I am going to take a different approach to this assignment than I originally thought I would take. Rather than talk mostly about who two of the individuals in this section of the Bayeux Tapestry are, namely Leofwine and Gyrth Godwinson, I am going to look at how the lack of information about these two leaves a lot open for question.
Panel 64 of the Bayeux Tapestry has a total of seven Englishmanon the ground facing what apears to be only one Norman soldiers on horseback, but in viewing more of the tapestry, one can see that there are many more Norman soldiers on horseback surroundingthis group of Englishmen (Wilson, pl. 64). Two of the Englishmen stand taller than the others: The Englishman with his head turned and wielding the axe and the other is the Englishman with a moustache getting stabbed in the face by the Norman on horseback, according to Richard Gameson. These two individuals are believed to be Gyrth Godwinson, the Englishman getting stabbed in the face, and Leofwine Godwinson, the axe wielder. These are the brothers of King Harold Godwinson and both die in the Battle of Hastings as displayed by this panel.
We understand that these two in particular die on October 14, 1066 because of the Latin inscription above the heads of the combatants. The Latin inscription, “Hic ceciderunt Lewine et Gyrth fratres Haroldi regis”translates as follows: “Here were killed Leofwine and Gyrth, the brothers of King Herold. (Wilson, p. 173)” Gyrth was the Earl of East Anglia and Oxfordshire while Leofwine was the Earl over the area from the eastern part of the Thames River, which covered from “Buckinghamshire and Surrey to Essex. (Wilson)” But there isn’t a lot of information about who they were and what they did as Earls or what their part in the battle of Hastings was. This was all I could find in the research I did on this subject. The information that would help us to understand more about Leofwine and Gyrth and information about many other individuals did not make it to us. Thanks to the tapestry we have at least this much information about them. and their story isn’t the only part of the history missing. There are other sections on the tapestry that leave everyone guesing what is meant by the symbols or who is represented by the characters.
Although it isn’t much, the tapestry has provided us with the information that these two individuals and many more died. We can back that up by the history of the battle of Hastings. Who are they? What else were they known for? We may never know. As of right now, that information has been lost and we may never know the whole story about these two men and the people who fought side by side with them.
“The Battle Of Hastings – Scene 3.” The Battle Of Hastings – Scene 3. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http://www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk/Bayeux28.htm>.
“Battle of Hastings.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Feb. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
Gameson, Richard. “The Authority and Interpretation of the Bayeux Tapestry.” The Study of the Bayeux Tapestry. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 1997. 89. Print.
Jones, Kaye. “Appendix 1: Key People.” 1066: History in an Hour. London: HarperPress, 2011. 33-34. Print.
MacLeod, Dave. “The Bayeux Tapestry: Unpicking the Past.” BBC News. BBC, 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
Wilson, David M. The Bayeux Tapestry: The Complete Tapestry in Color. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1985. Print.