Sunday, October 19, 2008

Toke Gormsen/Toke Val-Toke Gormsen

Fyrisvalla, by Mårten Eskil Winge, from wikipedia.

* ab 912/921, if he was Gorm's and Thyra's son then he was born later + 985

Upon a runestone by Års Church in Himmerland, Jutland, is Val-Toke mentioned. Toke Gormsen is named Val-Toke in some sources, but it is very disputed if Val-Toke is the same person as Toke Gormsen.

NB: It is not a historical fact that Toke Gormsen was a son of king Gorm.

Toke Gormsen is mentioned as a son of Gorm the Old and thus a brother or halfbrother of Harald Bluetooth. He was said to be king or earl in Skåne. He was born ab. 912? ( this is more likely to be 921 considering his age at the Battle of Uppsala) There is historical evidence that a Toke Gormsen was killed in the Battle of Uppsala = the Battle of Fyrisvalla. According to inscriptions on three runestones in the walls of Hällestad Kirke in Skåne a man named Toke Gormsen was killed in 985 in the Battle by Uppsala, (up salum).

He died in front of a Danish relief army, which came to the rescue of chief Styrbjørn Olofsen the Strong in a battle against Styrbjørn's father's brother, the Swedish king Erik Bjørnsson Sejersæl). Styrbjørn was a son of Olof Bjørnsson and Thyra Haraldsdatter and was claiming his father's right to the Swedish throne. King Erik won the Battle of Fyrisvalla (norrønt: Fýrisvellir), which went on for three days. Both Styrbjørn and Toke Gormsen and his son Asbjørn were killed that day. After this victory Erik achieved the name Sejersæl = Victorious. (norrønt: eiríkr inn sigrsæli).

King or warrior and his horses, Todbjerg Church

One runestone in Hällestad Kirke says: ' Eskil satte denne sten efter Toke Gormsen, hans hulde herre. Han flygtede ikke ved Uppsala. Satte kæmper efter sin bror sten på bjerget. Står fast med runer. De Gorms Toke gik nærmest'. ( 'Eskil put this stone after Toke Gormsen, his good squire. He did not take flight by Uppsala. Giants put stones after brother on mountain. Runes stands forever. They were closest to Gorm's Toke.' )

The second stone also mentions the battle and tells about Åsgaut, who 'raised this stone after his brother Erra, who was Toke's hirdman'. The third stone has the inscription that 'Asbjørn, Toke's hirdman raised this stone after his brother Toke'.

Toke Gormsen had hirdmen; he is mentioned as a king or earl in Skåne, and he is named upon those three runestones after an important battle. He must have been a significant and powerful man; but this doesn't mean that he necessarily is a son of king Gorm of Denmark. He is the son of a man named Gorm.

A reconstruction of a longhouse in Fyrkat, one of Harald Bluetooths circular viking fortifications.

Toke's wife is unknown, maybe she was a Sigrid of Halland, but she might have been the daughter of a Swedish king or earl. Toke Gormsen was said to be a good friend of Thorgils Sprakaleg (Sprackling). Thorgil's father Styrbjørn was married to Thyra, a daughter of Harald Bluetooth, Toke's brother or half-brother? Erik Sejersæl's queen, the legendary Sigrid Storråde, went to Denmark and married Sven Tveskæg, Toke Gormsen's nephew?

Toke Gormsen had two known sons:
Asbjørn Tokesen, who was killed in the Battle of Fyrisvalla 985 together with his father.
Pallig Tokesen, born 975 , died 13. november 1002, married to Gunhild, a daughter of Harald Bluetooth, born ab. 965, died 13. november 1002 in London. (Danemordet)
Pallig Tokesen was married to his cousin Gunhild, which sounds too blood-related and probably forbidden in those days, unless Palligs father Toke wasn't a son of king Gorm, but the son of another man named Gorm. If so, the line from king Gorm to Toke Gormsen is out, but the line from Gorm and Thyra to Gunhild Haraldsdatter is still intact.

Thorgils Styrbjørnsson Sprakaleg's children:
1) Ulf Thorgilsson Jarl married Canut's sister ( Sven Tveskægs daughter) Estrid in 1015 and was appointed earl of Denmark, while Canut was absent. One of Ulf and Estrid's sons was Sven Estridsen; thus they were the ancestors of the Danish royal house which ruled Denmark from 1047- 1375.
2) Gyda/Gytha Thorgilsdatter married the powerful Earl Godwine of Wessex, ( died 15/4-1053) ,who was a son of Wulfnoth. Gyda was a great-granddaughter of Harald Bluetooth.

Earl Godwine and Gytha's children:
1) Svend Godwinsson, Earl of Herefordshire (c. 1025-1052). At some point he declared himself an illegitimate son of Canute the Great, but this is considered to be a false claim. He died on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
2) Harold II Godwinsson of England (c. 1025-October 14, 1066)
3) Tostig Godwinsson, Earl of Northumbria (c. 1026-September 25, 1066)
4) Edith of Wessex, (c. 1030-December 19, 1075), queen consort of Edward the Confessor from 29. january 1045. Edith has recently been put forward as a candidate for the author of the Bayeux tapestry by Carol Hicks, an art historian, in her book: 'The Life of a Masterpiece.'
5) Gyrth Godwinsson (c. 1030-October 14, 1066)
6) Gunhilda of Wessex, a nun (c. 1035-1080)
7) Ælfgifu of Wessex (c.1035)
8) Leofwine Godwinsson, Earl of Kent (c. 1035-October 14, 1066)
9) Wulfnoth Godwinsson (c.1040)

photo: grethe bachmann ©copyright

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