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Penselwood, battle of

Penselwood, battle of, 1016. An encounter in the struggle for the crown between Edmund Ironside and Cnut after the death of Æthelred. The place is given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Peonnan near Gillingham and has consequently been identified as in Kent or at Penselwood on the Dorset–Somerset border. A case can be made out for each. Penenden Heath in Kent (pronounced ‘Pennendn’) is 4½ miles south of Gillingham. Cnut certainly besieged London in the course of 1016, while the battle of Sherston, later in the summer, was in Wiltshire. The result at Penselwood was inconclusive but the Danish victory at Ashingdon, closely followed by Edmund's death in November 1016, left Cnut master of the kingdom.

J. A. Cannon

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