Elfrida’s Intrigues

Book 2, Chapter 9, Edward 975 AD to 1016 AD – Edward the Martyr

 He was hunting in the neighbourhood of Corfe Castle, in Dorset, where his stepmother Elfrida resided, and turned aside, unaccompanied by any of his attendants, to call upon her, refusing, however, to alight from his horse, and asking only for a draught of mead. While in the act of drinking, one of Elfrida’s servants, at her command, went behind the king and stabbed him. Finding himself wounded, Edward set spurs to his horse and dashed onwards, but becoming faint from loss of blood, he fell from his seat and was dragged along the ground, by one foot hanging in the stirrup. His attendants tracked the body by the blood, and finding life extinct, buried it privately at Wareham. It was subsequently removed by Dunstan, and reinterred with much pomp at Shaftesbury, and the monks affirmed that miracles were wrought at the tomb, whence, in connexion with his tragic end, the young king came to be spoken of as Edward the Martyr.

In recording this crime the Saxon Chronicler says, “No worse deed than this had been committed among the people of the Angles since they first came to the land of Britain.” Its perpetrator was seized with remorse, and although, according to the fashion of the times, she founded two monasteries, and afterwards retired to spend her days in one of them, she never regained peace of mind or credit with the people.

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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