Edward in an early fourteenth century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England
|King of the English|
|Reign||8 July 975 – 18 March 978|
|Died||18 March 978 (aged 15–16)|
Corfe Castle, Dorset, England
|House||House of Wessex|
|Father||Edgar, King of England|
|Mother||Æthelflæd or Wulfthryth|
Saint Edward the Martyr
|Venerated in|| Anglican Communion |
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Major shrine||Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood|
|Feast|| 18 March |
3 September (Orthodox Church)
13 February (transfer of relics - True Orthodoxy)
Edward the Martyr (Old English :Eadweard, pronounced [æːɑdweɑrd] ; c. 962 –18 March 978) was King of England from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar the Peaceful but was not his father's acknowledged heir. On Edgar's death, the leadership of England was contested, with some supporting Edward's claim to be king and others supporting his younger half-brother Æthelred the Unready, recognized as a legitimate son of Edgar. Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, the archbishops Dunstan of Canterbury and Oswald of Worcester.
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.
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.
Æthelred II, known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word "unready", but rather from the Old English unræd meaning "poorly advised"; it is a pun on his name, which means "well advised".
The great nobles of the kingdom, ealdormen Ælfhere and Æthelwine, quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. In the so-called anti-monastic reaction, the nobles took advantage of Edward's weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties that King Edgar had granted to them.
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.
Ælfhere was ealdorman of Mercia. His family, along with those of Æthelstan Half-King and Æthelstan Rota, rose to greatness in the middle third of the 10th century. In the reign of Edward the Martyr, Ælfhere was a leader of the anti-monastic reaction and an ally of Edward's stepmother Queen Dowager Ælfthryth. After the killing of Edward by Ælfthryth's servants in 978, Ælfhere supported the new king, Ælfthryth's son Æthelred the Unready, and was the leading nobleman in the Kingdom of England until his death in 983.
Æthelwine was ealdorman of East Anglia and one of the leading noblemen in the kingdom of England in the later 10th century. As with his kinsmen, the principal source for his life is Byrhtferth's life of Oswald of Worcester. Æthelwine founded Ramsey Abbey in 969, and Byrhtferth and Ramsey Abbey remembered him as Dei amicus, but the monks of nearby Ely saw him as an enemy who had seized their lands.
Edward's short reign was brought to an end by his murder at Corfe Castle in 978 in circumstances that are not altogether clear. His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 979. In 1001 Edward's remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.
Corfe Castle is a fortification standing above the village of the same name on the Isle of Purbeck in the English county of Dorset. Built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates to the 11th century and commands a gap in the Purbeck Hills on the route between Wareham and Swanage. The first phase was one of the earliest castles in England to be built at least partly using stone when the majority were built with earth and timber. Corfe Castle underwent major structural changes in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Shaftesbury Abbey was an abbey that housed nuns in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It was founded in about 888, and dissolved in 1539 during the English Reformation by the order of Thomas Cromwell, minister to King Henry VIII. At the time it was the second-wealthiest nunnery in England, behind only Sion Abbey.
A number of lives of Edward were written in the centuries following his death in which he was portrayed as a martyr, generally seen as a victim of the Queen Dowager Ælfthryth, mother of Æthelred. He is today recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and the Anglican Communion.
A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader. The term hagiography may be used to refer to the biography of a saint or highly developed spiritual being in any of the world's spiritual traditions.
A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
Edward's date of birth is unknown, but he was the eldest of Edgar's three children. He was probably in his teens when he succeeded his father, who died at age 32 in 975.Edward was known to be King Edgar's son, but he was not the son of Queen Ælfthryth, the third wife of Edgar. This much and no more is known from contemporary charters.
Anglo-Saxon charters are documents from the early medieval period in England, which typically made a grant of land, or recorded a privilege. The earliest surviving charters were drawn up in the 670s: the oldest surviving charters granted land to the Church, but from the eighth century, surviving charters were increasingly used to grant land to lay people.
Later sources of questionable reliability address the identity of Edward's mother. The earliest such source is a life of Dunstan by Osbern of Canterbury, probably written in the 1080s. Osbern writes that Edward's mother was a nun at Wilton Abbey whom the king seduced.When Eadmer wrote a life of Dunstan some decades later, he included an account of Edward's parentage obtained from Nicholas of Worcester. This denied that Edward was the son of a liaison between Edgar and a nun, presenting him as the son of Æthelflæd, daughter of Ordmær, "ealdorman of the East Anglians", whom Edgar had married in the years when he ruled Mercia (between 957 and Eadwig's death in 959). Additional accounts are offered by Goscelin in his life of Edgar's daughter Saint Edith of Wilton and in the histories of John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury. Together these various accounts suggest that Edward's mother was probably a noblewoman named Æthelflæd, surnamed Candida or Eneda—"the White" or "White Duck".
