Friday, 14 August 2009

More Kings of Northumbria 3

Ecgberht (died 873) was king of Northumbria in the middle of the 9th century. This period of Northumbrian history is poorly recorded, and very little is known of Ecgberht.
He first appears following the death of kings Ælla and Osberht in battle against the Vikings of the Great Heathen Army at York on 21 March 867. Symeon of Durham records:
Nearly all the Northumbrians were routed and destroyed, the two kings being slain; the survivors made peace with the pagans. After these events, the pagans appointed Egbert king under their own dominion; Egbert reigned for six years, over the Northumbrians beyond the Tyne.
Historians presume that Ecgberht ruled as the Great Army's tax collector and that he belonged to one of the several competing royal families in Northumbria.
The next report of Ecgberht is in 872: "The Northumbrians expelled their king Egbert, and their Archbishop Wulfhere". Finally, Ecgberht's death is reported in 873, and it is said that Ricsige succeeded him

Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings. London: Unwin, 1991. ISBN 0-04-445692-1
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Symeon of Durham; J. Stevenson translator (1855). "The Historical Works of Simeon of Durham". Church Historians of England, volume III, part II. Seeley's. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.

Ricsige was king of Northumbria from 872 or 873 to 876. He became king after Ecgberht I was overthrown and fled, with Wulfhere, Archbishop of York, to Mercia.
Ricsige appears not to have been the nominee or client of the Vikings of the Great Heathen Army, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that the Great Army came north in 873 or 874. Halfdan Ragnarsson appears to have retaken southern Northumbria for the Danes, corresponding with the old Kingdom of Deira, or the Viking kingdom of Jórvík, between the Humber and the Tees.
Ricsige or his successor Ecgberht II remained in control of Bernicia, between the Tees and the Forth. Roger of Wendover reports that Ricsige died of a broken heart after the partition. He was followed by Ecgberht II in Bernicia.

Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings. London: Unwin, 1991. ISBN 0-04-445692-1
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5

Ecgberht II of Northumbria
Ecgberht was a king in Northumbria in the later Ninth century. Very little is known of his reign.
Unlike his predecessor King Ricsige, who may have ruled most of the kingdom of Northumbria following the expulsion of the first King Ecgberht in 872, this Ecgberht ruled only the northern part of Northumbria, the lands beyond the Tyne in northern England and southern Scotland. The northern frontier of Ecgberht's kingdom is uncertain.
Ricsige's death and Ecgberht's coming to power is recorded by Symeon of Durham, who writes, that in 876:
The pagan king Halfdene divided between himself and his followers the country of the Northumbrians. Ricsig, king of the Northumbrians, died, and Egbert the second reigned over the Northumbrians beyond the river Tyne.
In 883, recording the election of a king of the Vikings in York and southern Northumbria on the death of their leader Halfdene, Symeon states:
Then St. Cuthbert, aiding by a vision, ordered abbot Eadred (who because he lived in Luel was surnamed Lulisc) to tell the bishop and the whole army of Angles and Danes, that by paying a ransom, they should redeem Guthred, the son of Hardicnut, whom the Danes had sold as a slave to a certain widow at Whittingham, and should raise him, then redeemed, to be king; and he reigned over York, but Egbert over the Northumbrians.
However, elsewhere it said that the second Ecgberht reigned two years, but this may refer to his claims to all Northumbria. Nick Higham sees Symeon's account of Guthred's election as an unhistorical record of a settlement between the York Vikings in southern Northumbria, and Ecgberht in northern, English Northumbria.
Ecgberht was succeeded by Eadulf I of Bernicia.

Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings. London: Unwin Hyman, 1991. ISBN 0-04-445691-3 Symeon of Durham; J. Stevenson translator (1855). "The Historical Works of Simeon of Durham". Church Historians of England, volume III, part II

Guthfrith or Guthred (Old Norse Guðroðr) (died 24 August 895) was the king of Northumbria from circa 883 until his death.
The first known king of Viking York, Halfdan, was expelled in 877. In c. 883, Symeon of Durham's History of the Kings simply states, "Guthred, from a slave, was made king", but his History of the Church of Durham gives a longer account. Here he writes that after Halfdan was driven out:
During this time the [Viking] army, and such of the inhabitants as survived, being without a king, were insecure; whereupon the blessed Cuthbert himself appeared in a vision to abbot Eadred [of the monastery at Carlisle]...[and] addressed him in the following words:—"Go to the army of the Danes," he said, "and announce to them that you are come as my messenger; and ask where you can find a lad named Guthred, the son of Hardacnut, whom they sold to a widow. Having found him, and paid the widow the price of his liberty, let him be brought forward before the whole aforesaid army; and my will and pleasure is, that he be elected and appointed king at Oswiesdune, (that is, Oswin's hill), and let the bracelet be placed upon his right arm.
Æthelweard the historian, whose tenth-century Chronicon is a more reliable source for this period than the later works of Symeon, records that in 895:
Obiit et Guthfrid, rex Northhymbriorum, in natalitis sancti Bartholomæi apostoli; cuius mausoleatur Euoraca corpus in urbe in basilica summa.
There also died Guthfrith. king of the Northumbrians, on the feast of the apostle St Bartholomew [24 August]; his body is entombed in the city of York in the chief church.
It is not clear whether Guthfrith was a Christian, but his relations with the community of Saint Cuthbert, which was a major force in the former Bernicia, and which had lain outside the influence of Halfdan, whose authority was limited to the former Deira—approximately Yorkshire—were good. He granted much land between the River Tyne and the River Wear to the community. This had once belong to the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, and formed the core the lands of the church of Durham. Other lands, at the mouth of the River Tees, Guthred allowed Eadred to purchase for the church.
Symeon recounts that Guthred faced a large invasion by the Scots, which was defeated with the aid of Saint Cuthbert.
Guthred died on 24 August 895 (or perhaps 894) and was buried at York Minster

"Guthfrith 3 (Male)". Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
Downham, Clare (2007), Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014, Edinburgh: Dunedin, ISBN 1-903765-89-0
Higham, N. J. (1986), The Northern Counties to AD 1000, Harlow: Longman, ISBN 0-582-49276-9
Higham, N. J. (1993), The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350–1100, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Hudson, Benjamin (2005), Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion and Empire in the North Atlantic, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-516237-4, OCLC 55286670 Symeon of Durham; J. Stevenson translator (1855). "The Historical Works of Simeon of Durham". Church Historians of England, volume III, part II. Seeley's. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.
Stenton, Frank M. (1971), Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280139-2, OCLC 185499725
Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1234-5



was the eldest son of Æthelred of Wessex. He was also the cousin of Edward the Elder of Wessex. Aethelwald fought his cousin during much of his early reign because he felt that he had more right to inherit the throne. When the throne was passed to Edward in 899 Æthelwald went to the Danelaw and was installed by them as King of Northumbria. In 902 he attacked Wessex with his Danish Allies. He defeated Edward but was himself killed in the Battle of Holme, thus allowing Edward to secure his position. His younger brother Æthelhelm chose not to challenge Edward for the throne and continued to reside in Wessex as Ealdorman of Wiltshire.

History of Anglo Saxon England by F. Stenton History of the Anglo Saxons by F. Palgrave

Eowils and Halfdan (Healfdan) were joint Kings of the Northumbria, in the British Isles.
Their reign began with the death of Æthelwold of Wessex, killed by Edward the Elder after Æthelwold's Revolt in 902. They ruled the Danish Kingdom for over 8 years before meeting the English King themselves at the Battle of Tettenhall. Both Eowils and Halfdan were left dead on the field as the Viking army was decisively defeated by allied English forces.
The co-Kings were succeeded by Ragnall ua Ímair.

