Edmund I

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Edmund I
Edmund I - MS Royal 14 B V.jpg
Edmund in the late thirteenth-century Genealogical Chronicle of the English Kings
King of the English
Tenure27 October 939 – 26 May 946
Coronation c. 29 November 939
probably at Kingston upon Thames [1]
Predecessor Æthelstan
Successor Eadred
Born921
Wessex, England
Died26 May 946 (aged 2425)
Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire, England
Burial
Spouse Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
Æthelflæd of Damerham
Issue Eadwig
Edgar the Peaceful
House Wessex
Father Edward the Elder

Edmund I (Old English :Ēadmund, pronounced [æːɑdmund] ; 921 – 26 May 946) was King of the English from 939 until his death. His epithets include the Elder, the Deed-doer, the Just, and the Magnificent. [2]

Contents

Edmund was the son of Edward the Elder and his third wife Eadgifu of Kent, and a grandson of Alfred the Great. His father died when he was young, and was succeeded by his oldest son Æthelstan. Edmund came to the throne upon the death of his half-brother in 939, apparently with little opposition. His reign was marked by almost constant warfare, including conquests or reconquests of the Midlands, Northumbria, and Strathclyde (the last of which was ceded to Malcolm I of Scotland). Edmund was assassinated after six-and-a-half years as king, while attending Mass in Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire. He was initially succeeded by his brother Eadred, but his two sons – Eadwig and Edgar the Peaceful – both later came to the throne.

Edward the Elder English king, son of Alfred the Great

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 Queen consort of England

Eadgifu of Kent was the third wife of Edward the Elder, King of the English.

Alfred the Great 9th-century King of Wessex

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.

Early life and military threats

Edmund came to the throne as the son of Edward the Elder, [3] and therefore the grandson of Alfred the Great, great-grandson of Æthelwulf of Wessex and great-great grandson of Egbert of Wessex, who was the first of the house of Wessex to start dominating the Anglo Saxon realms. However, being born when his father was already a middle aged man, Edmund lost his father when he was a toddler, in 924, which saw his 30 year old half brother Athelstan come to the throne. Edmund would grow up in the reign of Athelstan, even participating in the Battle of Brunanburh in his adolescence in 937.[ citation needed ]

The Battle of Brunanburh was fought in 937 between Æthelstan, King of England, and an alliance of Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin; Constantine II, King of Alba and Owen, King of Strathclyde. One of the historiographical cruxes of this battle is the fact that it is often cited as the point of origin for English nationalism. Additionally, historians such as Michael Livingston argue that "the men who fought and died on that field forged a political map of the future that remains [in modernity], arguably making the Battle of Brunanburh one of the most significant battles in the long history not just of England, but of the whole of the British Isles."

Athelstan died in the year 939, which saw young Edmund come to the throne. Shortly after his proclamation as king, he had to face several military threats. King Olaf III Guthfrithson conquered Northumbria and invaded the Midlands; when Olaf died in 942, Edmund reconquered the Midlands. [3] In 943, Edmund became the godfather of King Olaf of York. In 944, Edmund was successful in reconquering Northumbria. [4] In the same year, his ally Olaf of York lost his throne and left for Dublin in Ireland. Olaf became the king of Dublin as Amlaíb Cuarán and continued to be allied to his godfather. In 945, Edmund conquered Strathclyde but ceded the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland in exchange for a treaty of mutual military support. [4] Edmund thus established a policy of safe borders and peaceful relationships with Scotland. During his reign, the revival of monasteries in England began.

Amlaíb Cuarán 10th century Norse king of Northumbria and Dublin

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.

Dublin capital and largest city in Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and is bordered on the south by the Wicklow Mountains. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, and the population of the Greater Dublin area was 1,904,806.

Kingdom of Strathclyde medieval kingdom in northern Britain

Strathclyde, originally Cumbric: Ystrad Clud or Alclud, was one of the early medieval kingdoms of the Britons in Hen Ogledd, the Brythonic-speaking parts of what is now southern Scotland and northern England. The kingdom developed during the post-Roman period. It is also known as Alt Clut, a Brittonic term for Dumbarton Castle, the medieval capital of the region. It may have had its origins with the Brythonic Damnonii people of Ptolemy's Geography.

Louis IV of France

Silver penny of Edmund I Silver penny of Edmund I (YORYM 2000 1493) obverse.jpg
Silver penny of Edmund I

One of Edmund's last political movements of which there is some knowledge is his role in the restoration of Louis IV of France to the throne. Louis, son of Charles the Simple and Edmund's half-sister Eadgifu, had resided at the West-Saxon court for some time until 936, when he returned to be crowned King of France. In the summer of 945, he was captured by the Norsemen of Rouen and subsequently released to Duke Hugh the Great, who held him in custody. The chronicler Richerus claims that Eadgifu wrote letters both to Edmund and to Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor in which she requested support for her son. Edmund responded to her plea by sending angry threats to Hugh. [5] Flodoard's Annales, one of Richerus' sources, report:

Louis IV of France King of Western Francia

Louis IV, called d'Outremer or Transmarinus, reigned as king of West Francia from 936 to 954. A member of the Carolingian dynasty, he was the only son of king Charles the Simple and his second wife Eadgifu of Wessex, daughter of King Edward the Elder of Wessex. His reign is mostly known thanks to the Annals of Flodoard and the later Historiae of Richerus.

