King Alfred the Great (871-899) had turned England into one Kingdom. This Saxon family and his descendants, had freed these lands from the barbaric Vikings, set on plunder, murder and slavery.
In the year 924, Athelstan; Alfred’s grandson became King of England, and in 937 defeated Irish and Scot Vikings at Brunanburh. He became the first Saxon King, who would have the loyalty from all its people.
In his time as King, he created a single coinage which would be used throughout the land, and peace reigned till the end of his reign in 940.
Edmund became King in 940, and was faced by new Viking raiders, which continued throughout his life until he died in 946 only to be replaced by Edred (946-955).
England did not see peace again until 959, under King Edgar. For he was a powerful leader, winning support of the Scottish and Welsh Kings.
In the year 975, Edgar aged only 32 died, and his death threw the Kingdom into strife.
His son Edward became King in 975, he only reigned for three years, during which time famine struck the land.
In 978 Edward was murdered at Corfe, by whom we do not know, but history leads us to believe, it could have been supporters loyal to Ethelred II his step-brother, assisted by his step-mother, believing he would make a far better King.
In 978 Ethelred was crowned King. Shortly into his reign, the second Viking Age started, with large scale raids upon our lands in 980.
In 991, the Danes demanded payment, in return they would leave… Ethelred raised taxes and paid out 4,500 kg of gold and silver.
In 1012, the Danes demanded more; 22,000 kg of “Danegold.” The Vikings new England was wealthy compared with other European countries which was why they kept coming back for more.
Ethelred offered Danish soldiers land, in return they would fight against their Danish comrades, they were never satisfied and continued to demand more and more land.
Ethelred ordered the massacre of all soldiers and farmers living in England, this was a bold and stupid action at the time, and so angered the Danish King; Sweyn Forkbeard. In 1013, Sweyn conquered England, forcing Ethelred from his land and into exile; Normany in France.
The English nobles offered the Danish King; Sweyn Forkbeard, the crown of England; King of England, but died in 1014 before the ceremony could take place.
Ethelred returned to England after his short exile, but died in 1016.
Cnut son of Sweyn Forkbeard, now led the Danish army in England, yet Edmund Ironside Ethelred’s son gave as good as he got in battle with the Danes.
So it was a treaty was agreed between Cnut and Edmund that they shared the Kingdom. Within months Edmund died and Cnut became King of England. England under Cnut saw a period of peace, and was recognized as King by the Kingdoms of Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Cnut took Ethelred’s wife Emma as his Queen, she being the daughter of the Duke of Normandy, this marriage served him well, and gained his friendship with the Duke himself.
Cnut died in 1035, and his empire; Denmark, Norway and England fell apart. He left three sons; Harthacnut, Sweyn and Harold. Emma had two sons by Ethelred; Edward and Alfred. Alfred made an expedition to England in 1036 and was murdered.
With Cnut dead, any new King would need the support of Leofric of Mercia, Siward of Northumbria and Godwine of Wessex, the English Earls.
Cnut’s son Harold I was crowned King of England in 1016 and reigned until 1040. He was replaced by Cnut other son Harthacnut from 1040-1042 until he died.
Edward son of Ethelred came home from Normandy claiming the crown; King of England as its rightful heir. He was crowned in 1042 and carried the title “Edward the Confessor.”
Edward, England’s new King may have been born Saxon, but was more Norman. He took Earl Godwine’s daughter for his Queen, in return for his support. Earl Godwine died in 1053, his son Harold took an instant dislike to Edward.
Edward died in 1066, leaving no heirs to the English throne.