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.
Osbern was a Benedictine monk, hagiographer and musician, precentor of Christ Church, Canterbury. He is sometimes confused with Osbert de Clare, alias Osbern de Westminster. He is known as "the monk Osbern" or just "Monk Osbern".
Wilton Abbey was a Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, England, three miles from Salisbury on the site now occupied by Wilton House. It was active from 802 until 1539. It was one of the most powerful nunneries in Medieval England, and one of only four nunneries to hold a barony alongside Shaftesbury, Barking, and St Mary's Abbey, Winchester.
A charter of 966 describes Ælfthryth, whom Edgar had married in 964, as the king's "lawful wife", and their eldest son Edmund as the legitimate son of the king. Edward is noted as the king's son.Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester was a supporter of Ælfthryth and Æthelred, but Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury appears to have supported Edward, and a genealogy created at his Glastonbury Abbey circa 969 gives Edward precedence over Edmund and Æthelred. Ælfthryth was the widow of Æthelwald, Ealdorman of East Anglia and perhaps Edgar's third wife. Cyril Hart argues that the contradictions regarding the identity of Edward's mother, and the fact that Edmund appears to have been regarded as the legitimate heir until his death in 971, suggest that Edward was probably illegitimate. However, Barbara Yorke thinks that Æthelflæd was Edgar's wife, but Ælfthryth was a consecrated queen when she gave birth to her sons, who were therefore considered more "legitimate" than Edward. Æthelwold denied that Edward was legitimate, but Yorke considers this "opportunist special pleading".
Edmund's full brother Æthelred may have inherited his position as heir.On a charter to the New Minster at Winchester, the names of Ælfthryth and her son Æthelred appear ahead of Edward's name. When Edgar died on 8 July 975, Æthelred was probably nine and Edward only a few years older.
Edgar had been a strong ruler who had forced monastic reforms on a probably unwilling church and nobility, aided by the leading clerics of the day, Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury; Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York; and Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester. By endowing the reformed Benedictine monasteries with the lands required for their support, he had dispossessed many lesser nobles, and had rewritten leases and loans of land to the benefit of the monasteries. Secular clergy, many of whom would have been members of the nobility, had been expelled from the new monasteries. While Edgar lived, he strongly supported the reformers, but following his death, the discontents which these changes had provoked came into the open.
The leading figures had all been supporters of the reform, but they were no longer united. Relations between Archbishop Dunstan and Bishop Æthelwold may have been strained.Archbishop Oswald was at odds with Ealdorman Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia, while Ælfhere and his kin were rivals for power with the affinity of Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia. Dunstan was said to have questioned Edgar's marriage to Queen Dowager Ælfthryth and the legitimacy of their son Æthelred.
These leaders were divided as to whether Edward or Æthelred should succeed Edgar. Neither law nor precedent offered much guidance. The choice between the sons of Edward the Elder had divided his kingdom, and Edgar's elder brother Eadwig had been forced to give over a large part of the kingdom to Edgar.The Queen Dowager certainly supported the claims of her son Æthelred, aided by Bishop Æthelwold; and Dunstan supported Edward, aided by his fellow archbishop Oswald. It is likely that Ealdorman Ælfhere and his allies supported Æthelred and that Æthelwine and his allies supported Edward, although some historians suggest the opposite.
Later sources suggest that perceptions of legitimacy played a part in the arguments, as did the relative age of the two candidates. In time, Edward was anointed by Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald at Kingston upon Thames, most likely in 975.There is evidence that the settlement involved a degree of compromise. Æthelred appears to have been given lands which normally belonged to the king's sons, some of which had been granted by Edgar to Abingdon Abbey and which were forcibly repossessed for Æthelred by the leading nobles.
After recording Edward's succession, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that a comet appeared, and that famine and "manifold disturbances" followed.The "manifold disturbances", sometimes called the anti-monastic reaction, appear to have started soon after Edgar's death. During this time, the experienced Ealdorman Oslac of Northumbria, effective ruler of much of northern England, was exiled due to unknown circumstances. Oslac was followed as ealdorman by Thored, either Oslac's son of that name or Thored Gunnar's son mentioned by the Chronicle in 966.
