My whistle-stop research piece today for HISTORY LAIR, check out their page.
#OTD in 946 – Death of King Edmund I of England (939 – 946), born circa 921 and also known as Deed-Doer and Edmund the Magnificent. His lineage was impressive – grandson of Alfred the Great, son of the King of Wessex Edward the Elder, half brother of King Athelstan and nephew of the powerful Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians.
Edmund was proving to be a successful and powerful king and was the first West Saxon king to rule over all of England, acknowledged by the leaders of Wales, Cornwall and Scotland. He had to fight hard to keep his realm that he inherited from Athelstan; on Edmund’s succession, for example, the Norse king of Dublin, Olaf Guthfrithson, occupied Northumbria and the Midlands but both areas were recovered by Edmund by 944. Edmund continued legislation already present from his half-brother and father’s reigns, that of legislation concerned with law and order; Edmund’s codes, three of which survive, were concerned with the regulation of blood-feuds, cattle-stealing and murder of a person in their own home.
It is of the opinion Edmund would have made a remarkable Anglo-Saxon king if it hadn’t been for his premature death aged just 25, on Augustine’s Feast Day, 26 May. Whilst at his royal manor in Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire during feasting celebrations, it is generally considered he was stabbed by an outlaw he recognised called Leofa (many variations of spelling). However, later historians have questioned this – the name Leofa did not materialise until much later after the event and another theory has been put forward that Edmund’s murder was political.
Edmund was laid to rest in Gloucester Cathedral, his brother Eadred being his successor as Edmund’s two sons were infants at the time of his death; both would, in turn, become king after their uncle.
©2020 Louise Wyatt