Edward the Elder
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King Edward the Elder
Born ?
Reigned 899 - 924 
Died 924

 

A Son to Be Proud Of

dward the Elder, succeeded his father Alfred in 899. It is sad that we know so little about him and many of the kings who were to follow. They didn't have the luxury of an Asser to chronicle their lives. Alfred has been remembered as a great king. Maybe he was great because we knew so much about him. Alfred's kingdom did not degenerate on his death, his son Edward, later to be known as the Elder, ruled with the same love and compassion for his kingdom as his father did. Relative peace reigned during the last years of Alfred's reign, compared to what went on before. The Vikings started to settle down in Danelaw and were slowly being converted to Christianity.

 

Unrest

ll was well in England until an argument between Edward and his cousin, Aethelwald. Whatever the argument was about prompted Aethelwald to flee to Danelaw. Here he incited unrest of the East Anglian and Northumbrian Vikings. In 904, Aethelwald and the Danish king Eric, marched south as far as the River Thames and across into Wiltshire. This unprovoked attack was surprising considering the agreement made by Alfred with Guthrum in 866. Edward immediately retaliated by forming a force from London and Kent. Marching north he devastated large parts of East Anglia. Many of Edward's men were killed in this reprisal. Aethelwald and Eric were both killed. A new leader called Guthrum II was appointed by the Danes. He was sensible enough to renew the treaty which Alfred and his earlier namesake signed in 866. By 910, the treaty was broken again. The theatre of operation this time was Mercia. Edward again rallied his men and marched north. On the 5th August 910, a pitched battle took place at Tettenhall in Staffordshire. The Danes were heavily defeated. This removed the threat of invasion to his beloved Wessex for many years.

 

My Sister

dward had a sister named Aethelfleda. She was married to Aethelred, the Earl of Mercia. Following his death in 911, Aethelfleda took control and became known as Lady of the Mercians. At this time, a woman being in such a powerful position was almost unheard of. Even so, she was a formidable character. In concert with her brother, they continued to put pressure on the Danes. Their intention was complete domination of Danelaw. Together, for the next decade, they methodically achieved their goal. In 917 Guthrum II was killed in Bedfordshire. This bloody battle virtually eliminated the Danish threat. Eventually the Danes submitted. Like his father, he showed mercy. He, for a pledge of allegiance, allowed them to keep their land and customs intact. The Celtic rulers of Wales, also pledged their allegiance to Edward as overlord. Aethelfleda even received York's submission. Unfortunately she died very soon afterwards. Edward was now overlord of all land south of the River Humber. His power unchallenged, he died five years later in 924.


 

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copyright Glen Ray Crack - Battle - East Sussex - United Kingdom
Submitted 10th January 1998
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