Friday, 14 August 2009

More Kings of Northumbria

Eadwulf was king of Northumbria from death of Aldfrith in December 704 until February or March of 705, when Aldfrith's son Osred was restored to the throne.
Osred was a child when his father died, and it is assumed that Eadwulf usurped the throne. Eadwulf's relationship, if any, to the ruling dynasty descendants of Ida is not known, but it is quite possible that he was indeed of royal descent as two or more other branches of the Eoppingas are found as kings of Northumbria after the extinction of the main line.
Initially Eadwulf appears to have had the support of ealdorman Berhtfrith son of Berhtred, presumed to be the lord of the north-east frontier of Bernicia, in Lothian and along the Forth. However, a crisis soon arose. Bishop Wilfrid, exiled by Aldfrith, wished to return to Northumbria. Eadwulf aimed to keep the bishop an exile, but Berhtfirth appears to have supported Wilfrid's return. A short civil war, ending with a siege of Bamburgh, was won by Berhtfrith, Wilfrid and the supporters of Osred, and Osred was restored as child-king of Northumbria.
Eadwulf appears to have to have been exiled to either Dál Riata or Pictland as his death is reported by the Annals of Ulster in 717. His son Earnwine was killed on the orders of Eadberht of Northumbria in 740. Eadwulf's great-grandson Eardwulf and Eardwulf's son Eanred were later kings of Northumbria.
Further readingHigham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5 Marsden, J., Northanhymbre Saga: The History of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Northumbria. London: Cathie, 1992. ISBN 1-85626-055-0 Yorke, Barbara, Kings and Kingdoms of early Anglo-Saxon England. London: Seaby, 1990. ISBN 1-85264-027-8
Osred (c. 697 – 716) was king of Northumbria from 705 until his death. He was the son of King Aldfrith of Northumbria. Aldfrith's only known wife was Cuthburg, but it is not certainly known whether Osred was her son. Osred did not directly succeed his father as Eadwulf seized the throne, but held it for only a few months.
At the time that the usurper Eadwulf was overthrown, Osred was only a child, and the government was controlled by the powerful Bishop Wilfrid, presumably assisted by ealdormen such as Berhtfrith son of Berhtred. Osred was adopted as Wilfrid's son at this time. Wilfrid's death in 709 appears to have caused no instability at the time, which, together with the rapid rise and more rapid fall of Eadwulf, speaks to a degree of stability and continuity in early 8th century Northumbria which would not long outlast Osred's reign.
In 711 ealdorman Berhtfrith inflicted a crushing defeat on the Picts, in the area around the upper Forth, but the reign of Osred is otherwise unremarkable politically. Domestically, a variety of eccelsiatical sources portray Osred as a dissolute and debauched young man, and a seducer of nuns. More positively, Aethelwulf's De Abbatibus describes Osred as energetic in deeds and words, mighty in arms and bold in his own strength and Bede referred to him as a new Josiah.
Osred reached his majority in 715 or 716, and within a very short period he was killed. The manner of his death is unclear. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that he was killed "south of the border". David Rollason and N.J. Higham presume that the border is question is the southern Pictish border, and that the Picts slew Osred.

References
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 978-0-86299-730-4 Rollason, David (2004). "Osred I (696x8–716)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/20903. Retrieved on 2007-08-20.

Coenred or Cenred was king of Northumbria from 716 to 718. John of Fordun claims that he murdered his predecessor Osred. He was described as a member of the Leodwaldings, a kindred descended from Ocg son of Ida of Bernicia, and was the first of the family to rule Northumbria.
William of Malmesbury calls him "a draught from the same cup" as Osred, which is to say a young man, vigorous, dissolute, cruel and bold. The manner of his death is unknown. He was succeeded by Osric, brother, or half-brother, of Osred. Coenred's brother Ceolwulf became king after Osric.

Further reading
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Marsden, J., Northanhymbre Saga: The History of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Northumbria. London: Cathie, 1992. ISBN 1-85626-055-0

Osric was king of Northumbria from the death of Coenred in 718 until his death on the 9th of May, 729. Symeon of Durham calls him a son of Aldfrith of Northumbria, which would make him a brother, or perhaps a half-brother, of Osred. Alternatively, he may have been a son of King Eahlfrith of Deira, and thus a first cousin of Osred.
Bede reports little of Osric's reign, but records that comets were seen at his death, a sign of ill omen. William of Malmesbury praises Osric for his decision to adopt Ceolwulf, brother of Coenred, as his heir.

