Eadred in the early fourteenth century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England
|King of the English|
|Reign||26 May 946 – 23 November 955|
|Coronation||16 August 946|
|Died||23 November 955 (aged 31–32)|
|Father||Edward the Elder|
Eadred (also Edred) (923 – 23 November 955) was King of the English from 946 until his death. He was the son of Edward the Elder and his third wife Eadgifu of Kent, and a grandson of Alfred the Great. Eadred came to the throne following the assassination of his older brother, Edmund I. The chief achievement of his reign was to bring the Kingdom of Northumbria under total English control, which occurred with the defeat and expulsion of Eric Bloodaxe in 954. Eadred died at the age of 32 having never married, and was succeeded by his 15-year-old nephew, Eadwig.
Edward the Elder was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great and his wife Ealhswith. When Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin Æthelwold, who had a strong claim to the throne as the son of Alfred's elder brother and predecessor, Æthelred.
Eadgifu of Kent was the third wife of Edward the Elder, King of the English.
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to c. 886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex. His father died when he was young and three of Alfred's brothers reigned in turn. Alfred took the throne after the death of his brother Æthelred and spent several years dealing with Viking invasions. He won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington in 878 and made an agreement with the Vikings, creating what was known as Danelaw in the North of England. Alfred also oversaw the conversion of Viking leader Guthrum to Christianity. He successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and he became the dominant ruler in England. He was also the first King of the West Saxons to style himself King of the Anglo-Saxons. Details of his life are described in a work by 9th-century Welsh scholar and bishop Asser.
Eadred was a son of Edward the Elder by his third marriage, to Eadgifu, daughter of Sigehelm, ealdorman of Kent.He succeeded his elder brother King Edmund I (r. 939-946), who was stabbed to death at Pucklechurch (Gloucestershire), on St Augustine's Day, 26 May 946. The same year, on 16 August, Eadred was consecrated by Archbishop Oda of Canterbury at Kingston upon Thames (Surrey, now Greater London), where he appears to have received the submission of Welsh rulers and northern earls.
Ealdorman was a term in Anglo-Saxon England which originally applied to a man of high status, including some of royal birth, whose authority was independent of the king. It evolved in meaning and in the eighth century was sometimes applied to the former kings of territories which had submitted to great powers such as Mercia. In Wessex in the second half of the ninth century it meant the leaders of individual shires appointed by the king. By the tenth century ealdormen had become the local representatives of the West Saxon king of England. Ealdormen would lead in battle, preside over courts and levy taxation. Ealdormanries were the most prestigious royal appointments, the possession of noble families and semi-independent rulers. The territories became large, often covering former kingdoms such as Mercia or East Anglia. Southern ealdormen often attended court, reflecting increasing centralisation of the kingdom, but the loyalty of northern ealdormen was more uncertain. In the eleventh century the term eorl replaced that of ealdorman, but this reflected a change in terminology under Danish influence rather than a change in function.
Edmund I was King of the English from 939 until his death. His epithets include the Elder, the Deed-doer, the Just, and the Magnificent.
Pucklechurch is a large village and civil parish in South Gloucestershire, England, 7.4 miles (11.9 km) ENE of the city of Bristol and 8.9 miles (14.3 km) NW of the city of Bath.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 946 records that Eadred "reduced all the land of Northumbria to his control; and the Scots granted him oaths that they would do all that he wanted."Nevertheless, Eadred soon faced a number of political challenges to the West-Saxon hegemony in the north. Unfortunately, there are some notorious difficulties with the chronology of the events described in the historical sources, but it is clear that there were two Scandinavian princes who set themselves up as kings of Northumbria.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple copies were made of that one original and then distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated. In one case, the Chronicle was still being actively updated in 1154.
Óláf Sihtricson, otherwise known as Amlaíb Cuarán ('Sandal'), had been king of Northumbria in the early 940s when he became Edmund's godson and client king, but he was later driven out. He then succeeded his cousin as King of Dublin, but after a heavy defeat in battle in 947, he was once again forced to try his luck elsewhere.Shortly thereafter, Olaf was back in business, having regained the kingdom of York. What Eadred thought of the matter or how much sympathy he bore for his brother's godson can only be guessed at, but it seems that he at least tolerated Olaf's presence. In any event, Olaf was ousted from the kingship a second time by the Northumbrians, this time in favour of Eric son of Harald, according to MS E of the Chronicle.
