King Aethelred I of Wessex 847 – 871

Aethelred of Wessex

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Short Biography

Aethelred was born in 847 and died 23rd April 871. He was the fourth son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex and was not expected to succeed to the throne. His eldest brother, Aethelstan, died in 852. In 853, When his father died in 858, his brother Aethelbald became King. Aethelbald then shocked everyone by marrying his stepmother. They had no children so when Aethelbald died the crown passed to Aethelbert. Aethelbert did not marry and had no children so on his death in 865, Aethelred became King. In 868 Aethelred married Wulfthryth and they had two children, Aethelhelm and Aethelwold.

Throughout the ninth century England was plagued by repeated Viking attacks. In 865 the Great Heathen Army invaded East Anglia. Although they accepted a payment to leave they soon returned. In 870 they attacked Wessex and a series of battles followed. In 871 Aethelred was mortally wounded at the Battle of Meretum. His sons were considered too young to succeed so his younger brother Alfred became King of Wessex. 


Published Feb 1, 2017 @ 3:23 pm – Updated – Dec 28, 2021 @ 3:00 pm

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2020). King Aethelred of Wessex 847 – 871. Available: Last accessed January 21st, 2022