NameEdward I (The Elder) King of England
Birth872, Wessex, England
Death17 Jul 924, Farndon-on-Dee, Cheshire, England
BurialWinchester
MotherEalhswith (Alswitha) (~852-905)
Misc. Notes
Edward succeeded his father in October 899; often repulsed the Danish Vikings; received the submission of Welsh and Scottish kings; was buried in the "New Minster" at Winchester. He unified most of England south of the Humber River. {See "Anglo-Saxon England," 3rd Ed., Frank M. Stenton, 1971.}

He acceded 31 MAY 900, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
The reconquest of the area settled by the Vikings, the Danelaw, was
begun by Alfred's son and Heir. In this he was ably assissted by his
sister, aethelflaed, the "Lady of the Mercians".
The claim to be the first king of all England remains a matter of
some dispute. "All the people of Mercia who had been under allegiance to
Aethelflaed turned in submission to him. The kings of Wales, Hywel Clydog
and Idwal and all the people of Wales, gave him their allegiance... and
then the king of the Scots and the whole Scottish nation accepted him as
'Father and Lord"; so also did... all the inhabitants of Northumbria,
both English and Danish, Norwegians and all others; together with the
king of the Strathcylde Welsh and all his subjects."

************
Edward the Elder was the second son of Alfred the Great and was born about 871.  His elder brother, Edmund, apparently died in infancy, though one tradition asserts he lived long enough to be crowned as heir apparent.  In any case, the choice of his first two sons' names demonstrate Alfred's hopes for them.  Both names mean 11 protector" (mund) or "guardian" (ward) of "riches", showing that Alfred hoped his sons would guard the prosperity of the nation for the future.  Edward grew up firmly believing this.  He was a soldier from childhood, not a scholar like his father and grandfather, and he knew, once his brother died, that it was in his hands that the future of the nation rested.  He was a child throughout the wars that his father waged with the Danes, and they would have left a vivid impression on his mind.  When the Danish problems arose again in 892 and 893 he commanded part of the army that captured the raiders.  The Saxons were therefore already accustomed to him as their leader.  However, after his father's death his succession did not go unchallenged.  His nephew, Athelwold, the son of Athelred, was dissatisfied with the terms of Alfred's will and felt dispossessed.  He seized Wimborne manor and, though he was soon chased out of Wessex, he was accepted by the Danes and Angles of York as their leader and subsequently led a revolt amongst the Danes of East Anglia.  He remained a thorn in Edward's side until he was defeated and killed in 902, after which Edward was able to seal a peace treaty with the Danes of the east.  However the Danes of the north still defied Edward's sovereignty, ruling jorvik as a separate Danish kingdom.  Throughout 909 the Danes tested Edward's resolve with a number of border raids and skirmishes, and eventually Edward moved against them, raising a vast army.  Edward harried Northumbria with little result.  The following year he was tricked by the Danish fleet moving down the east coast, while the main Danish army moved across Northumbria and down into Mercia.  Edward realised his error and chased the Danes, catching them at Tettenhall in August 910, where he inflicted upon them one of their most crushing defeats, resulting in the deaths of the two Danish kings Halfdan and Eowils.  It was the end of the Danish hold on Jorvik, although soon after the Norse under Ragnall moved in.

The Norse had been expelled from Dublin in 902 and were now landless.  They first caused a nuisance in Wales and Scotland, but by 9 1 0 had become bold enough to enter Northumbria, and no sooner had Edward defeated one foe than another arrived.  Rather than take them on instantly, Edward decided to work on one plan at a time.  Since 905 Edward had been refortifying England.  He rebuilt Chester and, along with his sister, Athelfled of Mercia, established a chain of fortified towns along the border with the Danelaw, including Runcorn, Tamworth, Stafford, Warwick, down to Hertford and over to Witham in Essex.  Even before these forts were finished Edward was able to use them as a base to defeat a major Danish army which moved across England into Wales in 914, but no matter where the army tried to inflict major destruction, Edward was there, and the army eventually moved out of Britain at the end of the year' Most of the forts were completed by 915, and Edward progressively advanced into Danish territory.  The Danes responded and from 916 on a series of skirmishes occurred across middle England.  In almost all cases the English were victorious, with major successes at Leicester, Nottingham and Bedford.  Early on the Danish king, Guthrum II ,was killed, and thereafter there was no coordinated strategy from the Danes.  Edward was able to pick off small bands of men one at a time.  Eventually the Danes submitted.  The year 920 saw the Danes of East Anglia and the Five Boroughs submitting to him.

  In 918, during the war with the Danes, Athelfloed had died, and though her daughter Elfwynn technically succeeded, Edward could not consider a young girl in charge during such a difficult period.  Thus in 919 he assumed direct control over Mercia.  With similar authority over the Danes of the east midlands, Edward now ruled over half of England.  The Welsh princes, Idwal Foel, Clydog Ap Cadell and Hywel Dda, submitted to him, recognizing Edward as their overlord, for all that they remained sovereign princes.  Even in the north, Edward's authority was recognized, though this was rather more tenuous.  Ragnall of York had tried to goad the Danes into further revolt but by 920 they recognized that Edward was the victor.  Ragnall realised his subterfuge would not succeed and recognized Edward as overlord; but his successor, Sitric, did not.  This must have alarmed Constantine II of Scotland and Donald Mac Aed of Strathclyde, both of whom had suffered from the Norse and now felt that they needed Edward's protection by acknowledging his supremacy.  Thus, by the year 922, Edward was overlord of all of Britain except for the Norse settlements of York, Orkney and the Western Isles.  It was a remarkable achievement for a man whose boyhood had been spent in hiding from the Danes.  Edward was a fitting son of Alfred and it was important that a strong king followed him to maintain and build upon his successes.  Athelstan was such a king.

  Edward was married at least three times, though the legitimacy of the first is in question.  Of his many children, most were daughters, but of the sons who survived him, all of them - Edwin, Elfweard, Athelstan, Edmund and Eadred – succeeded him in some form within the kingdom.

 

References: [AR7],[RFC],[Weis1],[WallopFH],[Moncreiffe], [Paget1]
Spouses
ChildrenEdgiva (or Eadgifu) (902-951)
 Eadgyth (or Edith) (~910-946)
Birthabt 896
Death25 Aug 968
Marriage919
ChildrenEdmund I (The Magnificent) (920-946)
Deathabt 901
ChildrenEdith
Last Modified 21 Jul 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh