Thursday, August 18, 2016


Lesson #4 on Kings and Queens of England and Scotland.  After learning all about Alfred the Great these fellow may seem more tame but they are all part of what made Britain what it is today.

EDWARD 899-925  (Eadward)  Also known as EDWARD THE ELDER

Born:  ?875

Succeeded 899 as King of Wessex, died as "King of the English" though he ruled only Wessex and Mercia.

Elder son of predecessor Alfred.

Married:  1.  Ecgwyn; 2. Eflaed; 3 Eadgifu.

Children of Ecgwyn: ETHELSTAN, Editha; of Eflaed: Ekfweard, Eadflaed, Eadgifu Ethelhild, Eadgyth, Elgifu, Elsfeda, Eadwine and two unnamed daughters; of Eadgidu:  EADMUND, EADRED,  Elfred, Elfred, Eadgifu, Eadburgh.

Died:  925, aged about 50, having reigned 25 years.  Buried at Winchester.  (No reason given for his death).

Edward was the first of three able hereditary rulers from Alfred's stock who gave England 75 years of strength and steady growth, so that its 'national' characteristics were not entirely swamped during the century of turmoil,  His elder sister, Alfred's daughter Ethelflaed, had been joined in dynastic marriage to Etheldred of Mercia.. and, using her aid and position as Lady of Mercia, Edward reconquered the midlands and southeast of England.  Edward and his son exploited the institution of dynastic marriage much more thoroughly than his father, and, with 18 children had more offshoots to graft.  Daughters of Edward married kings of France, Burgundy, Provence and York and one, Eadgyth married Otto the Great, The Holy Roman Emporer.  None of the customary truculent claims to foreign thrones resulted from these unions, but they illustrate the international prestige to which Alfred, Edward and Edward's son Ethelstan raised England.


Born:  995

Succeeded as King of the English in 926 at the age of 30 and by his conquests justified that title and his later claim as Emperor of Britian.

Eldest son of his predecessor EDWARD.

Marriage:  none recorded    Children: none recorded

Died: 27 October, 940 aged 45, having reigned 15 years.  Buried at Malmesbury. (No reason given for his death).

Ethelstan held immediate sway over all England south of the Trent, and moved swiftly to sovereignty over Northumbria, which still included the south of modern Scotland.  With three Welsh princes and an impressive tally of Danish earls supporting him he later moved further north for an invasion of Scotland proper.   Subsequently, in the crucial battle of Brunanburh in 937 he defeated a retaliatory invasion by the kings of Scotland and Strathclyde, driving south in alliance with an Irish general.  Ethelstan's brother and successor, Edmund, was his second-in-command and two of his nephews died in the battle.

Athelstan was an important international personality, and as had been mentioned five of his sisters married European monarchs.  He acquired great wealth which he largely used to forward a cultural and religious revival, and in pursuit of these interests he acquired a mammoth collection of jewels and contemporary art, and of holy relics.  When he died he was buried in his own monastery of Malmesbury Abbey, to which he bequeathed a part of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns.  He enlarged the conception of monarchy within Britian - he was the first English King to be portrayed on coins and in paintings wearing a crown - and he styled himself Emperor of the English and Ruler of Britain.

EDMUND I 940-946  (Called Edmund the Elder)

Born:  ? 922

Succeeded as King of the English in 940 aged about 18.  (This makes him a general at Brunanburh at the age of 15, which is not totally impossible).

Eldest surviving brother (by a different mother) of his predecessor Ethelstan.

Married:  1.  Elgifu, who died in 944; 2. Ethelflaed.

Children of Elgifu, EDWY, EDGAR.

Died:  26 May, 946, assassinated for non-political motives, at Pucklechurch Gloucester, aged about 24, having reigned six years.

Buried: at Glastonbury.

Edmund began his career of state as a very young commanding general, some 27 years junior to his brother, King Ethelstan.  His short reign was ended during an affray in his hall when he was stabbed by a robber whom he had previously banished.

EADRED 946-955 (EDRED)

BORN:  ? 920

Succeeded as King of the English in 946, aged about 16.

Eldest surviving brother of his predecessor Edmund.

Marriage:  none recorded.   Children:  none recorded.

Died:  23 November, 955 at Frome aged about 25 years having reigned nine years.  (No reason given for his death).

Buried: at Winchester.

Eadred was almost completely preoccupied during his reign with the retention of Northumbria which after swearing allegiance to him after his accession, swiftly transferred allegiance to Eric (Bloodaxe) of Norway. The issue was decided only in 954 when Eric was killed in battle.

EDWY 955-959 (Known as Edwy the Fair)

Born: ? 941

Secceeded as King of the English in 955 at the age of about 14.

Elder nephew of his predecessor Eadred and elder son of King Edmund I.

Married:  Elgifu.

Children:  none recorded.

Died: 959 aged about 18 having reigned four years.  (no reason given for his death)

Buried: at Winchester..

Edwy, a generally sickly youth, profited by the vigour of his late uncle, so that at his coronation as King of the English he received the submission of the Northmbrians, the Danes, the Welsh, and the Scots, but the weakness of his government might well have resulted in the break-up of England had he survived.  His younger brother Edgar, was already challenging him when died.

I have included five kings here as their stories were not very long.  We still have another three kings before we reach the year 1000.


  1. Mortality rate wasn't very good back then, huh? At least for the kings...

    Very Interesting - are you going all the way to now? I hope so!

    1. Yes death came early to so many of them and yes, I am going to attempt to go right through to QEII so wish me luck.

  2. Hari OM
    Blood-thirsty, land-grabbing, determined to subjugate. Nothing much changed in the world, 'cept maybe who's doing it.

    Like SJ, I hope you're going to take us through the lot of them!!! YAM xx

    1. No nothing much has changed when it comes to mankind (or should I say peoplekind?) I will definitely try to finish if my eyes and hands hold out OK. xx

  3. Fascinating; some of the kings became king very young and died so young too. When I read names like Ecgwyn, Eflaed and Eadgifu I wonder how they are pronounced. Do you know?

    1. So much youth given so much responsibility and such short lives too.
      I would imagine the name would be pronounced phonetically. The are spelt with AE dipthong in many cases which of course I can't show here.

  4. some of them were very young to be rulers, imagine some of today's young men at the same age trying to do such a responsible, complicated job.

    1. I imagine that is why there was such a quick turn over 'cos of their death rate. I am sure there are some wise young men today that could take on such a big responsibility but we seldom hear of them, only the bad ones which is sad.