Aldgyth (DNB00)

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ALDGYTH (fl. 1063), the daughter of Ælfgar, earl of Mercia, was a woman of great beauty. She married her father's ally, Gruffydd, the ‘king over all Wales,’ and is said to have borne him a son and a daughter. When, in 1063, the Welsh were conquered by Earl Harold, Gruffydd's own men conspired against him and slew him. An alliance with the great Mercian house, which had so long withstood the power of Godwine and his family, promised to forward the accomplishment of Harold's designs. He was already pledged to marry a daughter of William, the Norman duke. Another woman was the mother of his children. Nevertheless, Aldgyth was married, probably in 1064, to the conqueror of her former husband. She was in London at the time of the battle of Senlac. When her brothers, Eadwine and Morkere, heard of the death of Harold, they came thither, and sent their sister to Chester for shelter. She appears in Domesday as ‘Aldgid uxor Grifin,’ which may perhaps show that the Normans affected to consider that the pre-contract of Harold to a daughter of their duke had invalidated his marriage with Aldgyth. Some lands which she held in Warwickshire were of course forfeited after the Conquest. Nothing more is known of Aldgyth, save that she had a son by Harold, who was called after his father, and that it is probable that she was also the mother of another of his sons, named Ulf.

[William of Jumièges, lib. vii.; Orderic, ap. Duchesne, Hist. Norman. Scriptores, 492; Anglo-Saxon Chron. sub an. 1063; Florence of Worcester, sub an. 1066; Freeman, Norman Conquest, iii. 630. iv. 756.]

W. H.