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Dynasty: Kings of all England
Ruler: Aethelred II the Unready
Reigned: 18th March 978 to 23rd April 1016
Denomination: AR Longcross Penny
Mint/Moneyer: London/Leofnoth
Date of Issue: 997-1003
Obverse: Bare-headed bust left. "AEDELRED REX ANGLO"
Reverse: Long cross voided with each limb terminating in three crescents. "LEOFNOD M'O LVND"
Reference: Spink 1151 North 774 var
Weight: 1.4 gms
Diameter: 20 mm

AETHELRED II, called The Unready

AETHELRED II, called The Unready (c. 968-1016) Anglo-Saxon King of England (18th March 978 to 23rd April 1016), was the son of King Eadgar and half brother of Edward the Martyr. His reign was marked by bitter military struggles. After negotiating a treaty with Richard II, Duke of Normandy (reigned about 996-1026), Aethelred married Richard's sister Emma. This marriage provided the basis for the subsequent Norman claim to the English throne. Although Aethelred paid tribute to the plundering Danes, Sweyn I (Forkbeard), King of Denmark, invaded England in 1013 and proclaimed himself king. In 1014 Aethelred fled to Normandy but returned a few months later upon Sweyn's death. Sweyn's son and successor, Canute II, invaded the country a year later and, following Aethelred's death, became king of England. Aethelred's sobriquet, "The Unready", is a corruption of the Old English unraed, "bad counsel", which is a reference to his misfortunes.

Late Anglo-Saxon Coinage
In 973 Eadgar introduced a new coinage. A royal portrait now became a regular feature and the reverses normally have a cruciform pattern with the name of the mint in addition to that of the moneyer. Most fortified towns of burghal status were allowed a mint, the number of moneyers varying according to their size and importance: some royal manors also had a mint and some moneyers were allowed to certain ecclesiastical authorities. In all some seventy mints were active about the middle of the 11th century. The control of the currency was retained firmly in the hands of the central government, unlike the situation in France and the Empire where feudal barons and bishops controlled their own coinage. Coinage types were changed at intervals to enable the Exchequer to raise revenue from new dies and periodic demonetization of old coin types helped to maintain the currency in a good state.

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