Edmund I of England was crowned on 29th November 939 and ruled until his murder, at the age of 24 or 25, on 26th May 946. Edmund was the son of Edward the Elder and succeeded to the throne following the death of his half brother, Æthelstan, on 27th October 939.
Edmund's early reign was characterised by military action in which he managed to consolidate his position and the position of England. Following the death of Æthelstan, King Olaf III Guthfrithson, Viking King of Dublin, conquered Northumbria and invaded Mercia and so Edmund was immediately pitted against him in an attempt to rebuild his brother's realm. When Olaf died in 942, Edmund was able to reconquer Mercia, though Northumberland still beyond his grasp. In 943, Edmund became the god-father of King Olaf of York and with his new ally was able to successfully reconquer Northumbria the following year. However, in the same year Olaf lost his throne and left for Ireland, where he became the king of Dublin and continued to be allied to his god-father.
In 945, Edmund conquered the British Kingdom of Strathclyde but apparantly ceded the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland in exchange for a treaty of mutual military support. This established a policy of safe borders and peaceful relationships with Scotland, which would outlast the English kind's reign.
In Europe he played a role in restoring Louis IV to the French throne. Louis, son of Charles the Simple and Edmund's half-sister Eadgifu, had resided at the West-Saxon court for some time until 936, when he returned to be crowned King of France. In the summer of 945, he was captured by the Norsemen of Rouen and subsequently released to Duke Hugh the Great, who held him in custody. Edmund wrote to Hugh, apparently persuading him to release Louis.
During his reign, a revival of monasteries in England also began.
According to his chroniclers Edmund was murdered at a feast in his own hall by Leofa by an exiled thief, who was in turn killed on the spot. A recent article (Halloran, 2015) re-examines Edmund's death and dismisses this account as fiction. It suggests the king was the victim of a political assassination and was killed while attending St. Augustine's Day mass in Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire.
He was succeeded by his brother, Edred.
This scene was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on the Kings and Queens of England. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see them first.
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