On this day in 1066, Edward the Confessor died childless, which would cause a succession crisis ultimately leading to the Norman conquest of England.
Edward has traditionally been viewed as very pious and his reign is remembered for the disintegration of royal power in England and the advance in power of the Godwin family. Despite what occurred after his death, he has been viewed as a successful king, resourceful and sometimes ruthless. Unfortunately for him though his reputation has been tarnished by the Norman conquest of 1066. This is one historian’s point of view. Others suggest that he effectively withdrew from power in 1052 and this can be seen in the difference of his level of activity.
n He is mostly remembered for two things; being incredibly religious and devoting a large of amount of time to the Church. The second is for not leaving an heir and causing the succession crisis. His death meant that there were several claims to the throne. With some arguing that Edward had wanted the throne to go to William, others saying Harold.
As we all know this led to the Norman Conquest of England. In Richard Baxter’s opinion, ‘Edward’s “handling of the succession issue was dangerously indecisive, and contributed to one of the greatest catastrophes to which the English have ever succumbed.’