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Edred

Edred (d. 955), king of England (946–55). The third of Edward the Elder's sons to succeed to the West Saxon kingship, Edred was confronted during the greater part of his reign by an independent Scandinavian kingdom of York, first under Olaf Sihtricsson and then under Erik Bloodaxe, son of Harold Fairhair, king of Norway. Only in the last year of his life after the defeat and subsequent death of Eric did Edred rule over a united kingdom of England. Unmarried, possibly deliberately celibate, he brought up his two young nephews, Eadwig and Edgar, as his heirs. His health was precarious, and his will, which has fortunately survived, shows him fearful for the depredations of the heathen army. He was a devout Christian, a close friend of Abbot Dunstan of Glastonbury, to whom he entrusted some of his best treasures and land charters: and he left substantial sums of money to relieve poverty and suffering. He left money, too, to his household officers, and it seems likely, as modern investigation of 10th-cent. charters suggests, that Edred's influence on the developing efficiency of the royal secretariat, possibly under the direct tuition of Dunstan, was more considerable than used to be thought likely. The gloom of a seriously sick man can occasionally be glimpsed. In his will he made provision for the sustenance of alms from his estates with the ominous proviso that this was to continue ‘as long as Christianity shall last’.

Henry Loyn

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Edred

Edred or Eadred (both: ĕd´rĕd), d. 955, king of the English (946–55), son of Edward the Elder. He succeeded his brother Edmund and was faced with invasions of Danish Northumbria by Norsemen from Ireland and by Eric Bloodaxe of Norway. Edred finally reestablished control over Northumbria in 954, thus bringing to an end the last independent Scandinavian kingdom in England. Edred, being sickly, left affairs to his friend Saint Dunstan, who allowed the Danes of England to live under their own laws.

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