|Died||23 April 1016||Buried At||Old St. Paul's Cathedral|
|Father||EDGAR (I, King of the English 959-975)||Mother||Elfthyrth|
|Preceded by||Swein (Fork-Beard)||Succeeded by||EDMUND (II Ironside, King of the English 1016)|
|Royal House||Wessex||Titles include||King of England|
Family Tree Details
Aethelred (II The Unready, King of the English 978-1013, 1014-1016) (b.967 - d.1016)
+Aelfgifu | =Aethelstan (son of Aethelred) | =Egbert | =EDMUND (II Ironside, King of the English 1016) (b.981 - d.1016) | | +Ealdgyth (b.963 - d.1017) | | =Edward (The Exile) (b.1016 - d.1057) | | +Agatha (of Brunswick) | | =Edgar (The Aetheling) ( - d.1126) | | =Margaret (Granddaughter of Edmund Ironside) ( - d.1093) | =Eadred | =Eadwig | =Edgar +Emma (of Normandy, Wife of Aethelred) (b.982 - d.1052) =Edward (The Confessor, King of England 1042-1066) (b.1003 - d.1066) | +Edith (Daughter of Godwine) =Alfred (Second son of Aethelred) ( - m.1036) =Godgifu (Daughter of Aethelred) +Eustace (II, Count of Boulogne) ( - d.1093)
With Aethelred on the throne for a short time and possibly showing some weakness in his ability to rule the Vikings started their attacks. Concentrating on the south coast the raids were limited and the affect to the country as a whole was small.
Under the leadership of Olaf Trygvasson the Vikings attacked the wealthy south-east coast of England and took as much riches as they could carry.
Aethelred was advised by Archbishop Sigeric to talk to Olaf and arrange a truce rather than trying to defeat the Vikings in battle. The Vikings accepted a large payoff and left. The sum of money was around 10,000 pounds and was raised by collecting and land tax known as Danegeld.
King Aethelred decreed that all sea-worthy ships should gather in London and then put to sea and destroy the Viking army. But alderman Aelfric sent word to the Danes the night before the attack of the King's plan which allowed them to escape. Aelfric then fled.
Swein Fork-Beard had overthrone this father King Harold Blue-Tooth Gormsson, King of Denmark in 988. With a huge fleet of 94 ships he arrived in the Thames estuary with Olaf Trygvasson by his side. London put up a good defence and drove the Vikings back so Fork-Beard moved his forces again to attack the south-east coast to plunder what he could find.
Through the Winter months Aethelred provided the Vikings with lodgings and £16,000 in cash to stop the raids on his land. Aethelred was also the sponsor at the baptism of Olaf Trygvasson. Olaf was given instruction from the Bishop of Winchester.
Aethelred the Unready attacked Strathclyde and Isle of Man.
Aethelred was forced to pay the Danes that were camped on the Isle of Wight another large amount of money for them to leave.
Aethelred paid the Vikings a sum of £24,000 to try and stop further invasions. In an attempt to strengthen his position against the Vikings he married Emma, the daughter of Richard Duke of Normandy. Aethelred also ordered the murder of all Danes in England but some escaped to report back. Not surprisingly the Viking attacks started again.
Aethelred ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England because he was fearful of them plotting against him.
Edward the Confessor is thought to have been born sometime between 1003 and 1005 at Islip in Oxfordshire. His father was Aethelred II, the Unready, and his mother was Emma of Normandy, daughter of Robert I, Earl of Normandy.
Aethelred ordered England to build a massive fleet of ships. The people of England had to supply armour for the crew as well. It was a huge undertaking but was completed the following year.
The Vikings captured Canterbury and obtained a payment of £48,000. In a drunken rage the Vikings murdered Aelfheah, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Aelfheah was the man that had baptised Olaf Trygvasson in the Winter of 994. Outraged by the actions of his fellow men Thorkell the Tall defected to the side of Aethelred along with 45 Viking ships to help defend England from further Viking attacks.
Swein Fork-Beard and his son Canute sailed from Denmark to attack England. Again London defended itself and the Vikings moved elsewhere, taking Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria.
Forced to leave England by the invasion from Denmark, Emma Aethelred's wife, fled to Normandy assisted by the Bishop of Peterborough. Sons Edward (the Confessor) and Alfred followed later along with the Bishop of London. Ethelred was not far behind.
Aethelred had to abandon his country to Swein and went to Normandy to join his wife Emma and his sons.
An attempt was made by Ethelred II to take back his throne from the Danes. He was assisted by Olaf of Norway and sailed up the Thames to London. The tactic was to destroy the wooden bridge and so divide the Danish army. The bridge was heavily defended and so by using rafts with coverings to protect those onboard Ethelred's men were able to get close enough to place ropes around the bridge piles. Then by rowing back down stream they managed to pull the piles from the riverbed and sections of the bridge fell down.
Swein Fork-Beard died. Canute left England not sure of his ability to hold the country but returned a year later. Aethelred sent ambassadors to England, including his own son Edward (later the Confessor) to negotiate a possible return.
Edmund II became king at the death of his father Aethelred II in London. The people of London chose prince Edmund as king but it was short lived as the Southampton Witan chose Canute, who then invaded England.
Canute advanced on London for a fight with Aethelred but Aethelred died in the same month. London accepted Edmund Ironside as their ruler. Canute would have to defeat Edmund if he was to become King of England.
Robert I, Duke of Normandy was an ally of the French King Henry I and also assisted the two English brothers Edward (to become Edward the Confessor) and Alfred, sons of Aethelred King of the English who was over thrown by Canute in 1016. Robert may had tried to assist Edward and Albert in their attempts to retake the English throne back from Canute. It may have been for this assistance that Edward was to promise Robert's son William (the Conqueror) the future crown of England.
Selection of references used:
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A Medieval Mystery
There appear to be some strange connections between the fourteenth century Old Wardour Castle and ancient stone circle Stonehenge.
Old Wardour Castle appears to be aligned to ancient sites in the Stonehenge landscape.
Stonehenge is aligned to the Summer Solstice. Old Wardour has a very similar alignment.
Could the builders of Old Wardour used mesaurements from Stonehenge to layout the geometrical keep?