Edmund I

views updated May 11 2018

Edmund I (c.922–46), king of England (939–46). Edmund succeeded his brother Athelstan in 939. His prestige as a young warrior-prince who had fought victoriously by the side of his brother at Brunanburh (937), and the evidence of his law codes, suggests potential greatness as a ruler, but at the age of only 24 or 25 he was murdered by a private enemy at Pucklechurch (Glos.) on 26 May 946. Politically he had to face a revival of Scandinavian ambitions in the north. Olaf Guthfrithsson, king of Dublin (d. 941), invaded and forced Edmund, after arbitration which involved the archbishops, to yield control of much of northern England including the thriving Anglo-Danish community at York. Edmund found Olaf's cousin and successor Olaf Sihtricsson easier to deal with. He recovered the territory of the ‘five boroughs’ (Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Stamford, and Leicester) in 942 when the Anglo-Danish inhabitants of that area clearly preferred the rule of the Christian West Saxon king to the more backward rule of the Irish/Scandinavian overlords. By the end of his reign Edmund had regained (temporarily, it is true) York and Northumbria, and had even started to take direct interest in continental affairs on behalf of his nephew, the French king Louis d'Outremer.

Henry Loyn

Edmund I

views updated May 17 2018

Edmund I (921?–46) King of Wessex (939–46). Faced with a Viking invasion, relinquished Northumbria and much of the e Midlands. Between 942 and 944, he regained most of the territory and reunited the kingdom.

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Edmund Pendleton Gaines

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