Eadulf or Eadwulf (died 913) was a ruler in Northumbria in the early tenth century.
The history of Northumbria in the ninth and tenth centuries is poorly recorded. English sources generally date from the twelfth century although some more nearly contemporary Irish annals report some events in Northumbria. Numismatic evidence—mints at York continued to produce coins throughout the period—is of considerable importance, although not in the period of Eadulf's presumed floruit as a new style of coinage appeared in Northumbria between 905 and 927 approximately. These coins bore the name of the city of York and the legend "Saint Peter's money" but no kings are named, so that they are of no help in determining the succession of rulers.
The only thing which can be said with reasonable certainty of Eadwulf is that he died in 913 in Northumbria, an event recorded by the chronicle of Æthelweard and by the Irish Annals of Ulster and Annals of Clonmacnoise. The Irish sources call him "king of the Saxons of the north" while Æthelweard says Eadwulf "ruled as reeve of the town called Bamburgh". The Historia de Sancto Cuthberto states that Eadwulf had been a favourite (dilectus) of King Alfred the Great. Historians have traditionally followed Æthelweard and portrayed Eadwulf as ruler of only the northern part of Northumbria, perhaps corresponding to the former kingdom of Bernicia, with Scandinavian or Norse-Gael kings ruling the southern part, the former kingdom of Deira, an area broadly similar to Yorkshire. Some historians now question this. For example, Benjamin Hudson writes that Eadwulf "might have ruled just the northern part of Northumbria, the old Kingdom of Bernicia, although it is not impossible that he ruled all of Northumbria" (Hudson 2005:21) and Clare Downham notes that the death of Eadwulf "is so widely reported in 913 that it seems hard to envisage that his fame derived from a three-year reign" (Downham 2007:88). Some interpretations make Eadwulf ruler in Bernicia after Ecgberht II, that is to say from the 870s approximately.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to sons of Eadwulf and two sons are recorded, Ealdred (died after 927) and Uhtred (died c. 949); both ruled some part of Northumbria.
Downham, Clare (2007), Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014, Edinburgh: Dunedin, ISBN 1-903765-89-0
Hall, Richard (2001), "A kingdom too far: York in the early tenth century", in Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H., Edward the Elder 899–924, London: Routledge, pp. 188–199, ISBN 0-415-21497-1 Hudson, Benjamin (2005), Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion and Empire in the North Atlantic, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-516237-4
Stenton, Sir Frank M. Anglo-Saxon England Third Edition. Oxford University Press, 1971.
Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1234-5

Ealdred was the son of Eadwulf. He was a ruler or nobleman in Northumbria in the early tenth century.
Ealdred's father, called "king of the Saxons of the North" by the Annals of Ulster, but only reeve of Bamburgh by the chronicler Æthelweard (historian), died in 913. He may have been ruler of Northumbria following Eowils and Halfdan who were killed at Tettenhall circa 910. It is unknown whether the family had links to pre- or post-Viking kings of Northumbria.
The Historia de Sancto Cuthberto states that Ealdred "was a friend of King Edward the Elder, as his father had been a favourite of King Alfred the Great". Ealdred was driven from his lands, whether all of Northumbria or merely the northern part which had once been Bernicia is debated, by Ragnall ua Ímair, either in 914 or, more probably, in 918. The Historia states that Ealdred sought refuge with Constantín mac Áeda, the king of Alba, and that the two fought Ragnall at the battle of Corbridge, dated by the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba to 918. The battle appears to have been indecisive and Ragnall remained the master of at least southern Northumbria, former Deira, or perhaps of all.
In 920 "the sons of Eadwulf" were among those who met with Edward the Elder and, in the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "chose him as father and lord". Ealdred is named as one of those present at Eamont Bridge on 12 July 927 when Edward's son Æthelstan met with the northern British kings.
While Ealdred is nowhere certainly recorded after 927, it may be that the Annals of Clonmacnoise report his death as "Adulf mcEtulfe, king of the North Saxons" circa 934, although this may be another of Eadwulf's sons.

Stenton, Sir Frank M., Anglo-Saxon England Third Edition. Oxford University Press, 1971. Swanton, Michael, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Dent, 1996.
Woolf, Alex, From Pictland to Alba 789–1070. Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

Ragnall (Old Irish Ragnall ua Ímair,Old Norse Rögnvaldr) (died 921) was a Norse-Gael king of Northumbria. Ragnall was one of the grandsons of Ímar, the dynasty is known as the Uí Ímair, and along with his kinsmen Sihtric Cáech and Gofraid, he was active in Ireland and in northern Britain.
The Ímar from whom the Uí Ímair were descended is generally presumed to be that Ímar, "king of the Northmen of all Britain and Ireland", whose death is reported by the Annals of Ulster in 873. Whether this Ímar is to be identified with the leader of the Great Heathen Army, or with Ivarr the Boneless, is less certain. In the period between the death of Ímar and the expulsion of the Northmen and Norse-Gaels from Dublin in 902, it is not certain that any descendants of Ímar played a notable part in the politics of the region. Members of the kindred appear to have led armies against the Picts following their expulsion, but these were killed and the armies destroyed in 904 by Constantín son of Áed, the king of Alba.
In the following decade it is supposed that the grandsons of Ímar may have been in some part of the Atlantic or Irish Sea coasts of Britain where the historical record sheds almost no light on events, the area in question extending from the Isle of Man through the Hebrides to the Northern Isles, as well as the coasts opposite. They reappear again in 914 when Ragnall and his kinsman Sihtric are recorded leading fleets in the Irish Sea. Ragnall defeated the fleet of a certain Barid son of Ottar off the Isle of Man that year. Some historians place the first battle of Corbridge in this year, following the account in the Historia de Sancto Cuthberto, which can be read as implying two battles, and propose that Ragnall became king of Northumbria in 914.
Ragnall and Sihtric were active in Ireland in 917, leading separate fleets. Ragnall was cornered and besieged by the High King of Ireland Niall Glúndub. The army of Leinster which Niall summoned to join him was defeated by Sihtric. By the end of 917, Sihtric re-entered or re-founded Dublin. The Irish annals and the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba record only one battle at Corbridge, and that in 918. The Annals of Ulster state that Ragnall, with his kinsman Gofraid and two earls, Ottar and Gragabai, fought against Constantín son of Áed, the king of Alba. Constantín, according to northern Anglo-Saxon sources, was assisting Ealdred son of Eadwulf, ruler of all or part of Northumbria. The battle was indecisive, but this appears to have been enough to allow Ragnall to establish himself as king at York.
Ragnall had three separate issues of coins produced while he ruled York, showing that the machinery of government in Northumbria continued to function after a fashion. It is possible that the day-to-day working of mints and collection of taxes rested with the Archbishop of York, Hrotheweard, rather than with Ragnall. The southern Anglo-Saxon king, Edward the Elder, made some manner of agreement with Ragnall and the other northern kings in about 920, the exact nature of which is unclear. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that they "chose Edward as father and lord", and perhaps this indicates that Ragnall acknowledged Edward's overlordship.
Ragnall died in 921, "king of the fair foreigners and the dark foreigners" according to the Annals of Ulster. It may be that he was already dying in 920 when the Irish annals note the departure of Sihtric from Dublin, replaced there by the third grandson of Ímar, Gofraid. Sihtric succeeded Ragnall as king of the Northumbrians at York.
The possibility that Ragnall represents the historical prototype of Rognvald Eysteinsson of the Orkneyinga Saga has recently been mooted
Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014, Edinburgh, ISBN 1-903765-89-0
Hart, Cyril (2004), "Ragnall (d. 920/21)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,, retrieved on 2007-10-25
Higham, N. J. (1993), The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350–1100, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Hudson, Benjamin (2005), Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-516237-4
Keynes, Simon (1999), "Rulers of the English", in Lapidge, Michael, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 500–516, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (1998), "The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the Ninth Century", Peritia 12: 296–339,, retrieved on 1 December 2007
O' Cróinín, Dáibhí (1995), Early Medieval Ireland 400–1200, Longman History of Ireland, London: Longman, ISBN 0-582-01565-0
Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1234-5

