Kings and Queens of England: Early Saxons

The murder of Edward the Martyr

The murder of Edward the Martyr

One of the first difficulties encountered when attempting to chronicle any period of history is where to start. Some may start a history of the monarchs of England with Alfred the Great, who drove back the Danes and secured his kingdom of Wessex. Others may choose to begin in 1066 with the Norman invasion of William I (the Conqueror), thus ignoring the Saxon and Danish periods altogether.

For this series I have decided to choose Æthelstan as my starting point. As the first king to combine the kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria, enabling him to claim to be ‘king of the English’, his reign would seem a logical place to start. Following on from Æthelstan, this first instalment of the Kings and Queens of England series covers lives and reigns of Edmund I, Eadred, Eadwig, Edgar, Edward the Martyr and Æthelred II (the Unready).

It is my intention to continue this series of articles up to the present day. For completeness, I will soon be starting another series about the Kings and Queens of Scots, joining the two together in 1603. The key dates in the lives of these monarchs can be found in the On This Day section of this site.

You can read the first article about Æthelstan here.

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