Aethelred (King of Wessex 866-871)

 Born     Born At  
 Died  871   Buried At  
 Father  Aethelwulf (King of Wessex 839-858)   Mother  Osburga

Titles Include

King of Wessex from 866 to 871

The fourth (or third) son of Aethelwulf King of Wessex 839-858. Aethelred became king of Wessex in 865/866 when his elder brother Aethelbert died. Aethelred had to contend with the largest invasion of Danes so far. In 865 Danes landed in East Anglia with a huge force of men. This army of Danes is known as the 'Great Army' and was under the command of King Ivar the 'Boneless' and King Halfdan. East Anglia was under the control of Mercia and no moves were made to force the army out. With his younger brother, Alfred (the Great), Aethelred had to contend with the Danes throughout his reign. In 871 Aethelred died. He left a son, Athelwold, but he was too young to rule. The Saxons chose Alfred as the new King of England.

Family Tree Details
Father: Aethelwulf (King of Wessex 839-858) ( - d.858)
Mother: Osburga
Aethelred (King of Wessex 866-871) ( - d.871)
+Wulfthryth =Aethelwold ( - d.902)

View Graphical Family Tree

Family Tree Details

Father: Aethelwulf (King of Wessex 839-858) ( - d.858)
Mother: Osburga


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865   The 'Great Army' invade
 A large army of Danes landed in East Anglia led by King Ivar the 'Boneless' and King Halfdan. No attempts were made to get rid of the invaders.[1]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
   Ethelred becomes King of Wessex
 Following the death of his elder brother, Ethelred became the King of Wessex. Alfred (the Great) became his deputy.[1] 
866   Witenagemot held at Woodstock
 Ethelread held a Witenagemot (Witan) at the palace of Woodstock. [2] 
   The 'Great Army' arrive in East Anglia
 A large number of Vikings landed in East Anglia and gathered horses and supplies from the surrounding areas in preparation for their assault on Northumbria. Their leaders were Ivar the Boneless, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and possibly Anlaf (Olaf) Cuaran, the King of Dublin.[1]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
 Winter  Northumbria is invaded by the Danes
 The 'Great Army' moved north from their original landing site in East Anglia and into Northumbria. The Army split is two. One section took boats up the coast and sailed into the Humber while the other section went overland.[1]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
867   Danes are attacked and move south
 Armies from Northumbria attacked the Danes at York but were defeated. The Danes moved south attacking Nottingham and taking the city. The king of Mercia asked Ethelred and Alfred for assistance and an army from Wessex went to help.[1]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
868 Autumn  A peaceful settlement is reached
 Ethelred and Alfred married Mercian noble women whilst assisting the King of Mercia with the Danes on his land. A peaceful settlement was reached with the Danes and a Danegeld was paid for them to leave.[1]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
871 Qtr 1  Battle of Ashdown
 Aethelred and Alfred defeated the Danes at Ashdown.

Episode: Viking Invasions  
 Apr  Alfred 'The Great' becomes king of Wessex
 After fighting the Danes all winter Aethelred died. He was only in his twenties. He was buried at Wimborne and was succeeded by his younger brother Alfred 'the Great'. Aethelred had two sons but they were too young to rule. The younger son Aethelwold would later rebel against against Alfred's son Edward the Elder for the English throne.[1] 

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