MALE Eadgar

King of Mercia and Northumbria, 957-975.
King of England, 959-975.

In 957, the Mercians and Northumbrians renounced their allegiance to king Eadwig, and chose his brother Eadgar as king ["Her Eadgar æþeling feng to Myrcna rice." ASC(B,C) s.a. 957 ("Here the ætheling Edgar succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia." ASC(Eng), 113); ASC(D) s.a. 955 (incorrectly); "Rex Anglorum Eadwius, quoniam in commisso regimine insipienter egit, a Mercensibus et Northhymbrensibus contemptus relinquitur, et suus germanus, clito Eadgarus, ab eis rex eligitur" John Worc., s.a. 957 (1: 137)]. When Eadwig died in 959, Eadgar succeeded to the entire kingdom at the age of sixteen ["Her forðferde Eadwig cing. & Eadgar his broðor feng to ríce. ægðer ge on Westseaxum. ge on Myrcum. ge on Norðhymbrum. & he wæs þa .xvi. wintre." ASC(B,C) s.a. 959 ("Here King Eadwig passed away, and Edgar, his brother, succeeded to the kingdom both in Wessex and in Mercia and in Northumbria, and he was then 16 years old." ASC(Eng), 113); ASC(E) s.a 959; ASC(A) s.a. 958; "Rex West-Saxonum Eadwius ... defunctus ...; cujus regnum suus germanus, rex Mercensium Eadgarus, ab omni Anglorum populo electus, anno ætatis suæ XVIº." John Worc., s.a. 959 (1: 138)]. He was succeeded in 975 by his son Eadweard [see below].

Date of birth: ca. 943.
Place of birth:
["Magnifico regi Eadmundo cum sua regina sancta Ælfgiva filium peperisset Eadgarum, ..." John Worc., s.a. 943 (1: 133); "Eadgarus anno ætatis suæ XVIº. successit." ibid. 1: 274; "Decessit autem anno ætatis XXXIIº., regni vero XVIº." ibid., 274-5]

Date of death: 8 July 975.
Place of burial: Glastonbury.
["... rex Eadgarus, ... anno ætatis suæ XXXIIº., regni autem illius in Mercia et Northhymbria XIXº., ex quo vero per totam Angliam regnavit XVIº., indictione tertia, VIII. idus Julii [8 Jul.], feria quinta, ex hac vita transivit, filiumque suum Eadwardum et regni et morum hæredem reliquit: corpus vero illius Glæstoniam delatum, regio more est tumulatum." John Worc. s.a. 975 (1: 143); ASC s.a. 975: long poem in versions A, B, C, shorter poem in versions D, E; "8. [July] Obitus Eadgari regis." Lib. Vit. Hyde, 271]

Father: Eadmund I, d. 26 May 946, king of Wessex, 939-946.

Mother: St. Ælfgifu, d. 18 May ca. 944.

John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury name all three wives ["Rex Anglorum pacificus Eadgarus Ordgari ducis Domnaniæ filiam, Ælfthrytham nomine, post mortem viri sui Æthelwoldi, gloriosi ducis Orientalium Anglorum, in matrimonium accepit; ex qua duos filios, Eadmundum et Æthelredum, suscepit. Habuit etiam prius ex Ægelfleda Candida, cognomento Eneda, Ordmæri ducis filia, Eadwardum, postea regem et martyrem; et de sancta Wlfthrytha, virginem Deo devotissimam Eadgitham." John Worc. s.a. 964 (1: 140); "Hic habuit ex Eneda, foemina generossima, sanctum Eadwardum, et de sancta Wulfthrytha sanctam Eadgitham; ex regina vero Ælfthrytha, Eadmundum et Ægelredum filios suscepit" ibid., 1: 274; "... legitimam uxorem accepit Elfridam filiam Orgari. De qua Edmundum ... et ... Egelredum, tulit. Nam de Egelfleda, cognomento Candida, filia Ordmeri ducis potentissimi, Edwardum genuit; et sanctum Edgitham de Wulfrida, ..." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 159 (1: 180)]. A letter written ca. 1120 by Nicholas, a monk at Worcester, mentions Æthelflæd and Ælfthryth ["Hic in principio regni sui filiam Ordmari ducis Orientalium Anglorum conjugem legitimam accepit, nomine Æthelfledam, cognomine Candidam, ex qua filium, sanctum videlicet Edwardum, procreavit. ... rex aliam accepit conjugem, Ælftritham nomine, filiam Ordgari ducis Occidentalium Saxonum; ex qua filium Æthelredum habuit." Mem. Dunstan, xxxvi, 423]. The Vita Sancti Oswaldi, perhaps confused by the similar names Ordmær and Ordgar, has mistakenly combined Æthelflæd and Ælfthryth into a single person ["Athelwoldus vero satis digniter principatum Orientalis regni acquisivit a rege, tenuitque magna virtute; qui accipiens filiam Ormeri ducis Occidentalium Anglorum, perduxit secum ad suum regnum, quæ vocitata erat Ælfritha; quam post mortem ejus rex Eadgar præpotentissimus accepit, ex qua duos habuit filios, quorum unus Eadwerd est dictus, alter vero Æthelredus." Vita Sancti Oswaldi, Hist. Ch. York, 1: 428-9; see Stubbs's notes in the Introduction to Mem. Dunstan, xcix-ci].

