Category Archive 'Edward the Confessor'

09 Feb 2007

Alternative Heirs to British Throne

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Franz, Duke of Bavaria will be surprised.

The British Government historical advisory agency recently made a public appeal seeking to identify living descendants of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinson, or Edgar the Aetheling, who had William of Normandy not won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 might, instead of Elizabeth II, be occupying the English throne.

The Telegraph reports:

A retired engineer from Newcastle and a financial director from Berkshire emerge victorious today in a worldwide hunt to find alternative heirs to the English throne.

They were among 500 people who responded to an English Heritage appeal to identify those who might have been crowned King or Queen had William the Conqueror not defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

Claimants had to prove that they were linked to Edward the Confessor, whose death in 1066 led to a conflict over the rightful heir to the throne; Edgar the Aetheling, who was chosen as monarch but never crowned; or King Harold who was killed by the arrow in his eye.

They also had to provide the name of their most likely “gateway ancestor” — St Margaret of Scotland being the key player because as a direct descendant of Alfred the Great, she was related to both Edward the Confessor and Edgar the Aetheling. An advertisement placed in newspapers across the world asking people if they could trace their family tree back to 1066 prompted responses from America, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia and Britain.

Albert Turnbull, from Newcastle, provided some of the strongest documentary evidence supporting his lineage back to St Margaret, King Alfred and William the Conqueror.

The 70-year-old retired engineer, who started tracing his family tree 35 years ago, said it was by chance that he discovered he was 55 generations descended from King Cerdic — the first King of Wessex — who invaded Britain around 500AD.

“It was a complete fluke,” he said. “I was in the castle library and I was looking at findings of an old history society. In the index I was looking for Turnbull and saw Threlkeld. I saw the family tree and realised it was a famous line. It was pure luck. My father’s grandmother was called Threlkeld. When I traced that branch back it came from Cumbria and married into the barons of Westmorland. They married into the Royal Family. I’m descended from the 10th Baron.”

Asked what the Prince of Wales might think of his claim to the throne, Mr Turnbull replied: “He’s my 23rd cousin. He seems to have a sense of humour. I think he would take it in good fun. But there would have to be quite a lot wiped out until it came to me.”

Mark Golledge, from Berkshire, had access to the “Stemmata Chicheleana” historical documents, which were published in 1765 and record all the descendants of Archbishop Henry Chichele, the founder of All Souls College, Oxford.

With the Archbishop as one of his ancestors, Mr Golledge is not only entitled to Fellowship of the College, but can accurately trace his family back from Chichele to Alfred the Great.

Mr Golledge said: “My family and I are very proud of our ancestry and very fortunate to have such a unique reference to illustrate our heritage.”


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