Edmund I the Elder
Edmund I, known as 'the Elder' or the Magnificent, was born circa 921, a son of Edward the Elder and his third wife Edgiva. As a sixteen year old, he had fought with distinction beside his elder half-brother, King Athelstan, at the Battle of Brunanburh against a combined force of Scots and Vikings. Edmund was around eighteen when he succeeded Athelstan on England's throne in 940.
A page from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, from which much of our information on the House of Wessex is derived.
The Danish leader, Olaf Guthrithson, took York, supported by the infamous renegade Wulfstan, Archishop of York. Edmund besieged Olaf and Wulfstan at Leicester in 943. The King, supported by Odo, the Danish Archbishop of Canterbury, forced Olaf to accept his overlordship and agreement was eventually reached between the two opposing parties that Edmund was to rule the south and Olaf was to retain possession of all the area north of Watling Street. On the death of either, the survivor would inherit the whole country.
Fortunately for Edmund, Olaf died the following year and the English King invaded Northumbria in 944. He marched a combined army of English and Welsh into Strathclyde, whose ruler, the renegade Donald or Dunmail had supported Olaf. Edmund conquered the province, which in 946 he ceded to Malcolm I, King of Scots on agreement that the latter should become his vassal. A peace treaty was signed between the two nations, ensuring mutual military support, Dunmail, the last Celtic King of Cumbria was killed in battle, his sons mutilated and Cumbria became a fiefdom of the recognised heir to the Scottish throne.
Edmund married firstly to Elgiva and the couple produced three children, a daughter and two sons, Edwy and Edgar. After her death in around 944, Elgiva was canonized by the church. Edmund married for a second time in 946 to Ethelfleda, the daughter of Alfgar, Ealdorman of Wiltshire, but the marriage produced no children, after the death of her husband she took the veil and became a nun at Shaftesbury Abbey in Dorset.
Edmund's promising reign was cut violently short after only six years. On the Feast of St. Augustine, 26th May, 946, a great festival among the Anglo-Saxon peoples. During the course of revelries to celebrate the event at Pucklechurch, in Gloucester, Edmund, being none the better for the large amount of wine he had consumed, became angered at the presence of one Liofa, an outlaw whom he had expelled from the kingdom a few years previously.
Angered beyond endurance at what he saw as an outrage against his authority, the King flung Liofa to the ground in fury and in the ensuing struggle the Edmund was fatally stabbed by the outlaw.
Edmund the Elder was twenty-five years old when he was killed and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset.