1902 Encyclopedia > Edward I (Eadward I), King of the Anglo-Saxons

Edward I
(also known as: Eadward I)
(reigned 901-925)
King of the Anglo-Saxons

EDWARD, or EADWARD I., king of the Anglo-Saxons, was the eldest son of Alfred the Great, and succeeded his father, by the voice of the Witan, 26th October 901. He was then about thirty years of age, and had already in 893 distinguished himself by inflicting a disastrous defeat on the Danes at Farnham. His election to the throne was disputed by his cousin Ethelwold, who, leaguing himself with the Danes of Northumbria, waged with varying success a civil war of four years' duration. It was brought to a close in 906 by Ethelwold's death in battle, when Edward concluded a peace with the East Anglians and Northumbrians, The pacification was not, however, of a very satisfactory nature, and was not of long continuance, for in 910 Edward "sent out a force of West Saxons and Mercians, who greatly spoiled the army of the north," and in 911 the Danes, receiving large reinforcements from France, made repeated attacks on Wessex and Mercia. Against this common enemy Edward and his sister Ethelfleda, who became " lady of Mercia " in 912, formed conjoint measures. Ethelfleda drove the Danes from Mercia, and to secure her conquests erected the fortresses of Bridgenorth, Stafford, Tamworth, and Warwick; while Edward, by adopting the same methods in East Anglia and Essex, gradually accomplished the com-plete subjugation of the Danes. On the death of Ethelfleda in 922 he annexed Mercia to his own crown, and became king of all England south of the Humber. But this was not the whole result of his victories, for the Danes of Northumbria, the Welsh, the Scots, and the Britons of Strathclyde, either from dread of his power or from desire for his protection, voluntarily chose him to be their " father and lord." He died in 925. Inferior to his father in the higher moral and intellectual qualities, Edward manifested gifts superior to his as a legislator and warrior; and under him the Anglo-Saxon rule attained a fame and influence to which it had never before made a near approximation.

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