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Dynasty: Kings of all England
Ruler: Eadgar
Reigned: 959 - 975
Denomination: AR Penny
Moneyer: Eanwulf at York
Date of Issue: Pre-reform: 959-972/3
Obverse: "+E•A•DGAR REX" (crescent and pellets), around inner circle with cross pattée within.
Reverse: "EANVLF MO" in two lines divided by + + +, trefoil of pellets above and below.
Reference: Spink 1129, North 741
Weight: 0.9 gms
Diameter: 20.5 mm
Comment: Ex Tetney Hoard (Lincolnshire, England), discovered May 1945.

The Tetney hoard deposited c. A.D. 963 was discovered at the village of Tetney in North East Lincolnshire in May 1945. It consisted of 394 pennies of Eadred, Eadwig, Eadgar and the Viking Kingdom of York contained in a chalk container. Textile fragments (adhering to a few coins) and two silver hooks indicate that the hoard was also buried inside a cloth bag or purse. The hoard was examined and recorded by the British Museum, who retained a number of coins, the rest being made available to collectors.

Walker, John. 'A hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins from Tetney, Lincolnshire'. Numismatic Chronicle, 6th ser., 5:3-4 (1947 for 1945), 81-95. Publisher: Royal Numismatic Society.

EADGAR, King of all England

Edgar (or Eadgar) the Peaceful ( c. 7 August 943 - 8 July 975), also called the Peaceable, was a king of England (ruled 959-75.

King Edgar is regarded as the first ruler of a consolidated England. As well as being the first to rule the three major kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex, King Edgar is also credited with introducing a number of successful religious and legal changes.

Edgar, great-grandson of Alfred the Great, was born to King Edmund the Magnificent and St Elfgiva around 943 - 4. Elfgiva died within a year and Edmund was stabbed to death three years later, leaving the young Prince Edgar orphaned. Aethelstan Half-King, a noble who controlled a large area of land, and his wife Elfwynne became his foster parents.

After the bloody end of King Edmund in 946, Edgar's uncle, King Edred, ruled until his death in 955. Edgar succeeded to the kingdom of Mercia and his brother, Edwy, to the kingdom of the West Saxons.

It is more likely that the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria were taken by Edgar when the regions' thanes switched their allegiance in 957 - a move which was formalised in 958 after Edwy's loss of a battle near Gloucester. Edwy was not a popular king and his reign was blighted by conflict with the Church - chiefly St Dunstan and Archbishop Odo - and the nobility. He died at the age of 20 in 959.

With the death of his elder brother, Edgar was no longer obliged to share power. Consolidating his existing territory in Mercia and Northumbria with that in Wessex which had previously belonged to Edwy, Edgar became 'King of all England' aged just 16.

One of King Edgar's first acts as ruler was to order the return of St Dunstan, who had been exiled after a falling out with Edwy. Dunstan was almost immediately made Bishop of Worcester and then Bishop of London, indicating the respect that Edgar gave him. After the death of Archbishop Odo in 961, St Dunstan was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury himself.

Around 40 monasteries were founded during King Edgar's reign, with many more, such as the one at Peterborough, being repaired. Attempts, with debatable success, were made to enforce the following the Rule of St Benedict on secular priests who were perceived as rather corrupt. With King Edgar's investment and a respite in Viking raids, monasteries were of increasing cultural importance.

Legal legislation was also introduced in many areas during King Edgar's reign including, most interestingly, increased punishments for the failure to pay church taxes and a clarification of the iron weights to be used in torturous ordeals. The boundaries of shires and law enforcement at local levels were also dealt with. The reform of the system of coinage in 973 changed little until the reign of King Stephen.

Edgar's rather gradual rise to power at a young age meant that he never got a proper coronation. In 973, this situation was rectified when the Archbishop of Canterbury, St Dunstan, crowned him 'Emperor of Britain' at Bath. There is a legend that in an act of subservience, Malcolm of Strathclyde, Kenneth II of Scots, Maccus of the Isle of Man and several unidentified Welsh kings rowed King Edgar across the River Dee in Chester.

King Edgar's religious improvements and lack of any serious wars have earned him the title Peaceful, Peaceable or Peacemaker. However, it is questionable whether King Edgar was actually a peaceful person himself. It is known that in 969 he 'ordered all Thanet-land to be plundered,' and the display of power in Chester after his 973 coronation would further suggest that he was by no means above the use of violence. The death of Erik Bloodaxe in 954 marked a period of respite from Viking attack in England, which would not resume until 980.

Edgar is also credited with improving the size and strength of the English navy. This was done by organising the enlistment of sailors through ship-sokes, a form of local conscription.

King Edgar died on 8 July, 975, and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey. His reign saw a number of religious and legal initiatives and a period of relative stability that would not be seen again for several years. Although by no means the most famous king of England, he is regarded to be the first true ruler of a consolidated English nation in a 'golden age' of Anglo-Saxon culture. Rather surprisingly, King Edgar was later canonised, becoming St Edgar.

After his death, Edgar was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward the Martyr. However, Edward was murdered in 978, allowing Aethelred to rule.

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