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Anglo-Saxon King: Egbert

NPG D23567; Egbert, King of the West Saxons, First Monarch of all England by George Vertue

With the Roman departure early in the fifth century, Britain came under attack from the Angles, Saxons and Jutes of Northern Germany.

Over the next 200 years or more, these invaders pushed the native Britons from their lands.

These invaders split the country into seven independent warring kingdoms.  Out of which emerged Egbert to become King of Wessex from 802-839 and first King of Britain in 829 as he defeated the Mercians in 825 as other’s like Northumbria submitted to him.

*        Egbert made a play for the Kingdom of Wessex, but failed and was forced into exile in France.

*        In 825, at the “Battle of Ellandune” victory was achieved over Beornwulf, King of Mercia at Wroughton in Wiltshire.  Following this victory, Egbert of Wessex took over Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex.

*        Egbert married Redburga and had two children; Aethelwulf his successor and Edith.  His daughter was a leper, and his gift to her, was the foundation of Polesworth Abbey.

*        In 829, Egbert had taken over the Kingdom of Mercia, marking an end to Mercian supremacy.

*        In 830 Mercia and Northumbria threw out Wessex leadership. Egbert gave south-western lands of Wessex to his son; Aethelwulf.

*        In 836 the Vikings arrived and Egbert’s forces met at the “Battle of Carhampton” but was forced to withdraw in the face of defeat.

*        In 838 the Vikings became a serious issue when Cornish Dumnonians and the Northmen joined forces.  Egbert became victor at the “Battle of Hingston Down.”

*        In 839 King Egbert of Wessex died and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester.

There were two sides to Egbert:  On one hand he was a committed Christian who cared for his daughter, bestowing many gifts upon the church.  On the other side, we have the brutal warrior, who murdered his nephews, in case they should attempt to usurp him of his crown.

 Wikipedia Image


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