Edward, or rather those who were wielding power on his behalf, also appointed a number of new ealdormen to positions in Wessex. Little is known of two of these men, and it is difficult to determine which faction, if any, they belonged to. Edwin, probably ruling in Sussex, and perhaps also parts of Kent and Surrey, was buried at Abingdon, an abbey patronised by Ælfhere. Æthelmær, who oversaw Hampshire, held lands in Rutland, perhaps suggesting links to Æthelwine.
The third ealdorman, Æthelweard, today best known for his Latin history, ruled in the west. Æthelweard was a descendant of King Æthelred of Wessex and probably the brother of King Eadwig's wife. He appears to have been a supporter of Edward rather than of either faction.
In some places, the secular clergy who had been driven from the monasteries returned, driving the regular clergy out in their turn. Bishop Æthelwold had been the main enemy of the seculars, and Archbishop Dunstan appears to have done little to aid his fellow reformer at this time.More generally, the magnates took the opportunity to undo many of Edgar's grants to monasteries and to force the abbots to rewrite leases and loans to favour the local nobility. Ealdorman Ælfhere was the leader in this regard, attacking Oswald's network of monasteries across Mercia. Ælfhere's rival Æthelwine, while a staunch protector of his family monastery of Ramsey Abbey, treated Ely Abbey and other monasteries harshly. At some point during these disorders, Ælfhere and Æthelwine appear to have come close to open warfare. This may well have been related to Ælfhere's ambitions in East Anglia and to attacks upon Ramsey Abbey. Æthelwine, supported by his kinsman Ealdorman Byrhtnoth of Essex and others unspecified, mustered an army and caused Ælfhere to back down.
Very few charters survive from Edward's reign, perhaps as few as three, leaving Edward's brief reign in obscurity. By contrast, numerous charters survived from the reigns of his father Edgar and half-brother Æthelred. All of the surviving Edward charters concern the royal heartland of Wessex; two deal with Crediton where Edward's former tutor Sideman was bishop.During Edgar's reign, dies for coins were cut only at Winchester and distributed from there to other mints across the kingdom. Edward's reign permitted dies to be cut locally at York and at Lincoln. The general impression is of a reduction or breakdown of royal authority in the midlands and north. The machinery of government continued to function, as councils and synods met as customary during Edward's reign, at Kirtlington in Oxfordshire after Easter 977, and again at Calne in Wiltshire the following year. During the meeting at Calne, some councillors were killed and others injured by the collapse of the floor of their room.
The version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle containing the most detailed account records that Edward was murdered in the evening of 18 March 978, while visiting Ælfthryth and Æthelred, probably at or near the mound on which the ruins of Corfe Castle now stand. It adds that he was buried at Wareham "without any royal honours". The compiler of this version of the Chronicle, manuscript E, called the Peterborough Chronicle, says:
"No worse deed for the English race was done than this was, since they first sought out the land of Britain. Men murdered him, but God exalted him. In life he was an earthly king; after death he is now a heavenly saint. His earthly relatives would not avenge him, but his Heavenly Father has much avenged him."
Other recensions of the Chronicle report less detail, the oldest text stating only that he was killed, while versions from the 1040s say that he was martyred.
Of other early sources, the life of Oswald of Worcester, attributed to Byrhtferth of Ramsey, adds that Edward was killed by Æthelred's advisers, who attacked him when he was dismounting. It agrees that he was buried without ceremony at Wareham.Archbishop Wulfstan II alludes to the killing of Edward in his Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, written not later than 1016. A recent study translates his words as follows:
"And a very great betrayal of a lord it is also in the world, that a man betray his lord to death, or drive him living from the land, and both have come to pass in this land: Edward was betrayed, and then killed, and after that burned ..."
Later sources, further removed from events, such as the late 11th-century Passio S. Eadwardi and John of Worcester, claim that Ælfthryth organised the killing of Edward, while Henry of Huntingdon wrote that she killed Edward herself.
Modern historians have offered a variety of interpretations of Edward's killing. Three main theories have been proposed. Firstly, that Edward was killed, as the life of Oswald claims, by nobles in Æthelred's service, either as a result of a personal quarrel, or to place their master on the throne.The life of Oswald portrays Edward as an unstable young man who, according to Frank Stenton: "had offended many important persons by his intolerable violence of speech and behaviour. Long after he had passed into veneration as a saint it was remembered that his outbursts of rage had alarmed all who knew him, and especially the members of his own household." This may be a trope of hagiography.
In the second version, Ælfthryth was implicated, either beforehand by plotting the killing, or afterwards in allowing the killers to go free and unpunished.
