Edward the Confessor AD 1042-1066 Silver Penny, London


Code: GS152

Edward the Confessor AD 1042-1066, Silver Penny, Sovereign / Eagles type

London mint / moneyer Ealdgar

S1181, 1.00g, 18mm. edge loss, sharp detail and lovely tone.

Edward the Confessor (1042-1066): One of the youngest sons of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, Edward is formally recognised as the last proper member of the House of Wessex. Forced to flee England as a youth after the invasion of Sweyn Forkbeard and Cnut – he spent many years exiled on the continent. An abortive attempt to invade and regain power in 1036 resulted in nothing, but in 1041 he was formally invited back to England to take the throne by his half-brother Harthacnut – the last Danish king of England. Crowned in 1042, Edward’s reign has long divided historians. Some argue that he was an effective ruler able to enact aggressive foreign policy and defend his borders, while others point out his over-dependency on the Godwins to keep order and maintain his position. Having no heirs of his own gave rise to rumours of voluntary celibacy, a factor which emphasised his supposed personal piety and gave rise to his epithet ‘the Confessor’ – though this caused a succession crisis. He supposedly offered the throne initially to Duke William of Normandy, but then ratified the succession of Harold Godwinson on his deathbed. He was canonised in 1161 by Pope Alexander III, his saint-cult persisting in England till the 14th century.

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