King of England from 839 to 858
King of Wessex, son of Egbert and father of Alfred the Great. In 825 Aethelwulf was given the task of subduing the Anglo-Saxon states of Sussex, Kent and Essex. He then ruled these areas as sub-king on behalf of his father. When Egbert died in 839 Aethelwulf became king of Wessex.
Aethelwulf had the responsibility of protecting his kingdom from the invasion by the Danes when the number and frequency of the attacks increased. In 851 Aethelwulf defeated a Danish army at the battle of Oakley (believed to be somewhere south of the Thames), His eldest son Althelstan fought and beat the Danes at sea off the coast of Kent in what is believed to be the first naval battle.
In 855 Aethelwulf travelled to Rome with his son Alfred to see the Pope. Whilst travelling back he spent time with Charles the Bald, King of the Franks and there he married the King's daughter Judith. Back in Wessex Aethelwulf's second son Athelbald learned of his father's marriage and disapproved. In 858 Athelbald made himself King of Wessex. When Aethelwulf returned he decided not to cause conflict and civil war so he let Athelbald rule in the west of the realm while Aethelwulf ruled in the east. When Aethelwulf died in 858 his wife Judith married her stepson Athelbald.
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|839||Ethulwulf becomes king of Wessex|
|Egbert was followed by his son Ethulwulf as King of Wessex.|
|849||Alfred 'the Great' is born|
|Alfred was the fifth son of Ethelwulf, King of Wessex. |
|851||Danish invasion defeated|
|The Danes landed at Wembury near Plymouth and were defeated by forces from Devon. A sea battle off the coast of Kent led by Athelstan (eldest son of Ethelwulf) defeated a Danish fleet of vessels and Ethelwulf defeated an army of Danes at the battle of Ockley who had arrived in the Thames and were attacking the south of the country.|
Episode: Viking Invasions
|855 - 856||Ethelwulf and Alfred visit Rome|
|Ethelwulf and Alfred visit Rome to see Pope Leo IV.|
|858||Ethelbald becomes King of Wessex|
|Unhappy with his father's marriage to Judith and absence from the country, Ethelbald, Ethelwulf's second son claims the kingdom of Wessex for himself. When Ethelwulf later dies, Ethelbald marries Judith, his stepmother.|
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