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Why were the crises of 1051 and 1052 significant?

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History Essay Aaron Culhane Why were the crises of 1051 and 1052 significant? It is without doubt that the crises of 1051-52 played a significant role in Britain's history. The crises not only led to the contradicting and confusing saga over the successor to Edward's throne but also to the ongoing powerful reign of the Godwin Family in the country's history for a generation. There were four main factors in which to argue whether the crises were in fact significant. Theses were the constant feuds with Edward and Godwin which both humour and confuse historians even today, the opinion that the King was really only king in name and did not have any real authority over the country, the sudden explosion of Godwins' into the key positions in England and of course the matter of who was entitled to King Edward's throne. The crises of 1051 and 1052 can be probably put down to two main characters, whom held very important positions in how the country was run. King Edward and Godwin had an ongoing feud since the day they first came into contact with each other. Ever since, they were constantly snapping at each other's heels and basically trying to win minuscule battles over the other one. The crises were very significant in that they inevitably brought the relentless vendetta to a head. ...read more.


Godwin now has all his lands restored under his name and Edward's reign had ended apart from his title. The main authority and power were now in the hands of Godwin. As a result his family were appointed to all key positions in the country and Norman contingents banished from the running of the country. Another relevant reason as to why the crises of 1051 and 1052 were significant was because it showed the true authority and capabilities the earls had and the weakness and incapability's of the King. Edward knew that he would only ever be King in name unless he could destroy Godwin's authority. McLynn quotes, "If he did not take a stand against Godwin and his contumacious family he would be reduced to the status of figurehead King or cipher." The crises of 1051-52 merely clarified this fact that the King just did not have the power to make any grand scale decisions. Everything was decided either in advance for the King or on the spot for him. He was forced into marrying Godwin's daughter Edith for example. Now what possible reason could there be to suggest that Edward actually wanted to wed Edith. Apart from the fact that she was much younger than he was she just happened to be a daughter of the man he hated most who just wanted some Godwin blood on the throne. ...read more.


It was also claimed that Edward was desperate to keep some Norman influence in England. There maybe quite a bit of evidence backing up William's claim, however the evidence to say it was a false claim is undoubtedly more reliable and realistic. For example there were many others with much better claims to the throne (Earl Ralph, Edward Aething etc.). Edward also had no great love of Normandy. He was never treated well there nor was he ever welcomed there. McLynn writes "A vague promise was made but it was not genuine." On the other hand Barlow writes in his book "Edward had already promised the throne to Swein Estrithson. He just used the nomination as a diplomatic card." The more realistic and probably true having known the type of character Robert of Jumieges was is written by Walker and it basically says that the promise was made by Jumieges when escaping after 1052. He had hostages with him and made the offer out of spite for Godwin and because he wanted William to re-instate him. In conclusion I feel that the period in history which was the crises of 1051-52 were a significant time for the Country's history. The two years contained controversy, countless squabbles, treason, backstabbing and violence. The main consequences of the crises were, a long exhausting and humiliating defeat for Edward, a huge gain for Godwin who laid the foundations for the next generation and a lot of controversy caused mainly by a certain individual known as Robert of Jumieges. ...read more.

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