Following the death of his father in April 1053, the Godwinsons managed to retain their hold on England. Harold inherited the Earldom of Wessex and became second in power only to the king. Gyrth was made Earl of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire between 1055 and 1057. Together with his brother Leofwine's Earldoms of Kent, Essex, Middlesex, Hertford, Surrey and probably Buckinghamshire the Godwinsons now controlled the entirety of East England.
According to Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury, Gyrth tried (unsuccessfully) to prevent Harold from engaging William of Normandy in battle, saying that he instead could lead the English forces and that Harold must stay in London to lead another army, also reminding him of the oath which he had sworn to William.
Harold, however, ignored Gyrth's advice. Gyrth fought at and was killed in the Battle of Hastings alongside his brothers Harold and Leofwine