By: Leo Lawton
Henry Tudor was born a Welshman in 1457, although he descended from both the Plantagenets and the House of Lancaster. Not yet thirty years of age, he slew King Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, and soon made himself known as King Henry VII. He united his red rose of Lancaster with the white rose of York when he married Elizabeth of that House. In an attempt to further the interests of England, Henry arranged a marriage between his eldest son Arthur and Catharine, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The not-quite-sixteen-year-old Catharine of Aragon and Arthur were married in November 1501, a couple of years later Richard Lawton of Cranfield was born. Less than six months later Arthur was dead.
Not to worry! King Henry VII had yet another son, eleven-year-old Henry, as an heir, and a marriage was soon arranged for he and Catharine. Four years later, when young Henry was old enough to wed, King Henry was no longer sure it was such a good idea, so forced his son to repudiate the betrothal. After another four years passed, King Henry VII died. As one of his first acts, the new king married Catharine. She bore six children, but Mary born in 1516 was the only one that lived longer than two months.
During 1527, when Mary was eleven, two notable events took place in England. Thomas Lawton, son of Richard of Cranfield, Bedfordshire was born. He had two older sisters, named Alice and Elizabeth, and two more sisters, Margery and Katherine, were yet to be born, but he remained the only son and carrier of the Lawton name into the future.
The second event was when King Henry VIII started a suit to annul his marriage to Catharine as she had not provided him with a son and heir. In 1531, Henry received a negative response from Rome on his marriage annulment request. By 1532, the King’s interests had turned to a young lady named Anne Boleyn. She became pregnant, ultimately producing a daughter, Elizabeth, September 7, 1533. King Henry VIII had Catharine removed to a secluded life in a succession of castles where she succumbed in January of 1536. By this time Anne too had produced no heir. She was accused and convicted of adultery, though her marriage to Henry had been ruled illegal and thus annulled, making adultery impossible. She was sentenced to death which was carried out by beheading on May 19th. In the meantime the King’s fancy had turned to Jane Seymour. Henry, smarting from his marriage to Catherine annulment request denial, broke with the papacy, confiscated the monasteries, and redistributed their lands. This is when nine-year-old Thomas Lawton’s father Richard began paying fees on the “Manor of Cranfield Bedford once part of possessions late of Monastery of Ramsey in County of Hunts and now annexed to Honor of Ampthill in County of Beds.”
Less than a day after Anne’s death, King Henry VIII betrothed himself to Jane Seymour, and married her on May 30th. Jane became pregnant early the following year and delivered a son named Edward in October, 1537. Less than two weeks later, on October 24th, Jane died. King Henry apparently genuinely mourned Jane’s death, if for nothing more than that she had provided him a son and heir. It was more than two years before he remarried, this time to Anne of Cleves.
His marriage to Anne lasted a mere six months during which time Henry’s attentions were wandering to one of her attendants named Kathryn Howard. Once more a marriage of the King was ended in annulment, and two weeks and two days later, July 28, 1540, Henry married Kathryn.
Henry was now 49 and his new bride 19. Immediately rumors began to fly of indiscretions, but this time it was not Henry being whispered about, it was his wife. In November of 1541 the young Kathryn was accused of promiscuity before, and after, her marriage, and was summarily executed in February 1542.Katherine Parr was born in 1512. Her father died when she was 5 years old. By the time she was 17, in 1529, she had been married and promptly widowed. She remarried, and in 1542 was widowed for the second time in her 30 years of life yet to be blessed with any children. As her third husband, Katherine married King Henry VIII July 12, 1543. She was a loving and tender caregiver for the aging King Henry until his death January 28, 1547. After Henry’s death she continued to be a mother figure to the King’s three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward.When his father died, the ten-year-old Edward ascended to the throne. Soon his stepmother Katherine’s brother was made “Protectorate of the Kingdom” to aid the young King Edward. This lasted through the three years until 1550. He was rather inept, and so was replaced by John Dudley, the Earl of Warwick. The plot thickens as the Earl decided young Edward could be disposed of. The Earl then worked out a plan where Lady Jane Grey, Henry VII’s youngest daughter’s granddaughter would marry his grandson, Lord Guilford Dudley, and become Queen thus bypassing Edward’s two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, and placing the Earl exactly in the center of power. Just to keep things interesting though, one must remember that King Henry VIII had his marriage to Catherine annulled, and then his marriage to Anne Boleyn met the same fate. Both Mary, daughter of Catherine, and Elizabeth daughter of Anne, were suddenly illegitimate. Yet, King Henry VIII had stated in his will that Mary should become Queen if Edward became incapacitated or died with no heir. If Mary died, sans children, then Elizabeth was next in the line of succession.