Sihtric Cáech (or Sigtrygg) (died 927) was a Norse-Gael King of Dublin who later reigned as King of York. His epithet means the 'Squinty'. He belonged to the Uí Ímair kindred.
The Annals of Ulster records the arrival of two viking fleets in Ireland in 917, one led by Ragnall and the other by Sihtric, both of the Uí Ímair kindred. They fought a battle against Niall Glundub in which the Irish were routed, and according to the annals Sihtric then "entered Áth Cliath", i.e. Dublin, which we must assume means that he took possession of it. Ragnall Uí Ímair went on to Scotland, and then conquered York and became king there.
Sihtric fought several battles with Niall Glundub. Warfare is recorded in 918, and in 919 Niall and several other Irish pettykings where killed in a major battle at Dublin. This was probably the most devastating defeat ever inflicted on the Irish by the Norse, and Sihtric's possession of Dublin seemed secure. Sihtric however left Dublin already in 920 or 921, the pious annalist claims he left "through the power of God". The truth of it was that Sihtric had ambititions elsewhere, and following Ragnall's death he became king of York. His kinsman Gothfrith ruled in Dublin.
Sihtric attacked the kingdom of Mercia from the Mersey which formed part of the border between Mercia and the Viking Kingdom of York. He also commanded Viking forces in the Battle of Confey and other battles.
In 926 he married King Athelstan of England's sister in a political move designed by Athelstan to build up his influence in the north of England. Sihtric died suddenly only a year later in 927.
Sihtric's son Olaf, whom the Irish nicknamed Cuaran, later succeeded him both as king of Dublin and of York. His son Gofraid ruled Dublin

Athelstan or Æthelstan (Old English: Æþelstan, Æðelstān) (c. 895 – October 27, 939), called the Glorious, was the King of England from 924/925 to 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder, and nephew of Æthelflæd of Mercia. Æthelstan's success in securing the submission of Constantine II, King of Scots, at the Treaty of Eamont Bridge in 927 through to the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 led to his claiming the title "king of all Britain". His reign is frequently overlooked, with much focus going to Alfred the Great before him, and Edmund after. However, his reign was of fundamental importance to political developments in the 10th century.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which is so vocal during the reigns of Alfred and Edward the Elder, falls into relative silence during Athelstan's reign, and what entries survive are retrospective. A few references tell us of his military campaigns, the longest entry being a poem about the Battle of Brunanburh (937), probably composed in his successor Edmund's reign. Other narrative sources from across Europe, though, provide us with more information.
The Annals of Flodoard contain several references to Athelstan's dealings with the rulers of west and east Francia, as does the Chronicle of Nantes. William of Malmesbury, however, writing in the early 12th century, provides us with the greatest detail. His work might even draw on a (now lost) Vita Æthelstani, as Michael Wood argues, but caution is called for as this case has yet to be proven and William's account can rarely be verified.
Documentary sources come in the form of charters and laws. Numerous charters exist that tell us about where Athelstan was, who was with him, and to whom he was granting land. Through these it is possible to trace his peregrinations, particularly between 927 and 932 when all diplomas were drafted by the extraordinary scribe known as 'Athelstan A'. We have several law codes attributed to Athelstan; a couple are law codes after the tradition of Alfred and Edward; the others are less 'official', but nonetheless reveal aspects of Athelstan's administration.
Non-written sources are also available. Perhaps most useful are coins, which give Athelstan a title which reveals how widespread he (or rather the minters) felt his reign extended: throughout all Britain. Also of interest are the manuscripts and relics Athelstan collected and donated - many of the former contain notices giving the details of these donations. These particularly shed light on Athelstan's patronage of the cult of St Cuthbert's in Northumbria, to whom he gave two lavish manuscripts containing our earliest surviving English ruler portraits, the Corpus Christi Manuscript.

Athelstan DCCCCXXV on the modern plinth of the Saxon Coronation Stone, Kingston upon Thames

Athelstan was the son of Edward the Elder, and grandson of Alfred the Great. His father succeeded, after some difficulty, to the Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons formed by Alfred. His aunt, Edward's sister, Æthelflæd, ruled western Mercia on Edward's behalf following the death of her husband, Ealdorman Æthelred. On Æthelflæd's death, Edward was quick to assume control of Mercia, and at the time of his death he directly ruled all the English kingdoms south of the Humber. Athelstan was fostered by his aunt in Mercia, perhaps as a method of encouraging Mercian loyalty to the West Saxon dynasty. On Edward's death, Athelstan immediately became King of Mercia, though it seems to have taken longer for him to be recognised in Wessex where his half-brothers Ælfweard and Edwin had support.
Political alliances seem to have been high on Athelstan's agenda. Only a year after his crowning he married one of his sisters to Sihtric Cáech, the Viking King of Jórvík at Tamworth, who acknowledged Æthelstan as over-king, adopting Christianity. Within the year he may have abandoned his new faith and repudiated his wife, but before Æthelstan and he could fight, Sihtric died suddenly in 927. His kinsman, perhaps brother, Gofraid, who had remained as his deputy in Dublin, came from Ireland to take power in York, but failed. Æthelstan moved quickly, seizing much of Northumbria. This bold move brought the whole of England under one ruler for the first time, although this unity did not become permanent until 954. In less than a decade, the kingdom of the English had become by far the greatest power in the British Isles, perhaps stretching as far north as the Firth of Forth.

Coin of Æthelstan.

Initially the other rulers in Great Britain seem to have submitted to Athelstan at Bamburgh: "first Hywel, King of the West Welsh, and Constantine II, King of Scots, and Owain, King of the people of Gwent, and Ealdred...of Bamburgh" records the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. William of Malmesbury adds that Owain of Strathclyde was also present.
Similar events are recorded along the western marches of Athelstan's domain. According to William of Malmesbury, Athelstan had the kings of the North British (meaning the Welsh) submit to him at Hereford, where he exacted a heavy tribute from them. The reality of his influence in Wales is underlined by the Welsh poem Armes Prydein Fawr, and by the appearance of the Welsh kings as subreguli in the charters of 'Αthelstan A'. Similarly, he drove the West Welsh (meaning the Cornish) out of Exeter, and established the border of Cornwall along the River Tamar.
John of Worcester's chronicle suggests that Æthelstan faced opposition from Constantine, from Owain of Strathclyde, and from the Welsh kings. William of Malmesbury writes that Gofraid, together with Sihtric's young son Olaf Cuaran fled north and received refuge from Constantine, which led to war with Æthelstan. A meeting at Eamont Bridge on 12 July 927 was sealed by an agreement that Constantine, Eógan of Strathclyde, Hywel Dda, and Ealdred would "renounce all idolatry": that is, they would not ally with the Viking kings. William states that Æthelstan stood godfather to a son of Constantine, probably Indulf (Ildulb mac Constantín), during the conference.
Æthelstan followed up his advances in the north by securing the recognition of the Welsh kings. For the next seven years, the record of events in the north is blank. Æthelstan's court was attended by the Welsh kings, but not by Constantine or Eógan of Strathclyde. This absence of record means that Æthelstan's reasons for marching north against Constantine in 934 are unclear.
Æthelstan's campaign is reported by in brief by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and later chroniclers such as John of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, Henry of Huntingdon, and Symeon of Durham add detail to that bald account. Æthelstan's army began gathering at Winchester by 28 May 927, and reached Nottingham by 7 June. He was accompanied by many leaders, including the Welsh kings Hywel Dda, Idwal Foel, and Morgan ab Owain. From Mercia the army went north, stopping at Chester-le-Street, before resuming the march accompanied by a fleet of ships. Eógan of Strathclyde was defeated and Symeon states that the army went as far north as Dunnottar and Fortriu, while the fleet is said to have raided Caithness, by which a much larger area, including Sutherland, is probably intended. It is unlikely that Constantine's personal authority extended so far north, and while the attacks may have been directed at his allies, they may also have been simple looting expeditions.
The Annals of Clonmacnoise state that "the Scottish men compelled [Æthelstan] to return without any great victory", while Henry of Huntingdon claims that the English faced no opposition. A negotiated settlement may have ended matters: according to John of Worcester, a son of Constantine was given as a hostage to Æthelstan and Constantín himself accompanied the English king on his return south. He witnessed a charter with Æthelstan at Buckingham on 13 September 934 in which he is described as subregulus, that is a king acknowledging Æthelstan's overlordship. The following year, Constantine was again in England at Æthelstan's court, this time at Cirencester where he appears as a witness, appearing as the first of several subject kings, followed by Eógan of Strathclyde and Hywel Dda, who subscribed to the diploma. At Christmas of 935, Eógan of Strathclyde was once more at Æthelstan's court along with the Welsh kings, but Constantine was not. His return to England less than two years later would be in very different circumstances.


