King Harold Day is a medieval festival held in the town of Waltham Abbey, Essex, to commemorate Harold, the last Saxon King of England
Harold Godwinson, was appointed Earl of Essex and East Anglia by Edward the Confessor, and then succeeded his father as Earl of Wessex. On the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold was crowned King Harold II of England at Westminster Abbey on 6th January 1066. On 14th October 1066, following an invasion led by William, Duke of Normandy, a battle was fought at Senlac Hill near Hastings, during which Harold was killed. William defeated the Saxons, and was crowned William I of England, or William the Conqueror.
Harold’s body was eventually identified on the battlefield by his handfast wife, Edith Swan-Neck. She took him back to Waltham for burial. Harold was Lord of the Manor of Waltham, and had founded its priory in thanksgiving for being cured of paralysis after he had prayed at the Holy Cross of Waltham.
King Harold Day was held for the first time in 2004.
Held on the nearest Saturday to 14th October each year, this event has proved to be very popular attracting visitors from far and wide, and is an established part of the town’s calendar.
Through these pages you can find out more about the event and about Harold himself.