King Edward the Elder 874 – 924

Edward the Elder

Family tree for King Edward the Elder son of Alfred the Great showing:


Short Biography

Edward the Elder was born around 874 and died on 17th July 924. He was the eldest son of King Alfred the Great and Ealhswith of Mercia. Throughout his childhood England was subject to Viking attacks and Edward’s education included lessons on swordmanship and other warrior tactics. By the age of 19 he was leading forces into battle.

Edward may have married for the first time in 893. Historians are divided as to whether or not he married Ecgwynn. Their son, Aethelstan, was born in 895 and it is believed they may also have had a daughter, Edith. It is not known whether she was set aside or died, but in 899 Edward married Aelfflaed, the daughter of the ealdorman of Wiltshire. They had six children during their 20 year marriage. After Aelfflaed died, Edward married Eadgifu, daughter of the Ealdorman of Kent and they had three children including Kings Edmund and Eadred.

Edward the Elder became King after the death of his father in 899. He faced a challenge to the throne from Aethelwold, son of King Alfred’s brother Aethelred I. Aethelwold allied himself with the Vikings in the hope of defeating Edward but was killed in battle in 902.

The Viking attacks continued and Edward fought many battles. By the end of 917 he had managed to conquer and all land south of the River Humber and in 923 he received the submission of the Scottish King Constantine II. However, Edward the Elder did not realise his father’s dream of uniting England under one ruler. That dream would be achieved by Edward’s eldest son Aethelstan who succeeded as King when Edward died in 924.


First published 2017; republished Jul 10 2020 @ 12:25 pm – Updated – Sep 23, 2021 @ 2:21 pm

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2020). King Edward the Elder 874 – 924. Available: Last accessed September 30th, 2021