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Edward the Elder - King of England

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The oldest surviving son of Alfred the Great, Edward the Elder succeeded the throne in 899 AD. At once his cousin Ethelwold, son of Ethelred I, contested his claim. Ethelwold seized the city of Wimbourne with Edward in pursuit. Ethelwold eventually escaped to the north where he induced the Danelaw1 to accept him as king. He kept up his raids, often on Mercia2 until 909 when he was defeated and killed.

Edward was crowned at Kingston on 8 June, 900. During his reign he managed to annex the Danelaw south of the Humber river and was acknowledged by the Danes as King of York, King of Scots and the King of Strathclyde Britons amongst others.

He was very productive, having three wives and numerous children. By his first wife, Ecgwynn, came his successor Athelstan. Elfreda his second wife bore him two sons; the elder died soon after his father, the younger drowned in the English Channel about 933. As well as these sons there were six daughters. His final wife bore two sons who would become King Edmund and Edred as well as two daughters. Of the daughters Edward's bloodline continued into France, Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire and Aquitaine amongst others.

Edward the Elder had a sister, who was called Aethelflaed. She was a powerful and clever woman who helped her brother. She organised the building of some fortified towns, led battles, and won land off the Vikings. Edward himself was as great soldier, and England prospered under his rule.

Edward died at Farndon-on-Sea in 924 AD, and is buried at Winchester, in the south of England. His widow Eadgifu lived on for many years and died during the reign of her grandson Edgar.

1The region of Anglo-Saxon England that was under Danish law.2The region that is now the Midlands.

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