The eldest son of Earl Godwine, a wild streak in his nature led to personal disaster. In 1046 he seduced the abbess of Leominster, fled to Denmark, and on his forced return to England, became responsible for the murder of his own cousin, Earl Beorn. By special procedures more Scandinavian than English, Sweyn was adjudged ‘nithing’ in an assembly of the whole army, that is to say ‘a man without honour’. He was outlawed and took refuge in Flanders. The influence of his father and the support of Bishop Ealdred enabled him to return but he went into exile again in the autumn of 1051, this time with the rest of the Godwine family. He died on his way back from a penitential pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Subjects: British History.