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Is it right to describe Edward the Confessor as a failure?

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Introduction

History Coursework Essay Is it right to describe that Edward the Confessor as a failure? During Edward's the Confessor's reign from 1042-1066, Edward faced many problems. According to Stafford, some of the problems had no obvious solutions. Some historians argue that Edward was a failure as he was unable to deal with the power of the Godwine, and was even less successful with the power of Harold and thirdly, he was unable to solve the problem of the succession issue according to Barlow as he shows that there were no contemporary sources that show Edward dealing with the succession, in the latter part of his reign. Evidence shown from historians that Edward had an inconsistent policy towards the succession issue. The Norman sources and English sources tell a different story about whether Harold or William had the right to the throne. However, other historians may argue that Edward was not a failure, as he was able to maintain relationship with the Godwines, he was able to solve the problem of not having enough supporters, able to defend his kingdom according to Barlow and also according to Barlow he was able to keep his reign peaceful, this view is backed up by the ASC, which shows that there was no evidence of crisis during Edward's latter part of the reign. It could be argued by some historians that Edward should not be described as a failure as king. This was shown as Edward had some military experiences, and has defended England from invasion from other countries, which shows his success. An example was shown by Barlow as he describes Edward defending both England and Denmark. "True Anglo-Dane and which both for Edward's security in England and also for his nephew Swein's success in Denmark." Edward decided to make an alliance between himself and Swein against Magnus of Norway. This shows Edward as a successful as he defended his kingdom from Swein invading. ...read more.

Middle

Edward was not able to stop Godwine from feeling the impregnability of his position, as he believed he could challenge the king with impunity. Barlow agrees with view and shows Godwine's impregnability as he chose to fight against Edward, as he was already contumacious. This piece of evidence is probably reliable as Loyn supports the view and ASC (D) agrees that Godwine was powerful and there is no other evidence that contradicts with this view. According to Stafford, he believes that Barlow's narrative of Edward is unaffected by 1066. He mentions that he was reliable as he 'turned especially to the allegedly contemporary ASC'. Therefore it is probable that this piece of evidence is reliable. Therefore it is most probable that Edward was a failure, as he was unable to make Godwine fear him, causing Godwine to rebel as a result. Edward was even less successful with the Godwines as his achievement with putting Godwine into exile was only a short-term success. This was because Edward was unable to expel the Godwines in 1052. This was due to Edward not having support from Siward and Leofric. This view is agreed by Barlow, Stenton and supported by Campbell and Schama. All these historians agree that Edward had no other alternative but to allow the Godwines to return in 1052 due to not having the support from Leofric and Siward,. Therefore it is most probable that this piece of evidence was reliable. In addition to this, Godwine had many support from Wessex and London citizens, and according to the ASC (D), Godwine was greeted warmly, however this view is contradicted with Stafford as he describes that he 'was not swept back on a tide of popular enthusiasm.' Therefore, it is likely to describe Edward as a failure with the Godwines as he was not able to maintain control over the earls, by earning their support. According to Stafford, Ralf and Odda were supposed to receive reinforcements and help resist the Godwine's army. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this piece of evidence suggested by Adam of Bremen is most probable to be unreliable as there are no other pieces of evidence corrobating this source. Therefore it is likely that his claim was invalid. Edward is shown as a failure as he does not keep this promise, if the promise actually did happen. By 1051, according to William of Jumieges Edward promised William of Normandy the throne. Both William of Jumieges and ASC (E) mentions that Edward sent Robert of Jumieges to Normandy to the Duke. William of Jumieges directly says that Robert of Jumieges was sent to Normandy to promise the Duke the throne as Edward told him to do so. However both ASC (E) and ASC (D) does not mention that Edward promised William of Normandy the throne. Therefore, it is probable that William of Jumiege's evidence should not be trusted upon as both the ASC (D) and ASC (E) does not agree with the evidence given by him. Also this evidence should not be trusted up on as William of Jumieges was a panegyrist, as he was writing an encomium of him. The ASCD (D) was the most politically impartial (unbiased) of all the chronicles, therefore is most probable that the ASC (D) was saying the truth. However it is likely that Edward did promise William the throne as William was facing Baronial Rebellion at the time and would not have come to England to meet the king unless it was as important as an issue as being promised the throne. Also according to ASC (E), it mentions that Robert went to Rome, similar to that of William of Jumieges, but there is no mention of him speaking to William about the throne, but however mentions that William comes to England at once. Therefore it is most probable that this was concerning the succession issue. However if this was the case, it could be argued that Edward was a failure as he should not have promised William the throne if he had already promised Swein the throne. This shows William's inconsistency of his policy. ...read more.

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