He was the son of Edward the Elder, and grandson of Alfred the Great. On his father's death he succeeded to the Mercian crown, and then to that of Wessex. he then married his sister to Sihtric, the Viking currently styling himself "king" of York. When Sihtric died a year later, Aethelstan moved in and seized the York kingdom, thereby securing power over much of modern England (the first ruler since the Roman emperors to achieve this). He also claimed power in Wales, but the local chroniclers do not agree, and history does not appear to record any hard evidence of dominion.
However, he did defeat all challengers – Danes, Scots, and Welsh – to his rule over all of England. He was also a supporter of the church, and gave gifts to it generously, and after his death he was taken from Gloucester to be buried in Malmesbury Abbey.
The bones of his queen, Eadgyth, grand-daughter of Alfred the Great, are believed to have been found in a tomb in the cathedral of Magdeburg, after she was initially buried in the monastery of St,Maurice.
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