Edmund the Magnificent

From Cunnan
Jump to navigationJump to search

Edmund, born 921CE, (later named the Magnificent) was the son of Edward the Elder by his third wife, Edgiva. He first came to prominence at the age of 16, when he accompanied his elder half-brother, Athelstan, to the battle of Brunanburgh, against the Norse men of North England. Athelstan had inherited the English throne in 924, and when he died in 939, Edmund became the first king to able to claim sovreignty over "all" of modern England, being ruler of Mercia, Wessex, and Northumbria.

When the Norse King of Dublin, Olaf I (Guthfrithson), seized York, Edmund marched North, beseiged the city, and finally, with the help of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, settled a treaty. In 941 Olaf suffered a fatal accident while trying to raid Northumbria. Edmund marched north again, and removed the East Midlands area from the control of Olaf's cousin and successor, Olaf Sigtryggson, who was trying to both retain York and block Idwal of Gwynedd's advance from Wales. In 944, Edmund marched on York itself, expelling both Sigtryggson, and his rival Ragnall Guthfirthson (Olaf's brother). In the following year, he attacked Strathclyde, killed its king, and handed his kingdom to the Scots Malcolm I. By recognising Northumbria as the border between their kingdoms, he obtained Malcolm's favour for life.

Edmund married twice, first to (later Saint) Aelfgith, who bore him two sons, Eadwig and Edgar before her death in 944CE. He then married Ethelflead, daughter of Aelfgar, Ealdorman of Wilthshire, who gave him no children. Edmund died in 946, stabbed in a scuffle when the outlaw Leofa infiltrated Edmund's hunting lodge at Pucklechurch in Gloucestershire. This is recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. He was buried at Glastonbury, and succeeded by Eadred, his younger brother.

His attribution as "the Magnificent" may have been an attempt at translating into Latin a Saxon epithet meaning "Doer of Deeds".