Edgar King of Wessex and the English 959-975

Edgar King of Wessex

Edgar also spelt as Eadgar and known as Edgar the Peaceful, was the 2nd son of Edmund I and his wife Ethelfleda. His elder brother was Edwy/Eadwig from whom he would seize both Northumbria and Mercia in 957. His reign was largely peaceful and subsequently successful . Edgar represented Anglo-Saxon Kingship at it’s noblest heights with emphasis on the King’s direct responsibility and accountability to God for the performance of his duties. This is concept of the anointed King.

By 957 the country of Britain remained divided. Eadwig was reduced to Wessex, the Mercians elected Edgar to rule them and the Northumbrians followed suit. In 959 Eadwig died and Edgar took over Wessex. Thus the three ‘kingdoms’, Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex became united under the rule of Edgar. The concept of England with one ruler was born.

  • 959 became King of the English
  • 973 2nd Coronation at Bath 973
  • Further developed and supported the Law Codes
  • 973 fundamentally reformed the Coinage.
  • 975 at Chester the British Kings rowed him on the River Dee demonstrating their subjugation.
  • 975 Edgar dies that year at Winchester but was buried in Glastonbury Abbey.
  • 975 Edward the Martyr his son by Ethelfleda succeeded Edgar.
  • 979 Ethelred II the Unready seizes the Throne in 979.

The Anglo Saxon chronicle reads thus about his reign;

In his days things prospered readily, in that he dwelled in peace for as long as he lived. Far and wide he exalted God’s praise and loved God’s law and improved the people’s security much more than those kings who were before him in the memory of men. And God helped him too, so that kings and earls readily submitted to him.

The success of Eadgar’s reign again proved fragile when succeeded by his son Edward the Martyr, so often in the line of Kings the qualities of the father seem to not be manifested in their sons.

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