A third alternative, noting that Edward in 978 was very close to ruling on his own, proposes that Ealdorman Ælfhere was behind the killing so as to preserve his own influence and to prevent Edward taking revenge for Ælfhere's actions earlier in the reign.John notes this and interprets Ælfhere's part in Edward's reburial as being a penance for the assassination.
Edward's body lay at Wareham for a year before being disinterred. Ælfhere initiated the reinterment, perhaps as a gesture of reconciliation. According to the life of Oswald, Edward's body was found to be incorrupt when it was disinterred (which was taken as a miraculous sign). The body was taken to the Shaftesbury Abbey, a nunnery with royal connections which had been endowed by King Alfred the Great and where Edward and Æthelred's grandmother Ælfgifu had spent her latter years.
Edward's remains were reburied with lavish public ceremony. Later versions, such as the Passio S. Eadwardi, have more complicated accounts. It said that Edward's body was concealed in a marsh, where it was revealed by miraculous events. The Passio dates the reburial to 18 February.
In 1001, Edward's relics (for he was considered a saint, although never canonized) were translated to a more prominent place within the nunnery at Shaftesbury. The ceremonies are said to have been led by the then-Bishop of Sherborne, Wulfsige III, accompanied by a senior cleric whom the Passio calls Elsinus, sometimes identified with Ælfsige, the abbot of the New Minster, Winchester. King Æthelred, preoccupied with the threat of a Danish invasion, did not attend in person, but he issued a charter to the Shaftesbury nuns late in 1001 granting them lands at Bradford on Avon, which is thought to be related. A 13th-century calendar of saints gives the date of this translation as 20 June.
The rise of Edward's cult has been interpreted in various ways. It is sometimes portrayed as a popular movement, or as the product of a political attack on King Æthelred by former supporters of Edward. Alternatively, Æthelred has been seen as one of the key forces in the promotion of Edward's cult and that of their sister Eadgifu (Edith of Wilton). He was thought to make the charter in 1001 granting land to Shaftesbury at the elevation of Edward's relics, and some accounts suggest that Æthelred legislated the observation of Edward's feast days across England in a law code of 1008. It is unclear whether this innovation, seemingly drafted by Archbishop Wulfstan II, dates from Æthelred's reign. It may instead have been promulgated by King Cnut. David Rollason has drawn attention to the increased importance of the cults of other murdered royal saints in this period. Among these are the cults of King Ecgberht of Kent's nephews, whose lives form part of the Mildrith Legend, and those of the Mercian Saints Kenelm and Wigstan.
During the sixteenth century and English Reformation, King Henry VIII led the dissolution of the monasteries and many holy places were demolished. Edward's remains were hidden so as to avoid desecration.
In 1931, the relics were recovered by Wilson-Claridge during an archaeological excavation; their identity was confirmed by Dr. T. E. A. Stowell, an osteologist. In 1970, examinations performed on the relics suggested that the young man had died in the same manner as Edward.Wilson-Claridge wanted the relics to go to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. His brother, however, wanted them to be returned to Shaftesbury Abbey. For decades, the relics were kept in a cutlery box in a bank vault at the Midland Bank in Woking, Surrey because of the unresolved dispute about which of two churches should have them.
In time, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was victorious and placed the relics in a church in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, with the enshrinement ceremony occurring in September 1984.The St Edward Brotherhood of monks was organized there as well. The church is now named St Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church, and it is under the jurisdiction of a traditionalist Greek Orthodox community. However, while the bones are of approximately the right date, they are of a man in his late twenties or early thirties rather than a youth in his mid teens.
In the Orthodox Church, St Edward is ranked as a Passion-bearer, a type of saint who accepts death out of love for Christ.Edward was widely venerated before the canonization process was formalized, and he is also regarded as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. His feast day is celebrated on 18 March, the day of his murder. The Orthodox Church commemorates him a second time each year on 3 September and commemorates the translation of his relics into Orthodox possession on 13 February.
Ælfheah was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury. He became an anchorite before being elected abbot of Bath Abbey. His reputation for piety and sanctity led to his promotion to the episcopate, and eventually, to his becoming archbishop. Ælfheah furthered the cult of Dunstan and also encouraged learning. He was captured by Viking raiders in 1011 during the Siege of Canterbury and later killed by them the following year after refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. Ælfheah was canonised as a saint in 1078. Thomas Becket, a later Archbishop of Canterbury, prayed to him just before his own murder in Canterbury Cathedral.
Ælfthryth was an English queen, the second or third wife of King Edgar of England. Ælfthryth was the first king's wife known to have been crowned and anointed as Queen of the Kingdom of England. Mother of King Æthelred the Unready, she was a powerful political figure. She was possibly linked to the murder of her stepson King Edward the Martyr and appeared as a stereotypical bad queen and evil stepmother in many medieval histories.