Some time after 1542 Richard Lawton passed on, and thus did his son Thomas become head of the Manor of the Lawtons of Cranfield. About 1552 Thomas Lawton, son of Richard, wed the lovely Joan, daughter of his neighbors Thomas and Ellen Wheeler. Over the next three years they became the parents of two daughters named Joan and Marian. Another three years passed before a son was born unto them in 1558. He was named Thomas after his father. Life passed slowly on the Manor farm, as each day droned on into the next. Crops were planted, sprouted, grew, ripened, and were harvested. The farm’s animals were born, lived, and died as the years passed each into the following. For the Lawton family it was an idyllic time of plenty.
On July 6, 1553 King Edward died at the age of 16, probably of tuberculosis. The Earl of Warwick immediately sent troops to capture Edward’s sisters, but both escaped their clutches. John Dudley had caused Jane Grey Dudley, his daughter in law, to be declared Queen, but Mary declared her an imposter and made herself Queen. Mary’s first act presented to Parliament was to declare her father’s marriage to Catherine valid and legal, and it was so passed meaning that she was a legitimate child again.
Mary was a Catholic, the religion that her father had declared invalid in England. She set about restoring her religion. In 1554 she allowed the nobles to keep the land they had acquired upon the dissolution of the monasteries. Thus both the Lawtons of Church Lawton in Cheshire, and also the Lawtons of Cranfield in Bedfordshire continued as owners of property acquired in that manner. After only four years on the throne, Mary died in 1558, bringing her half sister Elizabeth to the throne for the next 45 years.
Thomas Lawton Jr., born in 1558, grew up on the land, became a man, and married a local girl named Mary about 1580. Four children were born into their family. First it was the boys, George in 1581 and Thomas in 1583; and then the girls, Mary in 1585 and Joan in 1587. In 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh sent Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to scout the New World for a suitable place for settlement. They returned with glowing accounts of an island they named Roanoke, off the coast of present day North Carolina, they thought exceptionally suitable for a colony. In honor of Queen Elizabeth, known as the virgin queen because she never married, the land was named Virginia. Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Walter Raleigh title to all the lands he could colonize, so he sent more than 100 soldiers, craftsman, and scholars to Roanoke Island to form a colony. Failing, they returned to England. Raleigh then sent yet another group to the same place in 1587. The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was of this group. The entire colony disappeared, and yet today is known as “The Lost Colony.”
In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died with no heir. As she was the last remaining heir of King Henry VIII, England had to go back to the descendants of Henry VII for a logical successor. James VI, King of Scotland, was the great grandson of Henry VII. He became also the King of England, but was named James I there. Although he was the ruler of both, the two countries remained separated.
The lifetimes of Richard Lawton, his son Thomas, and his son Thomas Jr., had spanned a little more than a tumultuous century when Thomas Jr. died in 1605. The year after the death of his father, George felt that as the head of the household he could now afford a wife, so he wooed, won, and wed a local girl, Isbell, the 18 year old daughter of Francis and Ann Smith on November 13, 1606. Right on schedule, the following September of 1607 they had their first child, George Jr., followed by seven siblings.
During that same year of 1607 another New World colony was attempted on a river inland from Chesapeake Bay. The waterway was named the James River after the new King, and the settlement, enclosed by a three sided fort, was named Jamestown. This became the first permanent English settlement in America, and was the capital of Virginia until 1698, after which it deteriorated and was abandoned in the 1700s.In 1614 George and Isbell Lawton of Cranfield had their fourth child, and second son. They named him Thomas.
In 1620 Plymouth Colony was formed by the Puritans. Because they were in defiance of the King’s version of religion, they established their colony far north of the other English colony at Jamestown.
In 1625 King James died bringing his son Charles I to power. Like his father, Charles believed in his divine right to rule.
