Edwin, Earl of Mercia

Edwin (died 1070) was the elder brother of Morcar, Earl of Northumbria, son of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia and nephew of Hereward. He succeeded to his father's title and responsibilities on Ælfgar's death in 1062. He appears as Earl Edwin in the Domesday Book.

His younger brother, Morcar was elected Earl of Northumbria when Tostig Godwinson was ejected by the Northumbrians (October 3, 1065). Invading what is now Yorkshire in September, 1066, Harald Hardrada and Tostig defeated the English earls Edwin and Morcar at the Battle of Fulford near York (September 20), but were in turn defeated and slain by Harold Godwinson's army, five days later at the Battle of Stamford Bridge (September 25).

In 1068, Edwin and Morcar were defeated by William at York. Edwin was the last of the Anglo-Saxon earls of Mercia, being killed early in the Fenland campaign of 1070-71, against William the Conqueror's takeover of England (including his and his family's property).

Edwin's sister, Edith, had been married to Harold Godwinson until the latter's death at Hastings on October 14, 1066.

Edwin's lands centred at Gilling in his brother's Northumbrian earldom, were given to Alan of Brittany in 1071 and the district was renamed to Richmondshire.

Preceded by:

Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia

Edwin, Earl of Mercia Followed by

redistribution of power in England, under Norman rule

Death of Edwin

Earl Edwin, the affianced husband of one of the daughters of the Conqueror and Matilda (possibly Agatha) was proceeding from Ely to Scotland, charged, as was supposed, with a secret mission from his disinherited kinsman, Edgar, to the king of Scots, when he was intercepted and slain, after a valiant defence against twenty men-at-arms. His death was passionately bewailed by the English, and even the stern nature of the Conqueror was melted into compassion; and he is said to have shed tears when the bleeding head of the young Saxon, with its long flowing hair, was presented to him by the traitors who had beguiled him into the Norman ambush, and instead of conferring the expected reward on the murderers, he condemned them to perpetual exile.

Gilling, or "Ghellinghes" was held, with all its towns and lordships, by Earl Edwin. Gilling Castle was Edwin's baronial residence. The Castle is now home to St Martin's, Ampleforth.

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