Charles the Simple King of West Francia

Charles III, called the Simple or the Straightforward, was the King of West Francia from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919–23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.

Eadgifu of Wessex Queen consort of France

Eadgifu or Edgifu, also known as Edgiva or Ogive was a daughter of Edward the Elder, King of Wessex and England, and his second wife Ælfflæd. She was born in Wessex.

Edmund, king of the English, sent messengers to Duke Hugh about the restoration of King Louis, and the duke accordingly made a public agreement with his nephews and other leading men of his kingdom. [...] Hugh, duke of the Franks, allying himself with Hugh the Black, son of Richard, and the other leading men of the kingdom, restored to the kingdom King Louis. [6] [7]

Hugh the Black was Duke of Burgundy from 923 until his death in 952. He was a Bosonid through his father, who was the younger brother of Boso of Provence.

Death and succession

Coin of King Edmund Coin of King Edmund I of England.JPG
Coin of King Edmund

On 26 May 946, Edmund was murdered by Leofa, an exiled thief, while attending St Augustine's Day Mass in Pucklechurch (South Gloucestershire). [8] John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury add some lively detail by suggesting that Edmund had been feasting with his nobles, when he spotted Leofa in the crowd. He attacked the intruder in person, but in the event, Leofa killed him. Leofa was killed on the spot by those present. [9] A recent article re-examines Edmund's death and dismisses the later chronicle accounts as fiction. It suggests the king was the victim of a political assassination. [10]

Edmund's sister Eadgyth, the wife of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, died earlier the same year, as Flodoard's Annales for 946 report. [11]

Edmund was succeeded as king by his brother Eadred, king from 946 until 955. Edmund's sons later ruled England as:

See also

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References

  1. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 514
  2. "Edmund I | king of England". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. 1 2 Edmund I (king of England), "Edmund-I" Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. 1 2 David Nash Ford, Edmund the Magnificent, King of the English (AD 921-946), Early British Kingdoms.
  5. Richerus, Historiae, Book 2, chapters 49–50. See MGH online [ permanent dead link ].
  6. Dorothy Whitelock (tr.), English Historical Documents c. 500–1042. 2nd ed. London, 1979. p. 345.
  7. Edmundus, Anglorum rex, legatos ad Hugonem principem pro restitutione Ludowici regis dirigit: et idem princeps proinde conventus publicos eumnepotibus suis aliisque regni primatibus agit. [...] Hugo, dux Francorum, ascito secum Hugo Nneigro, filio Richardi, ceterisque regni primatibus Ludowicum regem, [...] in regnum restituit. (Flodoard, Annales 946.)
  8. "Here King Edmund died on St Augustine’s Day [26 May]. It was widely known how he ended his days, that Liofa stabbed him at Pucklechurch. And Æthelflæd of Damerham, daughter of Ealdorman Ælfgar, was then his queen." Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, MS D, tr. Michael Swanton.
  9. John of Worcester, Chronicon AD 946; William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum, book 2, chapter 144. The description of the circumstances remained a popular feature in medieval chronicles, such as Higden's Polychronicon : "But William, libro ij° de Regibus, seyth (says) that this kyng kepyng a feste at Pulkirchirche, in the feste of seynte Austyn, and seyng a thefe, Leof by name, sytte [th]er amonge hys gestes, whom he hade made blynde afore for his trespasses – (quem rex prios propter scelera eliminaverat, whom the King previously due to his crimes did excile) – , arysede (arrested) from the table, and takenge that man by the heire of the hedde, caste him unto the grownde. Whiche kynge was sleyn – (sed nebulonis arcano evisceratus est) – with a lyttle knyfe the [th]e man hade in his honde [hand]; and also he hurte mony men soore with the same knyfe; neverthelesse he was kytte (cut) at the laste into smalle partes by men longyng to the kynge." Polychronicon , 1527. See Google Books
  10. K. Halloran, A Murder at Pucklechurch: The Death of King Edmund, 26 May 946. Midland History, Volume 40, Issue 1 (Spring 2015), pp. 120-129.
  11. Edmundus rex Transmarinus defungitur, uxor quoque regis Othonis, soror ipsius Edmundi, decessit. "Edmund, king across the sea, died, and the wife of King Otto, sister of the same Edmund, died also." (tr. Dorothy Whitelock, English Historical Documents c. 500–1042. 2nd ed. London, 1979. p. 345).

Further reading

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Æthelstan
King of the English
939–946
Succeeded by
Eadred