Edmund Ironside (c. 990 – 30 November 1016; Old English: Ēadmund, Latin: Edmundus; sometimes also known as Edmund II was King of the English from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was the son of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu of York. Edmund's reign was marred by a war he had inherited from his father; his cognomen "Ironside" was given to him "because of his valour" in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut the Great.
Edmund was not expected to be King of England; however, by June 1014 two elder brothers had died, making him heir apparent. At the end of the same year, England was conquered by Sweyn Forkbeard, who died shortly thereafter. Æthelred was able to reclaim the throne, despite opposition. Sweyn's son, Cnut, was defeated and returned to Denmark, where he assembled an invasion force to re-conquer England. It would not arrive for another year.
After regaining the throne, the royal family set about strengthening its hold on the country with the assistance of Eadric Streona (Edmund's brother-in-law). People who had sided with the Danes in 1014 were punished, and some were killed. In one case, two brothers, Morcar and Sigeferth, were killed and their possessions were taken by Æthelred. Sigeferth's widow Ealdgyth was imprisoned within a monastery, but she had already captured Edmund's attention. Cnut returned to England in August 1015. Over the next few months, Cnut pillaged most of England. Edmund joined Æthelred to defend London, but in 1016 Edmund unofficially named himself the Earl of the East Midlands and raised a revolt against his father. Without the king's permission he took Ealdgyth from the monastery, and married her; it would have been a politically advantageous marriage, since she was a member of one of the strongest families in the Midlands.
Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Æthelred died on 23 April 1016, making Edmund king. It was not until the summer of 1016 that any serious fighting was done: Edmund fought five battles against the Danes, ending in his defeat on 18 October at the Battle of Assandun, after which they agreed to divide the kingdom, Edmund taking Wessex and Cnut the rest of the country. Edmund died shortly afterwards on 30 November, leaving two sons, Edward and Edmund; however, Cnut became king of all England, and exiled the remaining members of Edmund's family.
The exact date of Edmund's birth is unclear, but it could have been no later than 993 when he was a signatory to charters along with his two elder brothers. He was the third of the six sons of King Æthelred the Unready and his first wife, Ælfgifu, who was probably the daughter of Earl Thored of Northumbria. His elder brothers were Æthelstan (died 1014) and Egbert (died c. 1005), and younger ones, Eadred, Eadwig and Edgar. He had four sisters, Eadgyth (or Edith), Ælfgifu, Wulfhilda, and the Abbess of Wherwell Abbey. His mother died around 1000, after which his father remarried, this time to Emma of Normandy, who had two sons, Edward the Confessor and Alfred and a daughter Goda.
Æthelstan and Edmund were close, and they probably felt threatened by Emma's ambitions for her sons. The Life of Edward the Confessor, written fifty years later, claimed that when Emma was pregnant with him, all Englishmen promised that if the child was a boy they would accept him as king. However that claim may just be propaganda.
Edmund had two children by Ealdgyth: Edward the Exile or Outlaw and Edmund Ætheling. According to John of Worcester, Cnut sent them to Sweden where he probably hoped they would be murdered and forgotten, but King Olof of Sweden instead forwarded them on to Kiev, where his daughter Ingegerd was the grand princess. The boys eventually ended up in Hungary where Edmund died but Edward prospered. Edward returned from exile to England in 1057 only to die within a few days of his arrival. His son Edgar Ætheling was briefly proclaimed king after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but later submitted to William the Conqueror. Edgar lived a long and eventful life: fighting in rebellion against William the Conqueror from 1067 to 1075; fighting alongside the Conqueror's son Robert Curthose in campaigns in Sicily (1085–1087); and accompanying Robert on the First Crusade (1099–1103). He was still alive in 1125.
In 1070 Edward the Outlaw`s daughter, Margaret, became queen of Scotland. Through her and her descendants, Edmund is the ancestor of subsequent British monarchs
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia