Eadnoth/Elnod/Alnod "The Staller" Family
Gloucestershire, England


Eadnoth/Elnod/Alnod "The Staller, Thane f Gocester"
b. 1030-35 Bristol, England
  d. 1068 Bleadon, Somerset, England [Eyton 82]
buried:  possibly in Gloucestershire, England
Eadnoth's shield

m. perhaps Rissa (De Montgomery) Berkeley   England 1049 
b. 1044 St. Germain, Montgomery, Normandy, France
d. 1069 or 1090 Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England [the later date works better for history]
her father: unknown Montgomery
her mother: unknown

her 1m. Roger De Berkeley [if this is 1st marriage for Rissa he needs to die much earlier]
b. 1 April 1040 Dursley, Gloucestershire, England
 d. in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England
son of William (Berkeley) de Berkeley and Elizabeth Betteshorne


his 1st alternate father (by my choice):  Ulufius, Ulfui, Styrbiorn (Thorgilsson) Thrugilsson ( Jarl or Earl of Denmark)
his 1st alternate mother (by my choice)  : Estrid S. (Svensdottir) Princess of Denmar  (Princess of Denmark)

his 2nd alternate father: perhaps Svend II (Estridsson) Ulfsson (King of Denmark 1019 Roskilde, Denmark )
his 2nd alternatemother: perhaps Glytha (De Denmark) Decrepon (1010 Denmark)

Child with Rissa (de Montgomery) Berkeley
Harding (Prince of Denmark) DeMeriet (Fitzharding) Fitzeadnoth
b. 1048 -1070 Gloucestershire, England
d. 5 May 1125 Baldwinstreet, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England m. Livida De Meriet  Gloucestershire, England
Estmond Fitzeadnoth
b. about 1074 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
d. 1142 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
m. unknown
(child Eve Fitzestmond marries Robert "the Devout" Fitzharding)
 

Although Eadnoth is a central figure in the changes in England around the 1060's, I have not been able to find any documented evidence of lineage to Sven II or Glytha/Gytha de Denmark.  There are a number of documents that identify his importance but no where do they identify his parents or marital status.  Any connections that I give beyond this point must be treated as interesting possibilities and great stories of Viking life. 

Eadnoth is spelled in many different documents in many different ways.  He is described as a Saxon Dapifer, general, a steward, a Constable and a Stallere. His name has been spelled Alnod, Aeldnoth, Elnod, Ednod, and Eadnoth. [Eyton 78] We have little to no information on his parents or marriage.  Since Harding Fitzeadnoth used the title of Prince of Denmark some researchers have justified that he must have been the grandson of a Danish King or Queen such as Gytha but it is possible that if Harding has royalty it may have come from his undocumented mother. 

The prefix of "Fitz" as a portion of the surname is based on the French words fils de which stands for "son of".  It has been Anglicized to Fitz. It was used by Vikings of Normandy, as a similar naming pattern found in Scandinavia.  The first name of the father becomes part of the last name of the son or daughter.   Eadnoth's son Harding should then be Harding Fritzeadnoth. This kind of naming goes on for many generations.  It comes from Normandy where Vikings had settled for generations and then transported to England through battles and marriages.  In fact the name "staller" is a Danish word for a "place-holder". [Barlow 165]

The records are very confusing and missing many normally available facts.  Researchers are using Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English and French records to reconstruct the families and often times using inferences over facts. 
"The use of the term 'brother' by Snorri may cause confusion.  Harold and Harthacnut were 'brothers' because Cnut was their father.  Harthacnut and Edward were 'brothers' because Emma was their mother.  Harold and Edward were not blood relatives; but they were, in our parlance, 'stepbrothers' through the marriage of Cnut and Emma.
       Whichever version of the relationship between Harthacnut and Edward is most persuasuve.  Edward became king and cemented an accord with Earl Godwine by marrying the earl's daughter, Edith.  In Heimskringla,  Snorri Sturluson says her name is an anglicized version of the Scandinavian "Gytha' and the she was the niece of King Cnut, the cousin of Swein Ulfsson and the granddaughter of Jarl Thorgils, of whom ...Edith's marriage to King Edward's brothers-in-law. By this marriage, Edward associated himself firmly with the Anglo-Danish establishment and ensured that his sons, if any, would be descended from Jarl Thorgils and would be related to the Danish royal family." [Owen-Crocker 44-45]

Harald Sigurdsson "Hardarda" meaning "stern counsel", King of Norway c1046-1068, a Danish mercenary and would-be-king of Denmark and England. If Eadnoth is a son of Sven II, Harald "Hardrada" would be his cousin. Harald "Hardrada" was defeated by the English which allowed for peace from Danish raiding for a number of years.  It is not known if Eadnoth was with the English who defeated the Viking Hardrada but Hardrada's death at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire did give Harold Godwinsin a temporary victory.   Edward's unexpected death created a war between Harald II, his heir of choice, and William the Conqueror who, did have a bloodline claim, and who quickly invaded England from Normandy. 