Amlaíb mac Sitric, commonly called Amlaíb Cuarán, in Old Norse: Óláfr kváran, was a 10th-century Norse-Gael who was King of Northumbria and Dublin. His byname, cuarán, is usually translated as "sandal". His name appears in a variety of anglicized forms, including Olaf Cuaran and Olaf Sihtricson, particularly in relation to his short-lived rule in York. He was the last of the Uí Ímair to play a major part in the politics of the British Isles.
The other player in the game was Eric Bloodaxe, previously King of Norway from 930 to 934. After a number of successful operations elsewhere, he came to Northumbria and appears at some point to have set himself up as king. King Eadred responded harshly to the northern defectors by launching a destructive raid on Northumbria, which notably included burning the Ripon monastery founded by St. Wilfrid. Although his forces sustained heavy losses in the Battle of Castleford (as he returned home), Eadred managed to check his rival by promising the latter's supporters even greater havoc if they did not desert the foreign prince. The Northumbrians appeased the English king and paid compensation.
Eric Haraldsson, nicknamed Eric Bloodaxe, was a 10th-century Norwegian ruler. It is widely speculated that he had short-lived terms as King of Norway and twice as King of Northumbria.
Ripon is a cathedral city in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the Laver and Skell. The city is noted for its main feature, Ripon Cathedral which is architecturally significant, as well as the Ripon Racecourse and other features such as its market. The city itself is just over 1,300 years old.
Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, and at Rome; he returned to Northumbria in about 660, and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon. In 664 Wilfrid acted as spokesman for the Roman position at the Synod of Whitby, and became famous for his speech advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted. His success prompted the king's son, Alhfrith, to appoint him Bishop of Northumbria. Wilfrid chose to be consecrated in Gaul because of the lack of what he considered to be validly consecrated bishops in England at that time. During Wilfrid's absence Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, Oswiu, leaving a question mark over Wilfrid's appointment as bishop. Before Wilfrid's return Oswiu had appointed Ceadda in his place, resulting in Wilfrid's retirement to Ripon for a few years following his arrival back in Northumbria.
The Historia Regum suggests that the threat of an independent Northumbrian king had come to an end in 952, when earls finally took over the helm.
Towards the end of his life, Eadred suffered from a digestive malady which would prove fatal. 'Author B', the biographer and former apprentice of St Dunstan, described with vivid memory how the king sucked out the juices of his food, chewed on what was left and spat it out.Eadred died at the age of 32 on 23 November (St. Clement's Day), 955, at Frome (Somerset), and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester. He died a bachelor, and was succeeded by Edmund's son Eadwig.
Dunstan was successively Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Bishop of Worcester, Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury, later canonised as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th-century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in "making a picture and forming letters", as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank.
The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþan-hymbre meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", which reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of Deira and Bernicia entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the Humber, Peak District and the River Mersey on the south to the Firth of Forth on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century, though a rump Earldom of Bamburgh survived around Bernicia in the north, later to be absorbed into the mediaeval kingdoms of Scotland and England.
Eadwig, also spelled Edwy, sometimes called the All-Fair, was King of England from 955 until his premature death.
Edgar, known as the Peaceful or the Peaceable, was King of England from 959 until his death. He was the younger son of Edmund I and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury, and came to the throne as a teenager, following the death of his older brother Eadwig. As king, Edgar further consolidated the political unity achieved by his predecessors, with his reign being noted for its relative stability. His most trusted advisor was Dunstan, whom he recalled from exile and made Archbishop of Canterbury. The pinnacle of Edgar's reign was his coronation at Bath in 973, which was organised by Dunstan and forms the basis for the current coronation ceremony. After his death he was succeeded by his son Edward, although the succession was disputed.
