (Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford University, 1994). Dr. Chibnall's correspondence has also been put online, here.

Vita Haroldi, by Walter de Gray Birch (The Internet Archive)
A complete downloadable copy of Birch's Vita Haroldi. The romance of the life of Harold, king of England (first published in 1885). Available in either PDF or DJVU format (broadband advisable), or in plain text for slower internet connections.
This work is a full transcript and translation of the apocryphal story mentioned above, as it appeared in one of the manuscript volumes that formed the library of the Abbey of Waltham before the Dissolution.

The Tragedy of Harold Godwinesson, once King of England
A study of the Vita Haroldi text, "which has been ignored by historians for the simple reason that it tells a story contradictory to the official history."  The author attempts to "examine the merits of the official history, and offer the reader an opportunity to know the unofficial story, and to choose between the two."
Unfortunately, the author's own research is distinctly dodgy and lacks source citation, as his closing sentence displays: "The whereabouts of his [Harold's] mortal remains will continue to be a mystery, however, since the marked gravesite at Waltham Abbey was once excavated out of curiosity. It was found to be empty."
For those who don't know, no such dig has ever been made - the memorial to Harold in the Abbey Gardens only dates to the 1960's, and there would be no point in looking for Harold under it - it was erected in the wrong place! (Source: various plans of the layout of the abbey before the Dissolution).

The Tomb of Harold II at Waltham Abbey
Tomb? - it's just a memorial to him erected in the 1960's! But this is a nice photo. More photos of the stone are available as part of our review of King Harold Day 2007.

Was King Harold buried at Bosham?
Probably not, says the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester, in this summary of the reasons behind his refusal to allow two graves in Bosham churchyard, one of which is claimed as Harold's grave, to be exhumed. Quote of the day: "the vast preponderance of academic opinion points to him having been buried at Waltham Abbey." The Chancellor's views may or may not reflect those of WAHS!

Waltham Abbey, 6 October 1066
A page from the "Norman Conquest Timeline" which lists the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings as they happened each day, from 28 September to 15 October 1966.

The Essential Norman Conquest
This site's name is quite appropriate; it is in essence a concentrated cornucopia of insights into this turning point of English history.

The Third Battle of 1066
"Historians have emphasized that the losses sustained by King Harold’s army in defeating Harald Hardrada of Norway at Stamford Bridge must have weakened the force with which he had to oppose William of Normandy at Hastings shortly afterwards. This, and the exhausting marches of the King’s levies between London and York, contributed to William’s victory. Less attention has been paid to what was probably a more decisive factor – the disaster that befell English arms at the other battle of 1066, the Battle of Fulford... A few days before King Harold reached the north to win the battle of Stamford Bridge in September 1066, the invading Vikings defeated the English at Fulford, near York."

The Battle of Fulford
A website summarising seven years of historical research and archaeology at the Fulford battlesite, soon to make way for a new road. One page of the website, Walking to Waltham Abbey, rivals John Merrill's passion!

Ţingaliđ (Wikipedia)
Can't pronounce it? Nor can I. It's what King Harold's Scandinavian standing army was called. A detailed article.

Housecarl (Wikipedia)
"Housecarls were household troops, personal warriors and equivalent to a bodyguard to Scandinavian lords and kings. The anglicized term comes from the Old Norse term huskarl or huscarl (literally, 'house man', i.e., armed man in the service of a specific house)". Another detailed article on a related theme.

Who were the Huscarls?
Different spelling, same retinue. An enlightening article on the Regia Anglorum re-enactment society's website.

The Fall Of Orthodox England
This account of the early history of the Church in England, written by Vladimir Moss and published by the Orthodox Foundation of St. Michael, Guildford, is very informative - and swimming in footnotes! It begins its coverage with Edward the Confessor in 1043, and ends with the Domesday Book in 1087. The second chapter, "Martyr-King Harold and the Norman Conquest, 1066-1070," is of particular interest to Haroldites and Walthamites.

Harold's Links with Waltham Abbey
A good overview, produced by the organisers of the King Harold Day Festival, in conjunction with the Local Heritage Initiative (administered by the Countryside Agency, funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund).

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The entire text of all the different versions, available online. Covers the period 60BC to 1154AD. "This year also was Earl Harold hallowed to king; but he enjoyed little tranquillity therein the while that he wielded the kingdom."

The Anglo-Saxon Charters
A new printed edition of the A-S Charters, being published jointly by the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society, is complemented by this "experimental" website, which puts online much of the background material and supporting research used for the project.
Resources available include online versions of P. H. Sawyer's Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography,
Regesta Regum Anglorum (the entire corpus of Anglo-Saxon royal diplomas, comprising Mercian charters of 8th and 9th centuries, West Saxon charters of the 9th century and all charters of the period 900-1066); digital images and facsimiles of Anglo-Saxon charters; Heads of Religious Houses in Anglo-Saxon England (Lists of abbots and abbesses, arranged by religious houses), and much more besides.

