Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder (c. 874 – 17 July 924) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from October 26th 899 until his death on July 17th 924. He was crowned on June 8th 900 in Kingston upon Thames. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great and his wife Ealhswith.
Shortly after Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin Æthelwold, who had a strong claim as the son of Alfred's elder brother and predecessor, Æthelred, from who Alfred had inherited the throne of Wessex. Æthelwold seized the royal estates of Wimborne, symbolically important as the place where his father was buried, and Christchurch, both in Dorset. Edward responded by moving an arm, to the nearby Iron Age hillfort at Badbury Rings and Æthelwold thus paving the way for Edward’s coronation at Kingston upon Thames on June 8th 900.
In 901, Æthelwold came with a fleet to Essex, and the following year he persuaded the East Anglian Danes to invade English Mercia and northern Wessex, where his army looted and then returned home. He was eventually met in battle at the Battle of the Holme, where he was killed, despite his Danish allies carrying the day. Thus ended Æthelwold's threat to Edward's throne
In 910 a Mercian and West Saxon army inflicted a decisive defeat on an invading Northumbrian army, ending the threat from the northern Vikings. In the next few years, he and his sister Æthelflæd, who had succeeded as Lady of the Mercians, conquered Viking-ruled southern England and by the end of the 910s only Northumbria remained under Viking rule.
In 924 Edward faced successfully quashed a Mercian and Welsh revolt at Chester, but died shortly after at Farndon in Cheshire on July 17th 924. He was succeeded by his eldest son Æthelstan.
Edward's eponym the Elder was first used in the 10th century in Wulfstan's Life of St Æthelwold, to distinguish him from the later King Edward the Martyr. His legacy is now generally regarded as successfully destroying the power of the Vikings in southern England, and laying the foundations for a south-centred united English kingdom.
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