(Sometimes spelled 'Huskarl').
The elite chosen guard in king Cnut's army.
King Cnut ruled England from 1017-1035. In 1018 he decided to reorganize his army. Part of this reorganization was the creation of an elite unit of soldiers who would live with and personally serve the king.
It is believed that these soldiers lived by a strict code of justice and loyalty to the king. Discipline problems were dealt with by the group and the harshest punishement was to be declared cowardly and cast out of the group.
The number of Huscarls is believed to have grown as large as 3000.
These soldiers served not only as fighting men, but as tax-collectors, policemen, guards of noblemen, and any other duties the king could come up with.
The huscarl unit continued serving through the conquest. Most were killed fighting with the king on Senlac Ridge. Those who survived became roving mercenaries and many wound up as members of the Vangarian guard in Byzantium.
Historical information regarding the Huscarls is fragmented and sometimes unreliable. This node may have an error or two. Please msg me if you find any.
The word 'Huscarl' (or 'Huskarl') is originally norse and originally meant something to the effect of 'house servant'. But over time, as words tend to do, the meaning changed.