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Harold Godwinson

King Harold Godwinson was a Saxon ruler of England. After losing the Battle of Hastings, he became known as Hereward the Wake.


He succeeded his brother-in-law Edward the Confessor in January. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) Harold was married to Lady Edith Swan-Neck. (PROSE: The Real Hereward)

King Harold successfully opposed the Vikings. (TV: The Time Meddler) At the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066, Harold defeated the army of Harald Hardrada in a surprise attack. (TV: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart) The First Monk intended to change history by destroying the Vikings with an atomic cannon, allowing Harold to focus on the Norman invasion. However, his plans were thwarted when a group of Saxons ran the Monk out of his monastery. (TV: The Time Meddler)

Shortly after the Battle of Stamford Bridge, William the Conqueror invaded Sussex. (TV: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart) Harold's forces faced him at the Battle of Hastings. (TV: The Time Meddler) The Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley met King Harold at the battle, (AUDIO: Mary's Story) and Rory Williams served as one of his generals. (PROSE: The Constant Warrior)

Ultimately, Harold was defeated. (TV: The Time Meddler) By one account, an arrow ricocheted off the Doctor's materialising TARDIS and lodged in Harold's eye; (COMIC: The Bits We've Missed So Far) however, by 2010 Rani Chandra read online that he wasn't actually shot in the eye. (TV: Lost in Time) According to another account, Harold had actually faked his death with the assistance of his wife Lady Edith and her mother Countess Gytha, who had falsely identified his body on the battlefield.

Harold speaks with the Sixth Doctor. (PROSE: The Real Hereward)

Now calling himself "Hereward the Wake", Harold continued to oppose the Normans with a guerilla campaign. The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown met him in the Fenlands and dissuaded him from allying with the Danes to march on London, as the Doctor felt the Danes would not allow a Saxon on the throne of England. Instead, the Doctor persuaded him and his men to remain a thorn in the side of the Normans, giving hope to the Saxon people and prevent them from ever fully accepting Norman rule. (PROSE: The Real Hereward)

Later references[]

The First Monk believed that, had Harold not been defeated in the Battle of Hastings, he would have been a good king and that, under his rule, there wouldn't be "all those wars" in Europe with the claims over France that "went on for years and years", resulting in people being able to better themselves in the peace. (TV: The Time Meddler)

According to the Sixth Doctor, Hereward the Wake was remembered as "the foremost of the Saxon outlaws who led a guerrilla campaign against the Normans after the Battle of Hastings." (PROSE: The Real Hereward)

In 2010, Mr Smalley claimed that a bloodstained arrow in his shop was said by some to be the arrow pulled King Harold's eye after the Battle of Hastings. Rani Chandra replied that she'd read online that he wasn't shot in the eye at all. Mr Smalley added that the tapestry of time was a fragile thing and applying the slightest pressure could cause the threads of history to unravel. (TV: Lost in Time)

The Thirteenth Doctor described King Harold as a "big fella" who was handy with a sword and liked a good knock-knock joke. She remembered asking him, "What do you call a knight who always cheats on a test? Sir Glancelot." (COMIC: Mistress of Chaos)

Behind the scenes[]

  • In reality, there is no evidence that King Harold and Hereward the Wake were the same person.
  • Hereward the Wake was played by Alfred Lynch in the BBC series Hereward the Wake and Brian Blessed in Blood Royal: William the Conqueror.