Following Constantine's disappearance from Æthelstan's court after 935, there is no further report of him until 937. In that year, together with Eógan of Strathclyde and Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin, Constantine invaded England. The resulting battle of Brunanburh—Dún Brunde—is reported in the Annals of Ulster as follows:
a great battle, lamentable and terrible was cruelly which fell uncounted thousands of the Northmen. ... And on the other side, a multitude of Saxons fell; but Æthelstan, the king of the Saxons, obtained a great victory.
The battle was remembered in England a generation later as "the Great Battle". When reporting the battle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle abandons its usual terse style in favour of a heroic poem vaunting the great victory. In this the "hoary" Constantine, by now around 60 years of age, is said to have lost a son in the battle, a claim which the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba confirms. The Annals of Clonmacnoise give his name as Cellach. For all its fame, the site of the battle is uncertain and several sites have been advanced, with Bromborough on the Wirral the most favoured location.
Brunanburh, for all that it had been a famous and bloody battle, settled nothing. On 27 October 939 Æthelstan, "pillar of the dignity of the western world" in the words of the Annals of Ulster, died at Malmesbury. He was succeeded by his brother Edmund the Elder, then aged 18. Æthelstan's empire, seemingly made safe by the victory of Brunanburh, collapsed in little more than a year from his death when Amlaíb returned from Ireland and seized Northumbria and the Mercian Danelaw. Edmund spent the remainder of Constantín's reign rebuilding the empire.
Athelstan is generally regarded as the first king of England and his reign is seen as the first time that kingdoms of England, Wales and Scotland were united under one ruler as "King of all Britain". He achieved considerable military successes over his rivals, including the Vikings, and extended his rule to parts of Wales and Cornwall.
Administration and law
As Athelstan's kingdom grew it posed new challenges in administration. Towards the end of his reign we hear of another Athelstan, termed 'half-king', who was Ealdorman for much of eastern Mercia and East Anglia. Ian Walker has argued that, as the extent of Athelstan's power grew, the extent of rule of the next level of the aristocracy had to grow too. This points towards an increasing stratification of Anglo-Saxon society, a development that can (possibly) be traced from earliest Anglo-Saxon times right up to the Norman Conquest and beyond.
A relatively large number of law codes have come down to us from Athelstan's reign. To examine each in detail would take too much space here, but two viewpoints summarise the arguments around them. Patrick Wormald, who has argued that written law had little practical use in Anglo-Saxon England, states that there is little homogeneity to the laws, and that the sporadic nature of them indicate little sign of a coherent system based on written law. Simon Keynes has instead argued that there is a pattern to the laws of Athelstan's reign, and that the laws are evidence 'not of any casual attitude towards the publication or recording of the law, but quite the reverse'.

Athelstan and the Welsh
Athelstan's reign marks a hiatus in sporadic unrest between the English and Welsh kingdoms. According to Asser, a monk from St David's, Dyfed, several kingdoms of Wales submitted (including eventually those ruled by the sons of Rhodri Mawr) to Alfred. No battles between the English and the Welsh are recorded during Athelstan's reign, but charters show Welsh kings attending his court, possibly coming with him on campaign. D.P. Kirby argued that Athelstan was repressing the Welsh kings, keeping them close in order to maintain their loyalty. Yet it is also possible that some Welsh kings, in particular Hywel Dda, were benefiting from this relationship. Hywel may have been influenced by English ideas of kingship - he is the first Welsh king associated with a major Welsh law code, and a coin, minted at Chester, carries his name.

Foreign contacts
Like those of his predecessors, Athelstan's court was in contact with the rest of Europe. His half-sisters married into European noble families. Ædgyth was married to future Holy Roman Emperor Otto, son of Henry I of Saxony, and another to Egill Skallagrímsson, the subject of the Icelandic Egils Saga. Alan II, Duke of Brittany and Haakon, son of Harald of Norway, were both fostered in Æthelstan’s court, and he provided a home for Louis, the exiled son of Charles the Simple.
Athelstan might have considered his rule in some way imperial: the style basileus is found in his charters, whilst he is the first king to bear the title r[ex] tot[ius] B[ritanniae]. According to William of Malmesbury, relics such as the Sword of Constantine (Emperor of Rome) and the Lance of Charlemagne (first Holy Roman Emperor) came to Athelstan, suggesting that he was in some way being associated with past great rulers.
Although he established many alliances through his family, he had no children of his own.
Athelstan was religious and gave generously to the church in Wessex, and when he died in 939 at Gloucester he was buried at his favourite abbey (Malmesbury) rather than with his family at Winchester. Though his tomb is still there, his body was lost centuries later. There is nothing in the tomb beneath the statue, the relics of the king having been lost in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 by King Henry VIII. The remains may have been destroyed by the King's Commissioners or hidden before the Commissioners arrived to close down the Abbey. In Malmesbury, his name lives on into the 20th and 21st centuries, with everything from a bus company and a second-hand shop to several roads and streets, as well as the Care Home opened in 2008, named after him. His patronage of the abbey, and his gift of freemen status to the town also lives on with the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury.
He was succeeded by his younger and more famous half-brother, King Edmund of England.

Ancestors of Athelstan
16. Egbert of Wessex 8. Æthelwulf of Wessex 17. Redburga 4. Alfred the Great

18. Oslac 9. Osburga 2. Edward the Elder 10. Æthelred Mucil

5. Ealhswith 1. Athelstan

Wessex and England from Alfred to Edgar: six essays on political, cultural, and ecclesiastical revival, David Dumville, (Woodbridge, 1992)
"England, c.900-1016", Simon Keynes, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. II. ed. R. McKitterick, (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
The Age of Athelstan: Britain's Forgotten History, Paul Hill, (Tempus Publishing, 2004). ISBN 0-7524-2566-8
On Athelstan and the Welsh:
D.P. Kirby, 'Hywel Dda: Anglophil?', Welsh Historical Review, 8 (1976-7)
H.R. Loyn, 'Wales and England in the tenth century: the context of the Athelstan Charters', Welsh History Review 10, (1980-1)
For law in Athelstan's reign:
Patrick Wormald, The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, vol. 1, (Blackwell, 1999)
Simon Keynes, 'Royal government and the written word in late Anglo-Saxon England' in The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe. ed. R. McKitterick, (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
Compilations of sources can be found in:
The Laws of the Earliest English Kings, F.L. Attenborough, (Cambridge University Press, 1922) English Historical Documents c.500-1042, 2nd ed., D. Whitelock, (Eyre and Spottisoode, 1980)
Amlaíb mac Gofraid (Old Norse: Óláfr Guðrøðarson), (died 941), a member of the Norse-Gael Uí Ímair dynasty, was king of Dublin from 934 to 941. Gofraid ua Ímair, his father, held both Dublin and York until Athelstan of England expelled him from York in 927.
Amlaíb married the daughter of Causantín mac Áeda. He also allied himself with Owen I of Strathclyde. In 937, Amlaíb led his allies into battle against Athelstan, king of England, in the Battle of Brunanburh and was decisively defeated.
After Athelstan's death in 939, Olaf again invaded York the same year, forcing Athelstan's successor, Edmund, into a treaty which ceded to Amlaíb Northumbria and part of Mercia. He did not get to enjoy his new lands for long, dying just two years later in 941. He was succeeded by Amlaíb Cuaran.


