MALE Sigehelm

Ealdorman of Kent, d. 902×4.

Sigehelm appears as minister of the king in an 875 charter involving land in Kent ["Ego Sighelm . minister . regis" Cart. Sax. 2: 159 (#539)]. He appears as dux in an 889 charter also involving land in Kent ["Ego Sigehelm dux" ibid., 2: 202 (#562)]. In 898, king Ælfred granted him land in Fearnleag (Farleigh), co. Kent ["In nomine domine ego Ælfrædus gratia Dei Saxonum rex. meo fideli duce Sigilmo concedo in perpetuam possessionem terram juris mei uniusque manentis in loco qui dicitur Fearnleag ..." ibid., 2: 219 (#576)]. This land was later held by his daughter Eadgifu [Cart. Sax. 3: 285-7 (#1065); see the page of Eadgifu for more details]. While we have no direct proof that all of these records involve the same person, it is very likely that they do, because Sigehelm was not a very common name, and the records can all be localized in Kent. He may have been the Sigehelm who took the alms of Ælfred to Rome and "India" in 882 [ASC(E) s.a. 883]. Sigehelm was killed at the Battle of Holme in 902×4 [see below].

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:

Date of death: 902×4.
Place of death: Battle of Holme.
Sigehelm was killed at the battle at the Holme, with sources disagreeing about the year ["... & þær wearð Sigulf ealdormon ofslægen, & Sigelm ealdorman, ... & Sigebreht Sigulfes sunu, ..." ASC(A) s.a. 905 (orig. 904); "& þy ilcan gere wæs þ gefeoht æt þam Holme Cantwara & þara Deniscra." ASC(C) s.a. 902 (Mercian Register)]. Angus argued that the battle was fought between 24 September and 25 December 902, and perhaps on 12 December 902, but the argument is not conclusive [Angus (1938), 204-6]. A 961 deed of his daughter shows clearly that the Sigehelm who died at the Battle of Holme was the same person as Sigehelm, father of queen Eadgifu [Cart. Sax. 3: 284-7 (#1064-5); see the page of Eadgifu for more details].

Father: Unknown.

Mother: Unknown.

Spouse: Unknown.

Known child:

FEMALE Eadgifu, d. after 966;
Eadweard "the Elder", d. 17 July 925, king of Wessex, 899-925.


Suposed brother:
Sigewulf, d. 902×4, ealdorman.
Sigewulf was killed with Sigehelm at the battle at Holme in 902×4 along with his son Sigebeorht [ASC(A) s.a. 905 (orig. 904), see above]. He is presumably the minister Sigulf who signs adjacent to Sigehelm in 875 [Cart. Sax. 2: 159 (#539)] and who signs the charter of king Ælfred to Sigehelm [ibid., 2: 220 (#576)]. Searle called Sigewulf "elder br. (?) of eald. Sigehelm" [Searle (1899), 391], but none of the sources cited document the supposed relationship. The suggestion that they were brothers is possibly a conjecture based on the similar first names and the fact that they frequently appear together in the records.


Angus (1938) = W. S. Angus, "The Chronology of the Reign of Edward the Elder", English Historical Review 53 (1938): 194-210.

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.

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

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

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

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 20 June 2010.

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