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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300

2. Biographies of Other Dignitaries

a. Erlingr skakki Kyrpinga-Ormsson (KEG)
b. Grégóríus Dagsson (KEG)
c. Jón Loptsson (KEG)
d. Rǫgnvaldr Brúsason (KEG)
e. Rǫgnvaldr Kali Kolsson (KEG)
f. Skúli Bárðarson (KEG)
g. Úlfr stallari Óspaksson (Úlfr) (KEG)
h. Víðkunnr Jónsson (KEG)
i. Waltheof (Valþjófr) of Huntingdon and Northumbria (KEG)
j. Þorfinnr Sigurðarson (KEG)

(Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 2. Biographies of Other Dignitaries > i. Waltheof (Valþjófr) of Huntingdon and Northumbria)

i. Waltheof (Valþjófr) of Huntingdon and Northumbria (KEG)

Sagas: HSig, MH (Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork).

Waltheof, earl of Huntingdon and Northumbria, was the son of Earl Siward of Northumbria (d. 1055). After the Norman Conquest in 1066, Waltheof was among the Anglo-Saxon noblemen who swore allegiance to William the Conqueror, but in 1069 he joined the northern uprising against him. He subsequently submitted to William (1070) but participated in the Revolt of the Earls in 1075. After that revolt failed, he repented and again submitted to William. Waltheof was executed (beheaded) in Winchester on 31 May 1076 and his body was interred in Crowland, where rumours later arose about his sanctity. The ON sources erroneously make him a brother of Harold Godwineson and also state that he participated in the battle of Fulford (20 September 1066). See Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 390); Fsk (ÍF 29, 278-9, 293-5; Finlay 2004, 222-3, 234-5), H-Hr (Fms 6, 393, 406-9, 424-7), Hkr (ÍF 28, 168, 179-81, 194-6; Hollander 1991, 641, 649-50, 658-9), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 267-8; Andersson and Gade 2000, 265). See also Saga hins heilaga Eðvarðar (Flat 1860-8, III, 469), Hem (Hb 1892-6, 338-41, 345-7), Knýtl (ÍF 35, 111; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1986, 34), Orkn (ÍF 34, 86; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 77). For a detailed overview of his life, see Scott 1952.

Events documented in poetry: Waltheof’s participation in the battle of Fulford (Anon Harst); he and his men burning more than a hundred Norman warriors in a forest (ÞSkall Valfl 1); his execution in 1076 (ÞSkall Valfl 2).

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