The Godwins : The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty, Paperback

The Godwins : The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty Paperback

Part of the The Medieval World series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The family of Earl Godwin of Wessex stands among the most famous in English history, whose most famous son was King Harold.

Frank Barlow charts the family through to Harold - the last Anglo-Saxon king - and finally the crowning of William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest.

Set against the backdrop of Viking raids and ultimately the Norman Conquest of 1066, Frank Barlow unravels the gripping history of a feuding family that nevertheless determined the course and fortunes of all the English.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 232 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780582784406



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This is a good, fairly short account of the rise and fall of the Godwins as a family throughout the course of the 11th century. It identifies a likely ancestry for Godwin, seven generations descended from King Ethelred I, one of Alfred's elder brothers.  Much of the book deals with events with which I am very familiar with in other works and there is nothing terribly new here, although useful to have it in easily digestible form.  The final chapter usefully examines the eventual fate of Harold Godwinsson's offspring - generally unknown, they had all faded into history by the end of the century. 4/5

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