Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Leofwine

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LEOFWINE (d. 1066), a younger and probably the fifth son of Earl Godwine [q. v.] and his wife, Gytha, is described as ‘nobilis’ in 1049 (Kemble, Codex Dipl. iv. No. 787), and about that date, or perhaps earlier, acted as governor of Kent (ib. No. 828, dated by the death of Archbishop Eadsige in 1050, and according to Norman Conquest, ii. 567, by the death of Godwine, bishop of Rochester, in 1046, but the latter date seems uncertain). Leofwine was not, however, earl, and no doubt acted as governor under his father's direction; for he must then have been quite a youth. On the outlawry of his family in 1051, he fled with his brother Harold [see Harold II] to Ireland, took part in Harold's raid on Somerset in the next year, and shared in his father's restoration. In 1057, the date of a rearrangement of earldoms, he probably became earl of the whole country over which it is certain that he afterwards ruled. His government extended over Kent, Surrey, Essex, Middlesex (with the exception of London and so much as pertained to it), Hertfordshire, and probably Buckinghamshire (Kemble, Codex Dipl. iv. Nos. 846, 858, 860, 864), though the administration seems to some extent to have been under the control of Harold (ib. Nos. 854, 855, 859). He appears to have accompanied Harold, then king, to the battle of Stamford Bridge (Norman Conquest, iii. 361 n.) At the battle of Hastings, on 14 Oct. 1066, he took his place beside the king under the standard, and fell fighting at the barricade in front of the English position almost at the same moment at which his brother Gyrth [q. v.] was slain. His death is represented in the Bayeux tapestry.

[Freeman's Norman Conquest, ii. 36, 153, 315 sqq., 419, 567, iii. 361, 484, iv. 34, 753, gives all that is known of Leofwine; Green's Conquest of England, p. 365; Kemble's Codex Dipl. iv. Nos. 787, 828, 846, 854, 855, 859, 860, 864 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Anglo-Saxon Chron. ann. 1051, 1052, 1066; Flor. Wig. i. 208, 227 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, p. 245 (Rolls Ser.); Vita Ædwardi, l. 528 (Lives of Edward the Confessor, p. 404, Rolls Ser.), where Leofwine is erroneously written Leofric; Orderic, p. 501 (Duchesne); Geoff. Gaimar, ll. 5265, 5344 (Mon. Hist. Brit. pp. 827, 828).]

W. H.