Further reading
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Marsden, J., Northanhymbre Saga: The History of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Northumbria. London: Cathie, 1992. ISBN 1-85626-055-0



Æthelred was king of Northumbria. He was the son of Eanred.
Relatively little is known of his reign from the surviving documentary record. He appears to have been expelled in favour of Rædwulf, whose reign is confirmed by the evidence of coinage. However, Rædwulf was killed the same year, fighting against Vikings, and Æthelred was restored to power. He was assassinated a few years later, but no further details are known of his murder.
The dating of Æthelred's reign is extremely problematic. According to the written sources, he was expelled in 844 and assassinated in 849, but recent reinterpretations of ninth century Northumbrian chronology based on numismatic evidence argue for his reign beginning c. 854, his expulsion having taken place c. 858, and his assassination c. 862.
The new styca coinage, small brass coins containing very little silver and much zinc, which began in his father's reign, continued in Æthelred's. Large numbers of his styca coins have been found, again minted in York by a number of moneyers. A moneyer active in this period named Eardwulf was sometimes confused with Æthelred's grandfather King Eardwulf in older works on numismatics.
Written and numismatic evidence agrees that Æthelred was succeeded by Osberht.

References
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0862997305
Rollason, David (2004). "Eardwulf (fl. 796–c.830), king of Northumbria". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101008394/. Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
Yorke, Barbara, Kings and Kingdoms of early Anglo-Saxon England. London: Seaby, 1990. ISBN 1-85264-027-8


Rædwulf was king of Northumbria for a short time. His descent is not known, but it is possible that he was a kinsman of Osberht and Ælla.
Rædwulf became king when Æthelred son of Eanred was deposed. Coins from his reign are known, but other than the report in the Roger of Wendover's Flores Historiarum of his death fighting pagans (i.e. Vikings), nothing more is recorded of him.
Roger of Wendover dates this reign to 844, but his dates are known to be unreliable. The recent discovery of a coin of King Eanred, dated on stylistic grounds to circa 850, led to a reappraisal of the reigns of Northumbrian rulers in the 9th century. As a result, Rædwulf's reign is now thought to have been circa 858 rather than 844.
The numismatic and written evidence agrees that Æthelred was restored to the kingship after Rædwulf's death.

References
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
Rollason, David (2004). "Eardwulf (fl. 796–c.830), king of Northumbria". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101008394/. Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
Yorke, Barbara, Kings and Kingdoms of early Anglo-Saxon England. London: Seaby, 1990. ISBN 1-85264-027-8

Æthelred II of Northumbria again

Osberht (died 21 March 867) was king of Northumbria in the middle of the 9th century. Sources on Northumbrian history in this period are limited. Osberht's descent is not known and the dating of his reign is problematicChroniclesOsberht became king after Æthelred son of Eanred was murdered. The date of Æthelred's death is not certain, but is generally placed in 848. However, Symeon of Durham writes that "Ethelred the son of Eanred reigned nine years. When he was slain Osbryht held the kingdom for thirteen years" and states that 854 was "the fifth year of the rule of Osbert, the successor of Ethelred, who had been put to death".
Little is known of Osberht's reign. Symeon states that "Osbert had dared with sacrilegious hand to wrest from that church Wercewurde and Tillemuthe" The Historia de Sancto Cuthberto dates the seizure of these lands to the year before Osberht's death. Osberht was replaced as king by Ælla. While Ælla is described in most sources as a tyrant, and not a rightful king, one source states that he was Osberht's brother.
The Great Heathen Army marched on Northumbria in the late summer of 866, seizing York on 21 November 866. Symeon of Durham, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Asser, and Æthelweard all recount substantially the same version of events in varying detail. Symeon's Historia Regum Anglorum gives this account of the battle on 21 March 867 where Osberht and Ælla met their deaths at the hands of the Vikings:
In those days, the nation of the Northumbrians had violently expelled from the kingdom the rightful king of their nation, Osbryht by name, and had placed at the head of the kingdom a certain tyrant, named Alla. When the pagans came upon the kingdom, the dissension was allayed by divine counsel and the aid of the nobles. King Osbryht and Alla, having united their forces and formed an army, came to the city of York; on their approach the multitude of the shipmen immediately took flight. The Christians, perceiving their flight and terror, found that they themselves were the stronger party. They fought upon each side with much ferocity, and both kings fell. The rest who escaped made peace with the Danes.
After this, the Vikings appointed one Ecgberht to rule Northumbria.

