Online Encyclopedia

ETHELBALD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 289 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
ETHELBALD, king of Wessex, was the son of rzEthelwulf, with whom he led the West Saxons to victory against the Danes at Aclea, 851. According to Asser he rebelled against his father on the latter's return from Rome in 856, and deprived him of Wessex, which he ruled until his death in 86o. On his father's death in 858 he married his widow, Judith. See Asser, Life of Alfred (W. H. Stevenson, 1904), 12; Saxon Chronicle, s.a. 851, 855, 86o. 1ETHELBERHT, king of Kent, son of Eormenric, probably came to the throne in A.D. 560. The first recorded event of his reign was a serious reverse at the hands of Ceawlin of Wessex in the year 568 (Chronicle) at a place called Wibbandune. iEthelberht married Berhta, daughter of Charibert, king of Paris, who brought over Bishop Liudhard as her private confessor. According to Bede, sEthelberht's supremacy in 597 stretched over all the English kingdoms as far as the Humber. The nature of this supremacy has been much disputed, but it was at any rate sufficient to guarantee the safety of Augustine in his conference with the British bishops. AEthelberht exercised a stricter sway over Essex, where his nephew Saberht was king. In 597 the mission of Augustine landed in Thanet and was received at first with some hesitation by the king. He seems to have acted with prudence and moderation during the conversion of his kingdom and did not countenance compulsory proselytism. £Ethelberht gave Augustine a dwelling-place in Canterbury, and z. zo Christ Church was consecrated in 603. He also made grants to found the see of Rochester, of which Justus became first bishop in 604, and his influence established Mellitus at London in the same year. A code of laws issued' by him which is still extant is probably the oldest document in the English language, and contains a list of money fines for various crimes. Towards the close of his reign his pre-eminence as Bretwalda was disturbed by the increasing power of Rxdwald of East Anglia. He died probably in 616, and was succeeded by his son Eadbald. See Bede, Hist. Ecc. (Plummer) i. 25, 26, ii. 3, 5; Saxon Chronicle (Earle and Plummer), s.a. 568. (F. G. M. B.) 1ETHELBERHT, king of the West Saxons, succeeded to the sub-kingdom of Kent during the lifetime of his father iEthelwulf, and retained it until the death of his elder brother IEthelbaid in 86o, when he became sole king of Wessex and Kent, the younger brothers iEthelred and Alfred renouncing their claim. He ruled these kingdoms for five years and died in 865. His reign was marked by two serious attacks on the part of the Danes, who destroyed Winchester in 86o, in spite of the resistance of the ealdormen Osric and sEthelwulf with the levies of Hampshire and Berkshire, while in 865 they treacherously ravaged Kent. See Saxon Chronicle (Earle and Plummer), s.a. 86o, 865; King Alfred's Will; W. de G. Birch, Cartul. Saxon. 553. 1ETHELFLAED (ETIHELFLEDA), the " Lady of the Mercians," the eldest child of Alfred the Great, was educated with her brother Edward at her father's court. As soon as she was of marriageable age (probably about A.D. 886), she was married to /Ethelred, earl of Mercia, to whom Alfred entrusted the control of Mercia. On the accession of her brother Edward, FEthelflaed and her husband continued to hold Mercia. In 907 they fortified Chester, and in 909 and 910 either 'Ethelflaed or her husband must have led the Mercian host at the battles of Tettenhall and Wednesfield (or Tettenhall-Wednesfield, if these battles are one and the same). It was probably about this time that /Ethelred fell ill, and the Norwegians and Danes from Ireland unsuccessfully besieged Chester. FEthelflaed won the support of the Danes against the Norwegians, and seems also to have entered into an alliance with the Scots and the Welsh against the pagans. In 911 'Ethelred died and Edward took over Middlesex and Oxford-shire. Except for this IEthelflaed's authority remained unimpaired. In 912 she fortified " Scergeat " and Bridgenorth, Tamworth and Stafford in 913, Eddisbury and Warwick in 914, Cherbury, " Weardbyrig " and Runcorn in 915. In 916 she sent an expedition against the Welsh, which advanced as far as Brecknock. In 917 Derby was captured from the Danes, and in the next year Leicester and York both submitted to her. She died in the same year at Tamworth (June 12), and was buried in St Peter's church at Gloucester. This noble queen, whose career was as distinguished as that of her father and brother, left one daughter, IElfwyn. For some eighteen months £Elfwyn seems to have wielded her mother's authority, and then, just before the Christmas of 919, Edward took Mercia into his own hands, and IElfwyn was " led away " into Wessex. 'Ethelflaed and her husband wielded almost kingly authority, and the royal title is often given them by the chroniclers. See The Saxon Chronicle, sub ann. (especially the Mercian register in MSS. B, C and D); Florence of Worcester; Fragments of Irish Annals (ed. O'Conor), pp. 227-237; D.N.B., s.v. (A. Mw.)
End of Article: ETHELBALD
[back]
ETESIAN WIND (Lat. elesius, annual; Gr. Eros, year)...
[next]
ETHELNOTH (d. ro38)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.