William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England

Date: 1847

Show Summary

Chapter XXXII William the Conqueror and the Normans in England

1

162.

Negotiations of William and Harold

2

After the death of Edward the Confessor, England, fluctuating with doubtful favor, was uncertain to which ruler she should commit herself: to Harold, William, or Edgar:3 for the king had recommended the last-mentioned also to the nobility, as nearest to the sovereignty in point of birth. Wherefore the English were distracted in their choice, although all of them openly wished well to Harold. He, indeed, once dignified with the diadem, thought nothing of the covenant between himself and William. He said that he was absolved from his oath, because William’s daughter, to whom he had been betrothed, had died before she was marriageable. . . . Moreover, supposing that the threats of William would never be put into execution, because he was occupied in wars with neighboring princes, Harold had, with his subjects, given full indulgence to security. Indeed, if he had not heard that the king of Norway was approaching, he would neither have condescended to collect troops nor to array them.

William, in the meantime, began mildly to address him by messengers; to expostulate on the broken covenant; to mingle threats with entreaties; and to warn him that, ere a year expired, he would claim his due by the sword. . . . Harold again rejoined what I have related concerning the nuptials of his daughter and added that William had been precipitate on the subject of the kingdom, in having confirmed to him by oath another’s right, without the universal consent and edict of the Witenagemot and of the people; and, finally, that a rash oath ought to be broken. . . . In this way, confounded by either true or plausible arguments, the messengers returned without success.

1 , the translation by John Sharpe, revised by J. A. Giles. London, 1847. George Bell and Sons.

2 William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum Anglorum, bk. iii.

3 Edgar, called the Ætheling, was a grandson of the English king Edmund Ironside.

Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options


Title: William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: John Sharpe, trans., William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 340. Original Sources, accessed July 21, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=I2FSCCY9246VQ1X.

MLA: . William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England, translted by John Sharpe, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, page 340. Original Sources. 21 Jul. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=I2FSCCY9246VQ1X.

Harvard: (trans.), William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.340. Original Sources, retrieved 21 July 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=I2FSCCY9246VQ1X.