Edward the Elder

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Edward, bynamed "the Elder" to distinguish him from Edward the Martyr, was the son of Alfred the Great and Aelswyth and succeeded him on the throne of Wessex.

Initially, after Alfred's death in 899, a cousin, Aethelwold, claimed the throne. He refused to face Edward in battle and fled to the Danes in Northumbria who proclaimed him king. Edward had himself announced as king (and possibly crowned as well) at the traditional site of Kingston-upon-Thames in what would become Surrey, in June 900. The subsequent year he claimed the title of King of the Angles and Saxons as opposed to king merely of Wessex. Aethelwold obtained a fleet and sailed to East Anglia, where there were more Danish settlers, and encouraged them to rise against Edward. This time he did give battle, and he, and Eohric of the East Anglian Danes, were killed.

Edward continued to have problems with the Northumbrians, until, in 910, he defeated a large army of theirs, and thereafter they remained north of the Humber River.

By 918CE Edward had secured rule over all England south of the Humber, and had ended the independance of Mercia, deposing his neice who had sought power there. He also fought against the Norse, leading him to be recognised as suzerain in England, Wales and Scotland.

He died in 924CE, fighting Midlands rebels and his son Athelstan succeeded him in Mercia.

Athelstan was the son of Edward's first marriage, reportedly to one Ecgwynn, around 893. She is described variously, as a noblewoman and a shepherdess, and their daughter is supposed to have married Sihtric, king of Dublin and of York.

When he became king, Edward put Ecgwynn aside, and married Aelflead, daughter of Aethelhelm, ealdorman of Wiltshire. Their son, Aelfweard succeded Edward in Wessex; their daughter Eadgyth married Emperor Otto I. Another daughter married Charles the Simple of France, and a third married Hugh the Great, the Duke of the Franks.

Around 919CE Edward married again, to Edgiva (or Eadgifu), the daughter of the ealdorman of Kent. Their sons, Edmund and Eadred, each became kings of England. Edgiva is reported to have lived through their reigns and into that of Edgar the Peaceable.