|House of Wessex |
Wyvern flag 
|Founder||Cerdic of Wessex|
|Final ruler||Edward the Confessor|
|Dissolution||in or after 1125, death of Edgar Ætheling|
|Deposition||1066, death of Edward the Confessor|
The House of Wessex, also known as the Cerdicings and the West Saxon dynasty, refers to the family, traditionally founded by Cerdic, that ruled Wessex in Southern England from the early 6th century. The house became dominant in southern England after the accession of King Ecgberht in 802. Alfred the Great saved England from Viking conquest in the late ninth century and his grandson Æthelstan became first king of England in 927. The disastrous reign of Æthelred the Unready ended in Danish conquest in 1014. Æthelred and his son Edmund Ironside attempted to resist the Vikings in 1016, but after their deaths the Danish Cnut the Great and his sons ruled until 1042. The House of Wessex then briefly regained power under Æthelred's son Edward the Confessor, but lost it after the Norman Conquest in 1066. All kings of England since Henry II have been descended from the House of Wessex through Henry I's wife Matilda of Scotland, who was a great-granddaughter of Edmund Ironside.
The House of Wessex became rulers of a unified English nation under the descendants of Alfred the Great (871–899). Edward the Elder, Alfred's son, united southern England under his rule by conquering the Viking occupied areas of Mercia and East Anglia. His son, Æthelstan, extended the kingdom into the northern lands of Northumbria, which lies above the Mersey and Humber, but this was not fully consolidated until after his nephew Edgar succeeded to the throne.
Their rule was often contested, notably by the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard who invaded in 995 and occupied the united English throne from 1013 to 1014, during the reign of Æthelred the Unready and his son Edmund Ironside. Sweyn, his son Canute and his successors ruled until 1042. After Harthacanute, there was a brief Anglo-Saxon restoration between 1042 and 1066 under Edward the Confessor, who was a son of Æthelred, who was later succeeded by Harold Godwinson, a member of the House of Godwin, possibly a side branch of the Cerdicings (see Ancestry of the Godwins). After the Battle of Hastings, the victorious Duke of Normandy became William I of England. Anglo-Saxon attempts to restore native rule in the person of Edgar the Ætheling, a grandson of Edmund Ironside who had originally been passed over in favour of Harold, were unsuccessful and William's descendants secured their rule. Chroniclers describe conflicting stories about Edgar's later years, including a supposed involvement in the First Crusade; he is presumed to have died around 1126. A Northumberland pipe roll mentions an "Edgar Adeling" in 1158, and 1167, by which time Edgar would have been over 100 years old.  Beyond this, there is no existing evidence that the male line of the Cerdicings continued beyond Edgar Ætheling. Edgar's niece Matilda of Scotland later married William's son Henry I, forming a link between the two dynasties. Henry II was a descendant of the House of Wessex in the female line, something that contemporary English commentators noted with approval. 
The House of Wessex predominantly ruled from Winchester (Wintan-ceastre). Going back to Cynegils, several kings and consorts of the dynasty were buried at the cathedral in Winchester, first in the Old Minster and then the New Minster. The remains of many of these rulers and others were vandalized during the English Civil War; currently the bones rest jumbled in different mortuary chests in the current cathedral.
Though London was already a prominent city in pre-Conquest England, only one king from the House of Wessex was buried there (Æthelred the Unready, at Old St. Paul's, now lost). Edward the Confessor favored Westminster as a residence, and his construction of a large Romanesque church there would lead to its later prominence. Other kings from the Wessex dynasty are buried at Sherborne, Wimborne, and Brookwood.
For a family tree of the House of Wessex from Cerdic down to the children of King Alfred the Great, see:
A continuation into the 10th and 11th centuries can be found at
A coat of arms was attributed by medieval heralds to the Kings of Wessex. These arms appear in a manuscript of the thirteenth century, and are blazoned as Azure, a cross patonce (sometimes a cross fleury or cross moline ) between five martlets Or .  The assigning of arms to the West Saxon kings is prochronistic, as heraldry did not develop in a form as we know it until the twelfth century. These arms continued to be used to represent the kingdom for centuries after their invention. They have been incorporated into heraldic charges of institutions that associate themselves with Wessex, especially Edward the Confessor, where they are used at Westminster Abbey and in the arms of the City of Westminster.  The arms attributed to Edward were probably based on the design of a type of coin minted during his reign. This silver penny, often called a 'cross/eagle' type, showed an equal-armed cross within a circle, with birds depicted in the spaces between the arms of the cross. 
Æthelred II, known as Æthelred the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death in 1016. 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 Kingdom of Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain, from 519 until England was unified by Æthelstan in 927.