Amlaíb mac Sitric (c. 926?–981; Old Norse Óláfr Sigtryggsson), commonly called Amlaíb Cuarán, in Old Norse Óláfr kváran, was a 10th century Norse-Gael who was king of York and king of Dublin. His byname, cuarán, is usually translated as "sandal". His name appears in a variety of anglicized forms, including Olaf Cuaran and Olaf Sihtricson, particularly in relation to his short-lived rule in York. He was the last of the Uí Ímair to play a major part in the politics of Britain and Ireland.
Amlaíb was twice, perhaps three times, ruler of York and Northumbria and twice ruler of Dublin and its dependencies. His reign over these territories spanned some forty years. He was a renowned warrior and a ruthless pillager of churches, but ended his days in respectable retirement at Iona Abbey. Born when the Uí Ímair ruled over large areas of Britain and Ireland, by his death the kingdom of Dublin was a minor power in Irish politics. At the same time, Dublin became a major centre of trade in Atlantic Europe and mastery over the city and its wealth became the supreme prize for ambitious Irish kings.
In death Amlaíb was the prototype for the character Havelok the Dane. In life he was a patron of Irish poets and Scandinavian skalds who wrote verses praising their paymaster. Amlaíb was married at least twice, and had many children who married into Irish and Scandinavian royal families. His descendants were kings in the Isle of Man and the Hebrides until the 13th century

The earliest records of attacks by Vikings in Britain or Ireland are at the end of the eighth century. The monastery on Lindisfarne, in the kingdom of Northumbria, was sacked on 8 June 793, and the monastery of Iona in the kingdom of the Picts was attacked in 795 and 802. In Ireland Rathlin Island, off the north-east coast, was the target in 795, and so too was St Patrick's Island on the east coast in 798. Portland in the kingdom of Wessex in south-west Britain was attacked during the reign of King Beorhtric of Wessex (ruled from 786 to 802).
These raids continued in a sporadic fashion throughout the first quarter of the ninth century. During the second quarter of the century the frequency and size of raids increased and the first permanent Viking settlements (called longphorts in Ireland) appeared.

The Ímar from whom the Uí Ímair were descended is generally presumed to be that Ímar, "king of the Northmen of all Britain and Ireland", whose death is reported by the Annals of Ulster in 873. Whether this Ímar is to be identified with the leader of the Great Heathen Army, or with Ivarr the Boneless, is less certain.
Amlaíb Cuarán was probably a great-grandson of Ímar. There is no contemporary evidence setting out the descent from Ímar to his grandsons, but it may be that the grandsons of Ímar recorded between 896 and 934—Amlaíb Cuarán's father Sitriuc (d. 927), Ragnall (d. 921),
Gofraid (d. 934), Ímar (d. 904) and Amlaíb (d. 896)—were brothers rather than cousins. Amlaíb's father Sitriuc first appears in the record in 917 when he seized Dublin, a settlement which had probably been under the control of an Irish king since the expulsion of the previous Viking rulers in 902.
Sitriuc ruled Northumbria until his death in 927. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records his marriage to King Æthelstan's sister at Tamworth on 30 January 926. According to some late sources, such as the chronicler John of Wallingford, Amlaíb was the son of Sitriuc and this West Saxon princess. Sitriuc's other sons included Gofraid (died 951), king of Dublin, Aralt (died 940), ruler of Limerick, and, less certainly, Sichfrith and Auisle, listed among those killed at the battle of Brunanburh in 937 by the Annals of Clonmacnoise. A daughter of Sitriuc named Gytha is said in the Heimskringla to have married Norwegian pirate king Olaf Tryggvason, but she was probably a daughter of Amlaíb Cuarán.
Following Sitriuc's death, Amlaíb may have been king in York for a short time, but if he did it came to an end when Æthelstan took over the kingdom of Northumbria and defeated Sitriuc's brother Gofraid. According to William of Malmesbury, Amlaíb fled to Ireland while his uncle Gofraid made a second unsuccessful attempt to gain control of York. In 937 an attack on Æthelstan's kingdom by Gofraid's son Amlaíb, assisted by Constantín mac Áeda, the king of Alba, and Owen, the king of Strathclyde, ended in defeat at the battle of Brunanburh. William of Malmesbury wrote that Amlaíb was present at Brunanburh and spied out the English camp the night before the battle disguised as a skald.
King Æthelstan died in 939 and his successor, his half-brother Edmund, was unable to keep control of York. Amlaíb mac Gofrith, ruling in Dublin, crossed to Britain where he was accepted as king of the Northumbrians. He died in 941, shortly after sacking the church of Saint Baldred at Tyninghame, struck dead by the saint's power according to the Historia de Sancto Cuthberto.

Amlaíb Cuarán's career began in 941, following the death of his cousin Amlaíb mac Gofrith, when he became co-ruler of York, sharing power with his cousin Ragnall son of Gofraid. According to the Annals of Clonmacnoise, Amlaíb had been in Britain since 940, having left another son of Gofraid, Blácaire, as ruler of Dublin.
Amlaíb and Ragnall ruled in York until 944. The dating of events in period between the death of Æthelstan and the expulsion of Amlaíb and Ragnall is uncertain as the various versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are in conflict. It appears that after Æthelstan's died, not only did Edmund lose control of Northumbria, but that the Five Burghs of the Mercian Danelaw also pledged themselves to Amlaíb mac Gofrith. One of the Amlaíbs stormed Tamworth according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:
Here Olaf broke down Tamworth and a great slaughter fell on either side, and the Danes had the victory and led much war-booty away with them. Wulfrun was seized in the raid. Here King Edmund besieged King Olaf and Archbishop Wulfstan in Leicester, and he might have controlled them had they not escaped from the stronghold in the night.
It is not clear when in the period between 940 and 943 these events took place, and as a result historians disagree as to whether they concern Amlaíb mac Gofrith or Amlaíb Cuarán.
Edmund reconquered the Five Burghs in 942, an event celebrated in verse by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Chronicle reports the baptism of Amlaíb, with King Edmund becoming his godfather. This need not mean that Amlaíb was not already a Christian, nor would such a baptism have permanently committed him to Christianity, as such baptisms were often political acts. Alfred the Great, for example, had sponsored the baptism of Christian Welsh king Anarawd ap Rhodri. Amlaíb was expelled from the kingship of York in 944. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that "King Edmund conquered all Northumbria and caused to flee away two kings [or "royally-born men"], Olaf and Rægnald". It is possible that rivalry between Amlaíb and Ragnall contributed to their fall. Æthelweard's history reports that Amlaíb was deposed by a coup led by Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, and an unnamed Mercian ealdorman.

