Richard Plantagenet, I, King of England

Male 1157 - 1199  (41 years)

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Richard Plantagenet, I, King of England was born 8 Sep 1157, Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England (son of Henry II, King of England and Eleanore de Aquitaine, Queen of England); died 6 Apr 1199, Limousin, France; was buried Fontevraud Abbey, France.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Melek al-Inkitar
    • Also Known As: Melek-Ric
    • Also Known As: Oc e No
    • Also Known As: Richard Coeur de Lion
    • Also Known As: Richard I
    • Also Known As: Richard the Lionheart
    • Military: Crusader


    Richard I (8 September 1157 - 6 April 1199) was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy (as Richard IV), Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was known as Richard Coeur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior.[1] He was also known in Occitan as Oc e No (Yes and No), because of his reputation for terseness.[2]

    By the age of 16, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father.[1] Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin.[3]

    Richard spoke langue d'oèil, a French dialect, and Occitan, a Romance language spoken in southern France and nearby regions.[4]

    Born in England, where he spent his childhood, he lived for most of his adult life before becoming king in his Duchy of Aquitaine in the southwest of France. Following his accession he spent very little time, perhaps as little as six months, in England, preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies.[5] Nevertheless, he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects.[6] He remains one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France.[7]

    end of biography

    Click on this link to view images of Fontevraud Abbey ...

    "Castle where Richard the Lionheart died goes on sale for under ?1m" ...

    The French chateau where Richard the Lionheart died after being hit by a bolt from a crossbow has quietly been put on the market with a small ad offering this remarkable piece of Anglo-French history for well under a million pounds.

    The castle of Chãalus-Chabrol, about 110 miles northeast of Bordeaux, has been for sale on France's most popular classified ads website Le Bon Coin since December 30th at the price of ?996,400, or ¹884,000.

    The title of the ad states merely that a ?15-room, 600 square metre castle? is available. The historic import of the chateau is only revealed by the text below the photos showing run-down buildings that are ?in need of restoration.?

    Contributed by Martha Ann Millsaps, Friday, January 12th, 2018 ...

    Picture, story & source can be found at

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  Henry II, King of EnglandHenry II, King of England was born 5 Mar 1133, Le Mans, France; was christened 25 Mar 1133, Le Mans, France (son of Geoffrey "Le Bon" Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy and Matilda of England, Queen of England); died 6 Jul 1189, Chinon Castle, France; was buried 7 Jul 1189, Fontevraud Abbey, France.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Count of Anjou
    • Also Known As: Count of Nantes
    • Also Known As: Curt Mantel
    • Also Known As: Duke of Aquitaine
    • Also Known As: Duke of Normandy
    • Also Known As: Henry Curtmantle
    • Also Known As: Henry FitzEmpress
    • Also Known As: Henry II, King of England


    Henry founded the Plantagenet Dynasty...

    Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany. Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, then occupied by Stephen of Blois, and was made Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had recently been annulled. Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, and Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later.

    Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his grandfather Henry I. During the early years of his reign the younger Henry restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry's desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's murder in 1170. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis' expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties, no lasting agreement was reached. By 1172, he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France, an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.

    Henry and Eleanor had eight children. As they grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest; he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by Henry's vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. The Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John, but Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon castle in Anjou, where he died.

    Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglo-centric interpretations of his reign.

    Who could forget Peter O'Toole's magnificient protrayal of Henry II in the 1968 movie production of "The Lion in Winter" and Katherine Hepburn's Eleanor of Aquitaine? ...

    end of biography

    Source: 'The World Book Encyclopedia', 1968, p H178. 'Royalty for Commoners', Roderick W. Stuart, 1993, p 37-38. Reigned 1154-1189.

    He ruled an empire that stretched from the Tweed to the Pyrenees. In spite of frequent hostitilties with the French King his own family and rebellious Barons (culminating in the great revolt of 1173-74) and his quarrel with Thomas Becket, Henry maintained control over his possessions until shortly before his death. His judicial and administrative reforms which increased Royal control and influence at the expense of the Barons were of great constitutional importance. Introduced trial by Jury. Duke of Normandy. Henry II 'Curt Mantel,' Duke of Normandy, Count of Maine and Anjou, King Of England became king in 1154.

    At the height of his power, Henry ruled England and almost all western France. His marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most famous woman of the age, brought the duchy of Aquitaine under his control. Henry also claimed to rule Scotland, Wales, and eastern Ireland. Henry II carried on his grandfather's policy of limiting the power of the nobles. He also tried to make the Roman Catholic Church in England submit to his authority. This policy brought him into conflict with Thomas a Becket, Achbishop of Canterbury. Four of the king's knights murdered Becket while he was at vespers in his cathedral. Henry made Anglo-Saxon common law, rather than the revised Roman law, the supreme law of the land. He introduced trial by jury and circuit courts. In his later years, Henry's sons often rebelled against him. Two of them, Richard the Lion-Hearted and John, became the next two kings of England.

    REF: "Falls the Shadow" Sharon Kay Penman: William the Conqueror requested a large number of Jews to move to England after his conquest. They spoke Norman & did well under his reign. They continued to thrive under William's grandson Henry II.

    REF: British Monarchy Official Website: Henry II (reigned 1154-89)

    ruled over an empire which stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. Married to Eleanor, the heiress of Aquitaine, the king spent only 13 years of his reign in England; the other 21 years were spent on the continent in his territories in what is now France. By 1158, Henry had restored to the crown some of the lands and royal power lost by Stephen. For example, locally chosen sheriffs were changed into royally appointed agents charged with enforcing the law and collecting taxes in the counties. Personally interested in government and law, Henry strengthened royal justice, making use of juries and re-introduced the sending of justices (judges) on regular tours of the country to try cases for the Crown. His legal reforms have led him to be seen as the founder of English Common Law. Henry's disagreements with his Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over Church/State relations ended in Becket's murder in 1170. Family disputes almost wrecked the king's achievements and he died in 1189 at war with his sons.

    Reigned 25 Oct 1154-1189. Invested As Duke Of Nomandy By His Parents In 1150.

    Ruled An Empire That Stretched From The Tweed To The Pyrenees.

    Numerous Quarrels With French King, & His Own Family.

    Quarreled With Thomas Becket.

    Beat Rebellious Barons (Culminating In The Great Revolt Of 1173-74).

    Retained Control Of His Possessions Until Shortly Before His Death.

    Important Judicial & Admin. Reforms Incr. Power Of King At The Expense Of Barons

    Introduced Trial By Jury.

    Count Of Anjou & Aquitaine.

    Click on this link to view images of Fontevraud Abbey ...

    Images and commentary for Chinon Castle ...

    Henry married Eleanore de Aquitaine, Queen of England 18 May 1152, Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France. Eleanore was born 0___ 1123, Chateau de Belin, Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France; died 31 Mar 1204, Poitiers, France; was buried 1 Apr 1204, Fontevraud Abbey, France. [Group Sheet]

  2. 3.  Eleanore de Aquitaine, Queen of EnglandEleanore de Aquitaine, Queen of England was born 0___ 1123, Chateau de Belin, Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France; died 31 Mar 1204, Poitiers, France; was buried 1 Apr 1204, Fontevraud Abbey, France.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Duchess of Aquitaine
    • Also Known As: Queen Consort of the Franks


    Eleanor of Aquitaine (French: Aliâenor, âElâeonore, Latin: Alienora; 1122 – 1 April 1204) was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages and a member of the Ramnulfid dynasty of rulers in southwestern France. She inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine from her father, William X, in 1137, and later became queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189). She was the patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoãit de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She was a leader of the Second Crusade and of armies several times in her life.

    As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor was the most eligible bride in Europe. Three months after she became duchess, she married King Louis VII of France, son of her guardian, King Louis VI. As Queen of France, she participated in the unsuccessful Second Crusade. Soon after, Eleanor sought an annulment of her marriage,[1] but her request was rejected by Pope Eugene III.[2] However, after the birth of her second daughter Alix, Louis agreed to an annulment given that their union had not produced a son after fifteen years of marriage.[3] The marriage was annulled on 11 March 1152 on the grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree. Their daughters were declared legitimate and custody was awarded to Louis, while Eleanor's lands were restored to her.

    As soon as the annulment was granted, Eleanor became engaged to Henry, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, who became King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry was her third cousin (cousin of the third degree), and eleven years younger. The couple married on 18 May 1152 (Whit Sunday), eight weeks after the annulment of Eleanor's first marriage, in a cathedral in Poitiers, France. Over the next thirteen years, she bore Henry eight children: five sons, three of whom would become kings; and three daughters. However, Henry and Eleanor eventually became estranged. Henry imprisoned her in 1173 for supporting her son Henry's revolt against her husband. She was not released until 6 July 1189, when Henry died and their son ascended the English throne as Richard I.

    Now queen dowager, Eleanor acted as regent while Richard went on the Third Crusade, where on his return he was captured and held prisoner. Eleanor lived well into the reign of her youngest son, John. By the time of her death, she had outlived all her children except for John and Eleanor.

    Film, radio and television

    Eleanor has featured in a number of screen versions of the Ivanhoe and Robin Hood stories. She has been played by Martita Hunt in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952), Jill Esmond in the British TV adventure series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–1960), Phyllis Neilson-Terry in the British TV adventure series Ivanhoe (1958), Yvonne Mitchell in the BBC TV drama series The Legend of Robin Hood (1975), Siãan Phillips in the TV series Ivanhoe (1997), and Tusse Silberg in the TV series The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997). She was portrayed by Lynda Bellingham in the BBC series Robin Hood. Most recently, she was portrayed by Eileen Atkins in Robin Hood (2010).

    In the 1964 film, "Becket" (1964), Eleanor is briefly played by Pamela Brown to Peter O'Toole's first performance as a young Henry II.

    In the 1968 film, The Lion in Winter, Eleanor is played by Katharine Hepburn, while Henry is again portrayed by O'Toole. The film is about the difficult relationship between them and the struggle of their three sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John for their father's favour and the succession. A 2003 TV film, The Lion in Winter (2003 film), starred Glenn Close as Eleanor and Patrick Stewart as Henry.

    She was portrayed by Mary Clare in the silent film, Becket (1923), by Prudence Hyman in Richard the Lionheart (1962), and twice by Jane Lapotaire; in the BBC TV drama series, The Devil's Crown (1978), and again in Mike Walker's BBC Radio 4 series, Plantagenet (2010). In the 2010 film, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, Eleanor is played by Eileen Atkins. In the 2014 film, Richard the Lionheart: Rebellion, Eleanor is played by Debbie Rochon.

    More on Queen Eleanor ...

    Click this link to view an image collage of Mirabell Castle ...

    Click on this link to view images of Fontevraud Abbey ...

    Henry II held his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine , prisoner at Old Sarum. In the 1190s, the plain between Old Sarum and Wilton was one of five specially designated by Richard I for the holding of English tournaments

    Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury in England. Located on a hill about 2 miles (3 km) north of modern Salisbury near the A345 road , the settlement appears in some of the earliest records in the country.

    The abbey was originally the site of the graves of King Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their son King Richard I of England, their daughter Joan, their grandson Raymond VII of Toulouse, and Isabella of Angoulãeme, wife of Henry and Eleanor's son King John. However, there is no remaining corporal presence of Henry, Eleanor, Richard, or the others on the site. Their remains were possibly destroyed during the French Revolution.

    Click on this link to view images of Fontevraud Abbey ...


    thier marriage turned sour after Henry's affair with Rosamund Clifford...

    1. 1. Richard Plantagenet, I, King of England was born 8 Sep 1157, Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England; died 6 Apr 1199, Limousin, France; was buried Fontevraud Abbey, France.
    2. Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile was born 13 Oct 1162, Domfront Castle, Normandy, France; died 31 Oct 1214, Burgos, Spain; was buried Burgos, Spain.
    3. John I, King of England was born 24 Dec 1166, Beaumont Palace, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England; died 19 Oct 1216, Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire, England; was buried 19 Oct 1216, Worcester Cathedral, Worcester, Warwickshire, England.

Generation: 3

  1. 4.  Geoffrey "Le Bon" Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Duke of NormandyGeoffrey "Le Bon" Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy was born 24 Sep 1113, Anjou, France; died 7 Sep 1151, Chateau-Du-Loir, Eure-Et-Loire, France; was buried Saint Julian Church, Le Mans, France.

