Gunhild Haraldsdatter

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Gunhild Haraldsdatter

Lithuanian: Gunilda, iš Vesekso
Also Known As: "Gunhildr Haraldsdóttir", "Gunnhild Haroldsdotter of of Wessex"
Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Death: 1097 (41-42)
England (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Harold Godwinsson, King of England and Edith the Fair
Wife of Alan Niger Fitz Eudo
Partner of Alain "Rufus" de Bretagne, lord of Richmond
Mother of Matilda
Sister of Godwin Haroldsson, Earl of Kent; Magnus Haroldsson; Gytha of Wessex, Grand Princess consort of Kievan Rus; Ulf Haraldsson and Edmund Haroldsson
Half sister of Harold Haraldsson

Managed by: Private User
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About Gunhild Haraldsdatter

Gunhild, daughter of Harold Godwinsson and Eadgyth Swanneck


Edgiva, or Eadgifu  in Old English, was an immensely wealthy lady who died after 1066 and whose lands had initially been given to the Breton Ralph de Gael, earl of Norfolk. When he forfeited his lands following his revolt in 1075, they were given to Count Alan. Eddeva Pulcra was first identified in the margins of a seventeenth-century manuscript with Edgiva Swanneck, the concubine of King Harold Godwinsson, and the case was argued in detail by J R Boyle in 1896.
Sharpe shows on chronological grounds that Edgiva was Gunnilda’s mother. It is known from letters of Archbishop Anselm that Harold’s daughter Gunnilda, who had taken refuge in Wilton abbey in 1066, was later the wife or concubine of Alan Rufus, and had sought the protection of Alan’s brother and successor on his death in August 1093. Sharpe argues that, as was not uncommon at that time, Gunnilda had first entered the abbey to escape the turmoil of 1066, and had subsequently left the abbey in order to legitimize the succession of one of the newcomers to an English inheritance by marriage; in this case by her marriage to Count Alan, who now held the land her mother Edgiva had been given by Harold. Alan and Gunnilda’s daughter Matilda was probably born about 1073, according to Sharpe; she married [Walter D’Eincourt] around 1089 and was mother of both his sons. She was not, of course, treated as her father’s heiress, and disposed of only a few of her grandmother’s manors, but her mother’s marriage had served its purpose in helping to consolidate the creation of the eastern portion of what was to become the vast honour of Richmond.


  • The Haskins Society Journal 19: 2007. Studies in Medieval History. edited by Stephen Morillo, William North. “King Harold’s Daughter,” by Richard Sharpe. GoogleBooks
  • MATILDA, daughter of ---. An undated charter of King Henry II confirms the possessions of York St Mary and lists donations including the donations made by "Walterus de Daincourt" and the donation of “unam carucatam terræ quæ fuit Brutinæ in Corby et silvam…decimam de domino de Abbingtuna et de Lins et de Thudesham et decimam Ribaldi de Pikenham de altera Lins, et decimam de Herinthorp, decimam Normanni de Fliccaburh, decimam Gerrardi in Apelby et Gamesthorp et terram…Northuuda juxta Burtunam in Lincolschira” made by “Matildis uxor eius”[7]. Richard Sharp suggests that she was Mathilde, [illegitimate] daughter of Alain "Rufus" de Bretagne Lord of Richmond & his mistress Gunhild ---[8]. ...
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Gunhild Haraldsdatter's Timeline

London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Age 42
England (United Kingdom)