Category Archives: The Danes

England’s Danish Kings

King Canute
King Canute (Cnut) of England

At the age of twenty-three Canute (Cnut) became the first Danish King of England in 1016, alongside his duties as King of Denmark in 1018 and Norway in 1028.  He made it known, to his subjects England was his home.

Under his rule, England was divided into four powerful Earldoms; Wessex, Mercia, West Anglia and Northumbria in 1017.

He married the widow of Aethelred; Emma in 1017 making her his Queen.

In 1018 the King and his counselors met at Oxford, to draw up laws governing the conduct of Englishmen and Danishmen alike.  Cnut promised to dispense justice, in the protection of his people’s rights, as laid down in Christian teachings.

His army travelled north to Scotland, it was a mighty show of force, compelling King Malcolm of Scotland to accept him as ruler of England, rather than make war.

In 1027 King Cnut travelled to Rome visiting holy shrines and attended Conrad II’s coronation as the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1027, King Cnut went to Scotland where upon King Malcolm bowed in his presence as did Maelbeth and Iehmarc.

Upon his return to England, he gave the port of Sandwich to Christchurch in Canterbury and the taxes there of.  When the tide is at its highest, as a ship floats close to land.  A sailor standing on the ship’s deck with small axe in hand, would throw it, and taxes based upoon the throw would be paid to the monastery.

In 1028 King Cnut’s forces of some fifty ships sailed to Norway, where upon they drove King Olaf from his land, and secured a claim upon it.

In 1035 King Cnut of England died, and was buried at the Old Minster in Winchester.

Harold I also known as Harold Harefoot, in recognition of his speed and skill as a hunter.  Harold was the illegitimate son of Cnut and Elgiva.  Harold Harefoot was appointed regent to rule jointly with Cnut’s wife and the Early Godwin of Wessex.

With Harthacanute the rightful heir to the English throne in Denmark, Harold Harefoot was assisted by Earl Godwin in his bid for the crown, and Harold became King in 1037.

Harold died in 1040, just weeks before Harthacanute was due to invade England with an army of Danes.

Harold was buried in the Old Minster in Winchester.  Harthacanute replied by digging up his body, beheading him and tossed into the River Thames.

Harthacanute became King of England in 1040, and with no heir invited his half-brother Edward, Emma’s son by marriage to Aethelred back from exile in Normandy in 1041.  Harthacanute died in 1042 whilst toasting the health of a bride at her marriage…  So ended Danish rule in England.

Wikipedia Image