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Origin of the name GYTHA.
Etymology of the name GYTHA.
Meaning of the baby name GYTHA.


GYTHA.  Old English name meaning "gift," from Teutonic giav (give).  Also spelled Gyda and Githa.

    Though never canonized, Gytha led a life of tribulation, and bore it, as far as we can tell, with a brave and dauntless spirit.  She was the daughter of Earl Ulf, the wife of Earl Godwine and the mother of King Harold II., and of Edith the forlorn Queen of Edward the Confessor.
    One of her first troubles must have been when her first-born, Sweyn, was outlawed; and not long afterwards, in 1051, when Earl Godwine aroused the anger and suspicion of Edward the Confessor by declining to harry the town of Dover for resisting some unlawful acts of some foreign friends of the king, Godwine had to flee the land, and with him fled his wife Gytha and several of their children.  They escaped to Bosham (in Chichester harbour), and thence made good their flight into Flanders.
    Within a year Gytha and her husband were back in England again and reinstated in their Earldom of Wessex; but fresh and worse troubles soon came to vex poor Gytha's spirits, for in 1053 "the great Earl Godwine" died, and she was left alone to make benefactions to Winchester and several other churches, for the repose of her husband's soul.
    Thirteen years later her son Harold ascended the throne of England, but the next we hear of his mother is in the guise of a petitioner, vainly sueing William the Conqueror for Harold's body.  William of Normandy would have no tomb for Harold that might in future years come to be looked upon, by the conquered people, as a martyr's shrine; so Gytha pleaded in vain, though she offered its weight in gold for the body of her slain son.
    After the battle of Hastings Gytha made her home in Exeter, where the neighbouring Thegns gathered round her, and where the House of Godwine had influence and possessions.  Here, too, probably some of her children and grandchildren lived with her, and she may have enjoyed some peaceful days; but in 1068 William I. laid seige to Exeter, and, though upon the city's submission William made no reprisals, Gytha with her following left the town and made a home on one of the islands in the Bristol Channel, finally making her way to Flanders once more, and ending her days at St. Omer. (Girls' Christian Names, Swan, 1905).


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