When Edward the Confessor, who was part of the house of Wessex and the rightful ruler, came to the throne, he found a dangerous enemy. He happened to be the former favorite of Cnut, and his name was Godwin, earl of Wessex.
Edward had good reasons to hate Godwin, chief among them was the fact that when Edward and his brother were trying to take the throne from Cnut’s sons, his brother was caught, imprisoned, and murdered by Godwin. Edward and Godwin created a standoff for many years, until finally, Edward claimed victory when Godwin was forced into exile.
Edward had no sons, let alone children, to inherit the throne. Godwin had no ties to the house of Wessex, but would probably take the throne after he died. So, in 1051, Edward offered his kingdom to William, duke of Normandy, after he died. This would not last. Two years later, Godwin died, and his son, Harold Godwinson, took the position of Earl of Wessex, and his other son, Tostig, took a position as Earl of Northumbria.
in 1066, though, Edward died, and left his kingdom, surprisingly, to Harold Godwinson. In only a short amount of time, Harold was marching against a force led by his brother Tostig and Hardrada of Norway. He soon crushed them, but then he had to take his exhausted force south to defend against William of Normandy, who was also attacking.
The two met near Hastings. The battle raged all day, with the Norman archers and knights trying to take down the Saxon shield wall. Again and Again William charged uphill at Harold, and every time he came back down with less men and no victory. Finally, Harold was killed, hit by an archer in the eye and hacked the rest of the way to death by one of William’s knights. Soon afterwards, the Saxon shield wall faltered due to losing their leader, and fled.
This shock was to be continued, as village after village was taken by William. He decided to use a method that he was familiar with: Terrorize the country into submission.