Aethelred II-------------------Cnut

England: The Saxon Period

c. 600 to 1066 A.D.

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Sweyn, 'Forkbeard': autumn of 1013 - 3rd February 1014

Sweyn's father was King Harold Bluetooth of Denmark, his mother uncertain. He ascended the throne in Denmark in 986 and England in 1013.

Sweyn was a formidable warrior and seized the Danish throne from his father and created an empire centred on the North Sea. He was involved in the raids against England between 1002 and 1012 to avenge the St. Brice's Day massacre of England's Danish inhabitants in November 1002. He managed to drive out Ethelred II in the autumn of 1013 and was accepted as king. However on 3rd February 1014, at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, he fell off his horse and died. He was buried in London and later moved to Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark. Ethelred was restored.


Edmund II, 'Ironside': 23rd April 1016 - 30th November 1016

Edmund was born c. 990, to Ethelred II and Elfleda. He ascended the throne 23rd April 1016. His coronation was at St Paul's Cathedral, London 25th April 1016.

Edmund grew up in a period of repeated Viking incursions. He recognised the flaws in his father's policy of buying off the Vikings and encouraged his countrymen to stand up to them. This earned him the epithet 'Ironside'.

Even before the death of his father, Edmund had made himself ruler in Danelaw. In his efforts to oppose the invasion of Cnut (Canute) in 1015 were undermined by the treachery of Ealdorman Eric of Mercia. Consequently, in 1016, he was unable to hold Northumbria against Cnut. When Ethelred in that year, London and the Witan members there chose Edmund as king. The Witan at Southampton chose Cnut. At Olney, Edmund and Cnut partitioned England although the one to live longest would get the lot.

However, a few weeks later Edmund died after a reign of only seven months and his infant sons fled to Hungary. He died in London or Oxford, 30th November 1016 and he was buried in Glastonbury Abbey.

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