Facts and Events
Ælfhelm (died 1006) was the ealdorman of Northumbria, in practice southern Northumbria (the area around York), from about 994 until his death. An ealdorman (or earl) was a senior nobleman who governed a province—a shire or group of shires—on behalf of the king. Ælfhelm's powerful and wealthy family came from Mercia, a territory and former kingdom incorporating most of central England, and he achieved his position despite being an outsider. Ælfhelm first appears in charters as dux ("ealdorman") in about 994.
Most of Ælfhelm's subsequent historical appearances record him as a witness to charters, although one notable exception is the will of his brother, Wulfric Spot. According to a 12th-century tradition, Ælfhelm was murdered and his sons blinded in 1006, by Eadric Streona with the connivance of King (Æthelred II). Ælfhelm's daughter, Ælfgifu, married Cnut the Great, King of England between 1016 and 1035, as a result of which Ælfhelm became the grandfather of future English king Harold Harefoot.