Harding De Denmark Fitzeadnoth Family
Gloucestershire, England

Harding de Denmark
Fitzeadnoth "Prince of Denmark/ Lord of Merriot"
b. abt 1060 Gloucestershire, England
d.  5 May 1125 Baldwinstreet, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

m. Livida De Meriet
b.  1073 Tickenham, Long Ashton, Somerset, England
   d.  1101 Whetonhurst, Gloucestershire, England
her father: 
her mother: 

his father:   Eadnoth "The Staller" of Denmark (1035- 1067)
his mother:  Rissa (De Montgomery) Berkeley
Children with Livida De Meriet
Agnes Fitzharding
b. 1080 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Maud Fitzharding
b. 1083 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Elias (de Berkeley) Fitzharding b. 1086 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Nicholas Fitzharding b. 1087 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Jurden Fitzharding b. 1091 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Cicely Fitzharding b. 1093 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown

Maurice Fitzharding b. 1095 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England d. unknown
m. unknown
Robert "The Devout" Fitzharding
b. 1096 Hull, Gloucestershire, Coaly, England d.  5 Feb 1170 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England           
m. Eva (Fitzestmond) 1119

The titles given to Harding Fitzeadnoth as Prince of Denmark are unlikely according to most researchers and available documentation.   See Freeman's logic below.   That is not to diminish the importance of this family but also points out the confusion that surrounds records of this era.  Harding's father, Eadnoth, was a "Staller" or minister in the courts of Edward the Confessor, Harald and William the Conqueror.  Many researchers have include him in the royal lines of Denmark without documentation.  I put the connection up as an interesting history but doubt the connection. 

The families with a "Fitz-" prefix go back to some of the supporters and soldiers of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England.  It is an Anglican adulteration of the French phrase of "fils de" meaning "son of". This is typical naming technique found in Scandinavia and Scandinavian settlements such as in Scotland or Ireland where "Mac" is used.  This prefix identifies the family with associations to early Scandinavian invaders and settlements of Normandy, France and England. Normandy was the home of Viking families and supporters of the Edward the Confessor, Harold and William the Conqueror.

 Earliest connections go back to some of the first Danish kings,  Gorm the Old of about 936 was succeeded by his son, Harald Bluetooth. Harald went off each season for raiding and pillaging from Denmark to Normandy.[wikipedia.com]

"The ancient family of de Berkeley deduces its descent from Hardinge, a younger son of one of the kings of Denmark, who came over to England with William the Conqueror, and fought at the battle of Hastings. His son, Robert FitzHardinge, obtained the Castle of Berkeley for his fidelity to King Henry II.
          [John Burke, History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I., R. Bentley, London, 1834-1838, p. 469, Berkeley, of Spetchley]
[Wikitree for Harding (Fitzharing) Fitseadnoth by Gordon Stewart]
I believe there is little doubt that Harding fitz Elnodi/Eadnoth was the son of Eadnoth "the Staller".  Numerous documents in the Doomesday Book that was created by William the Conqueror for taxation purposes listed thirty pieces of land for Eadnoth.  However, the land of Eadnoth "The Staller", who died in 1067 fighting for Edward the Confessor and Harold against the Vikings, was taken away by William the Conqueror and later redistributed to more loyal subjects.  Harding Fritzeadnoth eventually was able to reclaim some of his father's holdings which became the basis for the Berkeley estate.  "Eadnoth and Harding together held the sixteenth largest non-earlish estate in England in 1066, having estates in Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Berkshire."  
                                       [Foundation for Medieval Genealogy]

Harding fitz Elnodi was one of the Justices Itinerant in Devon and Cornwall and Exeter to investigate the Royal Pleas in Lent, 9 Will. II. 1096 [Cartulary of Tavistock Priory, as quoted in Notes and Queries, 6th S. ii. 11]. 'It is abundantly clear,' writes the late Rev. R. W. Eyton in N. and Q., 5th S. xii. 362, 'that Harding fitz Ealnoth was succeeded at Merriott and other Somersetshire estates by his eldest son and heir Nicholas fitz Harding.'

