Ecgbert III of Wessex
(Cir 0775-0839)
Oslac of Wight
AEthelwulf of England
(Abt 0800-0858)
Osburh of Wight

(Cir 0837-0871)


Family Links

1. Wulfrida

Ethelred 142,2981

  • Born: Cir 837 16
  • Marriage (1): Wulfrida
  • Died: 23 Apr 871
  • Buried: Wimborne, , Dorset, England

   Another name for Ethelred was Æthelred of Wessex.2324


  General Notes:

King of Wessex and of Kent (865/866-871), son of Aethelwulf of Wessex.

By his father's will he should have succeeded to Wessex on the death of his eldest brother Aethelbald (d. 860). He seems, however, to have stood aside in favour of his brother Aethelberht, king of Kent, to whose joint kingdoms he succeeded in 865 or 866. Aethelred's reign was one long struggle against the Danes. In the year of his succession a large Danish force landed in East Anglia, and in the year 868 Aethelred and his brother Alfred went to help Burgred of Mercia against this host, but the Mercians soon made peace with their foes. In 871 the Danes encamped at Reading, where they defeated Aethelred and his brother, but later in the year the English won a great victory at a place called "Aescesdun." Two weeks later they were defeated at Basing but partially retrieved their fortune by a victory at "Maeretun" (perhaps Marden in Wiltshire), though the Danes held the field. In the Easter of this year Aethelred died, perhaps of wounds received in the wars against the Danes, and was buried at Wimborne.

He had two sons, Ethelwald being the elder.

King Æthelred of Wessex (Old English: Æþelræd) (c. 840 \endash April 23, 871) was the fourth son of King Æthelwulf, and an older brother of Alfred the Great. He is sometimes referred to as King Æthelred I of England, but it is open to question whether he should be regarded as a king of England, since in his time the English were still divided into a number of kingdoms, not all of which recognised him as overlord (e.g. Mercia).

He succeeded his brother, Æthelberht, as King of Wessex and Kent in 865. He married Wulfrida and had two sons, Æthelwold being the elder and Æthelhelm being the younger. Æthelred was not able to control the increasing Danish raids which devastated England. On January 4, 871 at the Battle of Reading, Ethelred suffered a crushing defeat, although he did hand the Danes a Pyrrhic victory. Soon after, however, Æthelred was able to re-form his army in time to win a stunning victory at the Battle of Ashdown. However, he suffered another defeat on January 22 at the Battle of Basing and was killed at the Battle of Merton on April 23, 871.

Æthelred is buried at Wimborne in Dorset. Following his death, he was popularly regarded as a saint, but never canonised. He was succeeded by his brother, King Alfred the Great.

Æthelred is not to be confused with the later king Æthelred the Unready. 2897


  Noted events in his life were:

• Acceded: King of England, 866.


Ethelred married Wulfrida.