All In The Family Part I: A Thane of Danes and Britons
By Brandon C. Hovey
Author’s Note: History prior to the Norman Conquest of England should really be called “history.” Primary sources are full of exaggeration at times. Secondary sources are somewhat reliant on assumption and speculation. Consider Part I “history.” Even almighty Google cannot penetrate the darkness still shrouding the Dark Ages.
Prior to the Norman Conquest of England, the realm was full of landowners of Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Dane origin. One of these men was Thane Tovi the Proud, some texts call him Ralph De Tovi. Tovi was called Tovias Pruda, Tovi the Proud to perhaps identify him separately with two other men named Tovi contemporary to him (Howoiak, 1906, p13).
Tovi was a Thane, a title equivalent to baron. His royal office was that of staller, meaning that he was in charge of the royal household.
Tovi is considered to be the ancestor of all Hoveys. His life was one of royal service. The most notable achievement of Tovi the Proud was the abbey he built: Waltham Abbey.
Tovi was motivated to build the abbey after he had heard of some local peasantry being healed by a “black marble crucifix” in the region (N.A., 2011). Tovi quickly found himself building an wooden abbey adjacent to his hunting lodge at Waltham, which is now Waltham Abbey, England. The town became a site of pilgrimage thanks to his and his second wife Gytha’s efforts.
Tovi’s second wife, Gytha, was the daughter of the powerful Alderman Osgood (or Osgod, or many other spellings considering the lack of public and private education) Clappa. At the wedding of Tovi and Gytha at Lambeth, King Hardicanute of Denmark was present. At that time the Danes ruled England. Here is a are some other spellings of this certain Danish king. Again, isn’t it great to have schools instead of longships?
Excuse my tangent.
At this wedding, it is said that King Hardicanute died after consuming an excessive sum of alcohol. To give you an idea of Hardicanute’s power he was the successor to Canute the Great, who ruled the North Sea Empire, also called the Anglo-Scandinavian Empire. Here is a map of this empire. Red countries are Danish possessions, orange countries are vassals (dominions that pay tribute), and yellow countries are allies. This map was created by wikipedia user Briangotts:
Historians believe that the excessive consumption of alcohol triggered a stroke or a fatal heart attack in 1042 A.D. (N.A., 2014).
There is no record of Tovi the Proud after 1043 A.D. (N.A., 2011). Those in the discipline of history assume that he likely died that year. Athelstan, Tovi’s son, and Asgar his grandson. squandered the family estate. During this time the last pre Norman Conquest king, Harold II rebuilt the abbey in stone. Here is what the abbey looks like today.
Part II will discuss the coming of the Hoveys to America in 1636. History at last, not “history.”