Congalach and Ruaidrí Scandinavian settlements in 10th century Ireland
After being driven out of Northumbria, Amlaíb returned to Ireland while Ragnall may have been killed at York. The Uí Ímair in Ireland had also suffered in 944 as Dublin was sacked that year by the High King of Ireland Congalach Cnogba, whose power base lay in Brega, north of Dublin on the lower reaches of the River Boyne. The following year, perhaps as a result of the sack of Dublin, Amlaíb's cousin Blácaire was driven out and Amlaíb replaced him as ruler of Dublin. Amlaíb was allied with Congalach and may have gained power with his assistance.
Congalach and Amlaíb fought against Ruaidrí ua Canannáin, a rival for the High Kingship who belonged to the Cenél Conaill, based in modern County Donegal. In 945 the two defeated part of Ruaidrí's army in Conaille Muirtheimne (modern County Louth) and the following year Amlaíb raided Kilcullen in the province of Leinster. In 947 Ruaidrí routed Congalach and Amlaíb at Slane. Losses among the Dublin men were heavy, with many drowning while fleeing the battle. This defeat appears to have lost Amlaíb his kingship, as the annals record that Blácaire not Amlaíb was the leader of the Dublin forces in the following year. Blácaire was killed in 948 by Congalach, and was succeeded by Amlaíb's brother Gofraid.

York again
The course of events in Northumbria while Amlaíb was in Ireland is uncertain. While Edmund certainly controlled Northumbria after Amlaíb was expelled and Ragnall killed, he may soon after have lost control of the north to a Scandinavian king named Eiríkr, usually identified with Eric Bloodaxe. If Erik did rule in Northumbria before Edmund's death, it was only for a short time. Edmund was killed in 946, and succeeded by his brother Eadred. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that Eadred "reduced all the land of Northumbria to his control; and the Scots granted him oaths that they would do all that he wanted". The Northumbrian submission to Eadred led to a meeting with the notables of York led by Archbishop Wulfstan in 947, but the following year King Erik was back ruling Northumbria and Eadred laid waste to the southern parts of the kingdom— Ripon is mentioned as a particular target—to force the Northumbrians to expel Erik, which they did.
The following year, 949, by which time Blacáire was dead and Amlaíb's brother ruling in Dublin, the Northumbrians invited Amlaíb to rule in York. His return to England may have been with Eadred's agreement. That year Máel Coluim mac Domnaill, the king of Alba, raided Northumbria as far south as the River Tees, capturing many slaves and much loot. Whether this invasion was directed against Amlaíb, or perhaps intended to support him by plundering only northern Northumbria which may have been outwith his control, is uncertain. A second invasion from the north in 952, this time an alliance including Máel Coluim's Scots and also Britons and Saxons, was defeated. Again, whether this was aimed against Amlaíb, who was deposed in 952 and replaced by Erik, or was mounted against King Erik in support of Amlaíb, is unclear. Erik's reign was short and the Viking kingdom of York was definitively incorporated into the kingdom of the English on his death in 954. Amlaíb returned to Ireland, never again to rule in York.

From Dublin to Iona
In 951, while Amlaíb was in Britain his brother Gofraid died in Dublin of disease. Congalach's rival Ruaidrí was also dead, leaving Amlaíb's former ally as undisputed High King and thus a serious threat to Dublin and the south-eastern Irish kingdom of Leinster. This threat was perhaps what led to Congalach's death in an ambush at Dún Ailinne (modern County Kildare) or at Tech Guigenn in the region of the River Liffey while collecting tribute in Leinster in 956. The main beneficiary was the brother of Amlaíb's new wife Dúnflaith, Domnall ua Néill, who became the next High King of Ireland. The marriage linked Amlaíb not only to the northern Uí Néill kindred of Cenél nEógain, but also to the southern Clann Cholmáin as he was now stepfather to Dúnflaith's young son Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill.
In the early 960s Amlaíb Cuarán probably faced a challenge from the sons of his cousin Amlaíb mac Gofrith. In 960 the Annals of Ulster report that Cammán, son of Amlaíb mac Gofrith, was defeated at an unidentifiable place named Dub. Two years later one Sitriuc Cam—Cam means crooked or twisted and Cammán is simply the hypocoristic form of this byname, so that Sitriuc Cam and Cammán are presumed to be the same person—was defeated by the Dubliners led by Amlaíb Cuarán and the Leinstermen while raiding in Leinster. Amlaíb Cuarán was wounded in the battle but Sitriuc fled to his ships. Sitriuc and his brothers appear to have raided Munster after this, but disappear from the record soon afterwards and do not appear to have returned to Ireland.
Amlaíb's activities in the early 960s seem largely to have been limited to occasional raids in Leinster. He attacked Kildare in 964, and it was a target again in 967 when Muiredach mac Faeláin, abbot of Kildare, a member of Uí Dúnlainge kindred which ruled Leinster, was killed by Amlaíb and Cerball mac Lorcáin, a kinsman of Muiredach's. Another raid south in 964 ended in a heavy defeat for Amlaíb near Inistogue (modern County Kildare) at the hands of the Osraige.
Until the late 960s Domnall ua Néill, Congalach's successor as would-be High King, was occupied with enemies close to home, and in Connacht and Munster, and did not intervene in Leinster or the hinterlands of Dublin. Having defeated these, in 968 he marched south and plundered Leinster, killing several notables, and laid siege to Dublin for two months. While Domnall did not take the port, he carried off a great many cattle. Amlaíb, allied with the king of Leinster Murchad mac Finn, retaliated by attacking the abbey of Kells in 969. A pursuit by ua Néill's allies was defeated near Ardmulchan (County Meath).
In 970 Domnall ua Néill and his allies attacked Amlaíb's new-found ally, Congalach's son Domnall, the king of Brega. Domnall mac Congalaig was married to a daughter of Amlaíb, perhaps at about this time. Churches in Brega, including Monasterboice and Dunleer, guarded by Amlaíb's soldiers, were a particular target of the raids. Domnall of Brega and Amlaíb fought against Domnall ua Néill's northern army at Kilmona in modern County Westmeath. Domnall's army, which included allies from Ulaid was defeated, and Ardgal mac Matudáin, king of Ulaid, and Cináed mac Crongilla, king of Conaille Muirtheimne, were among those killed. The battle at Kilmona did not end the war in the midlands. Monasterboice and Dunleer were burned after the battle and fighting spread to the lands of Clann Cholmáin the following year when Domnall ua Néill's enemies there drove him out, only for him to return with an army and ravage both Mide and the lands around Dublin before marching south to attack Leinster. This campaign appears to have established Domnall ua Néill as effective overlord of the midlands and Leinster for some years.
In 977, in unknown circumstances, Domnall ua Néill's sons Congalach and Muirchertach were killed and Amlaíb is given credit for their deaths by the annals. Domnall made no effort to avenge the deaths, retiring to the monastery at Armagh where he died in 980. The Dubliners campaigned against Leinster the late 970s. The overking of Leinster, Úgaire mac Túathail, was captured in 976. He was evidently ransomed or released as he was killed, along with Muiredach mac Riain of Uí Cheinnselaig of south Leinster, fighting against the Dubliners in 978 at Belan (County Kildare). Úgaire's successor Domnall Claen was little more fortunate, being captured by the Dubliners the following year.
Following the death of High King Domnall ua Néill, Amlaíb's stepson Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill claimed the title. Amlaíb's former ally Domnall son of Congalach had died in 976, removing one potential rival, and ss Amlaíb had killed two of Domnall ua Néill's sons he may have cleared the way for Máel Sechnaill to take power. If so, it was unlikely to be by design. Máel Sechnaill had become king of Mide and head of Clann Cholmáin in 975 and had inaugurated his reign with an attack on his stepfather when he burned "Thor's Wood" outside Dublin. In 980 Máel Sechnaill had the support of the Leinstermen when he faced Amlaíb's sons—Amlaíb himself was by now an old man—near the hill of Tara. The Dubliners too had allies as the Irish annals record the presence of warriors from the Isle of Man or the Hebrides. Amlaíb's son Ragnall (Rögnvaldr) was among the dead in the battle which followed, and although several kings fighting alongside Máel Sechnaill were killed, the result was clearly a crushing blow for Dublin. Máel Sechnaill occupied the city and imposed a heavy tribute on the citizens.
In the aftermath of this defeat Amlaíb abdicated, or was removed from power. He was replaced by a son named Glúniairn (Járnkné), a son of Dúnlaith and thus Máel Sechnaill's half-brother. Amlaíb retired to the monastery on Iona where he died soon afterwards.

