History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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was appointed commander of the ships sent by the County of Sussex, in 1008, to oppose the invasion of the Danes. In 1019 we find that Ulnoth's son, Earl Godwin, accompanied King Canute to Denmark, then invaded by the Vandals. Here Godwin distinguished himself, and in reward the King created him *Earl of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.
About 1046 Earl Godwin became unpopular with Edward the Confessor, and Brighthelmstun and his other possessions were seized, but Godwin regained them by force and, being reinstated in favor, enjoyed his possessions until the 17th of April, 1053, when he was suddenly taken ill at "Winchester, where the Court of Edward was then held, and died four days afterwards. Harold, the eldest son of Earl Godwin, succeeded to the chief manor of Bright­helmstun. This nobleman was distinguished for his qualities as a statesman and warrior, and his public and private virtues so endeared him to the nation that they looked upon him as the fittest person to succeed the reigning monarch. Upon the death of Edward, 1065, he was chosen King, but owing to a secret arrangement made between the King and William Duke of Normandy, the latter made a claim, and asserted his right by force of arms. After Harold had defeated his brother Tostin and the King of Norway, at Stanford Bridge, near York, William landed at Pevensey. Harold immediately pro­ceeded southwards, and with the addition of some levies hastily collected at Brighthelmstun and his other manors in Sussex, encamped within nine miles of the invaders. On the 14th October, 1066, he gave battle with the Normans, and, after performing all that valour and judg­ment could do against a brave enemy, closed his life on the field of battle near Hastings.
* It is asserted on good authority that the dangerous shoals on the Kentish coast, called the Goodwin Sands, were formerly part of the possessions of this nobleman, before they were severed from the main land by the inroads of the sea—hence the name.
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