 

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 Local worthies & families

 

The Worthies of England , by Thomas Fuller (The Internet Archive)
(Vol 1)
(Vol 2)
(Vol 3)
A complete downloadable copy of Fuller's The history of the worthies of England: A New edition, containing brief notices of the most celebrated worthies of England who have flourished since the time of Fuller. With explanatory notes and copious indexes by P. Austin Nuttall (this edition published 1840). Available in either PDF or DJVU format (broadband advisable), or in plain text for slower internet connections.

LEVERTON
Thomas Leverton was a prominent architect and local benefactor, whose house was investigated by WAHS in an archaeological dig. His family tree is in the Essex section of this page.

STRANGE
This link begins with a straightforward list of Essex-wide census entries, but soon continues with a biographical account of James STRANGE of Waltham Abbey (b c1811) and his descendants, now spread far and wide. Other Essex STRANGEs are also documented.

CHENEY and HARRISON
Notes on the Harrison and Cheney families of Waltham Abbey, c.1500-1610.

CHENEY
Detailed genealogy and brief biographies of several successive generations of the Cheneys of Waltham Abbey, covering c.1494-1610. Note: this is a very long page; the Waltham Abbey entries are near the bottom. It was researched by "Jorge from Argentina". Well done Jorge!

Margaret of York
The Richard III Society recently commemorated the 500th anniversary of the death of the king’s sister Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, with the unveiling of a plaque at Waltham Abbey. It marks one of the two places named in 15th century sources as Margaret's birth place. Though it seems certain that her father, Richard Duke of York, was in Waltham Abbey at the time of Margaret's birth, the Society played it safe by installing a plaque at the other location – Fotheringay – as well!

Winston Churchill
A photo of him electioneering outside Waltham Abbey Church in 1924.

"The Czechoslovak Republic is being broken up before our eyes"
Extract from a speech by Churchill, which he delivered at Waltham Abbey on 14th March 1939 (it's about half-way down the page).

Prince Charles
Photos of Prince Charles' visit to the Abbey Church in April 2004.

Sir Anthony Denny
A lengthy biography of the Royal Servant who acquired the abbey and manor of Waltham Holy Cross in 1536, with details of his ancestry, wife and children.

Sir Edward Denny, 1st Earl of Norwich (d.1637)

Thomas Tallis
A lengthy and detailed biography of Thomas Tallis, organist and composer at Waltham Abbey just prior to the Dissolution, "where the excellent choir and acoustics probably inspired him to compose his early Latin motets". He later tutored William Byrd.

Lady Victoria Buxton, by G.W.E. Russell  (The Internet Archive)
A complete downloadable copy of Russell's Lady Victoria Buxton; a memoir, with some account of her husband (first published 1919). Available in either PDF or DJVU format (broadband advisable), or in plain text for slower internet connections.
Lady Victoria's husband was Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, grandson of his namesake below. The family lived at Warlies in Upshire and were prominent local benefactors.

Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, by Charles Buxton (The Internet Archive)
A complete downloadable copy of Buxton's Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Baronet. With selections from his correspondence (first published 1848). Available in either PDF or DJVU format (broadband advisable), or in plain text for slower internet connections.
This biography of the Abolitionist was written by one of his sons.

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Bt. (1786 - 1845)
The famous Abolitionist.

Sir Edward North Buxton MP, 2nd Bt. (1812 - 1858)
The Abolitionist's eldest son.

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 3rd Bt. (1837 - 1915) of Warlies
Eldest son of the above. Local benefactor and Governor of South Australia. See above for the published life of his wife, Lady Victoria Buxton.

Edward North Buxton (1840-1924)
Younger son of his namesake, of Knighton at Buckhurst Hill. Author of the best Epping Forest guidebook yet written, which went through numerous editions over nearly 50 years.

I Remember
WAHS member Enid Clay's autobiography, full of local anecdotes, has been so popular that the publishers have reissued it.
Read more about the book here.

William Banbury (1766-1852) of Warlies

Sir James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle (c.1580 - 1636)

Sir James Hay, 2nd Earl of Carlisle (c.1612 - 1660)

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (b.1637)

Julia Conyers (c.1796 - 1860) of Copped Hall

Sir George Rankin Askwith (1861 - 1942)

Thomas Charles Baring MP (1831-1891)
Local benefactor, of Wallsgrove House, High Beech. He built the present High Beech Church in 1873.

Some notable Australians with Waltham Abbey connections:

John Biscoe (1794 - 1843)
Ship's captain and author; the third man (after James Cook and Fabian Bellingshausen) to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent.

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1837 - 1915)
Governor of South Australia.

Arthur Edgar Leighton (1873 - 1961)
Chemical engineer and author.

Albert Ernest Monk (1900 - 1975)
Union leader.

 

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Copyright Waltham Abbey Historical Society, 2007.