Marriages and children
He was succeeded by his son Glúniairn (Járnkné, literally "Iron Knee"), son of his wife Dúnlaith, daughter of Muirchertach mac Néill. Among his wives was Gormflaith, daughter of Murchad mac Finn, King of Leinster, and future wife of Brian Boru. Gormflaith's son Sitric Silkbeard was king of Dublin after Glúniairn's death. Amlaíb's other children included Gytha, who married Olaf Tryggvason, Máel Muire, who married Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, and Harald, possibly the grandfather of Godred Crovan.

Amlaíb's byname, cuarán, is usually translated as "sandal" or "shoe". It derives from the Old Irish word cúar meaning bent or crooked. It is first applied to him in the report of the battle of Slane in 947 in the Annals of Ulster. The usual translation may be misleading. The epithet probably refers to a distinctive style of footwear. Benjamin Hudson points to the description of a cuarán in a twelfth century satire, where it is made of leather folded seven times and has a pointed toe. In Aislinge Meic Con Glinne and Scél Baili Binnbérlaig, the cuarán is waterproof. In the first story Mac Con Glinne cleans his by dipping them in his bath; in the second, a cuarán serves as a vessel to drink from. That the cuarán was a piece of footwear specific to Dublin is suggested by statements in other stories that have cobblers in the town owing a cuarán in taxes.

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Sihtric ua Ímair King of Northumbria? 927? Succeeded by English control
Preceded by Amlaíb mac Gofrith King of Northumbria with Ragnall? 941–944
Succeeded by Ragnall or English control
Preceded by Blácaire mac Gofrith King of Dublin 945–947
Succeeded by Blácaire mac Gofrith
Preceded byEnglish control? King of York 949–952
Succeeded by Erik Bloodaxe
Preceded byGofraid mac Sitriuc King of Dublin 952–980
Succeeded by Glúniairn

Edmund I (or Eadmund) (922 – May 26, 946), called the Elder, the Deed-Doer, the Just or the Magnificent, was King of England from 939 until his death. He was a son of Edward the Elder and half-brother of Athelstan. Athelstan died on October 27, 939, and Edmund succeeded him as king.

Military threats
Shortly after his proclamation as king he had to face several military threats. King Olaf III Guthfrithson conquered Northumbria and invaded the Midlands. When Olaf died in 942 Edmund reconquered the Midlands. In 943 he became the god-father of King Olaf of York. In 944, Edmund was successful in reconquering Northumbria. In the same year his ally Olaf of York lost his throne and left for Dublin in Ireland. Olaf became the king of Dublin as Olaf Cuaran and continued to be allied to his god-father. In 945 Edmund conquered Strathclyde but conceded his rights on the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland. In exchange they signed a treaty of mutual military support. Edmund thus established a policy of safe borders and peaceful relationships with Scotland. During his reign, the revival of monasteries in England began.

Louis IV of France
One of Edmund's last political movements of which we have some knowledge is his role in the restoration of Louis IV of France to the throne. Louis, son of Charles the Simple and his Anglo-Saxon queen Eadgifu, had resided at the West-Saxon court for some time until 936, when he returned to be crowned king of France. In the summer of 945, he was captured by the Norsemen of Rouen and subsequently released by Duke Hugh the Great, who however, held him in custody. The chronicler Richerus claims that Eadgifu wrote letters both to Edmund and to Otto I in which she requested support for her son; Edmund responded to her plea by sending angry threats to Hugh, who however, brushed them aside. Flodoard's Annales, one of Richerus' sources, report:
“ Edmund, king of the English, sent messengers to Duke Hugh about the restoration of King Louis, and the duke accordingly made a public agreement with his nephews and other leading men of his kingdom. [...] Hugh, duke of the Franks, allying himself with Hugh the Black, son of Richard, and the other leading men of the kingdom, restored to the kingdom King Louis. ”

Death and succession
On 26 May, 946, Edmund was murdered by Leofa, an exiled thief, while celebrating St Augustine's Mass Day in Pucklechurch (South Gloucestershire). John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury add some lively detail by suggesting that Edmund had been feasting with his nobles, when he spotted Leofa in the crowd. He attacked the intruder in person, but in the event, Edmund and Leofa were both killed.
Edmund's sister Eadgyth, wife to Otto I, died (earlier) the same year, as Flodoard's Annales for 946 report.
Edmund was succeeded as king by his brother Edred, king from 946 until 955. Edmund's sons later ruled England as:
Eadwig of England, King from 955 until 957, king of only Wessex and Kingdom of Kent from 957 until his death on October 1 959. Edgar of England, king of only Mercia and Northumbria from 957 until his brother's death in 959, then king of England from 959 until 975.

Flodoard, Annales, ed. Philippe Lauer, Les Annales de Flodoard. Collection des textes pour servir à l'étude et à l'enseignement de l'histoire 39. Paris: Picard, 1905.
John of Worcester, Chronicon AD 946;
William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum, book 2, chapter 144.

The description of the circumstances remained a popular feature in medieval chronicles, such as Higden's Polychronicon: "But William, libro ij° de Regibus, seyth (says) that this kyng kepyng a feste at Pulkirchirche, in the feste of seynte Austyn, and seyng a thefe, Leof by name, sytte [th]er amonge hys gestes, whom he hade made blynde afore for his trespasses -- (quem rex prios propter scelera eliminaverat, whom the King previously due to his crimes did excile) -- , arysede (arrested) from the table, and takenge that man by the heire of the hedde, caste him unto the grownde. Whiche kynge was sleyn -- (sed nebulonis arcano evisceratus est) -- with a lyttle knyfe the [th]e man hade in his honde [hand]; and also he hurte mony men soore with the same knyfe; neverthelesse he was kytte (cut) at the laste into smalle partes by men longyng to the kynge." Polychronicon, 1527

Dorothy Whitelock (tr.), English Historical Documents c. 500-1042. 2nd ed. London, 1979. p. 345

Ancestors of Edmund I of England

16. Egbert of Wessex 8. Æthelwulf of Wessex 17. Redburga
4. Alfred the Great 18. Oslac 9. Osburga 2. Edward the Elder
10. Æthelred Mucil 5. Ealhswith

1. Edmund I of England 6. Sigehelm, Ealdorman of Kent 3. Eadgifu of Kent
3. Ecgwynn

Eric Bloodaxe
Fairhair dynasty
Born: unknown
Died: 954
Regnal titles
Preceded by Harald Fairhair King of Norway sometimes estimated at c. 930-934
Succeeded by Haakon the Good
Preceded by Eadred King of Northumbria c. 948
Succeeded by Eadred
Preceded by Amlaíb Cuarán King of Northumbria 952-954
Succeeded by Eadred

Amlaíb mac Sitric again

Eric again

Eadred (also Edred, Aedred, etc.) was the King of England from 946 until his death in 955. He was a son of King Edward the Elder by his third marriage, to Eadgifu, daughter of Sigehelm, ealdorman of Kent.
He succeeded his elder brother King Edmund (I), who was stabbed to death at Pucklechurch (Gloucestershire), on St Augustine’s Day, 26 May 946. The same year, on 16 August, Eadred was consecrated by Archbishop Oda of Canterbury at Kingston upon Thames (Surrey, now Greater London), where he appears to have received the submission of Welsh rulers and northern earls