    Other Events:

    • Occupation: Duke of Normandy


    More on Geoffrey's biography and history with photos ...

    Geoffrey married Matilda of England, Queen of England 3 Apr 1127, Le Massachusetts, Sarthe, France. Matilda (daughter of Henry I, King of England and Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England) was born 7 Feb 1102, London, Middlesex, England; was christened 7 Apr 1141; died 10 Sep 1167, Notre Dame, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France; was buried 10 Sep 1169, Bec Abbey, Le Bec-Hellouin, Eure, France. [Group Sheet]

  2. 5.  Matilda of England, Queen of EnglandMatilda of England, Queen of England was born 7 Feb 1102, London, Middlesex, England; was christened 7 Apr 1141 (daughter of Henry I, King of England and Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England); died 10 Sep 1167, Notre Dame, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France; was buried 10 Sep 1169, Bec Abbey, Le Bec-Hellouin, Eure, France.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Empress Matilda
    • Also Known As: Empress Maude
    • Also Known As: Empress of Germany
    • Also Known As: Queen of Italy


    Empress Matilda (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), also known as the Empress Maude,[nb 1] was the claimant to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy. The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She travelled with her husband into Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St. Peter's Basilica, and acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry had no children, and when Henry died in 1125, the crown was claimed by Lothair II, one of his political enemies.

    Meanwhile, Matilda's younger brother, William Adelin, died in the White Ship disaster of 1120, leaving England facing a potential succession crisis. On Henry V's death, Matilda was recalled to Normandy by her father, who arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou to form an alliance to protect his southern borders. Henry I had no further legitimate children and nominated Matilda as his heir, making his court swear an oath of loyalty to her and her successors, but the decision was not popular in the Anglo-Norman court. Henry died in 1135 but Matilda and Geoffrey faced opposition from the Norman barons and were unable to pursue their claims. The throne was instead taken by Matilda's cousin Stephen of Blois, who enjoyed the backing of the English Church. Stephen took steps to solidify his new regime, but faced threats both from neighbouring powers and from opponents within his kingdom.

    In 1139 Matilda crossed to England to take the kingdom by force, supported by her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, and her uncle, King David I of Scotland, while Geoffrey focused on conquering Normandy. Matilda's forces captured Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, but the Empress's attempt to be crowned at Westminster collapsed in the face of bitter opposition from the London crowds. As a result of this retreat, Matilda was never formally declared Queen of England, and was instead titled the Lady of the English. Robert was captured following the Rout of Winchester in 1141, and Matilda agreed to exchange him for Stephen. Matilda became trapped in Oxford Castle by Stephen's forces that winter, and was forced to escape across the frozen River Isis at night to avoid capture. The war degenerated into a stalemate, with Matilda controlling much of the south-west of England, and Stephen the south-east and the Midlands. Large parts of the rest of the country were in the hands of local, independent barons.

    Matilda returned to Normandy, now in the hands of her husband, in 1148, leaving her eldest son to continue the campaign in England; he eventually succeeded to the throne as Henry II in 1154. She settled her court near Rouen and for the rest of her life concerned herself with the administration of Normandy, acting on Henry's behalf when necessary. Particularly in the early years of her son's reign, she provided political advice and attempted to mediate during the Becket controversy. She worked extensively with the Church, founding Cistercian monasteries, and was known for her piety. She was buried under the high altar at Bec Abbey after her death in 1167.


    The marriage was meant to seal a peace between England/Normandy and Anjou. She was eleven years older than Geoffrey, and very proud of her status as an Empress (as opposed to being a mere Countess). Their marriage was a stormy one with frequent long separations, but she bore him three sons and survived him.

    1. 2. Henry II, King of England was born 5 Mar 1133, Le Mans, France; was christened 25 Mar 1133, Le Mans, France; died 6 Jul 1189, Chinon Castle, France; was buried 7 Jul 1189, Fontevraud Abbey, France.

Generation: 4

  1. 10.  Henry I, King of EnglandHenry I, King of England was born 0___ 1070, Selby, Yorkshire, England; was christened 5 Aug 1100, Selby, Yorkshire, England (son of William the Conqueror, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Matilda of Flanders, Queen of England); died 1 Dec 1135, Saint-Denis-en-Lyons, Normandy, France; was buried 4 Jan 1136, Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Henry Beauclerc
    • Also Known As: Henry of Normandie


    Born: ABT Sep 1068, Selby, Yorkshire, England
    Acceded: 6 Aug 1100, Westminster Abbey, London, England
    Died: 1 Dec 1135, St Denis-le-Fermont, near Gisors
    Buried: Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England

    Notes: Reigned 1100-1135. Duke of Normandy 1106-1135.

    His reign is notable for important legal and administrative reforms, and for the final resolution of the investiture controversy. Abroad, he waged several campaigns in order to consolidate and expand his continental possessions. Was so hated by his brothers that they vowed to disinherit him. In 1106 he captured Robert and held him til he died. He proved to be a hard but just ruler. One of his lovers, Nest, Princess of Deheubarth, was known as the most beautiful woman in Wales; she had many lovers.

    He apparently died from over eating Lampreys. During a Christmas court at Windsor Castle in 1126 that Henry I, who had no legitimate male heir, tried to force his barons to accept his daughter Matilda as his successor.

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles reported that "...there he caused archbishops and bishops and abbots and earls all the thegns that were there to swear to give England and Normandy after his death into the hand of his daughter". Swear they did, but they were not happy about it. None of those present were interested in being among the first to owe allegiance to a woman. The stage was set for the 19-year-long bloody struggle for the throne that rent England apart after Henry's death. Ironically, the final resolution to that civil war, the peace treaty between King Stephen and Matilda's son Henry of Anjou, was ratified on Christmas Day at Westminster in 1153.



    History & issue of Henry I, King of England ...

    Family and children


    House of Normandy
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    Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henry I of England.

    Henry and his first wife, Matilda, had at least two legitimate children:

    Matilda, born in 1102, died 1167.[89]
    William Adelin, born in 1103, died 1120.[89]
    Possibly Richard, who, if he existed, died young.[100]
    Henry and his second wife, Adeliza, had no children.


    Henry had a number of illegitimate children by various mistresses.[nb 32]


    Robert of Gloucester, born in the 1090s.[332]
    Richard, born to Ansfride, brought up by Robert Bloet, the Bishop of Lincoln.[333]
    Reginald de Dunstanville, Earl of Cornwall, born in the 1110s or early 1120s, possibly to Sibyl Corbet.[334]
    Robert the King's son, born to Ede, daughter of Forne.[335]
    Gilbert, possibly born to an unnamed sister or daughter of Walter of Gand.[336]
    William de Tracy, possibly born in the 1090s.[336]
    Henry the King's son, possibly born to Nest ferch Rhys.[335][nb 33]
    Fulk the King's son, possibly born to Ansfride.[335]
    William, the brother of Sybilla de Normandy, probably the brother of Reginald de Dunstanville.[337]


    Matilda FitzRoy, Countess of Perche.[338]
    Matilda FitzRoy, Duchess of Brittany.[338]
    Juliana, wife of Eustace of Breteuil, possibly born to Ansfrida.[339]
    Mabel, wife of William Gouet.[340]
    Constance, Vicountess of Beaumont-sur-Sarthe.[341]
    Aline, wife of Matthew de Montmorency.[342]
    Isabel, daughter of Isabel de Beaumont, Countess of Pembroke.[342]
    Sybilla de Normandy, Queen of Scotland, probably born before 1100.[342][nb 34]
    Matilda Fitzroy, Abbess of Montvilliers.[342]
    Gundrada de Dunstanville.[342]
    Possibly Rohese, wife of Henry de la Pomerai.[342][nb 35]
    Emma, wife of Guy of Laval.[343]
    Adeliza, the King's daughter.[343]
    The wife of Fergus of Galloway.[343]
    Possibly Sibyl of Falaise.[343][nb 36]

    History, maps & photos of Selby, England ...

    Reading Abbey is a large, ruined abbey in the centre of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. It was founded by Henry I in 1121 "for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of King William, my father, and of King William, my brother, and Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors and successors".

    For more history & images of Reading Abbey, go to:

    Henry married Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England 11 Nov 1100, Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom. Matilda (daughter of Malcom III of Scotland, King of Scots and Margaret of Wessex) was born 0___ 1080, Dumfermline, Scotland; died 1 May 1118, Westminster Palace, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England; was buried Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom. [Group Sheet]

  2. 11.  Matilda of Scotland, Queen of EnglandMatilda of Scotland, Queen of England was born 0___ 1080, Dumfermline, Scotland (daughter of Malcom III of Scotland, King of Scots and Margaret of Wessex); died 1 May 1118, Westminster Palace, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England; was buried Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom.

    Other Events:

    • Residence: Normandy, France
    • Also Known As: Edith
    • Also Known As: Edith of Scotland
    • Also Known As: Matilda Atheling Canmore


    Matilda of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118), originally christened Edith,[1] was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry I.

    Matilda was the daughter of the English princess Saint Margaret and the Scottish king Malcolm III. At the age of about six Matilda was sent with her sister to be educated in a convent in southern England, where her aunt Cristina was abbess. It is not clear if she spent much time in Scotland thereafter. In 1093, when she was about 13, she was engaged to an English nobleman when her father and brother Edward were killed in a minor raid into England, and her mother died soon after; her fiance then abandoned the proposed marriage. In Scotland a messy succession conflict followed between Matilda's uncle Donald III, her half-brother Duncan II and brother Edgar until 1097. Matilda's whereabouts during this no doubt difficult period are uncertain.

    But after the suspicious death of William II of England in 1100 and accession of his brother Henry I, Matilda's prospects improved. Henry moved quickly to propose to her. It is said that he already knew and admired her, and she may indeed have spent time at the English court. Edgar was now secure on the Scottish throne, offering the prospect of better relations between the two countries, and Matilda also had the considerable advantage of Anglo-Saxon royal blood, which the Norman dynasty largely lacked.[2] There was a difficulty about the marriage; a special church council was called to be satisfied that Matilda had not taken vows as a nun, which her emphatic testimony managed to convince them of.

    Matilda and Henry married in late 1100. They had two children who reached adulthood and two more who died young. Matilda led a literary and musical court, but was also pious. She embarked on building projects for the church, and took a role in government when her husband was away; many surviving charters are signed by her. Matilda lived to see her daughter Matilda become Holy Roman Empress but died two years before the drowning of her son William. Henry remarried, but had no further legitimate children, which caused a succession crisis known as The Anarchy. Matilda is buried in Westminster Abbey and was fondly remembered by her subjects as "Matilda the Good Queen" and "Matilda of Blessed Memory". There was an attempt to have her canonized, which was not pursued.

    Early life

    Matilda was born around 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret. She was christened (baptised) Edith, and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, stood as godfather at the ceremony. The English queen Matilda of Flanders was also present at the baptismal font and served as her godmother. Baby Matilda pulled at Queen Matilda's headdress, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen one day.[3]

    The Life of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland was later written for Matilda possibly by Turgot of Durham. It refers to Matilda's childhood and her relationship with her mother. In it, Margaret is described as a strict but loving mother. She did not spare the rod when it came to raising her children in virtue, which the author presupposed was the reason for the good behaviour Matilda and her siblings displayed, and Margaret also stressed the importance of piety.[4]

    When she was about six years old, Matilda of Scotland (or Edith as she was then probably still called) and her sister Mary were sent to Romsey Abbey, near Southampton in southern England, where their aunt Cristina was abbess. During her stay at Romsey and, some time before 1093, at Wilton Abbey, both institutions known for learning,[5] the Scottish princess was much sought-after as a bride; refusing proposals from William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, and Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond. Hâeriman of Tournai claimed that William Rufus considered marrying her. Her education went beyond the standard feminine pursuits. This was not surprising as her mother was a great lover of books. Her daughters learned English, French, and some Latin, and were sufficiently literate to read St. Augustine and the Bible.[6]

    In 1093, her parents betrothed her to Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond, one of her numerous suitors. However, before the marriage took place, her father entered into a dispute with William Rufus. In response, he marauded the English king's lands where he was surprised by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria and killed along with his son, Edward. Upon hearing of her husband and son's death, Margaret, already ill, died on 16 November. Edith was now an orphan. She was abandoned by her betrothed who ran off with a daughter of Harold Godwinson, Gunhild of Wessex. However, he died before they could be married.[7]

    She had left the monastery by 1093, when Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to the Bishop of Salisbury ordering that the daughter of the King of Scotland be returned to the monastery that she had left. She did not return to Wilton and until 1100, is largely unaccounted for in chronicles.[8]


    After William II's death in the New Forest in August 1100, his brother, Henry, immediately seized the royal treasury and crown. His next task was to marry and Henry's choice was Matilda. Because Matilda had spent most of her life in a convent, there was some controversy over whether she was a nun and thus canonically ineligible for marriage. Henry sought permission for the marriage from Archbishop Anselm, who returned to England in September 1100 after a long exile. Professing himself unwilling to decide so weighty a matter on his own, Anselm called a council of bishops in order to determine the canonical legality of the proposed marriage. Matilda testified that she had never taken holy vows, insisting that her parents had sent her and her sister to England for educational purposes, and her aunt Cristina had veiled her to protect her "from the lust of the Normans." Matilda claimed she had pulled the veil off and stamped on it, and her aunt beat and scolded her for this act. The council concluded that Matilda was not a nun, never had been and her parents had not intended that she become one, giving their permission for the marriage.

