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EDWARD The Elder
EDWARD The Elder. (Eadweard). [CHART A1].
Born probably in 870 AD; son of Alfred the Great and Ealhswith.
Eadweard's byname "the Elder" first appears at the end of the 10th century in Wulfstan's "Life of St. Æthelwold", probably to distinguish him from the later King Eadweard the Martyr. (S1).
He became King of England after 26 October 899, upon the death of his father. He was consecrated on 8 June 900 at Kinston-upon-Thames. The date of Eadweard's consecration might be calculated from the assertion in the Chronicle of Fabius Æthelweard, who recorded that it took place on the Whitsunday following King Ælfred's death. As it was conclusively proved that King Ælfred died on 26 October 899 (and not 26 Oct 900 or 26 Oct 901), the following Whitsunday (Pentecost) falls on 8 June 900. Additional details are found in the "Abbreviationes Chronicorum", written by the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Ralph of Diceto, in the late 12th century. He wrote that Eadweard was consecrated at Kingston-upon-Thames by the archbishop of Canterbury, Plegmund: (S1).
Edwardus rex Anglorum est consecratus in regem a Pleemundo Dornobernensi archiepiscopo apud Kingestune. (S1).
Contemporary sources do not point at Kingston as the site of consecration and the validity of Ralph's assertion remains uncertain. (S1).
Eadweard was the oldest son of King Ælfred and Ealhswith, a Mercian noblewoman. He was apparently given some independent authority in Kent in the last years of his father's reign and was styled rex in one of the charters (898). Eadweard succeeded King Ælfred in 899, but the late king's nephew, Æthelwold, revolted and was recognized king of the Danes in Northumbria. He encroached upon the territory of Wessex and his raids continued until the battle of the Holme (13 December 902), when Eadweard defeated and slain Æthelwold and his Danish allies. In 909 Eadweard began the reconquest of the Southern Danelaw. From late 914 until 918, Eadweard advanced until he held all the land south of the Humber. The reconquest was accompanied with intensive construction of fortresses. Eadweard asserted his power in Mercia after the death of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians (12 July 918), and pacified Northumbria in 920. (S1).
He died on 17 July 924 at Farndon-on-Dee, Cheshire. This is a generally accepted date of Eadweard's death. Two manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ('A' and 'F') place Edward's death in 925, but three others ('B', 'C', and 'D') assign the event to 924. MS 'E' records the obit under both years. (S1).
CHILDREN of EDWARD The Elder:
- EDMUND I. [CHART A1].
- [S1]. Eadweard. Archontology.org. http://www.archontology.org/nations/england/anglosaxon/edwrd_elder.php. QUOTES as sources: a) ?Handbook of British Chronology (1986). b) The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. ed. and trans. by G.N. Garmonsway (Everyman Press, London, 1953, reissued 1972, 1994). c) The Blackwell Encyclopædia of Anglo-Saxon England. ed. by Michael Lapidge (Oxford, Blackwell, 1999). d) Edward the Elder, 899-924. ed. by N. J. Higham and D. H. Hill (London, Routledge, 2001). e) The Regnal Dates of Alfred, Edward the Elder, and Athelstan. by Murray L. R. Beaven in ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, 32 (1917): 517-531.
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