Godwin, Edmund, and perhaps Magnus fled after the Battle of Hastings to Ireland and took refuge with Diarmait mac na mBó, king of Leinster, with whom their father and uncle Leofwine had sojourned in 1051-2.
They could not, however, repeat their father's triumphant return. In 1068, with 52 ships, they attacked Bristol and then the Somerset coast. They defeated a local force and killed its commander, Eadnoth the Staller, a former servant of their father, and the father of Queen Edith's steward, Harding; and then, after some further harrying, they returned to Ireland. In June of the following year, 1069, with a slightly larger fleet they again attacked the western peninsula, first appearing in the Bristol Channel and then ravaging in Devonshire, even attackgin Exeter. This time they were met by Brian, one of the sons of Eudo, count of Ponthièvre, and the Conqueror's lieutenant in the south-west, who destroyed most of their forces and decisively drove them out. It is obvious that they attracted no substantial support and were generally regarded simply as freebooters.