    Matilda and Henry seem to have known one another for some time before their marriage — William of Malmesbury states that Henry had "long been attached" to her, and Orderic Vitalis says that Henry had "long adored" her character. It is possible that Matilda had spent some time at William Rufus's court and that the pair had met there. It is also possible Henry was introduced to his bride by his teacher Bishop Osmund. Whatever the case, it is clear that the two at least knew each other prior to their wedding. Additionally, the chronicler William of Malmesbury suggests that the new king loved his bride.[9]

    Matilda's mother was the sister of Edgar the ¥theling, proclaimed but uncrowned King of England after Harold, and, through her mother, Matilda was descended from Edmund Ironside and thus from the royal family of Wessex, which in the 10th century had become the royal family of a united England. This was extremely important because although Henry had been born in England, he needed a bride with ties to the ancient Wessex line to increase his popularity with the English and to reconcile the Normans and Anglo-Saxons.[10] In their children, the two factions would be united, further unifying the new regime. Another benefit was that England and Scotland became politically closer; three of Matilda's brothers became kings of Scotland in succession and were unusually friendly towards England during this period of unbroken peace between the two nations: Alexander married one of Henry I's illegitimate daughters and David lived at Henry's court for some time before his accession.[11]

    Matilda had a small dower but it did incorporate some lordship rights. Most of her dower estates were granted from lands previously held by Edith of Wessex. Additionally, Henry made numerous grants on his wife including substantial property in London. Generosity aside, this was a political move in order to win over the unruly Londoners who were vehement supporters of the Wessex kings.[12]


    The seal of Matilda
    After Matilda and Henry were married on 11 November 1100 at Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury, she was crowned as "Matilda," a hallowed Norman name. By courtiers, however, she and her husband were soon nicknamed 'Godric and Godiva'.[13] These two names were typical English names from before The Conquest and mocked their more rustic style, especially when compared to the flamboyance of William II.

    She gave birth to a daughter, Matilda, born in February 1102, and a son, William, called "Adelin", in November 1103. As queen, she resided primarily at Westminster, but accompanied her husband on his travels around England, and, circa 1106–1107, probably visited Normandy with him. Matilda was the designated head of Henry's curia and acted as regent during his frequent absences.[14]

    During the English investiture controversy (1103-07), she acted as intercessor between her husband and archbishop Anselm. She wrote several letters during Anselm's absence, first asking him for advice and to return, but later increasingly to mediate.[15]


    Matilda had great interest in architecture and instigated the building of many Norman-style buildings, including Waltham Abbey and Holy Trinity Aldgate.[16] She also had the first arched bridge in England built, at Stratford-le-Bow, as well as a bathhouse with piped-in water and public lavatories at Queenhithe.[17]

    Her court was filled with musicians and poets; she commissioned a monk, possibly Thurgot, to write a biography of her mother, Saint Margaret. She was an active queen and, like her mother, was renowned for her devotion to religion and the poor. William of Malmesbury describes her as attending church barefoot at Lent, and washing the feet and kissing the hands of the sick. Matilda exhibited a particular interest in leprosy, founding at least two leper hospitals, including the institution that later became the parish church of St Giles-in-the-Fields.[18] She also administered extensive dower properties and was known as a patron of the arts, especially music.


    After Matilda died on 1 May 1118 at Westminster Palace, she was buried at Westminster Abbey. The death of her son, William Adelin, in the tragic disaster of the White Ship (November 1120) and Henry's failure to produce a legitimate son from his second marriage led to the succession crisis of The Anarchy.


    After her death, she was remembered by her subjects as "Matilda the Good Queen" and "Matilda of Blessed Memory", and for a time sainthood was sought for her, though she was never canonized. Matilda is also thought to be the identity of the "Fair Lady" mentioned at the end of each verse in the nursery rhyme London Bridge Is Falling Down. The post-Norman conquest English monarchs to the present day are related to the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex monarchs via Matilda of Scotland as she was the great-granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside, see House of Wessex family tree.


    Matilda and Henry had issue

    Euphemia (July/August 1101), died young
    Matilda of England (c. February 1102 – 10 September 1167), Holy Roman Empress, Countess consort of Anjou, called Lady of the English
    William Adelin, (5 August 1103 – 25 November 1120), sometimes called Duke of Normandy, who married Matilda (d.1154), daughter of Fulk V, Count of Anjou.
    Elizabeth (August/September 1104), died young

    Appearance and character

    "It causes pleasure to see the queen whom no woman equals in beauty of body or face, hiding her body, nevertheless, in a veil of loose clothing. Here alone, with new modesty, wishes to conceal it, but what gleams with its own light cannot be hidden and the sun, penetrating his clouds, hurls his rays." She also had "fluent, honeyed speech." From a poem of Marbodius of Rennes.

    1. 5. Matilda of England, Queen of England was born 7 Feb 1102, London, Middlesex, England; was christened 7 Apr 1141; died 10 Sep 1167, Notre Dame, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France; was buried 10 Sep 1169, Bec Abbey, Le Bec-Hellouin, Eure, France.

Generation: 5

  1. 20.  William the Conqueror, King of England, Duke of NormandyWilliam the Conqueror, King of England, Duke of Normandy was born 14 Oct 1024, Chateau de Falaise, Falaise, Normandy, France; was christened 0___ 1066, Dives-sur-Mer, Normandie, France; died 9 Sep 1087, Rouen, Normandy, France; was buried Saint-Etienne de Caen, France.

    Other Events:

    • Residence: Hastings, England
    • Also Known As: Guillaume de Normandie
    • Also Known As: William I Normandie, King of England
    • Also Known As: William the Bastard
    • Military: Victor over the English in the Battle of Hastings, 1066
    • Burial: 10 Sep 1087, St. Stephen Abbey, Caen, Calvados, France


    Click here to view William the Conqueror's biography...

    Click here to read about the historic Norman Conquest by William ...

    Click here to view his 9-generation pedigree ...

    William the Conqueror is the 26th & 27th great grandfather of the grandchildren of Vernia Swindell Byars (1894-1985)



    "The Last Kingdom"

    The Last Kingdom is a British television series, an eight-part adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s historical novels series The Saxon Stories.[1] The series premiered on 10 October 2015 on BBC America,[2] and on BBC Two in the UK on 22 October 2015.

    Set in the late ninth century AD, when what is known as England today was several separate kingdoms. The Anglo-Saxon lands are attacked and, in many instances, ruled by Danes. The Kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone.

    The protagonist Uhtred, the orphaned son of a Saxon nobleman, is captured by viking Danes and reared as one of them. Forced to choose between a kingdom that shares his ancestry and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are constantly tested.[4]

    The first series' storyline roughly covers the plot of the original two novels, The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman although condensed for the purposes of television ...

    For a more complete genealogy including ancestors and descendants, see House of Wessex family tree ...

    Alfred Saxon, King of England is the 5 x great uncle of William I Normandie, King of England ...

    Alfred Saxon, King of England is the 4 x great grandfather of the wife of William I Normandie, King of England ...

    More history on King Alfred of Wessex, the first English king ...

    "Alfred the Great" ... his history & issue;

    "...Before Alfred arrived on the scene, England had consisted of a number of small kingdoms, but these were simply overrun and their royal families wiped out by the Vikings by the end of the 860s.
    At this point, the Vikings threatened to overrun the whole of England, and the King of Mercia fled overseas, as did a number of well-to-do West Saxons.

    But on the verge of total disaster, something happened which became part of the English myth in the Anglo-Saxon period, and still is. In early 878, Alfred the Great was surrounded in the marshes of Athelney in Somerset, almost finished. 'England' was on the ropes before it had even come into being..."

    Interesting article about, "The Alfred Jewel", contributed January 14th, 2018 by Martha Ann Millsaps;


    Victor over the English in the Battle of 1066

    a seminal moment in English history...

    The Abbey of Saint-âEtienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ("Men's Abbey"), is a former Benedictine monastery in the French city of Caen, Normandy, dedicated to Saint Stephen. It was founded in 1063[1] by William the Conqueror and is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Normandy.

    Photos, history & source:,_Caen

    at the Priory of St. Gervase...

    William married Matilda of Flanders, Queen of England 0___ 1053, Normandie, France. Matilda was born Abt 1031, Flanders, Belgium; died 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Normandie, France; was buried Abbaye aux Dames, Caen, Normandie, France. [Group Sheet]

  2. 21.  Matilda of Flanders, Queen of EnglandMatilda of Flanders, Queen of England was born Abt 1031, Flanders, Belgium; died 2 Nov 1083, Caen, Calvados, Normandie, France; was buried Abbaye aux Dames, Caen, Normandie, France.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: Maud
    • _HEIG: 5' 0"


    Matilda of Flanders (French: Mathilde; Dutch: Machteld) (c. 1031 – 2 November 1083) was Queen of England and Duchess of Normandy by marriage to William the Conqueror, and sometime Regent of these realms during his absence. She was the mother of ten children who survived to adulthood, including two kings, William II and Henry I.

    As a niece and granddaughter of kings of France, Matilda was of grander birth than William, who was illegitimate, and, according to some suspiciously romantic tales, she initially refused his proposal on this account. Her descent from the Anglo-Saxon royal House of Wessex was also to become a useful card. Like many royal marriages of the period, it breached the rules of consanguinity, then at their most restrictive (to seven generations or degrees of relatedness); Matilda and William were third-cousins, once removed. She was about 20 when they married in 1051/2; William was four years older,24, and had been Duke of Normandy since he was about eight (in 1035).

    The marriage appears to have been successful, and William is not recorded to have had any bastards. Matilda was about 35, and had already produced most of her children, when William embarked on the Norman conquest of England, sailing in his flagship Mora, which Matilda had given him. She governed the Duchy of Normandy in his absence, joining him in England only after more than a year, and subsequently returning to Normandy, where she spent most of the remainder of her life, while William was mostly in his new kingdom. She was about 52 when she died in Normandy in 1083.

    Apart from governing Normandy and supporting her brother's interests in Flanders, Matilda took a close interest in the education of her children, who were unusually well educated for contemporary royalty. The boys were tutored by the Italian Lanfranc, who was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1070, while the girls learned Latin in Sainte-Trinitâe Abbey in Caen, founded by William and Matilda as part of the papal dispensation allowing their marriage.


    Matilda, or Maud, was the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and Adela, herself daughter of King Robert II of France.[1]

    According to legend, when the Norman duke William the Bastard (later called the Conqueror) sent his representative to ask for Matilda's hand in marriage, she told the representative that she was far too high-born to consider marrying a bastard.[a] After hearing this response, William rode from Normandy to Bruges, found Matilda on her way to church, dragged her off her horse by her long braids, threw her down in the street in front of her flabbergasted attendants and rode off.

