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History
Kings and Queens
Before 1066

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Kings and Queens: England before 1066

England emerged from the Dark Ages during the 9th century, when the kings of Wessex led the Anglo–Saxon resistance to the Danish (Viking) invaders.

The kings are listed in chronological order.

Grandfather of Alfred the Great: King of Wessex, 802–39. Described in the Anglo–Saxon Chronicle as King of Britain, after defeating Wiglaf of Mercia (829) and receiving the submission of the King of Northumbria (830). (Wiglaf regained control of Mercia 830) Click to show or hide the answer
Succeeded his father Egbert as King of Wessex, 839–56; father of Alfred the Great; succeeded by four of his five sons (Æthelbald, Æthelburt, Æthelred, Alfred) in rapid succession (the eldest, Æthelstan, predeceased him) Click to show or hide the answer
Youngest of Æthelwulf's five sons; succeeded Æthelred in 871, ruled until 899; first King of Wessex to style himself "King of the Anglo–Saxons" Click to show or hide the answer
King of East Anglia, 855–869 – killed by the Danish invaders, popularly believed to be because he refused to renounce Christ – later considered to be the patron saint, but superseded by Edward the Confessor and eventually St. George Click to show or hide the answer
Great–grandson of Alfred the Great, became King of All England following the death of his elder brother Eadwig in 959; crowned at Bath in 973; subsequently eight "tributary kings" rowed him up the Dee to Chester (from his palace nearby) and swore their allegiance.  Father of Edward the Martyr and Æthelred the Unready Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Son of King Edgar, murdered at Corfe Castle in 978; canonised in 1001 Click to show or hide the answer
Father of Edward the Confessor; reigned from 978 to 1016; ordered the massacre of the Danes on St. Brice’s Day (13 November) 1002; deposed by the Danish king Sweyn in 1013, but recalled on Sweyn's death in 1014; sobriquet means "lacking counsel" Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Æthelred the Unready, shared the throne with Canute from Æthelred’s death in April 1016 until his own death in November the same year Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Sweyn Forkbeard, father of Harold I (Harefoot); led the Danish invasions of England in the reign of Æthelred the Unready (1013–16); ruled jointly with Edmund Ironside following Æthelred’s death in April 1016, and alone until 1035 following Edmund’s death in November 1016. Became King of Denmark 1018, parts of Sweden 1026, Norway 1028 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Canute, succeeded him in 1035; succeeded in 1040 by his half–brother (also the son of Canute) Harthacanute; sobriquet refers to his fleetness of foot Click to show or hide the answer
Succeeded his half–brother Harold Harefoot in March 1040; died suddenly in June 1042, and was succeeded by Edward the Confessor (also his half–brother); the last Danish king of England Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Æthelred the Unready; ruled 1042–66, succeeded by Harold II Click to show or hide the answer
Founded Westminster Abbey, and was buried there a few days after it was consecrated
Canonised in 1161
Regarded as the patron saint of England, from the reign of Henry II (1133–89) until 1348 when he was replaced by St. George
Said (by Wikipedia) to still be the patron saint of difficult marriages, kings, and the English (sic) Royal Family
Son of Godwin, who had been made Earl of Wessex by Canute Click to show or hide the answer
Selected by the Witenagemot (Witan) to succeed Edward the Confessor following the latter's death in January 1066 (reportedly with Edward's blessing)
Defeated his brother Tostig and Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge, near York on 25 September, but defeated by William of Normandy at Hastings on 14 October

© Haydn Thompson 2017