The Anglo-Saxon chronical stated:
A.D. 1066. This year died King Edward, and Harold the earl succeeded to the kingdom, and held it forty weeks and one day. And this year came William, and won England. And in this year Christ-Church [Canterbury] was burned. And this year appeared a comet on the fourteenth before the kalends of May.

In January of 1066 Edward "the Confessor" dies.  Harold Godwinsin claimed that Edward had nominated him to succeed him as King.  The other claimants to the throne were not accepting of this.  The Viking Harald Sigursson "Hardarda" believed that he had a right and the military prowess to be king and lead a fleet of 300 Viking ships from Norway on an invasion course to York in partnership with Tostig, Harold Godwinsin's dispossessed brother.  Harold  Godwinsin heard of Hardarda's plan to invade England and marched an army north to meet the challenge in September of 1066.  At the same time William Duke of Normandy who did have a bloodline to connection to Edward felt that he should be the lawful king of England. By the time that Harold Godwinsin had arrived in the north "Hardarda" and Tostig had successfully taken York moved out of town toward the Stamford Bridge area.  There the forces met on September 25 and battled for hours, "Hardarda" is killed, taking an arrow through the neck.  The Vikings were reduced to only 30 ships for the retreat. Tostig also dies here. Only three days after the battle at Stamford Bridge William the Duke of Normandy invades England to meet the Harold's weary army at Hastings where Harold is killed.  William goes on to put down any other contenders, pretenders and rebels anywhere in England and becomes William The Conqueror.  Over the next several years the sons of Harold fought for the realm.  William was perhaps more ruthless but also more organized and did unify England and set up a system of taxation based very much on the first ever census through the Domesday Book. Eadnoth is mentioned in the Doomesday Book compiled in 1086 by William the Conqueror as having had 30 holdings in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire before the conquest.  If Eadnoth was involved in the Battle of Stamford Bridge he made a return to Gloustershire by 1068 where Harald Godwinsin's remaining sons, renewed the claim at Somerset.  Here Eadnoth, heading the local militia, is slain while also repulsing the attack.   [wikipedia.com]

Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066
Battle of Stamford Bridge from a 13c Anglo-Norman manuscript
courtesy of wikimedia.org

Because of his loyalty to Edward as opposed to Harald Godwinsin, Eadnoth apparently lost his right to the land.  Even though he had a son, Harding/Herdinge, his son did not receive this as an inheritance.  It is argued by Freeman that Harding's lack of inheritance may have had more to do with some slight that he did to Godwin or William the Conqueror who followed almost immediately after the Hardarda's Viking attack was repelled.  Eadnoth apparently had held some claim on Saint Mary's abbey.   As in the Domesday Book, "Ednod tenuit T. R. E. Hanc terram abstulit Godwinus comes Sanctae Mariae Wiltunensi, it tunc eam recuperavit Edondus." translated it implies that Eadnoth had a claim to the church land and through the intervention of Godwine it was returned to Eadnoth or his estate.  Eventually Harding does get this property.  [Freeman 757]

Comparatively little is known of this great Saxon general, and nothing at all of his early life and family, except his son Harding fitz Eadnoth.

Although many writers even of the period surrounding the invasions and the Battle of Samford bridge have written about the invasion in terms of English national unity against the Normans or French.  This is not proved in the facts.  Shelley, states that it was unclear even what language spoken in England at that time. It was likely to have been a combination of language groups existing at the same time and place. There were mixed settlements of French, English, Normans and Danes throughout the island. There were settlements of all language groups often fighting desperately to survive in a servile position to the lords and sheriffs of the land.  Rather than rebelling against William and his army many of the villages submitted peace proposals after only the briefest resistance. Their armies often joined with Williams to conquer other territories. 
"thus, In less than two years after Hastings we find Englishmen fighting for William, harrying their own land,  and besieging Englishmen in an English city.  After a siege of eighteen days, finding themselves treated leniently by William, the citizens rejoiced that theyhad fared better than they had thought to, and only a little later are on the king's side repelling an attack on the town by the men of Deveon and Cornwell. Also in the south-west, in 1068, we find sons of Harold, and with aid of a force from Ireland, harrying Somerset.  Eadnoth the Staller, who was a staller under Harold, with a force of French and English, met them was defeated. Malmesbury attributes teh use of Englishmen against Englishmen in this conflict to Williams's desire to profit in any event.  That this is probably untrue is shown by the many other instances in Englishmen are found fighting in William's armies, with apparent willingness, and by the fact that Eadnoth was a royal officer. In 1069, again bishop Geoffrey of Coutances put down an uprising in Somerset and Dorset with men of London, Winchester and Salisbury. [Percy Van Dyke Shelley, English and French in England, 1066-1100.  p23. ]

    His transactions with Aelfwold, Bishop of Sherborne, shows him to have been in an influential position before A. D., 1058. For the next ten years he served as a high officer under Kings Edward, Harold and William the Conqueror.