    Another version of the story states that William rode to Matilda's father's house in Lille, threw her to the ground in her room (again, by her braids) and hit her (or violently battered her) before leaving. Naturally, Baldwin took offence at this; but, before they could draw swords, Matilda settled the matter[2] by refusing to marry anyone but William;[3] even a papal ban by Pope Leo IX at the Council of Reims on the grounds of consanguinity did not dissuade her. William and Matilda were married after a delay in c.?1051–2.[4] A papal dispensation was finally awarded in 1059 by Pope Nicholas II.[5] Lanfranc, at the time prior of Bec Abbey, negotiated the arrangement in Rome and it came only after William and Matilda agreed to found two churches as penance.[6]

    Rumored romances

    There were rumours that Matilda had been in love variously with the English ambassador to Flanders and with the great Saxon thegn Brictric, son of Algar, who (according to the account by the Continuator of Wace and others[7]) in his youth declined her advances. Whatever the truth of the matter, years later when she was acting as regent for her husband William in England, she is said to have used her authority to confiscate Brictric's lands and throw him into prison, where he died.[8]

    Duchess of Normandy

    When William was preparing to invade England, Matilda outfitted a ship, the Mora, out of her own funds and gave it to him.[9] Additionally, William gave Normandy to his wife during his absence. Matilda successfully guided the duchy through this period in the name of her fourteen-year-old son; no major uprisings or unrest occurred.[10]

    Even after William conquered England and became its king, it took her more than a year to visit the kingdom.[11] Despite having been crowned queen, she spent most of her time in Normandy, governing the duchy, supporting her brother's interests in Flanders, and sponsoring ecclesiastic houses there. Only one of her children was born in England; Henry was born in Yorkshire when Matilda accompanied her husband in the Harrying of the North.[12]


    Statue of Matilda of Flanders, one of the twenty Reines de France et Femmes illustres in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, by Carle Elshoecht (1850)

    Tomb of Matilda of Flanders at Abbaye aux Dames, Caen

    Tomb of William of Normandy at Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Caen
    Matilda was crowned queen on 11 May 1068 in Westminster during the feast of Pentecost, in a ceremony presided over by the archbishop of York. Three new phrases were incorporated to cement the importance of English consorts, stating that the Queen was divinely placed by God, shares in royal power, and blesses her people by her power and virtue.[13][14]

    For many years it was thought that she had some involvement in the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry (commonly called La Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde in French), but historians no longer believe that; it seems to have been commissioned by William's half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and made by English artists in Kent.[15]

    Matilda bore William nine or ten children. He was believed to have been faithful to her and never produced a child outside their marriage. Despite her royal duties, Matilda was deeply invested in her children's well-being. All were known for being remarkably educated. Her daughters were educated and taught to read Latin at Sainte-Trinitâe in Caen founded by Matilda and William in response to the recognition of their marriage.[16] For her sons, she secured Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury of whom she was an ardent supporter. Both she and William approved of the Archbishop's desire to revitalise the Church.[17]

    She stood as godmother for Matilda of Scotland, who would become Queen of England after marrying Matilda's son Henry I. During the christening, the baby pulled Queen Matilda's headdress down on top of herself, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen some day as well.[18]

    Matilda fell ill during the summer of 1083 and died in November 1083. Her husband was present for her final confession.[19] William died four years later in 1087.

    Contrary to the common belief that she was buried at St. Stephen's, also called l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes in Caen, Normandy, where William was eventually buried, she is entombed in Caen at l'Abbaye aux Dames, which is the community of Sainte-Trinitâe. Of particular interest is the 11th-century slab, a sleek black stone decorated with her epitaph, marking her grave at the rear of the church. In contrast, the grave marker for William's tomb was replaced as recently as the beginning of the 19th century.


    Over time Matilda's tomb was desecrated and her original coffin destroyed. Her remains were placed in a sealed box and reburied under the original black slab.[20] In 1959 Matilda's incomplete skeleton was examined and her femur and tibia were measured to determine her height using anthropometric methods. Her height was 5 feet (1.52m), a normal height for the time.[21] However, as a result of this examination she was misreported as being 4 feet 2 inches (1.27m)[22] leading to the myth that she was extremely small.

    Family and children

    Matilda and William had four sons and at least five daughters.[23] The birth order of the boys is clear, but no source gives the relative order of birth of the daughters.[23]

    Robert, born between 1051 and 1054, died 10 February 1134.[24] Duke of Normandy, married Sybil of Conversano, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversano.[25]
    Richard, born c. 1054, died around 1075.[24]
    William Rufus, born between 1056 and 1060, died 2 August 1100.[24] King of England, killed in the New Forest.
    Henry, born late 1068, died 1 December 1135.[24] King of England, married Edith of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland. His second wife was Adeliza of Louvain.[26]
    Agatha, betrothed to Harold II of England, Alfonso VI of Castile, and possibly Herbert I, Count of Maine, but died unmarried.[b][27]
    Adeliza (or Adelida,[28] Adelaide[26]), died before 1113, reportedly betrothed to Harold II of England, probably a nun of St Lâeger at Prâeaux.[28]
    Cecilia (or Cecily), born c. 1056, died 1127. Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen.[27]
    Matilda,[28] "daughter of the King", born around 1061, died perhaps about 1086,[26] or else much later (according to Trevor Foulds's suggestion that she was identical to Matilda d'Aincourt[29]).
    Constance, died 1090, married Alan IV Fergent, Duke of Brittany.[27]
    Adela, died 1137, married Stephen, Count of Blois.[27] Mother of King Stephen of England.
    There is no evidence of any illegitimate children born to William.[30]

    William was furious when he discovered she sent large sums of money to their exiled son Robert.[31] She effected a truce between them at Easter 1080.

    (or Sainte Trinitâe) for women which was founded by Matilda around four years later (1063)...


    The problem has been and maybe still is that William the Conqueror and Matilda (dau. of Baldwin V of Flanders & Adelaide of France) had relatively great difficulty is obtaining a papal dispensation for their marriage. It was not immediately obvious that there was any impediment that needed a dispensation. This problem of what the relationship between Matilda and William was that required a dispensation generated a vigorous debate earlier this century. Weis or Weis's source (as you report it) goes for a theory that makes Matilda and William cousins of sorts.

    1. Adela of Normandy was born ~ 1067, Normandy, France; died 8 Mar 1137, Marcigny-sur-Loire, France.
    2. 10. Henry I, King of England was born 0___ 1070, Selby, Yorkshire, England; was christened 5 Aug 1100, Selby, Yorkshire, England; died 1 Dec 1135, Saint-Denis-en-Lyons, Normandy, France; was buried 4 Jan 1136, Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England.

  3. 22.  Malcom III of Scotland, King of Scots was born 0___ 1031, Scotland; died 13 Nov 1093, Alnwick, Northumberland, England.

    Malcom married Margaret of Wessex 0___ 1070. Margaret (daughter of Edward the Exile and Agatha) was born ~ 1045, Hungary; died 16 Nov 1093, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland; was buried Dunfermline Abbey, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. [Group Sheet]

  4. 23.  Margaret of WessexMargaret of Wessex was born ~ 1045, Hungary (daughter of Edward the Exile and Agatha); died 16 Nov 1093, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland; was buried Dunfermline Abbey, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

    Other Events:

    • Also Known As: "The Pearl of Scotland"
    • Also Known As: Saint Margaret of Scotland


    Saint Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045 - 16 November 1093), also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland".[1] Born in exile in the Kingdom of Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar ¥theling, the shortly reigned and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England. Margaret and her family returned to the Kingdom of England in 1057, but fled to the Kingdom of Scotland following the Norman conquest of England in 1066. By the end of 1070, Margaret had married King Malcolm III of Scotland, becoming Queen of Scots. She was a very pious Roman Catholic, and among many charitable works she established a ferry across the Firth of Forth in Scotland for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews in Fife, which gave the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry their names. Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland, or four, if Edmund of Scotland, who ruled with his uncle, Donald III, is counted, and of a queen consort of England. According to the Vita S. Margaritae (Scotorum) Reginae (Life of St. Margaret, Queen (of the Scots)), attributed to Turgot of Durham, she died at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1093, merely days after receiving the news of her husband's death in battle. In 1250 Pope Innocent IV canonized her, and her remains were reinterred in a shrine in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. Her relics were dispersed after the Scottish Reformation and subsequently lost. Mary, Queen of Scots at one time owned her head, which was subsequently preserved by Jesuits in the Scottish College, Douai, France, from where it was subsequently lost during the French Revolution.

    Queen consort of Scotland
    Tenure 1070-93
    Born c.?1045
    Kingdom of Hungary
    Died 16 November 1093
    Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Kingdom of Scotland
    Burial Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Kingdom of Scotland
    Spouse Malcolm III, King of Scotland
    more... Edmund, Bishop of Dunkeld
    Edgar, King of Scotland
    Alexander I, King of Scotland
    David I, King of Scotland
    Matilda, Queen of England
    Mary, Countess of Boulogne
    House Wessex
    Father Edward the Exile
    Mother Agatha

    Early life

    Margaret from a medieval family tree.
    Margaret was the daughter of the English prince Edward the Exile, and granddaughter of Edmund Ironside, King of England.[1] After the Danish conquest of England in 1016, King Canute the Great had the infant Edward exiled to the continent. He was taken first to the court of the Swedish king, Olof Skèotkonung, and then to Kiev. As an adult, he travelled to Hungary, where in 1046 he supported the successful bid of King Andrew I for the Hungarian crown. King Andrew I was then also known as "Andrew the Catholic" for his extreme aversion to pagans and great loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church. The provenance of Margaret's mother, Agatha, is disputed, but Margaret was born in Hungary c. 1045. Her brother Edgar the ¥theling and sister Cristina were also born in Hungary around this time. Margaret grew up in a very religious environment in the Hungarian court.

    Return to England

    Still a child, she came to England with the rest of her family when her father, Edward the Exile, was recalled in 1057 as a possible successor to her great-uncle, the childless King Edward the Confessor. Whether from natural or sinister causes, her father died immediately after landing, and Margaret continued to reside at the English court where her brother, Edgar ¥theling, was considered a possible successor to the English throne.[1] When Edward the Confessor died in January 1066, Harold Godwinson was selected as king, possibly because Edgar was considered too young. After Harold's defeat at the Battle of Hastings later that year, Edgar was proclaimed King of England, but when the Normans advanced on London, the Witenagemot presented Edgar to William the Conqueror, who took him to Normandy before returning him to England in 1068, when Edgar, Margaret, Cristina, and their mother Agatha fled north to Northumbria, England.

    Journey to Scotland

    According to tradition, the widowed Agatha decided to leave Northumbria, England with her children and return to the continent. However, a storm drove their ship north to the Kingdom of Scotland in 1068, where they sought the protection of King Malcolm III. The locus where it is believed that they landed is known today as St Margaret's Hope, near the village of North Queensferry, Fife, Scotland. Margaret's arrival in Scotland, after the failed revolt of the Northumbrian earls, has been heavily romanticized, though Symeon of Durham implied that her first meeting of Malcolm III may not have been until 1070, after William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North.

    King Malcolm III was a widower with two sons, Donald and Duncan. He would have been attracted to marrying one of the few remaining members of the Anglo-Saxon royal family. The marriage of Malcolm and Margaret occurred in 1070. Subsequently, Malcolm executed several invasions of Northumberland to support the claim of his new brother-in-law Edgar and to increase his own power. These, however, had little effect save the devastation of the County.[2]


    Margaret and Malcolm had eight children, six sons and two daughters:

    Edward (c. 1071 — 13 November 1093), killed along with his father Malcolm III in the Battle of Alnwick
    Edmund of Scotland (c.1071 – post 1097)
    Ethelred of Scotland, Abbot of Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
    Edgar of Scotland (c.1074 — 11 January 1107), King of Scotland, regnat 1097-1107
    Alexander I of Scotland (c.1078 — 23 April 1124), King of Scotland, regnat 1107-24
    Edith of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118), also named "Matilda", married King Henry I of England, Queen Consort of England
    Mary of Scotland (1082-1116), married Eustace III of Boulogne
    David I of Scotland (c.1083 – 24 May 1153), King of Scotland, regnat 1124-53


    Malcolm greeting Margaret at her arrival in Scotland; detail of a mural by Victorian artist William Hole
    Margaret's biographer Turgot of Durham, Bishop of St. Andrew's, credits her with having a civilizing influence on her husband Malcolm by reading him narratives from the Bible. She instigated religious reform, striving to conform the worship and practices of the Church in Scotland to those of Rome. This she did on the inspiration and with the guidance of Lanfranc, a future Archbishop of Canterbury.[3] She also worked to conform the practices of the Scottish Church to those of the continental Church, which she experienced in her childhood. Due to these achievements, she was considered an exemplar of the "just ruler", and moreover influenced her husband and children, especially her youngest son, the future King David I of Scotland, to be just and holy rulers.

