Person:Eadred of England (1)

Eadred of England
b.perhaps about 924
Facts and Events
Name Eadred of England
Gender Male
Birth[4] perhaps about 924
Death[2][4][5] 23 Nov 955 Frome, Somerset, England
Burial[4][6] Winchester, Hampshire, EnglandOld Minster
Reference Number? Q191767?
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Eadred (c. 923 – 23 November 955) was King of the English from 26 May 946 until his death. He was the younger son of Edward the Elder and his third wife Eadgifu, and a grandson of Alfred the Great. His elder brother, Edmund, was killed trying to protect his seneschal from an attack by a violent thief. Edmund's two sons, Eadwig and Edgar, were then young children, so Eadred became king. He suffered from ill health in the last years of his life and he died at the age of a little over thirty, having never married. He was succeeded successively by his nephews, Eadwig and Edgar.

Eadred's elder half-brother Æthelstan inherited the kingship of England south of the Humber in 924, and conquered the south Northumbrian Viking kingdom of York in 927. Edmund and Eadred both inherited kingship of the whole kingdom, lost it shortly afterwards when York accepted Viking kings, and recovered it by the end of their reigns. In 954 the York magnates expelled their last king, Erik Bloodaxe, and Eadred appointed Osullf, the Anglo-Saxon ruler of the north Northumbrian territory of Bamburgh, as the first ealdorman of the whole of Northumbria.

Eadred had been very close to Edmund and inherited many of his leading advisers, such as his mother Eadgifu, Oda, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Æthelstan, ealdorman of East Anglia, who was so powerful that he was known as the 'Half-King'. Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury and future Archbishop of Canterbury, was a close friend and adviser, and Eadred appears to have authorised Dunstan to draft charters when he became too ill to attend meetings of the witan (King's Council) in his last years.

The English Benedictine Reform did not reach fruition until the reign of Edgar, but Eadred was a strong supporter in its early stages. He was close to two of its leaders, Æthelwold, whom he appointed Abbot of Abingdon, and Dunstan. However, like earlier kings he did not share the view of the circle around Æthelwold that Benedictine monasticism was the only worthwhile religious life and he appointed Ælfsige, a married man with a son, as Bishop of Winchester.

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  1.   Eadred of England, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2. Eadræd, King of England, in Lundy, Darryl. The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.
  3.   Eadweard (Edward) "the Elder", in Baldwin, Stewart, and Todd Farmerie. The Henry Project (King Henry II ): Ancestors of King Henry II.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 EADRED, in Cawley, Charles. Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families.
  5. Earle, John (ed.), and Charles (ed.) Plummer. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892)
    pp. 64-65.

    MS A, under the year 955. :"Her forþferde Eadred cining. on Sce: Clementes mæssedæg ón Frome, & he rixsade teoþe healf gear; & þa feng Eadwig to rice. Eadmundes sunu cinges." (MSS D and E also record Eadred's death in 955. MSS B and C have it under 956.)

  6. Thorpe, Benjamin. Florentii Wigorniensis. (London: Sumptibus Societatis, 1848)
    p. 136.