In another statement in Freeman's Norman Conquest,
    "The sons of Harold, with a fleet of 52 ships, manned, no doubt, partly by Irish, Danes, and partly by English exiles, sailed to some point of the Somerset coast not more fully described.
    Under the circumstances of their landing, it is not wonderful that they found the shire unfriendly, or the Eadnoth, once their father's staller, preferred his lately sworn allegiance to the Norman king to any feelings of regard for the sons of his old master.
    Eadnoth, as King William's officer, met the sons of Harold in arms, at the head of King William's new subjects, the local fyrd of Somerset. " [Merritt 180]

The mystery remains as to how Eadnoth Fitzharding is the son of Swen II is possible.  We do know that Sven made a number of trips to England as a young man.  He also is known to have had many mistresses as well as five wives.  I have found no confirming documents, so far, that say that Glytha de Denmark was one of them.  Ancient local historians state, "As to the descendants of Harding, it seems in highest degree probable that this Harding was the father of Robert Fitz-Harding of Bristol, the forefather of the second line of the lords of Berkeley.  Local antiquaries call Harding of Bristol, and what not.  The unlikelihood of a son of Swegen Estrithsson being in the service of William never strikes them. On the other hand, nothing is more likely than that a Thegn holding lands in Somerset and Gloucecstershire, but how clearly held a much small amount of land that his father, and who was the peculiar and unwarlike disposition described by William of Malmesbury, should through his lot with the burghers of the great city which lay on the confines of the two shires, and should rise to eminence among them." [Freeman p. 758]

Wm. Malmesbury wrote in Latin:"Vocabatur is Ednodus, domi belloque Anglorum Temporibut juxtus insignis, pater Herdingi qui adhuc superest, magis consuctus linguam in lites acuere quam arma in bello concuture."  translated it states "Was it Ednodus, at home and English at the right time, distinguished by his father Herding is still living, more accustomed to the language of the debates than to sharpen the weapons of war." [Freeman 756]

The Oxford University Dictionary of National Biography has this excerpt about:
Eadnoth the Staller (d. 1068), landowner and administrator, is addressed in a writ of Edward the Confessor, relating to Hampshire and dated between 1053 and 1066 (AS chart., S 1129); his attestation is also found on two spurious charters for 1065 and he was probably at the beginning of his career in the 1060s. Stallers were members of the royal household and Eadnoth is elsewhere identified as the Confessor's steward; he seems also to have served as a royal justice. He continued in the service of Harold II and then of William I until he was killed in 1068 at Bleadon at the head of a force defending Somerset against an invasion by the sons of Harold. His estates, in Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Gloucestershire, passed to Hugh d'Avranches, earl of Chester. He may have held some 65 hides of land in all, but there is some doubt as to whether he should be identified with another of Earl Hugh's predecessors, Alnoth the Staller. The names are distinct, but Alnoth could represent Old English Ealdnoth, and the Domesday scribe occasionally confuses the name elements Eald- and Ead-; alternatively Alnoth and Eadnoth may have been brothers. Eadnoth has been identified as the father of Harding son of Eadnoth, who by 1086 was a substantial landowner in Somerset, probably by virtue of service to the king; he was a royal justice in the time of William II and was still living in the early 1120s. Harding's Somerset lands went to his son, Nicholas of Meriott; another son was Robert fitz Harding, the Bristol burgess and founder of the second house of Berkeley.
[Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ]
Bayeux Tapestry with Edward
          the Confessor
Bayeaux Tapestry with Edward the Confessor.(1003-1066)
Wikimedia.

Edward the Confessors had used merceneries and Vikings for additional support even the he himself having some Scandinavian roots had been raised in France. 