In 1630 the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded by another group of Puritans. Within ten years nearly 20,000 Puritans settled in the area.
In 1634 the Reverend William Blackstone, a dissenting clergyman from the Bay Colony moved to what is now Rhode Island, followed by Roger Williams, also a dissenter from the Bay Colony, who started a settlement he named Providence.
In 1638 a group of Bay Colony religious refugees bought the Island of Aquidneck from the local Indians, and formed a new settlement on the northern end they named Portsmouth. George Lawton, born in 1607, and his brother Thomas, born in 1614, along with Thomas’ wife and daughter both named Elizabeth, in some manner found their way to this remote outpost of civilization before April 30, 1639 when they signed a document, entitled the Portsmouth Compact. In the compact all members of the new colony swore allegiance to King Charles I. A Lawton family was present in the New World.
In the Lawton Ledger August 2005 issue we followed the life of the Lawton family of Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England from about the year 1500 through the emigration of the brothers George and Thomas to the Portsmouth Colony by 1639. In order to present the family in accordance with the historical period, we also followed the events transpiring within the House of Tudor, marked by King Henry VII, his son King Henry VIII, and his children King Edward I, Queen Mary I, and Queen Elizabeth I. We continued with the events unfolding within the House of Stuart as signified by King James I. There was another branch of the Lawton family, located in Cheshire, England that we might take note of also. In order to place this family in context with the times we should start a few centuries earlier.
In Days of Olde
In the year 1042 Edward I was installed on the throne of England. For about a century most kings had ruled through a minister rather than directly, and so it was with Edward I. From 1042 until 1053 Edward I, with the aid of an exceptionally able minister, Godwin the Earl of Wessex, ruled very wisely.
During 1051 Edward I was paid a visit by his second cousin William, Duke of Normandy. He was descended from the dreaded Northmen (Norsemen, Normans) who had settled in northern France along the Seine River. During the course of this visit Edward, who had no heirs, promised William the right to succeed him as King of England. In 1053 Minister Godwin, Earl of Wessex, died, and his son Harold replaced him as minister, virtually ruling England. In 1064 William, Duke of Normandy, received the promise of Harold, added to Edward I’s, to support his candidacy for King. When Edward died though in 1066, Harold declared himself king.
Duke William was furious, and with an army invaded England in late September 1066. On the morning of October 14th, during the Battle of Hastings, Harold was killed and his army defeated. Duke William forevermore has been known as William the Conqueror, and on Christmas Day 1066 was crowned at Westminster Abbey. During the next four years he continued north, with his army of 25,000 to 30,000 men, subjugating all who stood in his way. The county of Cheshire, near northern Wales, was particularly hard to subdue, and although they were no match for King William’s army, the people fiercely protected their homes. King William I ruthlessly burned the countryside leaving a homeless wasteland.King William I brought with him from Normandy a newer more advanced form of strong central government. In keeping with this, in 1085 he ordered that a survey should be made of all England that he controlled. Its main purpose was to establish the King’s fiscal rights. All known sources of revenue were listed including land, fisheries, people, livestock, and woodlands. The manuscripts from the survey, finished in 1086, were bound in two massive volumes known as the Domesday Book which are kept in the Public Records Office in London yet today.
King William I had won a country, and now he wanted to keep it. He not only had the people to deal with, but also he was unable to conquer Scotland or Wales. He decided that it was easier to contain them than defeat them so he set up strong Border States to repel possible invaders. One of these was Cheshire.
King William I named Hugh de Mara, a loyal Norman relative, Earl of Chester, and gave him all land within the palatinate. (It was called a Palatinate as the Lord had Royal powers.) Hugh, in turn, doled out land to fellow Normans who swore allegiance to him. He founded the Abbey of Werburgh for the Benedictines in 1093. Part of the Abbey possessions was the township of Lautune on the southeastern border of Cheshire. Before the conquest it had been called Lauton under Lyme. It consisted of about two and a half square miles of land divided into two parts, one about double the size of the other. In the Domesday Book, it was described as belonging to a man named Godric before the days of William the Conqueror. The possessors of Lautune after the conquest were surely the very elite of Normandy that had followed the fortunes of The Conqueror, and had been awarded the land by Hugh de Mara. As landowners they were given the honorary title of Squire denoting their status.