    "The chroniclers all agree in depicting Queen Margaret as a strong, pure, noble character, who had very great influence over her husband, and through him over Scottish history, especially in its ecclesiastical aspects. Her religion, which was genuine and intense, was of the newest Roman style; and to her are attributed a number of reforms by which the Church [in] Scotland was considerably modified from the insular and primitive type which down to her time it had exhibited. Among those expressly mentioned are a change in the manner of observing Lent, which thenceforward began as elsewhere on Ash Wednesday and not as previously on the following Monday, and the abolition of the old practice of observing Saturday (Sabbath), not Sunday, as the day of rest from labour (see Skene's Celtic Scotland, book ii chap. 8)."[4] The later editions of the Encyclopµdia Britannica, however, as an example, the Eleventh Edition, remove Skene's opinion that Scottish Catholics formerly rested from work on Saturday, something for which there is no historical evidence. Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. ii, chap. 8, pp. 348–350, quotes from a contemporary document regarding Margaret's life, but his source says nothing at all of Saturday Sabbath observance, but rather says St. Margaret exhorted the Scots to cease their tendency "to neglect the due observance of the Lord's day."

    She attended to charitable works, serving orphans and the poor every day before she ate and washing the feet of the poor in imitation of Christ. She rose at midnight every night to attend the liturgy. She successfully invited the Benedictine Order to establish a monastery in Dunfermline, Fife in 1072, and established ferries at Queensferry and North Berwick to assist pilgrims journeying from south of the Firth of Forth to St. Andrew's in Fife. She used a cave on the banks of the Tower Burn in Dunfermline as a place of devotion and prayer. St. Margaret's Cave, now covered beneath a municipal car park, is open to the public.[5] Among other deeds, Margaret also instigated the restoration of Iona Abbey in Scotland.[6] She is also known to have interceded for the release of fellow English exiles who had been forced into serfdom by the Norman conquest of England.[7]

    Margaret was as pious privately as she was publicly. She spent much of her time in prayer, devotional reading, and ecclesiastical embroidery. This apparently had considerable effect on the more uncouth Malcolm, who was illiterate: he so admired her piety that he had her books decorated in gold and silver. One of these, a pocket gospel book with portraits of the Evangelists, is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.[8]

    Malcolm was apparently largely ignorant of the long-term effects of Margaret's endeavours, not being especially religious himself. He was content for her to pursue her reforms as she desired, which was a testament to the strength of and affection in their marriage.[6]


    Her husband Malcolm III, and their eldest son Edward, were killed in the Battle of Alnwick against the English on 13 November 1093. Her son Edgar was left with the task of informing his mother of their deaths. Margaret was not yet 50 years old, but a life of constant austerity and fasting had taken its toll.[3] Already ill, Margaret died on 16 November 1093, three days after the deaths of her husband and eldest son. She was buried before the high altar in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. In 1250, the year of her canonization, her body and that of her husband were exhumed and placed in a new shrine in the Abbey. In 1560 Mary Queen of Scots had Margaret's head removed to Edinburgh Castle as a relic to assist her in childbirth. In 1597 Margaret's head ended up with the Jesuits at the Scottish College, Douai, France, but was lost during the French Revolution. King Philip of Spain had the other remains of Margaret and Malcolm III transferred to the Escorial palace in Madrid, Spain, but their present location has not been discovered.[9]


    Site of the ruined Shrine of St. Margaret at Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland

    St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

    St Margaret's Church in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
    Canonization and feast day[edit]
    Pope Innocent IV canonized St. Margaret in 1250 in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Roman Catholic Church, work for ecclesiastical reform, and charity. On 19 June 1250, after her canonisation, her remains were transferred to a chapel in the eastern apse of Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland.[10] In 1693 Pope Innocent XII moved her feast day to 10 June in recognition of the birthdate of the son of James VII of Scotland and II of England.[11] In the revision of the General Roman Calendar in 1969, 16 November became free and the Church transferred her feast day to 16 November, the date of her death, on which it always had been observed in Scotland.[12] However, some traditionalist Catholics continue to celebrate her feast day on 10 June.

    She is also venerated as a saint in the Anglican Church.

    Institutions bearing her name

    Several churches throughout the world are dedicated in honour of St Margaret. One of the oldest is St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, which her son King David I founded. The Chapel was long thought to have been the oratory of Margaret herself, but is now thought to have been established in the 12th century. The oldest edifice in Edinburgh, it was restored in the 19th century and refurbished in the 1990s. Numerous other institutions are named for her as well.

    1. 11. Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England was born 0___ 1080, Dumfermline, Scotland; died 1 May 1118, Westminster Palace, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England; was buried Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom.

Generation: 6

  1. 46.  Edward the ExileEdward the Exile was born 1016, (Wessex) England (son of Edmund II, King of the English and Ealdgyth); died 19 Apr 1057.

    Other Events:

    • Residence: Hungary


    Edward the Exile (1016 – 19 April 1057), also called Edward ¥theling, was the son of King Edmund Ironside and of Ealdgyth. He spent most of his life in exile in the Kingdom of Hungary following the defeat of his father by Canute the Great;


    After the Danish conquest of England in 1016, Canute had Edward, said to be only a few months old, and his brother, Edmund, sent to the Swedish court of Olof Skèotkonung[1][2] (who was either Canute's half-brother or stepbrother), supposedly with instructions to have the children murdered. Instead, the two boys were secretly sent either to Kiev,[3] where Olof's daughter Ingigerd was the Queen, or to Poland, where Canute's uncle Boleslaw I Chrobry was duke.[4] Later Edward made his way to Hungary, probably in the retinue of Ingigerd's son-in-law, Andrâas in 1046.


    On hearing the news of his being alive, Edward the Confessor recalled him to England in 1056 and made him his heir. Edward offered the last chance of an undisputed succession within the Saxon royal house. News of Edward's existence came at a time when the old Anglo-Saxon monarchy, restored after a long period of Danish domination, was heading for catastrophe. The Confessor, personally devout but politically weak and without children, was unable to make an effective stand against the steady advance of the powerful and ambitious sons of Godwin, Earl of Wessex. From across the Channel William, Duke of Normandy, also had an eye on the succession. Edward the Exile appeared at just the right time. Approved by both king and by the Witan, the Council of the Realm, he offered a way out of the impasse, a counter both to the Godwinsons and to William, and one with a legitimacy that could not be readily challenged.

    In 1054 King Edward sent Ealdred, Bishop of Worcester, to the court of the German emperor to set in train negotiations with the king of Hungary for the return of Edward the Exile. Ealdred was not at first successful, and Earl Harold's journey to Flanders, and possibly on to Germany and Hungary, in 1056 was probably undertaken to further negotiations. The Exile finally arrived in England in 1057 with his wife and children, but died within a few days, on 19 April, without meeting the King. He was buried in Old St Paul's Cathedral.[5]


    Edward's wife was named Agatha, whose origins are disputed.[6] Their children were:

    Edgar ¥theling (c. 1051 - c. 1126) - Elected King of England after the Battle of Hastings but submitted to William the Conqueror.
    Saint Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045 - 16 November 1093) - Married King Malcolm III of Scotland.
    Cristina (c. 1057 - c. 1093) - Abbess at Romsey Abbey.
    Edward's grandchild Edith of Scotland, also called Matilda, married King Henry I of England, continuing the Anglo-Saxon line into the post-Conquest English monarchy.


    Edward the Exile was a direct descendant of a line of Wessex kings dating back, at least on the pages of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, to the arrival of Cerdic of Wessex in 495AD, and from Alfred the Great in the English monarchs family tree.[7] Of his more immediate ancestors, all four of Edward's male-line ancestors shown in the diagram below were Kings of England before Cnut the Great took the crown and sent Edward into exile.[8]

    Edward married Agatha (Hungary). Agatha was born >1030, (Hungary); died <1070, (England). [Group Sheet]

  2. 47.  Agatha was born >1030, (Hungary); died <1070, (England).
    1. 23. Margaret of Wessex was born ~ 1045, Hungary; died 16 Nov 1093, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland; was buried Dunfermline Abbey, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

Generation: 7

  1. 92.  Edmund II, King of the EnglishEdmund II, King of the English was born 990, (Wessex) England (son of Aethelred the Unready, King of the English and Aelfgifu of York, Queen consort of England); died 30 Nov 1016, (London) England; was buried Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England.


    Edmund Ironside (died 30 November 1016), also known as Edmund II, was King of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was the son of King ¥thelred the Unready and his first wife, ¥lfgifu of York. Edmund's reign was marred by a war he had inherited from his father, his cognomen "Ironside" was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut the Great.[1]

    Edmund was not expected to be King of England; however, by 1014 two elder brothers had died, making him the oldest male heir. His father, ¥thelred, was usurped by Sweyn Forkbeard in that same year, but Sweyn died shortly thereafter, paving the way for ¥thelred and his family to return to the throne, which they did but not without opposition. In the process they forced Sweyn's son, Cnut, back to Denmark, where he assembled an invasion force to re-conquer England. It would not arrive for another year.

    After regaining the throne, the royal family set about strengthening its hold on the country with the assistance of Eadric Streona (Edmund's brother-in-law). People who had sided with the Danes in 1014 were punished, and some were killed. In one case, two brothers, Morcar and Sigeferth, were killed and their possessions, along with Sigferth's wife, were taken by Edmund. Edmund unofficially became the Earl of the East Midlands and took Ealdgyth for his wife.

    Cnut returned to England in August 1015. Over the next few months, Cnut pillaged most of England. Edmund joined ¥thelred to defend London, but he died on 23 April 1016, making Edmund King. It was not until the summer of 1016 that any serious fighting was done: Edmund fought five battles against the Danes, ending in his defeat on 18 October at the Battle of Assandun, after which they agreed to divide the kingdom, Edmund taking Wessex and Cnut the rest of the country. Edmund died shortly afterwards on 30 November, leaving two sons, Edward and Edmund; however, Cnut became the king of all England, and exiled the remaining members of Edmund's family.

    King of the English
    Reign 23 April – 30 November 1016
    Predecessor ¥thelred the Unready
    Successor Cnut the Great
    Born 990
    Died 30 November 1016 (aged 26)
    Oxford or London, England
    Burial Glastonbury Abbey
    Spouse Ealdgyth
    Issue Edward the Exile
    House Wessex
    Father ¥thelred the Unready
    Mother ¥lfgifu of York
    Religion British Church

    Early life

    The exact date of Edmund's birth is unclear, but it could have been no later than 993 when he was a signatory to charters along with his two elder brothers. He was the third of the six sons of King ¥thelred the Unready and his first wife, ¥lfgifu, who was probably the daughter of Earl Thored of Northumbria. His elder brothers were ¥thelstan (died 1014) and Egbert (died c. 1005), and younger ones, Eadred, Eadwig and Edgar.[1] He had four sisters, Eadgyth (or Edith), ¥lfgifu, Wulfhilda, and the Abbess of Wherwell Abbey. His mother died around 1000,[2] after which his father remarried, this time to Emma of Normandy, who had two sons, Edward the Confessor and Alfred and a daughter Goda.

    ¥thelstan and Edmund were close, and they probably felt threatened by Emma's ambitions for her sons.[3] The Life of Edward the Confessor, written fifty years later, claimed that when Emma was pregnant with him, all Englishmen promised that if the child was a boy they would accept him as king.[1] However that claim may just be propaganda.

