Tag Archives: Cnut

January 6th

On this day in 1066 Harold Godwinson became the king of England after the death the day before of Edward the Confessor.

Godwinson being all "I'm the king now"

Now, the whole thing about who got to be king after Edward the Confessor was a bit of a nightmare. Edward had no children of his own and hadn’t got round to saying for sure who he wanted to be king after him before he got sick, fell into a coma and died. There were three men who were up for the job. Godwinson, Harold Hardraada and William Duke of Normandy. None of them had what could be called cast iron rights to the throne, but that didn’t stop them all getting a bit fighty about the whole thing. Harold Hardraada’s claim was that when Harthacnut (son of the often misspelled Cnut the Great) was alive him and Magnus, who went on to be King of Denmarkhad made a pact that if one of them died then the other could become king of their country. But as Magnus was king of Denmark he didn’t bother going after England when Harthacnut died and let Edward the Confessor have it. In

"Oh bugger, that cad Godwinson is about to kill me!"

short, Harold Hardraada had no real claim to the throne, but Harold Godwinson’s brother Tostig said “Go for it mate, me and all the noblemen in Britain will be right behind you!” This was a bit of an exaggeration, but Hardraada went for it. He went over to the North of England in September of 1066 and had a big fight with the other Harold and his army . The big fight happened at Stamford Bridge – luckily Chelsea were not playing at home that day, because then the fight would have to have taken place somewhere else – and Godwinson won. So, for the time being Godwinson remained king.

What was Godwinson’s claim to the throne? Well there was minor family connection, but ultimately, him and his mates reckoned that just before he died, Edward the Confessor came out of his coma and said “yeah, be the king for me, Harold Godwinson, not Hardraada or William of Normandy… ach, urgh…[silence]” before dying. When William heard about this over in Normandy he thought it was all a bit chinny, chinny,

William "I'm the king now!" the Conqueror

reck-on. That said, although he too had a tiny bit of a family connection, his claim to the throne was based on the fact that back in 1051 Edward had told him he wanted William to be the King of England when he died and that Harold G had agreed that he should be in 1062. It seems an awful lot of people were claiming things that had been said when no one else was around, but then that was what it was like in ye olden times with no digital recorders or mobile phones or computers and stuff like that. They couldn’t even write quickly, so by the time some monk had got round to copying down what Edward the Confessor had said it would probably be the next year and he’d have taken so long drawing nice pictures around the first capital letter that he’d have forgotten half of it and had to make the rest up as he went along.

Any road up. As we all know, after betting the other Harold, the still living Harold had to get his arse down to Hastings or Battle – which was so named because it was a good place for a bit of a barny – and have another fight with William. He wasn’t so lucky this time and ended up deaded. Some say it was with an arrow through the eye, but in fact he had the shit kicked out of him by William and three of his mates. The cartoon that they drew of it all after, like the writing by the monks, took a long time to put together and a lot of it was made up.

Since this date, The English have been afeared of having a king named Harold in case the same sort of thing happens to him, so the name has been banned by the Royal Family, along with the names, Jason, Vincent, Kevin and Nigel.

Today is the brithday of a so-called actress who is generally known as Trudy Styler, Mrs Sting, or as I like to call her, in reference to her stupid face, a jug-eared, monkey-faced cunt*.

She met Sting while she was appearing in Macbeth with a drunk Peter O’Toole and her friend and Sting’s then wife Frances Tomelty. She stole her husband and then started having lots of babies by him, spending his money, pretending to give a shit about the planet and ill-treating her staff.

Jug-eared, Monkey=faced Cunt

Her and Sting like to go on about how much sex they have and how good at it they are. Listening to this is a good way of making yourself sick if you have accidentally swallowed poison. Sting claims that he is a master of Tantric sex and so he can do it for hours without coming. What he fails to admit is that if he’s doing it with a normally attractive woman he comes in about 5 seconds and it’s only because Styler has a face like a jug-eared monkey-cunt that he cannot come and so he pretends to be all tantric and shit.

Anyway, she is an unpleasant piece of nothing who is only famous because she nicked her mate’s husband and gave birth to his progeny. As well as being a shit human being, she is also a shit actress. She is also a shithead of a producer type thing as can be evidenced by her love of mockney Guy Ritchie. Today she is probably dressed like a clueless bint and eating baby mice while drinking champagne while imagining that she’s good at sex because her so-called tantric husband takes hours to come.

Should I wish her a happy birthday? Ha! I think not.

*Please note that I am a great lover of monkeys and would hate to insult them in any way by claiming that they look like this she-devil.  Given that I have done that, can I please apologise and make it clear that when I call her a monkey-faced cunt, I am referring to a very rare monkey so ugly that even its mother would not be able to love it. Thank you.

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April 3rd

On this day in 1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned king of England. He had been king since June of 1042, but as is the way with the English/British monarchy it took nearly a year to get him coronated.

 

Edward's other nickname was Old Big Ears

So as he was coronated (and yes, I know it’s not a word, but I like it so I’m sticking with it) on t his day, let’s find out a little bit about him. He was born sometime between 1003 and 1005; record keeping of the birth of a seventh son wasn’t that important. His father was Ethelred the Unready and his second wife, Emma of Normandy. Now, the whole Ethelred being unready thing! It’s confused linguistics. His name in Old English was Æpelræd Unræd. Æthelred (as we’d write it) meant noble counsel, Unræd meant evil or bad or no counsel. The nickname was less aimed at Æthelred than it was at his royal council who were frankly shit. Anyway, he was Edward’s dad and he died in exile in Normandy in 1016. He stopped being king in 1013 when a bunch of Danes beat him up and stole his crown.

 

There was a whole bunch of argy-bargy about the crown during this period, with Edward’s brother, Edmund Ironside (not the Raymond Burr one) being king for a bit then getting ill and dying. Cnut (not a spelling error) became king, Emma of Normandy married him and her sons legged it back to exile in Normandy. Then Cnut died and was sort of succeeded by his son Harthacnut, but he was too busy fighting in Denmark to come and claim England, so Emma got to hold on to Wessex for him and his brother Harold Harefoot acted as his regent. Then Edward and his older brother Alfie came to claim the throne, but the Earl of Godwin caught Alfie, blinded him by shoving red  hot pokers in his eyes which, unsurprisingly killed him, and Edward, after a few battles did the right thing and went back to Normandy to recoup and plan. Then Harold Harefoot became king in his own right, he told Emma to do one. She insisted that her son go and have it out with Harold dodgy foot so that Harthacnut could get his throne back and Edward very sensibly refused. Harold died in 1040, Harthacnut came to England and got his throne and then invited Edward to come and be his heir (Harthacnut spent too much time getting all fighty and not enough time doing sex with women, so he had no children) and when Harthacnut carked it in 1042, Edward became king.

And breathe!

In short his mother was a right scheming bitch, his father was a decent bloke with bad advice and Edward came from pretty good

Ed's coffin from the Bayeux Tapestry. They used to employ midgets to walk under coffins in those days

stock if being a strong king with all that entailed is what you needed to be. He did and he pretty much was. His reign is way too complicated to look at in any great detail. Going back to Godwin who blinded his brother, he hated him, but married his daughter Edith, then chucked him out of the country and sent her to a monastery, then let Godwin back and took Edith out of the monastery. See what I mean? An awful lot of back and forth and does he hate them, doesn’t he. Did he promise the throne to William of Normandy or was  he happy for Harold Godwinson to succeed him? Too much detail, most of it leading nowhere concrete. The important facts are that he strengthened the monarchy after years of decline, the rise of the power of the earls and all sorts of shenanigans. He was not a saint (although he got canonised in 1161), he fought bloody battles, was happy to accept lots of money or Church and other appointments in his gift and probably the worst thing he did was to not have any children. It used to be said that he refused to sleep with his wife because he was too holy. This was arrant bullshit; one or both of them was infertile, it’s that simple.

 

He died at about the age of 60 in 1066 and as we all know that unleashed a bout of all hell breaking loose and the next thing we know we got ourselves a quasi-French king. His missus saw nearly all of her surviving family deaded at the Battle of Hastings and she became the only member of the Godwin family living in England (some had cleverly fled to Ireland). Some art historians think that she may have been the “author” of the Bayeux Tapestry. In the following century everyone decided for some reason that her husband should be a saint and so it was. He was in fact the Patron Saint of England until 1348 when Edward III decided he preferred having George the pretend dragon slayer. Edward is still the patron saint of the royal family, kings in general, difficult marriages and separated spouses. He’s a saint to Catholics and Anglicans, so go Eddie!

And there we have it. A lot of odd names, fighty and treacherous people and a so-called saint who would be king.

Today is the birthday of Tony Benn, born Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn and formerly the 2nd Viscount Stansgate.

The title story is just great. His dad had been an MP and in 1941 was “elevated” to the House of Lords and given the title the 1st Viscount Stansgate. In 1950 Benn jr entered parliament as MP for Bristol South East and the whole title thing wasn’t foreseen as a problem because his dad was still alive and his older brother Michael would take the title anyway. But then Michael was killed in an accident and Benn snr died in 1960. Tony Benn was immediately prevented from sitting in the House of Commons as he had automatically become a peer on his father’s death. Benn insisted that he did not want the peerage and wanted to abandon it. When a by-election was called to get a new MP in his seat he stood again and won. Despite it being obvious that the people of Bristol knew he was officially disqualified from sitting in the Commons and choosing him anyway, an electoral court gave the seat to the Conservative runner-up, who was also in line for a peerage.

 

Tony does like a good old puff on his pipe

The matter didn’t end there. Benn pushed his point and in the end a new Act was passed. The Peerage Act of 1963 allowed for the renunciation of peerages, the Conservative chap stepped down due to his peerage (that he wanted) and Benn was re-elected in yet another by-election. He remained an MP for another 38 years before stepping down in 2001 to, as he put it, “spend more time on politics”. Although on the soft left at the beginning of his political career, Benn became more of a firebrand in subsequent years and these days, at the grand old age of 86, he is president of the Stop the War Coalition, a post he’s held since 2001.

 

I went to see Tony Benn speak at the Brighton Festival a few years ago. As I approached the theatre  he was standing outside smoking his pipe. Our eyes met and when he smiled at me, there was such a twinkle in his eye that, for the first time in my life, I found myself strangely attracted to an octogenarian. I wish I’d at least done more than smile. Not that I’d have been rude with him, but I wish I’d said hello. The bastard hypnotised me with his smile and left me unable to do anything other than smile back and got a bit silly at the knees.

Anyway! He’s a grand man who is far from perfect. I admire him whilst acknowledging his feet of clay and I’m glad that people like him still exist in our world of spin and political bullshit. Happy Birthday Mr Benn, I know you’ll be drinking tea, keeping busy and disarming women with your smile. That’s exactly how it should be!

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