William I died in 1087, and was followed by his second son William II who, in turn, died in 1100 to be followed by his younger brother Henry I. Upon Henry’s death in 1135, Stephen, son of Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror, became heir to the Throne. He, as the last of the Normans, remained in control until his death in 1154. As Stephen had no male heir, the son of Matilda, daughter of Henry I, came into power. Matilda had married Geoffrey Plantagenet, and their son Henry Plantagenet became King Henry II. King Henry II died in 1189 bringing his eldest son Richard I (the Lionhearted) to the throne. His reign lasted until he died in 1199, making his younger brother, King John, ruler of England.Although it is probable that any landowning families in Cheshire were descendants of those who had came from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066, it is during the reign of Richard the Lionhearted, that ancestors of a branch of a present day Lawton family are first recorded in the area. At this time a man named Adam was noted as the owner of a part of Lautune, the other part being owned by the Abbot and monks of Saint Werburg’s monastery. At the time people had only a first name, and were usually known by where they lived. Thus Adam would have been known as Adam of Lautune, or Adam de Lautune, because of his Norman background. Adam had three sons named Adam, Robert, and Richard. Richard, the youngest son, born before 1236, had a son Richard born between 1260 and 1280. That Richard, in turn, had a son also named Richard between 1280 and 1300. About this time surnames became required in England. For the sake of clarity, I shall call him Richard Lawton III.
Richard Lawton III married Cicely Astburie and they, between 1315 and 1330, became the proud parents of a daughter named Agnes.
Agnes married a man named Thomas de Davenport. Through his marriage to Agnes he became a landowner in Lautune, and thenceforth became known as Thomas de Lautune. Thomas and Agnes parented a son between 1330 and 1350 whose name is today unknown.
This unnamed son had a son named Hugh de Lautune born before 1378. Hugh was appointed an archer of the Crown November 5, 1398, in the principality of Wales. He married Isabella, daughter of John Madoc, widow of Ben Kynge Bernys (Barnes). Hugh and Isabella had two sons named Hugh and John, but all three men died before Isabella.
The eldest son, Hugh jr., did not marry nor have children, but the younger brother, John, married Beatrice, the widow of Thomas Maddock. John and Beatrice had a son named Richard before John died.
Upon the death of his grandmother, Richard became head of the estate. On the 6th of January 1473 Richard was yet head of the estate when he lost a court decision to Hugh Pole over some disputed land. Richard’s wife’s name is unknown, but it is known that they had a son named John about 1470.John married Eleanor More and they parented three sons, the oldest William, being born around 1500. John was known to have been a very wealthy man. William was in control of the estate, when in 1542 King Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries and William, having the wealth to do so, bought the available land. William married Catherine Bellott and they had four sons and five daughters. The second son’s name was John. Born in 1521, John was 21 when his father purchased the monastery acreage. William died in 1551. John Lawton, born in 1521, married Margaret Dutton, near to the time his father died. Between their marriage and 1560 they had five sons and a daughter. John died in 1598. Their eldest son, William, was born in 1553. The year prior to that had seen the marriage of Thomas Lawton, son of Richard of Cranfield, to Joan Wheeler. In 1558, Thomas, son of Thomas was born.
William married first Maria Wood. William married second Mary Maxfield before 1607 when their first child John was born. This was the same year that George Lawton, son of Thomas jr., who in 1639 was in America, was born in Cranfield. William and Mary also had a daughter Eleanor in 1611, and a son William in 1613. In 1614, George’s brother Thomas, who went to Americas with George, was born in Cranfield. The elder William was known to have added large tracts of land to the Lawton estate before his death in 1617, when John was ten years old.
