Gytha Thorkelsdóttir

Female, Person


Who is Gytha Thorkelsdóttir?

Gytha Thorkelsdóttir, also called Githa, was the daughter of Thorgil Sprakling. She married the Anglo-Saxon nobleman Godwin of Wessex.

They had a large family together, of whom five sons became earls at one time or another, three remaining earls in 1066:

⁕Ælfgifu of Wessex,

⁕Edith of Wessex, queen consort of Edward the Confessor

⁕Gunhilda of Wessex, a nun

⁕Gyrth Godwinson,

⁕Harold II of England,

⁕Leofwine Godwinson, Earl of Kent

⁕Sweyn Godwinson, Earl of Herefordshire, at some point he declared himself an illegitimate son of Canute the Great but this is considered to be a false claim

⁕Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria

⁕Wulfnoth Godwinson,

Two of their sons, Harold and Tostig, faced each other at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, where Tostig was killed. Less than a month later, three of her sons, Harold, Gyrth, and Leofwine, were killed at the Battle of Hastings.

Shortly after the Battle of Hastings, Gytha was living in Exeter and may have been the cause of that city's rebellion against William the Conqueror in 1067, which resulted in his laying siege to the city. She pleaded unsuccessfully with him for the return of the body of her slain son, king Harold. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Gytha left England after the Norman conquest, together with the wives or widows and families of other prominent Anglo-Saxons, all the Godwin family estates having been confiscated by William. Little else is known of Gytha's life after that time, although it is probable that she went to Scandinavia, where she had relatives.

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Also known as
  • Gytha Thorkelsdottir

on July 23, 2013


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