Thursday, August 4, 2016


Lesson #2 on Kings and Queens of England and Scotland.  I've noticed that the early king's names actually all started with AE dipthong which of course I can't type on here so will show their names beginning with E as they have done in the book.


Born:  ?800-810
Succeeded as King of Kent 828, King of Wessex 839.
Elder son of his predecesssor Egbert.
Married:  1.  Osburgh who died 846 (or was perhaps 'put away' to allow a dynastic marriage with a younger bride);
 2.  Judith, daughter of Charles II, King of France, (Charles the Bald).
Children:  Ethelstan, Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred, Elfred, Ethelswyth, all the children of Osburgh.
Died:  858, probably in his fifties.

Upon his succession, Ethelwulf gave the sub-kingdom of Kent to his younger brother Ethelstan.  After a vigorous beginning to his reign his health declined and he took his fifth son Alfred to Rome; where he stayed a year.  He returned in 856, married Judith of France on the journey, and found his eldest surviving son Ethelbald in revolt.  (Ethelstan had died in 850).  The administration was shared between father and son until Ethelwulf died two years later.


Born: ?834
Succeeded as King of Wessex 858 after sharing power from 856.
Second son of his predecessor Ethelwulf.
Married his stepmother Judith, his father's widow, who after his speedy death married Baldwin I, Count of Flanders.   Their son, Baldwin II, married Elfthrythm daughter of King Afred and when William the Conqueror married a descendant of this line, Matilda, daghter of Baldwin V, he secured for his sons a renewed affiliation to the direct royal kine of Alfred.
Children:  None.
Died: 860, after abaout 26 having been the sole ruler of Wessex for two years.  Buried at Sherborne.


Born: ?836
Succeeded as King of Kent 853, King of Wessex 860.
Younger brther of his predecessor Ethelbad,
Marriage: None recorded.
Children: None recorded.
Died: 856 aged about 30, having reigned six yars.  Buried at Sherborne

ETHELRED I  (Known as Saint Ethelred)

Born: ?840
Secceeded as King of Wessex (henceforth including Kent, Sussex, Essex) 866.
Younger brther of his predecessor Ethelbert.
Wife not known.
Children:  Ethelhelm, Ethelwald.
Died: 871 aged about 31, of wounds received during the battle of Merton, having reigned five years.  Buried at Wimborne.

By the time that the third of Ethelwulf's sons came to the throne, the Danish invasions of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia were a serious threat to the survival of Wessex, and Ethelred was leading his armies over the border into Mercia in order to preserve his kingdom.  His second-in-command was his 19-year old brother Alfred.  (Their only known sister, Ethelswyth, was then consort to Burghred, King of Mercia).  By 871 the West Saxons had had to retreat into their own territory and after the punishing battle of Merton in that year, Ethelred died, and Alfred took over the task of ensuring the survival of the Anglo-Saxons.

Ethelred was popularly canonised because of his piety.  At the vital battle of Ashdown, though Alfred was being pressed hard, Ethelred was kneeling in his tent hearing Mass, and said he would not stir until the Mass was ended and would not serve man before God

The next history lesson will be about King Alfred (Alfred the Great) which is a very long story so be prepared.


  1. Hari OM
    ... strange, I thought I read the Alfred post already.. yikes, de ja vu! This period of history holds lots of interest, I feel; a reminder that most of the population of these isles is made up of immigrants. Ah, the turn of the wheel...YAM xx

    1. I think they were quite a hotch potch of nationalities although I feel the Angles were of that land an no other.
      I am sure you have read quite a lot about Alfred as he's not due here till next week.

    2. Hari OM
      The Angles were one of the three Danish tribes (Saxons and Jutes the others). The indigenous people of the isles were the Celtic tribes; Brythons, Gaels, Picts. Brythons were who the Romans tangled with first of all and thus called the land the Isles of Britain.

      Blogger was clearly playing horrid tricks then, 'cos I did read #3 and even commented. I look forward to seeing it for real!!! (you gotta laugh, or you'd scream, right?) Yxx

  2. I love these chronologies of English history and look forward to hearing more about Alfred the Great.

    1. Thanks Terra and I am glad you are enjoying this historical trip. Can be quite a bore but a little at a time is quite acceptable I think.
      Alfred was indeed quite a fellow and very interesting.

  3. Being born to Ethelwulf didn't insure a very long life, did it? Your odds weren't good, anyway. Very interesting post!

    1. Glad you are enjoying it S.J. Actually, when I look at them as a whole, none of them lived very long lives, even those that died of natural causes. Modern medicine has made such great strides of recent years.

  4. This is much further back than I ever learned in school. I think we began with the Henry's, focusing quite a bit on Henry 8th and coming forward until Queen Elizabeth.

    1. Did you see the 4 part series on TV last month "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"? I didn't like the presenter but at least they did look at it from a different viewpoint.
      There have been lots of docos and series about Henry VIII. Years ago Keith Michell (I feel he is/was from Adelaide) played the role and he was brilliant.
      This also goes further back in history than I've been before and I'm finding it quite interesting.