Upon William’s death, Ralph Sneyd was made manager of the estate, and given the honorary title of Lord of the manor. John Lawton married Ralph’s daughter Clare Sneyd. To John and Clare were born three sons and a daughter, named William, Ralph, John, and Felicia, between 1630 and 1635. In 1647 John paid a huge fine of 680 pounds, and was pardoned for waging war against King Charles I, himself beheaded two years later. His eldest son William, born in 1630, succeeded John, who died in 1654.William was head of the manor in 1656, when it is said that Charles II spent some time hiding there while awaiting his restoration to the Throne. It was at this time that John Lawton was born, and Charles II as his Godfather, presented him with a silver drinking cup, remarking he had little else to offer. Our last knowledge of the English Royalty we left in the hands of King James I, who at the same time was King James VI of Scotland, yet the two countries remained separated. James died February 27, 1625, bringing his son to power in England as Charles I until 1649. In the early years of his reign Charles unsuccessfully attempted to wage war with Spain. Later England drifted into war with France. Charles’ methods of raising money and troops for battle were not accepted by the population, and at the same time he was involved in harsh feelings dealing with the Church of Scotland which caused the Scots to invade England. In 1642 a civil war broke out between backers of the King versus those standing with Parliament. Ultimately the King was charged with treason by Parliament, was convicted, and beheaded January 30, 1649. In this third segment of some of the happenings in the daily lives of the Lawton family we will pick up where we left off in Part II. William, born in 1630 as the eldest son of John and Clare (Sneyd) Lawton, became head of the household upon the death of his father in 1654. William married Hester Longueville and in the course of events four sons and seven daughters were born unto them. Although his father had paid a huge fine of £680 for waging war against the King, William became a staunch follower of King Charles. He then was also forced to pay a £680 fine, but to Parliament for siding with King Charles. In the year 1630 King Charles’ son, Charles, was born, meaning he was age 19 when his father was beheaded. While Parliament held power from 1649 through 1659, young Charles was quite conspicuous by his absence in England. It was during this period that he spent some time in hiding at Lawton Hall, the home of the Church Lawton family headed by William. In 1656 William’s first-born son, John, was born while Charles was in residence at the Hall. At John’s christening, Charles presented him with his silver drinking cup, remarking that he had little else to offer. Charles left behind a wooden snuffbox bearing the royal arms and cipher on its top. Later the Lawton coat of arms was inscribed on the bottom. Subsequently he presented the Lawton family with his portrait, and one of the Duke of Monmouth, each painted by Sir Peter Lely. Charles was proclaimed king May 8, 1660. He was well liked by the populace, and was a good and trusted leader. Charles married a Portuguese Princess named Catherine of Braganza. It was also known that he had many mistresses, notably one named Nell Gwyn, but he died February 6, 1685 with no legitimate children.
His younger brother James succeeded King Charles on the throne. James was not particularly well liked and on December 11, 1688 he fled the country to France, in fear of his life. James’ daughter, Mary, and son-in-law, William of Orange, accepted the crown of both England and Scotland. Although both were given the crown, it was William III who wielded the power. Mary died in 1694, and William III in 1702. Through some shrewd business deals Squire William Lawton was able to gain additional holdings to the estate. In 1672 he was appointed Sheriff of Cheshire. In 1681 William mortgaged his Cheshire and Staffordshire properties for $3000 for the stated reasons of providing education, maintenance, and preferment for the younger children of himself and Hester his wife. William died in 1693, leaving Hester as his widow. When William III died in 1702, his wife Mary had predeceased him in 1694. Mary’s younger sister, Anne was next in line of succession, and she became Queen from 1702 through 1714. Anne was able to pull off something that her predecessors were unable to do. In 1707 Scotland and England were joined together as Great Britain. Upon Anne’s death in 1714, Great Britain had to go back about a hundred years to James I. It was the son of James I who became Charles I, who later was beheaded. Charles I had a sister Elizabeth. She became the mother of Sophia, who married into the House of Hanover in Germany, and in turn had a son George. It can be seen that George was the great grandson of James I, but raised as a German. Although he could speak no English, he succeeded Anne to the throne as George I, remaining there rather uneventfully until 1727. Baby John Lawton, the first born in 1656, was now 37 years old. John married Ann, the daughter of George Montagne, younger son of Henry, the first Earl of Manchester. Squire John and Ann were the parents of eight sons and six daughters. All except one son, John, died within the lifetime of Squire John. Ann died in 1707. After her death Squire John married Mary, the daughter of Edward Longueville, by