Æthelwold or Æthelwald was the younger of two known sons of Æthelred I, King of Wessex from 865 to 871. Æthelwold and his brother Æthelhelm were still infants when their father the king died while fighting a Danish Viking invasion. The throne passed to the king's younger brother Alfred the Great, who carried on the war against the Vikings and won a crucial victory at the Battle of Edington in 878.
Ælfgifu was the consort of King Eadwig of England for a brief period of time until 957 or 958. What little is known of her comes primarily by way of Anglo-Saxon charters, possibly including a will, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and hostile anecdotes in works of hagiography. Her union with the king, annulled within a few years of Eadwig's reign, seems to have been a target for factional rivalries which surrounded the throne in the late 950s. By c. 1000, when the careers of the Benedictine reformers Dunstan and Oswald became the subject of hagiography, its memory had suffered heavy degradation. In the mid-960s, however, she appears to have become a well-to-do landowner on good terms with King Edgar and, through her will, a generous benefactress of ecclesiastical houses associated with the royal family, notably the Old Minster and New Minster at Winchester.
Sigeric was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 990 to 994.
Æthelwold of Winchester was Bishop of Winchester from 963 to 984 and one of the leaders of the tenth-century monastic reform movement in Anglo-Saxon England.
Oswald of Worcester was Archbishop of York from 972 to his death in 992. He was of Danish ancestry, but brought up by his uncle, Oda, who sent him to France to the abbey of Fleury to become a monk. After a number of years at Fleury, Oswald returned to England at the request of his uncle, who died before Oswald returned. With his uncle's death, Oswald needed a patron and turned to another kinsman, Oskytel, who had recently become Archbishop of York. His activity for Oskytel attracted the notice of Archbishop Dunstan who had Oswald consecrated as Bishop of Worcester in 961. In 972, Oswald was promoted to the see of York, although he continued to hold Worcester also.
Ælfric Cild was a wealthy Anglo-Saxon nobleman from the east Midlands, ealdorman of Mercia between 983 and 985, and possibly brother-in-law to his predecessor Ælfhere. He was also associated with the monastic reformer Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, he is also notable for being involved in a number of land transactions for the refounding and endowment of Peterborough Abbey, as well as with Thorney Abbey during the 970s and early 980s.
Æthelstan Half-King was an important and influential Ealdorman of East Anglia who interacted with five kings of England, including his adopted son Edgar the Peaceful. Many of Æthelstan's close relatives were also involved in important affairs, but soon after the death of king Eadred in 955, he left his position and became a monk at Glastonbury Abbey.
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.
Ealdgyth, modern English Edith may have been the name of the wife of Sigeferth son of Earngrim, thegn of the Seven Burghs, and later of King Edmund Ironside. She was probably the mother of Edmund's sons Edward the Exile and Edmund Ætheling.
Odda of Deerhurst was an Anglo-Saxon nobleman active in the period from 1013 onwards. He became a leading magnate in 1051, following the exile of Godwin, Earl of Wessex and his sons and the confiscation of their property and earldoms, when King Edward the Confessor appointed Odda as earl over a portion of the vacated territory. Earl Godwin was later restored to royal favour, and his lands returned, while Odda received a new earldom in the west midlands in compensation. Odda became a monk late in life. He was buried at Pershore Abbey.
Events from the 10th century in the Kingdom of England.
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.
Wulfric, called Wulfric Spot or Spott, was an Anglo-Saxon nobleman. His will is an important document from the reign of King Æthelred the Unready. Wulfric was a patron of the Burton Abbey, around which the modern town of Burton on Trent later grew up, and may have refounded the Benedictine monastery there.
Ordgar was Ealdorman of Devon in England. He was a great West Country landowner and apparently a close advisor of his son-in-law Edgar the Peaceful, king of England. His daughter Ælfthryth was King Edgar's third wife and was mother of King Æthelred the Unready (c.968-1016). Ordgar was created an Ealdorman by King Edgar in 964. He founded Tavistock Abbey in 961.
The English Benedictine Reform or Monastic Reform of the English church in the late tenth century was a religious and intellectual movement in the later Anglo-Saxon period. In the mid-tenth century almost all monasteries were staffed by secular clergy, who were often married. The reformers sought to replace them with celibate contemplative monks following the Rule of Saint Benedict. The movement was inspired by European monastic reforms, and the leading figures were Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester, and Oswald, Archbishop of York.
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Æthelred the Unready