Eadgifu of Kent
b.abt 0896 Kent, England
d.26 Aug 968
Facts and Events
Eadgifu was the daughter of Sigehelm, Ealdorman of Kent, who died at the Battle of the Holme in 902. She became the mother of two sons, Edmund I of England, later King Edmund I, and Eadred of England, later King Eadred, and two daughters, Saint Eadburh of Winchester and Eadgifu. She survived Edward by many years, dying in the reign of her grandson Edgar.
She disappeared from court during the reign of her step-son, King Æthelstan, but she was prominent and influential during the reign of her two sons. As queen dowager, her position seem to have been higher than that of her daughter-in-law; In a Kentish charter datable between 942 and 944, her daughter-in-law Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury subscribes herself as the king's concubine (concubina regis), with a place assigned to her between the bishops and ealdormen. By comparison, Eadgifu subscribes higher up in the witness list as mater regis, after her sons Edmund and Eadred but before the archbishops and bishops.
Following the death of her younger son Eadred in 955, she was deprived of her lands by her eldest grandson, King Eadwig, perhaps because she took the side of his younger brother, Edgar, in the struggle between them. When Edgar succeeded on Eadwig's death in 959 she recovered some lands and received generous gifts from her grandson, but she never returned to her prominent position at court. She is last recorded as a witness to a charter in 966.
She was known as a supporter of saintly churchmen and a benefactor of churches.