    Warrior prince

    When Sweyn Forkbeard seized the throne at the end of 1013 and ¥thelred fled to Normandy, the brothers do not appear to have followed him, but stayed in England. ¥thelstan died in June 1014 and left Edmund a sword which had belonged to king Offa of Mercia.[1] His will also reflected the close relationship between the brothers and the nobility of the east midlands.[4]

    Sweyn died in February 1014, and the Five Boroughs accepted his son Cnut, who married a kinswoman of Sigeferth and Morcar, as king. However, ¥thelred returned to England and launched a surprise attack which defeated the Vikings and forced Cnut to flee England. In 1015 Sigeferth and Morcar came to an assembly in Oxford, probably hoping for a royal pardon, but they were murdered by Eadric Streona. King ¥thelred then ordered that Sigeferth's widow, Ealdgyth, be seized and brought to Malmesbury Abbey, but Edmund seized and married her in defiance of his father, probably to consolidate his power base in the east midlands.[5] He then received the submission of the people of the Five Boroughs. At the same time, Cnut launched a new invasion of England. In late 1015 Edmund raised an army, possibly assisted by his wife's and mother's links with the midlands and the north, but the Mercians under Eadric Streona joined the West Saxons in submitting to Cnut. In early 1016 the army assembled by Edmund dispersed when ¥thelred did not appear to lead it, probably due to illness. Edmund then raised a new army and in conjunction with Earl Uhtred of Northumbria ravaged Eadric Streona's Mercian territories, but when Cnut occupied Northumbria Uhtred submitted to him, only to be killed by Cnut. Edmund went to London.[1]

    King of England

    ¥thelred died on 23 April 1016, and the citizens and councillors in London chose Edmund as king and probably crowned him. He then mounted a last-ditch effort to revive the defence of England. While the Danes laid siege to London, Edmund headed for Wessex, where the people submitted to him and he gathered an army. He fought inconclusive battles against the Danes and their English supporters at Penselwood in Somerset and Sherston in Wiltshire. He then raised the siege of London and defeated the Danes near Brentford. They renewed the siege while Edmund went to Wessex to raise further troops, returning to again relieve London, defeat the Danes at Otford, and pursue Cnut into Kent. Eadric Streona now went over to Edmund, but at the decisive Battle of Assandun on 18 October, Eadric and his men fled and Cnut decisively defeated Edmund. There may have been one further battle in the Forest of Dean, after which the two kings negotiated a peace dividing the country between them. Edmund received Wessex while Cnut took Mercia and probably Northumbria.[1]


    On 30 November 1016, Edmund died. The location of his death is uncertain though it is generally accepted that it occurred in London, rather than in Oxford where Henry of Huntingdon claimed it to be in his sordid version of events, which included Edmund’s murder by suffering multiple stab wounds whilst on a privy tending to a call of nature.[6] Geoffrey Gaimar states a similar occurrence with the weapon being a crossbow, but with a number of other medieval chroniclers including the Encomium Emmae Reginae not mentioning murder, it is thought Edmund’s cause of death may possibly have been caused by wounds received in battle or by some disease, but it is certainly a possibility that he was murdered.

    Edmund was buried near his grandfather Edgar at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset. However the abbey was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, and any remains of a monument or crypt would have been plundered and the location of his remains is unclear.


    In the view of M. K. Lawson, the intensity of Edmund's struggle against the Danes in 1016 is only matched by Alfred the Great's in 871, and contrasts with ¥thelred's failure. Edmund's success in raising one army after another suggests that there was little wrong with the organs of government under competent leadership. He was "probably a highly determined, skilled and indeed inspiring leader of men". Cnut visited his tomb on the anniversary of his death and laid a cloak decorated with peacocks on it to assist in his salvation, peacocks symbolising resurrection.[1]


    Edmund had two children by Ealdgyth, Edward the Exile and Edmund. According to John of Worcester, Cnut sent them to the king of Sweden where he probably hoped they would be murdered, but the Swedish king instead forwarded them, together with his daughter, on to Kiev. The two boys eventually ended up in Hungary where Edmund died but Edward prospered. Edward "the Exile" returned to England in 1057 only to die within a few days of his arrival.[7] His son Edgar the ¥theling was briefly proclaimed king after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but later submitted to William the Conqueror. Edgar would live a long and eventful life; fighting in rebellion against William the Conqueror from 1067-1075; fighting alongside the Conqueror's son Robert of Normandy in campaigns in Sicily (1085-1087); and accompanying Robert on the First Crusade (1099-1103). He was stlll alive in 1125.

    In 1070 Edward the Exile's daughter, Margaret, became Queen consort to Malcolm III of Scotland. Through her and her decedents, Edmund is the direct ancestor of every subsequent Scottish monarch, every English monarch from Henry II onward, and every monarch of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom, down to the present.

    Edmund — Ealdgyth. Ealdgyth was born Abt 992; died Aft 1016. [Group Sheet]

  2. 93.  Ealdgyth was born Abt 992; died Aft 1016.
    1. 46. Edward the Exile was born 1016, (Wessex) England; died 19 Apr 1057.

Generation: 8

  1. 184.  Aethelred the Unready, King of the EnglishAethelred the Unready, King of the English was born Abt 966, (Wessex) England (son of Edgar the Peaceful, King of England and Aelfthryth); died 23 Apr 1016, London, England; was buried London, England.


    ¥thelred II (Old English: ¥¤elrµd, pronounced [µºelrµ?d];[1] c. 966 – 23 April 1016), known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word "unready", but rather from the Old English unrµd (meaning "poorly advised"); it is a pun on his name, which means "well advised".

    ¥thelred was the son of King Edgar and Queen ¥lfthryth. He came to the throne at about the age of 12, following the assassination of his older half-brother, Edward the Martyr. His brother's murder was carried out by supporters of his own claim to the throne, although he was too young to have any personal involvement. The chief problem of ¥thelred's reign was conflict with the Danes. After several decades of relative peace, Danish raids on English territory began again in earnest in the 980s. Following the Battle of Maldon in 991, ¥thelred paid tribute, or Danegeld, to the Danish king. In 1002, ¥thelred ordered what became known as the St. Brice's Day massacre of Danish settlers. In 1013, King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark invaded England, as a result of which ¥thelred fled to Normandy in 1013 and was replaced by Sweyn. However, he returned as king for two years after Sweyn's death in 1014. ¥thelred's 37-year reign was the longest of any Anglo-Saxon king of England, and was only surpassed in the 13th century, by Henry III. ¥thelred was briefly succeeded by his son, Edmund Ironside, but he died after a few months and was replaced by Sweyn's son, Cnut. Another of his sons, Edward the Confessor, became king in 1042.

    King of the English
    Reign 18 March 978 – 1013 (first time)
    Predecessor Edward the Martyr
    Successor Sweyn Forkbeard
    Reign 1014 – 23 April 1016
    (second time)
    Predecessor Sweyn Forkbeard
    Successor Edmund Ironside
    Born c. 966
    Died 23 April 1016 (aged about 50)
    London, England
    Burial Old St Paul's Cathedral, London, now lost
    Spouse ¥lfgifu of York
    Emma of Normandy
    See list[show]
    House Wessex
    Father Edgar, King of England
    Mother ¥lfthryth
    Religion Christianity


    ¥thelred's first name, composed of the elements µºele, "noble", and rµd, "counsel, advice",[2] is typical of the compound names of those who belonged to the royal House of Wessex, and it characteristically alliterates with the names of his ancestors, like ¥thelwulf ("noble-wolf"), ¥lfred ("elf-counsel"), Eadweard ("rich-protection"), and Eadgar ("rich-spear").[3]

    The story of ¥thelred's notorious nickname, Old English Unrµd, goes a long way toward explaining how his reputation has declined through history[dubious – discuss] It is usually translated into present-day English as "The Unready" (less often, though less confusingly, as "The Redeless").[4] The Anglo-Saxon noun unrµd means "evil counsel", "bad plan", or "folly".[2] It most often describes decisions and deeds, and once refers to the nature of Satan's deceit. The element rµd in unrµd is the element in ¥thelred's name which means "counsel". Thus ¥¤elrµd Unrµd is a pun meaning "Noble counsel, No counsel". The nickname has alternatively been taken adjectivally as "ill-advised", "ill-prepared", "indecisive", thus "¥thelred the ill-advised".

    Because the nickname was first recorded in the 1180s, more than 150 years after ¥thelred's death, it is doubtful that it carries any implications for how the king was seen by his contemporaries or near contemporaries.[5]

    Early life

    Gold mancus of ¥thelred wearing armour, 1003–1006.
    Sir Frank Stenton remarked that "much that has brought condemnation of historians on King ¥thelred may well be due in the last resort to the circumstances under which he became king."[6] ¥thelred's father, King Edgar, had died suddenly in July 975, leaving two young sons behind. The elder, Edward (later Edward the Martyr), was probably illegitimate,[7] and was "still a youth on the verge of manhood" in 975.[8] The younger son was ¥thelred, whose mother, ¥lfthryth, Edgar had married in 964. ¥lfthryth was the daughter of Ordgar, ealdorman of Devon, and widow of ¥thelwold, Ealdorman of East Anglia. At the time of his father's death, ¥thelred could have been no more than 10 years old. As the elder of Edgar's sons, Edward – reportedly a young man given to frequent violent outbursts – probably would have naturally succeeded to the throne of England despite his young age, had not he "offended many important persons by his intolerable violence of speech and behaviour."[8] In any case, a number of English nobles took to opposing Edward's succession and to defending ¥thelred's claim to the throne; ¥thelred was, after all, the son of Edgar's last, living wife, and no rumour of illegitimacy is known to have plagued ¥thelred's birth, as it might have his elder brother's.[9] Both boys, ¥thelred certainly, were too young to have played any significant part in the political manoeuvring which followed Edgar's death. It was the brothers' supporters, and not the brothers themselves, who were responsible for the turmoil which accompanied the choice of a successor to the throne. ¥thelred's cause was led by his mother and included ¥lfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia and Bishop ¥thelwold of Winchester,[10] while Edward's claim was supported by Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Oswald, the Archbishop of York[11] among other noblemen, notably ¥thelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia, and Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex. In the end, Edward's supporters proved the more powerful and persuasive, and he was crowned king at Kingston upon Thames before the year was out.

    Edward reigned for only three years before he was murdered by members of his brother's household.[12] Though little is known about Edward's short reign, it is known that it was marked by political turmoil. Edgar had made extensive grants of land to monasteries which pursued the new monastic ideals of ecclesiastical reform, but these disrupted aristocratic families' traditional patronage. The end of his firm rule saw a reversal of this policy, with aristocrats recovering their lost properties or seizing new ones. This was opposed by Dunstan, but according to Cyril Hart, "The presence of supporters of church reform on both sides indicates that the conflict between them depended as much on issues of land ownership and local power as on ecclesiastical legitimacy. Adherents of both Edward and ¥thelred can be seen appropriating, or recovering, monastic lands."[7] Nevertheless, favour for Edward must have been strong among the monastic communities. When Edward was killed at ¥thelred's estate at Corfe Castle in Dorset in March 978, the job of recording the event, as well as reactions to it, fell to monastic writers. Stenton offers a summary of the earliest account of Edward's murder, which comes from a work praising the life of St Oswald: "On the surface his [Edward's] relations with ¥thelred his half-brother and ¥lfthryth his stepmother were friendly, and he was visiting them informally when he was killed. [¥thelred's] retainers came out to meet him with ostentatious signs of respect, and then, before he had dismounted, surrounded him, seized his hands, and stabbed him. ... So far as can be seen the murder was planned and carried out by ¥thelred's household men in order that their young master might become king. There is nothing to support the allegation, which first appears in writing more than a century later, that Queen ¥lfthryth had plotted her stepson's death. No one was punished for a part in the crime, and ¥thelred, who was crowned a month after the murder, began to reign in an atmosphere of suspicion which destroyed the prestige of the crown. It was never fully restored in his lifetime."[13] Nevertheless, at first, the outlook of the new king's officers and counsellors seems in no way to have been bleak. According to one chronicler, the coronation of ¥thelred took place with much rejoicing by the councillors of the English people.[14] Simon Keynes notes that "Byrhtferth of Ramsey states similarly that when ¥thelred was consecrated king, by Archbishop Dunstan and Archbishop Oswald, 'there was great joy at his consecration’, and describes the king in this connection as 'a young man in respect of years, elegant in his manners, with an attractive face and handsome appearance'."[14] ¥thelred could not have been older than 13 years of age in this year.

