Family tree for King Aethelwulf of Wessex showing:
King Aethelwulf of Wessex was born around 795 to King Egbert of Wessex and his wife. Aethelwulf’s mother was once believed to be Redburga, daughter of Charlemagne of France but this has now been dismissed as untrue.
In 800, Aethelwulf’s father, Egbert, succeeded to the throne of Wessex. Little is known of Aethelwulf’s early life but as Egbert’s only child it is likely he was educated to succeed his father as King of Wessex.
In 825, following the Battle of Ellandun where Beornwulf of Mercia was defeated, Egbert became the dominant King in England. Aethelwulf was created Subregulus of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Surrey.
Having defeated Mercia, King Egbert set about subduing Northumbria. He succeeded in 829 and became the first King of all England. The victory was shortlived because a year later Wiglaf took back the throne of Mercia.
Marriage and Family
Aethelwulf married Osburga in 830 and they had six children:
Aethelstan of Kent (d. 852)
King Aethelbald (d. 860)
King Aethelberht (836 – 865)
Aethelswith (838 – 888)
King Aethelred (847 – 871)
King Alfred (849 – 899)
Osburga died around 854. Aethelwulf married Judith, daughter of Charles II, King of the Franks in October 856.
King of Wessex
Aethelwulf became King of Wessex after the death of his father in 839. His eldest son, Aethelstan became Subregulus of Kent, Essex and Sussex.
The Vikings had been attacking Wessex during the reign of Egbert and the raids continued into Aethelwulf’s reign.
After the death of Osburga Aethelwulf went on a pilgrimage to Rome taking his youngest son, Alfred with him. It is likely that Alfred was being prepared for a life in the church.
Aethelwulf died on 13th January 858 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Aethelbald.
First published 2017; updated and republished May 4 2022 @ 12.15 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2022). King Aethelwulf of Wessex c 800 – 858. Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/aethelwulf-of-wessex-c-800-858. Last accessed June 28th, 2022