GODWIN, EARL or WESSEX, a famous Saxon noble, towards the end of the 10th century. Originally, it is said, he followed the occupation of a col'-herd; but having found means to ingratiate himself with Ulfr, the brother-in-law of king Canute,•the latter gave him his daughter in marriage, and lie soon became one of the most powerful of the English nobles. More than any other person, he contributed to the elevation of Edward to the English throne (1044, A.D.); and the principal reward of his services was the marriage of his beautiful and accomplished daughter Editha with the English king. This union, however, was not a happy one. Editha was druelly neglected by Edward, and her father, on account of his dislike of the Normans, incurrea the royal enmity. His estates. were seized, and given to favorites, and he and his family fled. Queen Editha was made to feel even more bitterly than any one the misfortunes of her family. Her own husband seized her dower; he took from her her jewels add her money, "even to the uttermost farthing;" and allowing her only the attendance of one maiden, he closely confined her in the monastery of Wherwell, of which one. of his sisters was lady
abbess. Meanwhile, shoals of Normans visited England for the purpose of making, or rather getting fortunes. Among Edward's most favored guests for a time was duke William of Normandy, better known as William the Conqueror. The banished earl, however, had not been idle; through frequent correspondence with his countrymen at home, he kept alive the antipathy of the English to the Nornian favorites of Edward, and in the summer of 1052 he landed on the southern coast of England. The royal troops, the navy, and vast numbers of the burghers and peasants, rent over to him; and finally the king was forced to grant his demands. The Normans were for the most part expelled from the country, Ine Godwin family was restored to all its possessions and dignities; and at a meeting of the Witenagemote, the earls and all the best men of the land " declared that the foreigners alone were to be held guilty of the late dissen sions that had distracted the country. Godwin died April 7, 1054. His son Harold was for a few months Edward's successor on the throne.