Godwin of Wessex was an English nobleman who became one of the most powerful earls in England under the Danish king Cnut the Great and his successors. Cnut made Godwin the first Earl of Wessex. Godwin was the father of King Harold II and of Edith of Wessex, who in 1045 married King Edward the Confessor.
Emma of Normandy was a Norman-born noblewoman who became the English, Danish, and Norwegian queen through her marriages to the Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred the Unready and the Danish prince Cnut the Great. The daughter of the Norman ruler Richard the Fearless and Gunnor, she was Queen of the English during her marriage to King Æthelred from 1002 to 1016, except during a brief interruption in 1013–14 when the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard occupied the English throne. Æthelred died in 1016, and Emma remarried to Sweyn's son Cnut. As Cnut's wife, she was Queen of England from their marriage in 1017, Queen of Denmark from 1018, and Queen of Norway from 1028 until Cnut died in 1035.
Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon English kings. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066.
Edmund Ironside was King of the English from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was the son of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu of York. Edmund's reign was marred by a war he had inherited from his father; his cognomen "Ironside" was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut the Great.
Æthelred I was King of Wessex from 865 until his death in 871. He was the fourth of five sons of King Æthelwulf of Wessex, four of whom in turn became king. Æthelred succeeded his elder brother Æthelberht and was followed by his youngest brother, Alfred the Great. Æthelred had two sons, Æthelhelm and Æthelwold, who were passed over for the kingship on their father's death because they were still infants. Alfred was succeeded by his son, Edward the Elder, and Æthelwold unsuccessfully disputed the throne with him.
Edgar Ætheling or Edgar II was the last male member of the royal house of Cerdic of Wessex. He was elected King of England by the Witenagemot in 1066, but never crowned.
Edward the Exile, also called Edward Ætheling, was the son of King Edmund Ironside and of Ealdgyth. He spent most of his life in exile in the Kingdom of Hungary following the defeat of his father by Cnut the Great.
Ælfthryth was Queen of the English from her marriage to King Edgar in 964 or 965 until Edgar's death in 975. Ælfthryth was the first wife of an English king known to have been crowned and anointed as queen. She had two sons with Edgar, the ætheling Edmund and King Æthelred the Unready. Ælfthryth was a powerful political figure and possibly orchestrated the murder of her stepson, King Edward the Martyr, in order to place her son Æthelred on the throne. She appeared as a stereotypical bad queen and evil stepmother in many medieval histories.
Ætheling was an Old English term (æþeling) used in Anglo-Saxon England to designate princes of the royal dynasty who were eligible for the kingship.
Æthelstan Ætheling, early or mid 980s to 25 June 1014, was the eldest son of King Æthelred the Unready by his first wife Ælfgifu and the heir apparent to the kingdom until his death. He made his first appearance as a witness to a charter of his father in 993. He probably spent part of his childhood at Æthelingadene, Dean in west Sussex, and his paternal grandmother Ælfthryth may have played an important part in his upbringing. Almost nothing is known of his life, although he seems to have formed a friendship with Sigeforth and Morcar, two of the leading thegns of the Five Boroughs of the East Midlands.
Eadwig Ætheling was the fifth of the six sons of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu. Eadwig is recorded as a witness to charters from 993.
Ælfred Æþeling (c. 1012–1036), was one of the eight sons of the English king Æthelred the Unready. He and his brother Edward the Confessor were sons of Æthelred's second wife Emma of Normandy. King Canute became their stepfather when he married Emma. Alfred and his brother were caught up in the power struggles at the start and end of Canute's reign.
The Old Minster was the Anglo-Saxon cathedral for the diocese of Wessex and then Winchester from 660 to 1093. It stood on a site immediately north of and partially beneath its successor, Winchester Cathedral.
The history of Anglo-Saxon London relates to the history of the city of London during the Anglo-Saxon period, in the 7th to 11th centuries.
Very little is known for certain of the ancestry of the Godwins, the family of the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Harold II. When King Edward the Confessor died in January 1066 his closest relative was his great-nephew, Edgar the Ætheling, but he was young and lacked powerful supporters. Harold was the head of the most powerful family in England and Edward's brother-in-law, and he became king. In September 1066 Harold defeated and killed King Harald Hardrada of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and Harold was himself defeated and killed the following month by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.
The Danish House of Knýtlinga was a ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England. Its most famous king was Cnut the Great, who gave his name to this dynasty. Other notable members were Cnut's father Sweyn Forkbeard, grandfather Harald Bluetooth, and sons Harthacnut, Harold Harefoot, and Svein Knutsson. It has also been called the House of Canute, the House of Denmark, the House of Gorm, or the Jelling dynasty.
The Treaty of Abernethy was signed at the Scottish village of Abernethy in 1072 by king Malcolm III of Scotland and William of Normandy.