    During these early years, ¥thelred was developing a close relationship to ¥thelwold, bishop of Winchester, one who had supported his unsuccessful claim to the throne. When ¥thelwold died, on 1 August 984, ¥thelred deeply lamented the loss, and he wrote later in a charter from 993 that the event had deprived the country of one "whose industry and pastoral care administered not only to my interest but also to that of all inhabitants of the country."[14]

    Conflict with the Danes

    England had experienced a period of peace after the reconquest of the Danelaw in the mid-10th century by King Edgar, ¥thelred's father. However, beginning in 980, when ¥thelred could not have been more than 14 years old, small companies of Danish adventurers carried out a series of coastline raids against England. Hampshire, Thanet and Cheshire were attacked in 980, Devon and Cornwall in 981, and Dorset in 982. A period of six years then passed before, in 988, another coastal attack is recorded as having taken place to the south-west, though here a famous battle was fought between the invaders and the thegns of Devon. Stenton notes that, though this series of isolated raids had no lasting effect on England itself, "their chief historical importance is that they brought England for the first time into diplomatic contact with Normandy."[15] During this period, the Normans, who remembered their origins as a Scandinavian people, were well-disposed to their Danish cousins who, occasionally returning from a raid on England, sought port in Normandy. This led to grave tension between the English and Norman courts, and word of their enmity eventually reached Pope John XV. The pope was disposed to dissolve their hostility towards each other, and took steps to engineer a peace between England and Normandy, which was ratified in Rouen in 991.

    Battle of Maldon

    However, in August of that same year, a sizeable Danish fleet began a sustained campaign in the south-east of England. It arrived off Folkestone, in Kent, and made its way around the south-east coast and up the River Blackwater, coming eventually to its estuary and occupying Northey Island.[14] About 2 kilometres (1 mile) west of Northey lies the coastal town of Maldon, where Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex, was stationed with a company of thegns. The battle that followed between English and Danes is immortalised by the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon, which describes the doomed but heroic attempt of Byrhtnoth to defend the coast of Essex against overwhelming odds. Stenton summarises the events of the poem: "For access to the mainland they (the Danes) depended on a causeway, flooded at high tide, which led from Northey to the flats along the southern margin of the estuary. Before they (the Danes) had left their camp on the island[,] Byrhtnoth, with his retainers and a force of local militia, had taken possession of the landward end of the causeway. Refusing a demand for tribute, shouted across the water while the tide was high, Byrhtnoth drew up his men along the bank, and waited for the ebb. As the water fell the raiders began to stream out along the causeway. But three of Byrthnoth's retainers held it against them, and at last they asked to be allowed to cross unhindered and fight on equal terms on the mainland. With what even those who admired him most called 'over-courage', Byrhtnoth agreed to this; the pirates rushed through the falling tide, and battle was joined. Its issue was decided by Byrhtnoth's fall. Many even of his own men immediately took to flight and the English ranks were broken. What gives enduring interest to the battle is the superb courage with which a group of Byrhtnoth's thegns, knowing that the fight was lost, deliberately gave themselves to death in order that they might avenge their lord."[16] This was the first of a series of crushing defeats felt by the English: beaten first by Danish raiders, and later by organised Danish armies.

    England begins tributes

    In 991, ¥thelred was around 24 years old. In the aftermath of Maldon, it was decided that the English should grant the tribute to the Danes that they desired, and so a gafol of ¹10,000 was paid them for their peace. Yet it was presumably the Danish fleet that had beaten Byrhtnoth at Maldon that continued to ravage the English coast from 991 to 993. In 994, the Danish fleet, which had swollen in ranks since 991, turned up the Thames estuary and headed toward London. The battle fought there was inconclusive. It was about this time that ¥thelred met with the leaders of the fleet, foremost among them Olaf Tryggvason[clarification needed] and arranged an uneasy accord. A treaty was signed between ¥thelred and Olaf that provided for seemingly civilised arrangements between the then-settled Danish companies and the English government, such as regulation settlement disputes and trade. But the treaty also stipulated that the ravaging and slaughter of the previous year would be forgotten, and ended abruptly by stating that ¹22,000 of gold and silver had been paid to the raiders as the price of peace.[17] In 994, Olaf Tryggvason, already a baptised Christian, was confirmed as Christian in a ceremony at Andover; King ¥thelred stood as his sponsor. After receiving gifts, Olaf promised "that he would never come back to England in hostility."[14] Olaf then left England for Norway and never returned, though "other component parts of the Viking force appear to have decided to stay in England, for it is apparent from the treaty that some had chosen to enter into King ¥thelred's service as mercenaries, based presumably on the Isle of Wight."[14]

    Renewed Danish raids

    In 997, Danish raids began again. According to Keynes, "there is no suggestion that this was a new fleet or army, and presumably the mercenary force created in 994 from the residue of the raiding army of 991 had turned on those whom it had been hired to protect."[14] It harried Cornwall, Devon, western Somerset and south Wales in 997, Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex in 998. In 999, it raided Kent, and, in 1000, it left England for Normandy, perhaps because the English had refused in this latest wave of attacks to acquiesce to the Danish demands for gafol or tribute, which would come to be known as Danegeld, 'Dane-payment'. This sudden relief from attack ¥thelred used to gather his thoughts, resources, and armies: the fleet's departure in 1000 "allowed ¥thelred to carry out a devastation of Strathclyde, the motive for which is part of the lost history of the north."[18]

    In 1001, a Danish fleet – perhaps the same fleet from 1000 – returned and ravaged west Sussex. During its movements, the fleet regularly returned to its base in the Isle of Wight. There was later an attempted attack in the south of Devon, though the English mounted a successful defence at Exeter. Nevertheless, ¥thelred must have felt at a loss, and, in the Spring of 1002, the English bought a truce for ¹24,000. ¥thelred's frequent payments of immense Danegelds are often held up as exemplary of the incompetency of his government and his own short-sightedness. However, Keynes points out that such payments had been practice for at least a century, and had been adopted by Alfred the Great, Charles the Bald and many others. Indeed, in some cases it "may have seemed the best available way of protecting the people against loss of life, shelter, livestock and crops. Though undeniably burdensome, it constituted a measure for which the king could rely on widespread support."[14]

    St. Brice's Day massacre of 1002

    Main article: St. Brice's Day massacre
    ¥thelred ordered the massacre of all Danish men in England to take place on 13 November 1002, St Brice's Day. No order of this kind could be carried out in more than a third of England, where the Danes were too strong, but Gunhilde, sister of Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, was said to have been among the victims. It is likely that a wish to avenge her was a principal motive for Sweyn's invasion of western England the following year.[19] By 1004 Sweyn was in East Anglia, where he sacked Norwich. In this year, a nobleman of East Anglia, Ulfcytel Snillingr met Sweyn in force, and made an impression on the until-then rampant Danish expedition. Though Ulfcytel was eventually defeated, outside Thetford, he caused the Danes heavy losses and was nearly able to destroy their ships. The Danish army left England for Denmark in 1005, perhaps because of their injuries sustained in East Anglia, perhaps from the very severe famine which afflicted the continent and the British Isles in that year.[14]

    An expedition the following year was bought off in early 1007 by tribute money of ¹36,000, and for the next two years England was free from attack. In 1008, the government created a new fleet of warships, organised on a national scale, but this was weakened when one of its commanders took to piracy, and the king and his council decided not to risk it in a general action. In Stenton's view: "The history of England in the next generation was really determined between 1009 and 1012...the ignominious collapse of the English defence caused a loss of morale which was irreparable." The Danish army of 1009, led by Thorkell the Tall and his brother Hemming, was the most formidable force to invade England since ¥thelred became king. It harried England until it was bought off by ¹48,000 in April 1012.[20]

    Invasion of 1013

    Sweyn then launched an invasion in 1013 intending to crown himself king of England, during which he proved himself to be a general greater than any other Viking leader of his generation. By the end of 1013 English resistance had collapsed and Sweyn had conquered the country, forcing ¥thelred into exile in Normandy. But the situation changed suddenly when Sweyn died on 3 February 1014. The crews of the Danish ships in the Trent that had supported Sweyn immediately swore their allegiance to Sweyn's son Cnut the Great, but leading English noblemen sent a deputation to ¥thelred to negotiate his restoration to the throne. He was required to declare his loyalty to them, to bring in reforms regarding everything that they disliked and to forgive all that had been said and done against him in his previous reign. The terms of this agreement are of great constitutional interest in early English History as they are the first recorded pact between a King and his subjects and are also widely regarded as showing that many English noblemen had submitted to Sweyn simply because of their distrust of ¥thelred.[21] According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:

    they [the counsellors] said that no lord was dearer to them than their natural (gecynde) lord, if he would govern them more justly than he did before. Then the king sent his son Edward hither with his messengers and bade them greet all his people and said that he would be a gracious (hold) lord to them, and reform all the things which they hated; and all the things which had been said and done against him should be forgiven on condition that they all unanimously turned to him (to him gecyrdon) without treachery. And complete friendship was then established with oath and pledge (mid worde and mid wµdde) on both sides, and they pronounced every Danish king an exile from England forever.[22]
    ¥thelred then launched an expedition against Cnut and his allies. It was only the people of the Kingdom of Lindsey (modern North Lincolnshire) who supported Cnut. ¥thelred first set out to recapture London apparently with the help of the Norwegian Olaf Haraldsson. According to the Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturluson, Ólaf led a successful attack on London bridge with a fleet of ships. He then went on to help ¥thelred retake London and other parts of the country. Cnut and his army decided to withdraw from England, in April 1014, leaving his Lindsey allies to suffer ¥thelred's revenge. In about 1016 it is thought that Ólaf left to concentrate on raiding western Europe.[23] In the same year, Cnut returned to find a complex and volatile situation unfolding in England.[23] ¥thelred's son, Edmund Ironside, had revolted against his father and established himself in the Danelaw, which was angry at Cnut and ¥thelred for the ravaging of Lindsey and was prepared to support Edmund in any uprising against both of them

    Death and burial

    Over the next few months Cnut conquered most of England, while Edmund rejoined ¥thelred to defend London when ¥thelred died on 23 April 1016. The subsequent war between Edmund and Cnut ended in a decisive victory for Cnut at the Battle of Ashingdon on 18 October 1016. Edmund's reputation as a warrior was such that Cnut nevertheless agreed to divide England, Edmund taking Wessex and Cnut the whole of the country beyond the Thames. However, Edmund died on 30 November and Cnut became king of the whole country.[24]

    ¥thelred was buried in Old St Paul's Cathedral, London. The tomb and his monument were destroyed along with the cathedral in the Great Fire of London in 1666.[25] A modern monument in the crypt lists his among the important graves lost.


    A charter of ¥thelred's in 1003 to his follower, ¥thelred. British Library, London.
    ¥thelred's government produced extensive legislation, which he "ruthlessly enforced."[26] Records of at least six legal codes survive from his reign, covering a range of topics.[27] Notably, one of the members of his council (known as the Witan) was Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York, a well-known homilist. The three latest codes from ¥thelred's reign seemed to have been drafted by Wulfstan.[28] These codes are extensively concerned with ecclesiastical affairs. They also exhibit the characteristics of Wulfstan's highly rhetorical style. Wulfstan went on to draft codes for King Cnut, and recycled there many of the laws which were used in ¥thelred's codes.[29]

    Despite the failure of his government in the face of the Danish threat, ¥thelred's reign was not without some important institutional achievements. The quality of the coinage, a good indicator of the prevailing economic conditions, significantly improved during his reign due to his numerous coinage reform laws.[30]


    Later perspectives of ¥thelred have been less than flattering. Numerous legends and anecdotes have sprung up to explain his shortcomings, often elaborating abusively on his character and failures. One such anecdote is given by William of Malmesbury (lived c. 1080–c. 1143), who reports that ¥thelred had defecated in the baptismal font as a child, which led St Dunstan to prophesy that the English monarchy would be overthrown during his reign. This story is, however, a fabrication, and a similar story is told of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Copronymus, another mediaeval monarch who was unpopular among certain of his subjects.

