1902 Encyclopedia > Edward II (Eadward II; Edward the Martyr), King of the Anglo-Saxons

Edward II
(also known as: Eadward II; Edward the Martyr)
(reigned 975-978)
King of the Anglo-Saxons

EDWARD, or EADWARD II., surnamed the Martyr, an Anglo-Saxon king, succeeded his father Edgar in 975, at the age of about thirteeen years. He was the elder son of Edgar, and is said to have been recommended by him as his successor; but the party in the state opposed to the monks supported nevertheless the claims of his younger brother Ethelred, son of Elfrida, and only seven years of age. The influence of Dunstan was, however, sufficiently great to overbear all opposition, and in a somewhat summary fashion he presented Edward to the Witan at Winchester, and consecrated him king. During his short reign the only circumstances worthy of notice are the quarrels between the two parties in the state, and the rapid decline of the authority of Dunstan and the monks. The death of Edward, which occurred in 978, was the result of a base act of treachery on the part of Elfrida. He was re-turning exhausted from the chase at Wareham when he was lured to her residence, and was stabbed in the back while partaking of hospitality before her palace gate.

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