HOME ~ Contact us

Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia, and Aelfgifu

AELFGAR, Earl of Mercia. (Ælfgar). [CHART A22].
Son of Leofric III, Earl of Mercia, and Lady Godiva.

It is often said that his mother was Godgifu (the Lady Godiva), although others think that he was probably born of an earlier marriage. (S3).

Ælfgar gained from the exile of Earl Godwin of Wessex and his sons in 1051. He was given the Earldom of East Anglia, which had been that of Harold, son of Godwin. Earl Godwin and King Edward were reconciled the following year, so Harold was restored to his earldom - but not for long. At Easter 1053 Godwin died, so Harold became Earl of Wessex, and the earldom of East Anglia returned to Aelfgar.

He married Aelfgifu, daughter of Ethelred II, The Unready.

Aelfgar was banished in 1055 by the orders of King Edward the Confessor and went, accompanied by his family, first to Ireland and afterwards, Wales, where he formed an alliance with Gruffydd. Aelfgar learned from the tactics Godwin used to put pressure on King Edward. Aelfgar and Gryffydd raised an army in Ireland and Wales, and built a fleet of 18 ships in Ireland. Together they attacked Hereford, and clashed with the forces of Ralph the Timid, Earl of Hereford, on 24 October 1055, two miles from Hereford, and soundly defeated them.

Ralph the Timid and his men eventually took flight, and Gruffydd and Ælfgar pursued them, killing and wounding as they went, and enacting savage reprisals on Hereford. They despoiled and burnt the town, killing many of its citizens. King Edward ordered an army mustered and put Earl Harold in charge of it. This was more formidable opposition, and Ælfgar and Gruffydd fled to South Wales. However the issue was resolved by diplomacy and Aelfgar was reinstated as Earl of Eas Anglia.

He succeeded to his father's title and responsibilities as the Earl of Mercia on his father's death in 1057.

Prior to the Norman conquest in 1066, the manor of Aston (Aston Cantlow in Warwickshire) was held by Earl Ælfgar, son of Earl Leofric who had died in 1057, and the husband of Lady Godiva. (Wikipedia).

He died (about 1062-S3)(after 1062).

Aelfgifu. [CHART A22].
Daughter of Ethelred II "the Unready" King of England and Alfflaed (Aelfgifu).

  1. Edith Swan-neck (Ealdgyth). [CHART A22]. Of Mercia. She married (1) Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Gwynedd, Powys, Gwent, Glywysing, and Deheubarth. They were married in 1058 AD. Gruffydd had been an ally of her father. On 5 August 1063, Edith's husband Gruffydd was killed at Snowdonia fleeing from the invading army of Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex. She married (2) Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, in 1064 at York, England. On Ephiphany, 6 January 1066 Harold was crowned King Harold II, King of England. Harold was killed at Hastings on 14 October 1066. Edith was seven months pregnant at the time of his death. Their son Harold was born in December 1066. Edith died sometime after 1070.
  2. Eadwine. (Edwin). He succeeded his father as Earl of Mercia.
  3. Morkere. (Morcar). He was elected Earl of Northumbria when Tostig Godwinson was driven out by the Northumbrians.
  4. Burchard.