Trouble in Northumbria
Under the entry for the year 946, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that Eadred “reduced all the land of Northumbria to his control; and the Scots granted him oaths that they would do all that he wanted.” Nevertheless, Eadred soon faced a number of political challenges to the West-Saxon hegemony in the north. Unfortunately, there are some notorious difficulties with the chronology of the events described in the historical sources, but it is clear that there were two Scandinavian princes who set themselves up as kings of Northumbria.
Olaf Sihtricson, otherwise known as Amlaíb Cuarán (‘Sandal’), had been king of York (Jórvik) in the early 940’s, when he became Edmund’s godson and client king, but he was later driven out. He then succeeded his cousin as King of Dublin, but after a heavy defeat in battle in 947, was once again forced to try his luck elsewhere. Shortly after this, Olaf was back in business, having regained the kingdom of York. What Eadred thought of the matter or how much sympathy he bore for his brother’s godson, remains anyone’s guess, but it seems that he at least tolerated Olaf’s presence. In any event, Olaf was ousted from the kingship a second time by the Northumbrians, this time in favour of Eric son of Harald, according to MS E of the Chronicle.
This other player in the game was Eric ‘Bloodaxe’, previously king of Norway (r. 930-4). After a number of successful operations elsewhere, he came to Northumbria and appears at some point to have set himself up as king. King Eadred responded harshly to the northern defectors by launching a destructive raid on Northumbria, which notably included burning the Ripon minster founded by St Wilfrid. Although his forces had to sustain heavy losses in the Battle of Castleford (as he returned home), Eadred managed to check his rival by promising the latter’s supporters even greater havoc if they did not desert the foreign prince. The Northumbrians did indeed appease the English king in this way and paid compensation.
The Historia Regum suggests that the threat of an independent Northumbrian king had come to an end in 952, when earls finally took over the helm.

Health conditions and death
Towards the end of his life, Eadred suffered from a digestive malady which would prove fatal. 'Author B', the biographer and former apprentice of St Dunstan, described with vivid memory how the king sucked out the juices of his food, chewed on what was left and spat it out. Eadred died on 23 November (St. Clement's Day), 955, at Frome (Somerset), and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester. As he died a bachelor and thus had no children, he was succeeded by his young nephew, Eadwig.

Ancestors of Eadred of England

16. Egbert of Wessex 8. Æthelwulf of Wessex 17. Redburga
4. Alfred the Great
18. Oslac 9. Osburga 2. Edward the Elder 10. Æthelred Mucil 5. Ealhswith

1. Eadred of England 6. Sigehelm, Ealdorman of Kent 3. Edgiva of Kent

Preceded by Edmund King of England 946–955
Succeeded by Eadwig

Primary sources
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.
Chronicle of Æthelweard, ed. and tr. listair Campbell, The Chronicle of Æthelweard. London, 1961.
Historia Regum, ed. T. Arnold, Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia. 2 vols: 2. London, 1885.
John of Worcester, Chronicon ex Chronicis, ed. Benjamin Thorpe, Florentii Wigorniensis monachi chronicon ex chronicis. 2 vols: vol 1. London, 1848-9.
Like his grandfather King Alfred, Eadred left a written record of his will: Sawyer no. 1515 (AD 951 x 955). Text available from Anglo-Saxon Charters, Sawyer nos. 515–580 (including S 552a, 522a, 517a-b), 1211-2, 1511.
Vita S. Dunstani ('Life of St. Dunstan'), ed. W. Stubbs, Memorials of St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury. Rolls Series. London, 1874. 3-52. Available as PDF from Google Books (or from the Internet Archive here or here) and from Gallica.
Vita S. Æthelwoldi ('Life of St. Æthelwold'), ed. and tr. Michael Lapidge and Michael Winterbottom, Wulfstan of Winchester. The Life of St Æthelwold. OMT. Oxford, 1991.

Secondary sources
Gough, Harold. "Eadred's Charter of AD 949 and the Extent of the Monastic Estate of Reculver, Kent."
St Dunstan: His Life, Times and Cult, ed. Nigel Ramsay and Margaret Sparks. Woodbridge and Rochester, NY: Boydell, 1992. 89-10.
Sawyer, P. “The last Scandinavian rulers of York.” Northern History 31 (1995): 39-44.
Stenton, Frank Merry. Anglo-Saxon England. 3d ed. Oxford, 1971. 360-3.

Eadwig, more rarely Edwy (941? – 1 October 959), sometimes nicknamed All-Fair or the Fair, was King of England from 955 until his death four years later. The eldest son of King Edmund and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury, Eadwig was chosen by the nobility to succeed his uncle Eadred as King. His short reign was marked by ongoing conflicts with his family, thegns, and especially the Church, under the leadership of Saint Dunstan and Archbishop Odo.

Feud with Dunstan
According to one legend, the feud with Dunstan began on the day of Eadwig's consecration, when he failed to attend a meeting of nobles. When Dunstan eventually found the young monarch, he was cavorting with a noblewoman named Æthelgifu and refused to return with the bishop. Infuriated by this, Dunstan dragged Eadwig back and forced him to renounce the girl as a "strumpet." Later realizing that he had provoked the king, Dunstan fled to the apparent sanctuary of his cloister, but Eadwig, incited by Æthelgifu, followed him and plundered the monastery. Though Dunstan managed to escape, he refused to return to England until after Eadwig's death. The contemporary record of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports Eadwig's accession and Dunstan fleeing England-but does not tell why Dunstan fled. Thus this report of a feud between Eadwig and Dunstan could either have been based on a true incident of a political quarrel for power between a young king and powerful church officials who wished to control the king and who later spread this legend to blacken his reputation, or it could be an urban legend; the Chronicle also tells of Odo putting aside the King's marriage on the grounds Eadwig and his wife were "too related".
The account of the quarrel with Dunstan and the Cynesige, bishop of Lichfield at the coronation feast is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and in the later chronicle of John of Worcester and was written by monks supportive of Dunstan's position. The "cavorting" in question consisted of Eadwig (then only 16) being away from the feast with Ælfgifu and her mother Æthelgifu. He later married Ælfgifu, who may have been the sister of Æthelweard the Chronicler. His brother was Athelstan Half-King who was Eadwig's brother Edgar's foster father. Edgar also married his foster sister.
Æthelweard and Eadric were the sons of Æthelthryth, who was the son of Æthelhelm (possibly the same as Æthelhelm, Archbishop of Canterbury who in turn was the son of King Aethelred I. Eadwig was the son of King Edmund the Magnificent, grandson of King Edward the Elder, greatgrandson of King Alfred the Great, and greatgreatnephew of King Aethelred I. Due to this somewhat tenuous relationship, Archbishop Oda annulled the marriage between Eadwig and Ælfgifu.

Annulment of marriage
The annulment of the marriage of Eadwig and Ælfgifu is unusual in that it was against their will and clearly politically motivated by the supporters of Dunstan. The Church at the time held that any union within 9 degrees of consanguinilty was incestuous. In a population of 1-1.5 million people most of the marriages within England at the time would have been void, but only amongst the aristocracy would such a full family tree be known. Edgar's relationship with his wife was precisely the same as Eadwig's and the consanguinity of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is slightly closer.

Civil War
Dunstan, whilst in exile became influenced by the Benedictines of Flanders and a pro-Dunstan, pro-Benedictine party began to form around Athelstan Half-King's domain of East Anglia supporting Eadwig's younger brother Edgar. Frustrated by the king's impositions and supported by Archbishop Odo, the Thanes of Mercia and Northumbria switched their allegiance to Eadwig's brother Edgar in 957. Eadwig was defeated in battle at Gloucester, but rather than see the country descend into civil war, an agreement was reached among the nobles by which the kingdom would be divided along the Thames, with Eadwig keeping Wessex and Kent in the south and Edgar ruling in the north.

King of Wessex
In the few remaining years of his reign, Eadwig ruled his realm more wisely and made significant gifts to the Church. His reign is distinguished by a large number of gifts and charters seemingly designed to bolster his support in Wessex. Eadwig died at a young age in 959, in circumstances which remain unknown. He was succeeded by his brother Edgar the Peaceful, who reunited the kingdom.

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