Olaf Guthfrithson was a Viking leader who ruled Dublin and Viking Northumbria in the 10th century. He was the son of Gofraid ua Ímair and great-grandson of Ímar, making him one of the Uí Ímair. Olaf succeeded his father as King of Dublin in 934 and succeeded in establishing dominance over the Vikings of Limerick when he captured their king, Amlaíb Cenncairech, in 937. That same year he allied with Constantine II of Scotland in an attempt to reclaim the Kingdom of Northumbria which his father had ruled briefly in 927. The forces of Olaf and Constantine were defeated by the English led by Æthelstan at the Battle of Brunanburh.
Ida is the first known king of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, which he ruled from around 547 until his death in 559. Little is known of his life or reign, but he was regarded as the founder of a line from which later Anglo-Saxon kings in this part of northern England and southern Scotland claimed descent. His descendants overcame Brittonic resistance and ultimately founded the powerful kingdom of Northumbria.
Wulfstan was Archbishop of York between 931 and 952. He is often known as Wulfstan I, to separate him from Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York.
Ealdred was the son of Eadwulf. He was a ruler of at least part of the former kingdom of Bernicia in northern Northumbria in the early tenth century.
Osulf was high-reeve of Bamburgh and ruler of Northumbria. Sometimes called "earl", he is more surely the first recorded high-reeve of Bamburgh and the man who, after assisting in the death of its last independent ruler Erik Bloodaxe, administered the York-based Kingdom of Northumbria when it was taken over by the Wessex-based King Eadred of England in 954.
John of Worcester was an English monk and chronicler who worked at Worcester Priory. He is usually held to be the author of the Chronicon ex chronicis.
Events from the 10th century in the Kingdom of England.
Ecgwynn or Ecgwynna, was the first consort of Edward the Elder, later King of the English, by whom she bore the future King Æthelstan, and a daughter who married Sihtric Cáech, Norse king of Dublin, Ireland, and Northumbria. Extremely little is known about her background and life. Not even her name is given in any sources until after the Norman Conquest. The first to record it is William of Malmesbury, who presents it in Latinised guise as Egwinna and who is in fact the principal source for her existence.
Ælfgifu of York was the first wife of Æthelred the Unready, by whom she bore many offspring, including Edmund Ironside. It is most probable that she was a daughter of Thored, Earl of southern Northumbria.
Saint Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury, also known as Saint Elgiva was the first wife of Edmund I, by whom she bore two future kings, Eadwig and Edgar. Like her mother Wynflaed, she had a close and special if unknown connection with the royal nunnery of Shaftesbury (Dorset), founded by King Alfred, where she was buried and soon revered as a saint. According to a pre-Conquest tradition from Winchester, her feast day is 18 May.
Uhtred was an ealdorman based in Derbyshire in the 10th century. His date of birth and origins are unclear, although it has been suggested by some modern historians that he came from Northumbria. He is thought to have been the thegn who, having purchased land at Hope and Ashford in Derbyshire from the Vikings before 911, had it confirmed by King Æthelstan in 926. He was ealdorman in or before 930. It appears that he witnessed charters during the remainder of the reign of Æthelstan, the reign of Edmund I (939–46) and the reign of Eadred (946–55), and the last king appears to have granted Uhtred land at Bakewell in 949. It is thought that Uhtred may have used this land to found a minster there. An Uhtred witnesses charters from 955 to 958, in the reigns of Eadwig the Fair (955–59) and Edgar the Peaceable (957–75), but some historians believe this to be a different Uhtred, perhaps Uhtred Cild.
Ragnall Guthfrithson was a Viking leader who ruled Viking Northumbria in the 10th century. He was the son of Gofraid ua Ímair and great-grandson of Ímar, making him one of the Uí Ímair. He ruled Northumbria in 943 and 944, either with, or in opposition to, Olaf Cuaran. Ragnall and Olaf were driven out of Northumbria by the English in 944. His later life is unknown but it is possible he was the "king of the Danes" who is reported as being killed by the Saxons at York in 944 or 945.
Secondary sourcesWilliams, Ann (2004). "Eadred (d. 955)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
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