(1) Æthelflæd, alias Candida or Eneda, daughter of ealdorman Ordmær.

(2) Wulfthryth, nun, bur. Wilton.
["Jacet in eadem ecclesia mater ejus Wlfrid, ..." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Pont., c. 87 (p. 190)] Roger of Wendover states that she was not a nun at the time of her marriage [Rog. Wendover, s.a. 963 (1: 410)]

(3) 965, Ælfthryth, daughter of Ordgar, ealdorman, dux of Devon, widow of Æthelweald/Æthelwold, ealdorman of East Anglia.
["Her on þissum geare Eadgar cyning genam Ælf[ðr]yðe him to cwene, heo wæs Ordgares dohtor ealdormannes." ASC(D)].

["Eadweard & Eadmund & Æðelred æðelingas syndon Eadgares suna cyninges." Dumville (1976), 43, quoting genealogical material apparently composed in the reign of Edgar; see also above under spouses]

(by Æthelflæd)

MALE Eadweard "the Martyr", d. 18 March 978×9, king of England, 975-978×9.
Eadweard became king as a boy on the death of his father in 975 ["& feng his bearn syððan to cynerice cild únweaxen, eorla ealdor þam wæs Eadweard nama." ASC(A) ("and his son afterwards succeeded to the royal kingdom, an ungrown child, leader of earls, whose name was Edward." ASC(Eng), 120); ASC(D,E); John Worc., s.a. 975 (1: 145); Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 161 (1: 181)]. After a short reign of about three years, Eadweard was killed at Corfe gap. The day of the year was 18 March ["18. [March] Passio sancti Eadweardi regis et martyris." Lib. Vit. Hyde, 270]. Some sources date the murder in 978 [ASC(A,C) s.a. 978; John Worc., s.a. 978 (1: 145); Lib. Vit. Hyde, 276], while others date it in 979 [ASC(D,E,F) s.a. 979; Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 164 (1: 185: Æthelred's accession)]. King lists give Eadweard a reign of either three years, which would support 978 for Eadweard's death if we assume rounding up [Dumville (1986), 31], or ".iiii. gear butan .xvi. wucan" (4 years minus 16 weeks [Lists S,T]) or 3 years, 8 months [List R], which would support 979 [Dumville (1986), 29; cf. "Edgaro post xvi. annos regni successit Edwardus filius tribus annis et dimidio." Wm. Malmes., Gesta Pont., c. 256 (p. 408)]. Opinions have varied. Keynes has argued for the death of Eadweard and accession of Æthelred in 978 and the coronation of Æthelred on 4 May 979 [Keynes (1980), 233, n. 7]. Dumville has recently argued for 979 as the date of Eadweard's murder [Williams (2003), 164 (n. 76); Dumville (2007), which I have not seen]. In later legend, the murder was blamed on Eadweard's stepmother Ælfthryth, but there is no contemporary evidence for this [e.g., "Rex Anglorum Eadwardus, jussu novercæ suæ Ælfthrythæ reginæ, in loco qui Corvesgeate dicitur, a suis injuste occiditur, et apud Werham non regio more sepelitur" John Worc. s.a. 978 (1: 145); Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum, c. 162 (1: 183)].