which he had one son, Robert. When Squire John died in 1736, his son John succeeded as head of the estate until his death in 1740. At that time his half brother Robert succeeded him. When King George I died in 1727, his only son George II, Prince of Wales, succeeded his father. His entire reign, until his death in 1760 was marked by war, and little was decided by that warfare. Robert, born in 1723, was but 17 when he became Squire Robert of Lawton Hall. He married Sarah, daughter of John Offley of Crewe, and by her had three sons before her death in 1770. Robert was twice Sheriff of Cheshire, first in 1754 and again in 1777. While serving as steward of the racecourse for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1777 he was kicked by a horse while talking with some friends, and subsequently died of the injury. George III was the grandson of George II. He came into power upon the death of his grandfather in 1760. In 1763 George was in power at the end of the French and Indian War, which saw France cede all land east of the Mississippi to Great Britain in that new World across the Atlantic. France’s loss was Great Britain’s gain in worldly affairs. The success of George III was short-lived though as in 1783 the upstart colonies in the New World were recognized as an independent nation. His son John, born in 1746, succeeded Squire Robert Lawton at Lawton Hall. In 1770, the same year his mother died, John married Ann, daughter of Charles Crewe, who was a younger son of John Crewe, and grandson of John Offley the father to his grandmother. Squire John seems to have been influenced largely by the use of alcohol. He mistakenly trusted his steward, Robert Cox, to handle his business interests for him. After some years of this arrangement John’s holdings had grown lesser, and the remaining were deteriorating. By 1796 John was no longer living in Lawton Hall, but was staying at Bridge Farm, the house of his steward, where he died in 1804. In 1809 Robert Cox, the former steward, was found dead sitting in his office chair at Bridge Farm. When this information was reported to John’s widow, Ann, she forthwith proceeded to Bridge Farm where she locked herself in the office until she had collected all of the necessary papers to prove the nefarious practices of Robert Cox. At four o’clock in the morning she walked to Linley Wood where she was living at the time. A thorough investigation of the papers led to recovery of much of her property rights. These rights were recorded on a scroll, which Ann clutches in her hand in her portrait; secure in the knowledge she had saved her sons their birthright. Ann died at age 63, in November of 1810. William Lawton succeeded to the Lawton estates on the death of his father in 1804. William, although the oldest brother, was not the best to run the estate, and so his younger brother Charles guided him in those matters. In a valley on the southwest side of Lawton Hall was a stream with a small mill. The brothers caused the stream to be dammed creating a lake there. William died a bachelor in 1831, and was succeeded as Squire by his brother Charles Bourne Lawton who was 61 at the time. Charles educated at Trinity College, married Ann Featherstonehaugh, who died in childbirth along with their child. Charles married second, Mariana, some twenty years younger than himself, one of the five very pretty daughters of Dr William Belcombe, whom he had been smitten with while Anne was yet alive. It appears however, that Mariana was not nearly as smitten with the much older Squire Charles, as she was swept up in a life-long affair with another lady named Anne Lister. Mariana and Anne awaited the day that Charles would die, but he had actually outlived Anne by some twenty years upon his death in 1860. Mariana lived on another eight years until her demise in 1868.
A Lawton History
By: Leo Lawton 2016
The world-wide Lawton family of today has its roots in England. It would be exceedingly difficult to write about Lawtons without bringing up English Royalty. Throughout English history beginning with the Norman invasion and before, the vagaries of the Lawtons were somewhat intertwined with those Royals. Therefor in this work I shall reference the Lawton events along with certain Royal cause and effects. It was in the year 1042 that Edward I was crowned as King of England, and for the next eleven years was an able ruler, but not directly. His administrations were handled on a day to day basis by an exceptionally able minister named Godwin, the Earl of Wessex. During 1051 King Edward I was visited by his second cousin William, the Duke of Normandy. William was descended from the dreaded Northmen of past centuries. Those violent raiders ever descending from the north in ships, marauding, stealing treasure, and taking captives, had settled along the Seine River in France establishing permanent colonies. In time their name had been shortened to Norsemen, and thence to Normans, thus their area was called Normandy. William was a descendent of Rollo a Norman ruler. During his visit William was promised by the heirless King Edward that he, William, would be named the next King of England. In 1053 Godwin, the Earl of Wessex, died and was replaced by his son Harold making him the virtual Ruler of England. During 1064 William also received the blessing of Harold for his candidacy for King. However when King Edward died in 1066 Harold declared himself King.