Monday, 20 August 2012

Edward the Elder

(d.924) King of Wessex (r.899-924). Edward was the eldest son of Alfred the Great. His greatest achievement was the conquest of the Danelaw as far north of the River Humber. The first three years of his reign were spent suppressing the rebellion of his cousin Aethelwold, who allied with the East Anglican Danes to raid Mercia. Although Edward's army was defeated by the Danes at the Holme in 903, both Aethelwold and the Danish king Eorhic were killed. In 909 Edward invaded the kingdom of York: a Danish counter-attack in 910 was bloodily defeated at Terrenhall. With the Danes of York effectively eliminated, in 912 Edward embarked on the methodical conquest of the Danelaw, aided closely by his sister Aethelflaed of Mercia. After the unnamed Danish king of East Anglia was killed in battle at Tempsford, Bedfordshire, in 917, resistance in the Danelaw crumbled, and by the end of 918 Edward's conquest was complete. In parallel to his conquest of the Danelaw, Edward also absorbed Mercia into Wessex, seizing London, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 911, and the rest of the kingdom in 919 following the death of Aethelflaed (918). In the same year he occupied Manchester in the kingdom of York. Edward consolidated his conquests by building fortified burhs. The Mercians were not reconciled to the loss of their independence and they rebelled in alliance with the Welsh in 924. Edward died in Cheshire in the same year, suppressing the rebellion. After a brief succession crisis he was succeeded by his son Athelstan.

Notes from Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age by John Haywood. Thames & Hudson 2000. pp 61-62

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