"Since the days of Aethelred, English kings and some earls kept houscarls, mercenaries of Scandinavian extraction. How many were in Edward's service is not known.  Some were stationed in boroughs on garrison duty. A troop may have accompanied the court; but there would also have been in the household thegns and cnihtas, men of highter social rank, to form a retinue for the king.  For some purposes no more than an escort was required.  Edward also until 1051 kept a small foreign, probably Viking, fleet.  In 1050 this consisted of fourteen ships, each with a theoretical complement of 60 'lithsmen' or 'Butsecarls'.
    These headquarters' torcts could be reinforced in a variety of ways.  The king was probably rarely without the escorts of some of his companions.  When in November 1043 he rode with Earls Leofric, Godwin, and Siward from Gloucester to Winchester in order to despoil his mother, he would have had forces sufficient to overawe Emma's retainers.  In 1051, when he was again with his earls at Gloucester, and Godwin's rebellion broke out, both the loyal and the rebel ears set to work to assemble armies.  One of their first acts would have been to summon their thegns.  And it was by calling the whole army to his own standard and causing thegns to desert the rebel earls that Edward was able to sap Godwin's military power.  The armies which the English commanders took in to Wales and Scotland were presumably also of this type.  Small, mobile, well-trained forces were required." [Barlow 169-170]

"This racial variety (English, French, Germans, and Normans - EC) at court is a symptom of a relaxed atmosphere in the kingdom.  Even if some of those with Scandinavian names were of mixed descent, or Englishmen in disguise, this reinforces the diagnosis.  It is characteristic of the period after 1052 that Ralf of Mantes was living with his wife, Gytha, and their son, Harold (both Danish names,  on their estates in Herefordshire,  while Earl Harald's mistress, Edith, bore sons whom they called Godwin, Edmund, and Magnus.  The Anglo-Danish queen, Edith, had a French thegn, AElfweard.  Such a tolerance of strangers, the absence of prejudice in the choice of personal names, the adaptability which the linguistic difficulties alone must have required, reveal among the aristocracy a sophistication which, although seldom completely absent from the English royal court, had, perhaps, been on the decline since the reigns of Athelstan and Edgar..." [Barlow 192]

Eadnoth was one of the nobles of Edward the Confessor's court along with Ralf, Robert fitzWimarch, Esgar, Bondi, Wigod and Aethelnoth(could this be another spelling of Eadnoth? - EC), all well-known men, large landholders. stallers, and in several cases sheriffs. [Barlow 245]

1068- Eadnoth was killed in the battle that ensued with the invasion of Harald's sons in Somerset.  [Eyton 82]

  William of Malmesbury, the great historian of his time, writes as follows of Eadnoth:
    "The invaders being driven to Ireland, the royalists purchased the empty title of conquest at their own special loss and that of their general.  His name was Ednoth, equally celebrated before the arrival of the Normans, both at home and abroad.  He was the father of Harding, who yet survives, a man more accustomed to kindle strife by his malignant tongue that to brandish arms in the field of battle."
Hardy, the historian, calls Eadnoth "Harold's master of the horse. He was killed in 1068, in opposing the sons of Harold when they came upon their expedition from Ireland." [Merritt 180]

Eyton using Freeman as a source:
"The same great authority supplies us with the probable movements of the Three sons of Harald in the years 1067, 1068, and 1069.  Their names were "Godwine, Eadmund, and Magnus." After Senlac they seem to have retired to South-West with their grandmother, Gytha.  On the fall of Exeter (cerca February, 1068) they crosssed the Channel and tool refuge with King Diarmid, of Dublin.  Later in the same year they returned with a fleet of 52 ships, devasted the Somerset seaboard, sailed up the Avon, threatening Bristol, and were repulsed by the Burgesses.  Returning to their havoc of the Somerset coast, they were attacked by Eadnoth, the Stallere, commanding the men of Somerset.  A drawn battle ensued.  Eadnoth had fallen; but the sons of Harold sailed away, and after devastating coasts of Devon and Cornwall, went back to Ireland.  In June, 1069, two sons of Harold led an Irish expeditioin awainst Devon. They seem to have landed in the Tavy, to have harried far and wide in the South and West of Devon, and threatened, if they did not attack, Exeter.  The were defeated in two battles by William's lieutenants, described variously as two earls, or comtes, "William and Brien," and as William Guald and Brien, a Comte of Bretagne,' ...  " [Eyton 82]
Freeman states:

"In the summer of 1068 when the sons of Harold, sailing from Ireland, had failed in their attempt on Bristol, they retried to plunder the sea-board of Somerset.  There they were confronted by Eadnoth the Stallere. A battle ensued.  The victory seemed doubtful, for, on the one hand, the sons of Harold fled, on the other Eadnoth fell. "[Eyton 58]

1068-Summer -  Eadnoth dies in the Battle of Somerset against the forces of Tostig, who was also defeated.  Eadnoth probably was forced to surrender the lands he controlled to William the Conqueror because he supported Edward the Confessor and Harold II.  Becoming a hero here may have helped his son Harding Fitzeadnoth recover some of his father's former property. 

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