~Genealogy of the Somersetshire Family of Meriet, pp. 5-6

on the "Origin of the Berkeley Family."

"Mr Urban, -- Is there anything authentic to be found anywhere about Harding, the father of Robert Fitzhardihng, founder of Berkeley Castle and the family of Berkeley? The local tradition calls him, somewhat ludicrously, Mayor of Bristol. and son of the King of Denmark, a description as old as Bishop Godwin.  (See his Catalogue of the Bishops of Bristol.) This is generally accompanied by the addition that this Harding had made himself in some way useful to William the Conqueror,  by fighting at Senlac or otherwise.  I have seen all this over and over again in local books, and heard it as often from local mouths.  The singular incongruity of a Danish Prince being either Mayor of Bristol or in favour with William the Conqueror does not strike the local mind.  If you as what King of Denmark is meant, you get no answer; it was " the King of Denmark," and that is enough.  One local authority, Smyth, does venture (Lives of Berkeleys, p. 70) to suggest that "he was probably the sone of Harold or Hardicanute," but this does not add much to our knowledge.  No son of Harold the First or of Harthacnut is mentioned in history, and had any such existed, he would have had a fair chance of being not Mayor of Bristol but King of England.  Nor need I stop to shew that the reigning King of Denmark at the time of the Conquest was Svend Estrithson, that he was the kinsman and all of our Harold, and that therefore no son of his was likely to be in favour with William.  Nor among the many sons of Svend (see William of Malmesbery, lib. iii. c.261, pa. 438, ed. Hardy; Aso Grammaticus, p. 208, ed. Sorae, 16440 do I find any of the name of Harding.
       Unless the Danish origin of Harding is confirmed by some authority which has escaped me, I would suggest the following theory as more probable.   There was a certain Eadnoth, "Stallere" to King Harold, who appears to have submitted to William and to have been received to favour.  He was a large landowner in many counties --- that is if all the entries in Domesday belong to the same Eadnoth (see Ellis, Introduction to Domesday, ii. 85)  -- including those with which we are most concerned, Gloucester and Somerset.  It was in Somersetshire too that we find him acting in the only recorded exploit of his life, when, in the service of the invader, he helped to drive back the son of his old master from the shores of England. (See Chron. A. 10067; Flor. Wig. A. 1068; Will. Malms. ii. 254.) Notwithstanding this service, he seems, like other Englishmen, to have secured William's favour only by the surrender of a portion of his property, as his son, Harding, appears in Domesday as a landowner on a much smaller scale.  ( see Ellis, i. 432, 4; and the new Somersetshire Domesday, p. xxvii.) He is called one of the King's Thanes, and in one entry he is distinguished as "F. Alred (should be Alnod as corrected in a further note), " which marks him clearly enough, and identifies him with Harding who is also described by William of Malmesbury as a son of Eadnoth.  William, after speaking of Eadnoth and his warlike exploits, goes on to call him, "pater Kerdingi qui adhue superest, magi consuetus lingnam n lites acuere, quam arma in bello concuture." A Somersetshire and Glouscestershire landowner, of tastes so unusual in that age, would be more likely than the son of a Danish King to take to the municipal line and to rise to the dignity of Mayor, or whatever was the proper title of the Chief Magistrate of Bristol in those days.
     If, then, there is no distinct evidence the other way, I would suggest that in this Harding the son of Eadnoth we have lighted on the real patriarch of the house of Berkeley.  If so, we have a distinct case of an English family, important before the Conquest, preserving part of its property amid William's confiscations, rising in the second generation after the Conquest to still higher honours and possessions, and retaining its place in the peerage down to our own times.  To be sprung in the direct male line from Harold's "stallere" who fought against Harold's son is not quite like being sprung from Hereward or Waltheof; still it is a pedigree which it is hardly wise to exchange for a mythical-- and, if  real, illegitimate (see Saxo u. s. ) -- descent from a foreign royal house.
            I am , &c. Edward A. Freeman. Somerleas, Wells, July 16, 1863.
 [printed in The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, for the Year, Vol., 215, July - Dec., 1863. John Henry and James Parker, 1863. London]


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