    Efforts to rehabilitate ¥thelred's reputation have gained momentum since about 1980. Chief among the rehabilitators has been Simon Keynes, who has often argued that our poor impression of ¥thelred is almost entirely based upon after-the-fact accounts of, and later accretions to, the narrative of events during ¥thelred's long and complex reign. Chief among the culprits is in fact one of the most important sources for the history of the period, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which, as it reports events with a retrospect of 15 years, cannot help but interpret events with the eventual English defeat a foregone conclusion. Yet, as virtually no strictly contemporary narrative account of the events of ¥thelred's reign exists, historians are forced to rely on what evidence there is. Keynes and others thus draw attention to some of the inevitable snares of investigating the history of a man whom later popular opinion has utterly damned. Recent cautious assessments of ¥thelred's reign have more often uncovered reasons to doubt, rather than uphold, ¥thelred's later infamy. Though the failures of his government will always put ¥thelred's reign in the shadow of the reigns of kings Edgar, Aethelstan, and Alfred, historians' current impression of ¥thelred's personal character is certainly not as unflattering as it once was: "¥thelred's misfortune as a ruler was owed not so much to any supposed defects of his imagined character, as to a combination of circumstances which anyone would have found difficult to control."[31]

    Origin of the jury

    ¥thelred has been credited with the formation of a local investigative body made up of twelve thegns who were charged with publishing the names of any notorious or wicked men in their respective districts. Because the members of these bodies were under solemn oath to act in accordance with the law and their own good consciences, they have been seen by some legal historians as the prototype for the English Grand Jury.[32] ¥thelred makes provision for such a body in a law code he enacted at Wantage in 997, which states:

    ¤µt man habbe gemot on µlcum wµpentace; & gan ut ¤a yldestan XII ¤egnas & se gerefa mid, & swerian on ¤am haligdome, ¤e heom man on hand sylle, ¤µt hig nellan nµnne sacleasan man forsecgean ne nµnne sacne forhelan. & niman ¤onne ¤a tihtbysian men, ¤e mid ¤am gerefan habbaº, & heora µlc sylle VI healfmarc wedd, healf landrican & healf wµpentake.[33]

    that there shall be an assembly in every wapentake,[34] and in that assembly shall go forth the twelve eldest thegns and the reeve along with them, and let them swear on holy relics, which shall be placed in their hands, that they will never knowingly accuse an innocent man nor conceal a guilty man. And thereafter let them seize those notorious [lit. "charge-laden"] men, who have business with the reeve, and let each of them give a security of 6 half-marks, half of which shall go to the lord of that district, and half to the wapentake.

    But the wording here suggests that ¥thelred was perhaps revamping or re-confirming a custom which had already existed. He may actually have been expanding an established English custom for use among the Danish citizens in the North (the Danelaw). Previously, King Edgar had legislated along similar lines in his Whitbordesstan code:

    ic wille, ¤µt µlc mon sy under borge ge binnan burgum ge buton burgum. & gewitnes sy geset to µlcere byrig & to µlcum hundrode. To µlcere byrig XXXVI syn gecorone to gewitnesse; to smalum burgum & to µlcum hundrode XII, buton ge ma willan. & µlc mon mid heora gewitnysse bigcge & sylle µlc ¤ara ceapa, ¤e he bigcge oººe sylle a¤er oººe burge oººe on wµpengetace. & heora µlc, ¤onne hine man µrest to gewitnysse gecysº, sylle ¤µne aº, ¤µt he nµfre, ne for feo ne for lufe ne for ege, ne µtsace nanes ¤ara ¤inga, ¤e he to gewitnysse wµs, & nan oºer ¤ingc on gewitnysse ne cyºe buton ¤µt an, ¤µt he geseah oººe gehyrde. & swa geµ¤dera manna syn on µlcum ceape twegen oººe ¤ry to gewitnysse.[35]

    It is my wish that each person be in surety, both within settled areas and without. And 'witnessing' shall be established in each city and each hundred. To each city let there be 36 chosen for witnessing; to small towns and to each hundred let there be 12, unless they desire more. And everybody shall purchase and sell their goods in the presence a witness, whether he is buying or selling something, whether in a city or a wapentake. And each of them, when they first choose to become a witness, shall give an oath that he will never, neither for wealth nor love nor fear, deny any of those things which he will be a witness to, and will not, in his capacity as a witness, make known any thing except that which he saw and heard. And let there be either two or three of these sworn witnesses at every sale of goods.

    The 'legend' of an Anglo-Saxon origin to the jury was first challenged seriously by Heinrich Brunner in 1872, who claimed that evidence of the jury was only seen for the first time during the reign of Henry II, some 200 years after the end of the Anglo-Saxon period, and that the practice had originated with the Franks, who in turn had influenced the Normans, who thence introduced it to England.[36] Since Brunner's thesis, the origin of the English jury has been much disputed. Throughout the 20th century, legal historians disagreed about whether the practice was English in origin, or was introduced, directly or indirectly, from either Scandinavia or Francia.[32] Recently, the legal historians Patrick Wormald and Michael Macnair have reasserted arguments in favour of finding in practices current during the Anglo-Saxon period traces of the Angevin practice of conducting inquests using bodies of sworn, private witnesses. Wormald has gone as far as to present evidence suggesting that the English practice outlined in ¥thelred's Wantage code is at least as old as, if not older than, 975, and ultimately traces it back to a Carolingian model (something Brinner had done).[37] However, no scholarly consensus has yet been reached.

    Appearance and character

    "[A] youth of graceful manners, handsome countenance and fine person..."[38] as well as "[A] tall, handsome man, elegant in manners, beautiful in countenance and interesting in his deportment."[39]

    Marriages and issue

    ¥thelred married first ¥lfgifu, daughter of Thored, earl of Northumbria, in about 985.[14] Their known children are:

    ¥thelstan ¥theling (died 1014)
    Ecgberht ¥theling (died c. 1005)[40]
    Edmund Ironside (died 1016)
    Eadred ¥theling (died before 1013)
    Eadwig ¥theling (executed by Cnut 1017)
    Edgar ¥theling (died c. 1008)[40]
    Eadgyth or Edith (married Eadric Streona)
    ¥lfgifu (married Uchtred the Bold, ealdorman of Northumbria)
    Wulfhilda? (married Ulfcytel Snillingr)
    Abbess of Wherwell Abbey?
    In 1002 ¥thelred married Emma of Normandy, sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. Their children were:

    Edward the Confessor (died 1066)
    ¥lfred ¥theling (died 1036–7)
    Goda of England (married 1. Drogo of Mantes and 2. Eustace II, Count of Boulogne)
    All of ¥thelred's sons were named after predecessors of ¥thelred on the throne.[41]

    Old St Paul's Cathedral, London,, now lost

    Aethelred — Aelfgifu of York, Queen consort of England. Aelfgifu (daughter of Thored, Earl of Southern Northumbria and unnamed spouse) was born C. 970, (Yorkshire) England; died 1002. [Group Sheet]

  2. 185.  Aelfgifu of York, Queen consort of England was born C. 970, (Yorkshire) England (daughter of Thored, Earl of Southern Northumbria and unnamed spouse); died 1002.


    ¥lfgifu of York (fl. c. 970 – 1002) was the first wife of ¥thelred the Unready (r. 968–1016), by whom she bore many offspring, including Edmund Ironside. It is most probable that she was a daughter of Thored, Earl of southern Northumbria.

    Queen consort of England
    Tenure 980s–1002
    Born fl. c. 970
    Died c. 1002
    Spouse ¥thelred the Unready
    Issue ¥thelstan ¥theling
    Ecgberht of England
    Edmund, King of England
    Eadred ¥theling
    Eadwig ¥theling
    Edgar of England
    Edith, Lady of the Mercians
    ¥lfgifu, Lady of Northumbria
    Wulfhilda, Lady of East Anglia

    Identity and background

    Her name and paternity do not surface in the sources until sometime after the Conquest. The first to offer any information at all, Sulcard of Westminster (fl. 1080s), merely describes her as being “of very noble English stock” (ex nobilioribus Anglis), without naming her,[1] while in the early 12th century, William of Malmesbury has nothing to report. All primary evidence comes from two Anglo-Norman historians. John of Worcester, also writing in the early 12th century, states that ¥thelred's first wife was ¥lfgifu, daughter of the nobleman ¥thelberht (comes Agelberhtus) and the mother of Edmund, ¥thelstan, Eadwig and Eadgyth.[2] Writing in the 1150s, Ailred of Rievaulx identifies her as a daughter of earl (comes) Thored and the mother of Edmund, though he supplies no name.[3] Ailred had been seneschal at the court of King David I of Scotland (r. 1124–53), whose mother Margaret descended from King ¥thelred and his first wife. Although his testimony is late, his proximity to the royal family may have given him access to genuine information.[4]

    Problem of fatherhood

    These two accounts are irreconcilable at the point of ascribing two different fathers to ¥thelred's first wife (in both cases, Edmund's mother). One way out of it would be to assume the existence of two different wives before the arrival of Queen Emma, ¥thelred's Norman wife, although this interpretation presents difficulties of its own, especially as the sources envisage a single woman.[5] Historians generally favour the view that John of Worcester was in error about the father's name, as ¥thelberht's very existence is under suspicion:[6] if Latin comes is to be interpreted as a gloss on the office of ealdorman, only two doubtful references to one or two duces (ealdormen) of this name can be put forward that would fit the description.[7] All in all, the combined evidence suggests that ¥thelred's first wife was ¥lfgifu, the daughter of Earl Thored. This magnate is likely to have been the Thored who was a son of Gunnar and earl of (southern) Northumbria.[8]

    Marriage and children[edit]
    Based largely on the careers of her sons, ¥lfgifu's marriage has been dated approximately to the (mid-)980s.[8] Considering Thored's authority as earl of York and apparently, the tenure of that office without royal appointment, the union would have signified an important step for the West-Saxon royal family by which it secured a foothold in the north.[9] Such a politically weighty union would help explain the close connections maintained by ¥lfgifu's eldest sons Edmund and ¥thelstan with noble families based in the northern Danelaw.[10]

    The marriage produced six sons, all of whom were named after ¥thelred's predecessors, and an unknown number of daughters. The eldest sons ¥thelstan, Ecgberht, Eadred and Edmund first attest charters in 993, while the younger sons Eadwig and Edgar first make an appearance in them in 997 and 1001 respectively.[11] Some of these sons seem to have spent part of their childhood in fosterage elsewhere, possibly with ¥thelred's mother ¥lfthryth.[12]

    Out of ¥lfgifu's six sons, only Edmund Ironside outlived his father and became king. In 1016 he suffered several defeats against Cnut and in October they agreed to share the kingdom, but Edmund died within six weeks and Cnut became king of all England. ¥thelred gave three of his daughters in marriage to ealdormen, presumably in order to secure the loyalties of his nobles and so to consolidate a defence system against Viking attacks.[13]


    ¥thelstan (born before 993, d. 1014)
    Ecgberht (born before 993, d. 1005)
    Edmund (II) Ironside (born before 993, d. 1016)
    Eadred (d. 1012 x 1015)
    Eadwig (born before 997, exiled and killed 1017)
    Edgar (born before 1001, d. 1012 x 1015)


    Eadgyth (born before 993), married Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia.[14]
    ¥lfgifu, married ealdorman Uhtred of Northumbria.[15]
    (possibly) Wulfhild, who married Ulfcytel (Snillingr) (d. 1016), apparently ealdorman of East Anglia.[16]
    possibly an unnamed daughter who married the ¥thelstan who was killed fighting the Danes at the Battle of Ringmere in 1010. He is called ¥thelred's aºum, meaning either son-in-law or brother-in-law.[16] Ann Williams, however, argues that the latter meaning is the appropriate one and refers to ¥thelstan as being ¥lfgifu's brother.[8]
    possibly unnamed daughter, who became abbess of Wherwell.[17]

    Life and death

    Unlike her mother-in-law, ¥lfthryth, ¥lfgifu was not anointed queen and never signed charters.[18] She did, however, make at least some impression on the contemporary record. In a will issued between 975/980 and 987, the thegn Beorhtric and his wife bequeathed to their “lady” (hlµfdige) an armlet worth 30 gold mancuses and a stallion, calling upon her authority to oversee the implementation of the arrangements set out by will.[19] In a will of later date (AD 990 x 1001), in which she is addressed as “my lady” (mire hlµfdian), the noblewoman ¥thelgifu promised a bequest of 30 mancuses of gold.[20] Just as little is known of ¥lfgifu's life, so the precise date and circumstances of her death cannot be recovered.[21] In any event, she appears to have died by 1002, possibly in childbirth, when ¥thelred took to wife Emma of Normandy, daughter of Count Richard of Rouen, who received or adopted her predecessor's Anglo-Saxon name, ¥lfgifu.

    1. 92. Edmund II, King of the English was born 990, (Wessex) England; died 30 Nov 1016, (London) England; was buried Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England.