Death of Ethelred

Book 2, Chapter 9, Edward 975 AD to 1016 AD – Edmund Ironside


Edmund possessed great personal strength and bravery, and was known by the surname of Ironside, on account of his valour. He resisted Canute with such address and determination, that, although the Danes ultimately proved successful, it was not without the loss of many of their best and bravest troops. In the various battles which ensued, the country was alternately ravaged by its invaders and by its defenders, for Edmund was compelled to levy in the war districts necessary supplies for the support of his own army, which Ethelred had neither the ability nor the means to furnish with materials or with money, and in the midst of these sanguinary and miserable times, this unhappy monarch ended his long and inglorious reign, dying in London, April 23, 1016 while the Danes were preparing to besiege the capital.

To account for these rapid successes on the part of the Danes, it need only be remembered that they were strong, brave, and disciplined, while the Anglo-Saxons had become weakened under an incompetent government and by internal disputes and treachery. Edric (whom Edmund had long suspected, without being able to establish a charge of treason, so cunningly had the dastard’s plans been laid) openly went over to Canute with all his troops, just before a battle in which he was to have fought under Edmund’s orders. Ethelred was guilty of the crime of entrapping and murdering Sigeferth and Morcar, two powerful northern chieftains, whom he disliked or of whom he was jealous, thereby arousing among their dependants that could not be allayed, and he did this shortly after his brief exile in Normandy, when it was necessary to secure the hearty cooperation and help of all his subjects in order successfully to resist the invader.

Chapter 9, Edward the Martyr

Edward, Commonly Styled “the Martyr”

Elfrida’s Intrigues

Chapter 9, Ethelred

Reign of Ethelred

Dunstan’s Prophecy

Condition of the Country

Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes

Fresh Attacks by the Northmen

They are Bribed to Depart

Origin of the Danegeld

Ethelred’s Marriage with Emma of Normandy

Massacre of the Danes

Chapter 9, Sweyn’s Revenge

Sweyn’s Vengeance

Murder of Archbishop Alphege

Levy for a Fleet

Chapter 9, Thurkill Ravages England

Its Failure

A Contemporary Picture

Sweyn prepares for the Conquest of England

Sweyn Dies and’ is Followed by Canute

Ethelred’s Flight and Return

Chapter 9, Edmund Ironside

Death of Ethelred

Divisions and Treachery among the English

Edmund Ironside Proclaimed King

Successive Battles with Canute

Partition of the Country

Brief Reign of Edmund


Categories: Book 2

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