(by Wulfthryth)

FEMALE Eadgyth, b. ca. 961×2, d. 16 September 984, abbess of Wilton.
William of Malmesbury states that she was in her twenty-third year at her death [Wm. Malmes., Gesta Pont., c. 87 (p. 189)]. [For her date of death, see Searle (1899), 347; DNB 6: 387; original source not certain]

(by Æelfthryth)

MALE Eadmund, b. ca. 966, d. 971, bur. Romsey.
["Her forðferde Eadmund æðeling. & his lic lið æt Rumesige." ASC(A) s.a. 971 (erased); "Clito Eadmundus, regis Eadgari filius, obiit, et in monasterio Rumesige honorifice est sepultus." John Worc. s.a. 971 (1: 142)]

MALE Æthelred II "the Unready", b. ca. 968, d. 23 April 1016, king of England, 978×9-1013, 1014-6;
m. (1)
Ælfgifu (?);
m. (2) 1002, Emma, d. 6×7 March 1052,
daughter of Richard I of Normandy.

(mother unknown)

FEMALE Eadgifu, fl. 963×975, abbess of Winchester.
Eadgifu is known only from a record of a boundary adjustment at Winchester by king Eadgar ["Eadgyfe abedesse þæs cinges dohter" Cart. Sax. 3: 416 (#1163); Thorpe (1865), 232].


Falsely attributed daughter:
FEMALE Ælfthryth (Ælfþryð, Elftrude) of Wessex, said to have d. 7 June 929. (in fact daughter of Ælfred "the Great", king of Wessex)
m. Baldwin II, d. 918, count/marquis of Flanders, 879-918.
Later Flemish sources generally err by calling her a daughter of king Eadgar [e.g., Genealogia comitum Flandriae Bertiniana, MGH SS 9: 305].


ASC = Charles Plummer, Two of the Saxon Chronicles parallel, based on the earlier edition by John Earle, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1892-9). ASC(A) indicates the "A" manuscript of the chronicle, and similarly for the other manuscripts.

ASC(Eng) = Michael Swanton, ed. & trans., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (London, 2000).

Cart. Sax. = Walter de Gray Birch, ed., Cartularium Saxonicum, 4 vols. (1885-99).

Dumville (1976) = David N. Dumville, "The Anglian collection of royal genealogies and regnal lists", Anglo-Saxon England 5 (1976): 23-50.

Freeman (1870-9) = Edward A. Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest of England (5 vols. + index vol., Oxford, 1870-9)

John Worc. = Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Florentii Wigorniensis monachi chronicon ex chronicis, 2 vols., (London, 1848-9). (The work formerly attributed to Florence of Worcester is now generally attributed to John of Worcester.)

Keynes (1980) = Simon Keynes, The Diplomas of King Æthelred 'the Unready' (Cambridge, 1980).

Lib. Vit. Hyde = Walter de Gray Birch, Liber Vitae: Register and Martyrology of New Minister and Hyde Abbey Winchester (London, 1892).

Mem. Dunstan = William Stubbs, ed., Memorials of Saint Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury (Rolls Series 63, London, 1874).

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Onom. Anglo-Sax. = William George Searle, Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum (Cambridge, 1897). Spellings of Anglo-Saxon names on this page have been standardized according to this source.

Rog. Wendover = Henry O. Coxe, ed., Rogeri de Wendover Chronica, sive Flores Historiarum, 2 vols. (London, 1841).

Searle (1899) = William George Searle, Anglo-Saxon Bishops, Kings and Nobles (Cambridge, 1899).

Thorpe (1865) = Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Diplomatarium Anglicum Ævi Saxonici (London, 1865).

Williams (2003) = Ann Williams, Æthelred the Unready - The Ill-Counselled King (London & New York, 2003).

Wm. Malmes., Gesta Regum = William Stubbs, ed., Willelmi Malmesbiriensis Monachi De gestis regum Anglorum. libri quinque; Historiæ Novellæ libri tres, 2 vols. (Rolls series 90, 1887-9).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 20 June 2010.

Minor revision uploaded 27 June 2010 (added reference from Roger of Wendover, pointed out by Todd Farmerie).

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