Sagas
Ragnarssona þáttr (The Tale of Ragnar's sons) adds a great deal of colour to accounts of the Viking conquest of York. This associates the semi-legendary king of Sweden Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons, Hvitserk, Björn Ironside, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Ivar the Boneless, and Ubbe. According to the stories, Ragnar was killed by Ælla, and the army which seized York in 866 was led by Ragnar's sons who avenged his death by subjecting Ælla to the blood eagle.
Earlier English sources record that Ælla and Osberht died in battle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle stating that "both the kings were slain on the spot" The main figure in the revenge tales in Ivar, who is sometimes associated with the Viking leader Ímar, brother of Amlaíb Conung, found in the Irish annals. Dorothy Whitelock notes that "it is by no means certain that he should be identified with the son of Ragnar, for the name is not uncommon". The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not name the leaders in Northumbria, but it does state that "Hingwar and Hubba" slew King Edmund of East Anglia (Saint Edmund) some years later. Hubba is named as a leader of the army in Northumbria by Abbo of Fleury, and by the Historia Historia de Sancto Cuthberto. Symeon of Durham lists the leaders of the Viking army as "Halfdene, Inguar, Hubba, Beicsecg, Guthrun, Oscytell, Amund, Sidroc and another duke of the same name, Osbern, Frana, and Harold."
Norman historian Geoffrey Gaimar and Geoffrey of Wells both associate an Englishman named "Bern" or "Buern" with bringing the Danes to England, in Gaimar's case to Northumbria, in Geoffrey of Wells' mid-twelfth-century hagiography of Saint Edmund, to East Anglia. Gaimar's account has "Buern" seeking revenge for Osberht's rape of his wife

References
Osberht at the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England. Geoffrey Gaimar; J. Stevenson translator (1854). "The History of the English according to the translation of Master Geoffrey Gaimar". Church Historians of England, volume II, part II. Seeley's. http://books.google.com/books?vid=0qwQ2TcF2oADB-pr&id=nSADAAAAQAAJ. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.
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. http://books.google.com/books?vid=0J1NaXOPJH0SKmWD&id=VSADAAAAQAAJ. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.
Whitelock, Dorothy (1969). "Fact and Fiction in the Legend of St. Edmund". Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology 31. http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/edmund/whitelock.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.


Ælla or Ælle (died 21 March 867) was king of Northumbria in the middle of the 9th century. Sources on Northumbrian history in this period are limited. Ælla's descent is not known and the dating of his reign is problematic. He is a major character in the saga Ragnarssona þáttr (The Tale of Ragnar's sons).

Chronicles
Ælla became king after Osberht was deposed. This is traditionally dated to 862 or 863, but may have been as late as 866. Almost nothing is known of Ælla's reign. Symeon of Durham states that Ælla had seized lands at Billingham, Ileclif, Wigeclif, and Crece, which belong to the church. While Ælla is described in most sources as a tyrant, and not a rightful king, one source states that he was Osberht's brother.
The Great Heathen Army marched on Northumbria in the late summer of 866, seizing York on 21 November 866. Symeon of Durham, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Asser, and Æthelweard all recount substantially the same version of events in varying detail. Symeon's Historia Regum Anglorum gives this account of the battle on 21 March 867 where Osberht and Ælla met their deaths at the hands of the Vikings:
In those days, the nation of the Northumbrians had violently expelled from the kingdom the rightful king of their nation, Osbryht by name, and had placed at the head of the kingdom a certain tyrant, named Alla. When the pagans came upon the kingdom, the dissension was allayed by divine counsel and the aid of the nobles. King Osbryht and Alla, having united their forces and formed an army, came to the city of York; on their approach the multitude of the shipmen immediately took flight. The Christians, perceiving their flight and terror, found that they themselves were the stronger party. They fought upon each side with much ferocity, and both kings fell. The rest who escaped made peace with the Danes.
After this, the Vikings appointed one Ecgberht to rule Northumbria

Sagas
Aella murdering Ragnar LodbrokRagnarssona þáttr (The Tale of Ragnar's sons) adds a great deal of colour to accounts of the Viking conquest of York. This associates the semi-legendary king of Sweden Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons, Hvitserk, Björn Ironside, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Ivar the Boneless, and Ubbe. According to the stories, Ragnar was killed by Ælla, and the army which seized York in 866 was led by Ragnar's sons who avenged his death by subjecting Ælla to the blood eagle.[8] Earlier English sources record that both Ælla and Osberht died in battle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle stating that "both the kings were slain on the spot". The main figure in the revenge tales is Ivar, who is sometimes associated with the Viking leader Ímar, brother of Amlaíb Conung, found in the Irish annals. Dorothy Whitelock notes that "it is by no means certain that he should be identified with the son of Ragnar, for the name is not uncommon". The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not name the leaders in Northumbria, but it does state that "Hingwar and Hubba" slew King Edmund of East Anglia (Saint Edmund) some years later. Hubba is named as a leader of the army in Northumbria by Abbo of Fleury, and by the Historia de Sancto Cuthberto. Symeon of Durham lists the leaders of the Viking army as "Halfdene, Inguar, Hubba, Beicsecg, Guthrun, Oscytell, Amund, Sidroc and another duke of the same name, Osbern, Frana, and Harold."

In film
Ælla was played by Frank Thring in the movie The Vikings.

References
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. http://books.google.com/books?vid=0J1NaXOPJH0SKmWD&id=VSADAAAAQAAJ. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.
Whitelock, Dorothy (1969). "Fact and Fiction in the Legend of St. Edmund". Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology 31. http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/edmund/whitelock.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-27. http://www.northvegr.org/lore/oldheathen/055.php

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