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Waltheof

WALTHEOF. (d. 1076), earl of Northumbria, was a son cf Earl Siward of Northumbria, and, although he was probably educated for a monastic life, became earl of Huntingdon and Northampton about 1065. After the battle of Hastings he submitted to William the Conqueror; but when the Danes invaded the north of England in 1069 he joined them and took part in the attack on York, only, however, to make a fresh submission after their departure in 1070. Then, restored to his earldom, he married William's niece, Judith, and in 1072 was appointed earl of Northumbria. In 1075 Waltheof joined the conspiracy against the king arranged by the earls of Norfolk and Hereford; but soon repenting of his action he confessed his guilt to Archbishop Lanfranc, and then to William, who was in Normandy. Returning to England with William he was arrested, and after being brought twice before the king's court was sentenced to death. On the 31st of May 1076 he was beheaded on St Giles's Hill, near Winchester. Weak and unreliable in character, Waltheof, like his father, is said to have been a man of immense bodily strength. Devout and charitable, he was regarded by the English as a martyr, and miracles were said to have been worked at his tomb at Crowland. The earl left three daughters, the eldest of whom, Matilda, brought the earldom of Huntingdon to her second husband, David I., king of Scotland. One of Waltheof 's grandsons was Waltheof (d. 1159), abbot of Melrose.

See E. A. Freeman, The Norman Conquest, vols. ii., iii. and iv. (1870-1876).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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