Edgar the Peaceful, King of England

Edgar the Peaceful, King of England

Male Abt 943 - 0975  (~ 32 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Edgar the Peaceful 
    Suffix King of England 
    Birth Abt 943  (Wessex) England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Death 8 Jul 0975  Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Burial Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Person ID I50590  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 16 Jan 2018 

    Father Edmund I, King of the English,   b. ~921, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 26 May 946, Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Aelfgifu of Shaftsbury,   b. (~914)   d. 944 
    Marriage Y  [1, 2, 4, 5
    Family ID F18782  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Aelfthryth,   b. Abt 945   d. 1000-1001 (Age ~ 56 years) 
    Marriage Y  [1, 3, 4
     1. Aethelred the Unready, King of the English,   b. Abt 966, (Wessex) England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 23 Apr 1016, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 50 years)
    Family ID F18781  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 30 Apr 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - Abt 943 - (Wessex) England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 8 Jul 0975 - Winchester, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    A contemporary portrayal of King Edgar in the New Minster Charter.
    A contemporary portrayal of King Edgar in the New Minster Charter.

  • Notes 
    • Edgar (Old English: Eadgar; c.?943—8 July 975), known as the Peaceful or the Peaceable, was King of England from 959 until his death. He was the younger son of Edmund I and ¥lfgifu of Shaftesbury, and came to the throne as a teenager, following the death of his older brother Eadwig. As king, Edgar further consolidated the political unity achieved by his predecessors, with his reign being noted for its relative stability. His most trusted advisor was Dunstan, whom he recalled from exile and made Archbishop of Canterbury. The pinnacle of Edgar's reign was his coronation at Bath in 973, which was organised by Dunstan and forms the basis for the current coronation ceremony. After his death he was succeeded by his son Edward, although the succession was disputed.

      King of the English
      Reign 1 October 959 – 8 July 975
      Predecessor Eadwig
      Successor Edward
      Born 943/944
      Died 8 July 975 (aged 31/32)
      Winchester, Hampshire
      Burial Glastonbury Abbey
      Spouse ¥thelflµd[1]
      Issue Edward, King of England
      ¥thelred, King of England
      House Wessex
      Father Edmund, King of England
      Mother ¥lfgifu of Shaftesbury
      Religion Christianity

      Early years and accession

      Edgar was the son of Edmund I and ¥lfgifu of Shaftesbury. Upon the death of King Edmund in 946, Edgar's uncle, Eadred, ruled until 955. Eadred was succeeded by his nephew, Eadwig, the son of Edmund and Edgar's older brother.

      Eadwig was not a popular king, and his reign was marked by conflict with nobles and the Church, primarily St Dunstan and Archbishop Oda. In 957, the thanes of Mercia and Northumbria changed their allegiance to Edgar.[3] A conclave of nobles declared Edgar as king of the territory north of the Thames.[4] Edgar became King of England upon Eadwig's death in October 959, aged just 16.


      One of Edgar's first actions was to recall Dunstan from exile and have him made Bishop of Worcester (and subsequently Bishop of London and later, Archbishop of Canterbury). Dunstan remained Edgar's advisor throughout his reign. While Edgar may not have been a particularly peaceable man[citation needed], his reign was peaceful. The Kingdom of England was well established, and Edgar consolidated the political unity achieved by his predecessors. By the end of his reign, England was sufficiently unified in that it was unlikely to regress back to a state of division among rival kingships, as it had to an extent under the reign of Eadred. William Blackstone mentions that King Edgar standardised measure throughout the realm.[5] According to George Molyneaux, Edgar's reign, "far more than the reigns of either Alfred or ¥thelstan, was probably the most pivotal phase in the development of the institutional structures that were fundamental to royal rule in the eleventh-century kingdom".[6] Indeed, an early eleventh century king Cnut the Great states in a letter to his subjects that ''it is my will that all the nation, ecclesiastical and lay, shall steadfastly observe Edgar's laws, which all men have chosen and sworn at Oxford''.[7]

      Benedictine reform

      A coin of Edgar, struck in Winchcombe (c. 973-75).
      The Monastic Reform Movement that introduced the Benedictine Rule to England's monastic communities peaked during the era of Dunstan, ¥thelwold, and Oswald (historians continue to debate the extent and significance of this movement).[8]

      Dead Man's Plack

      In 963, Edgar allegedly killed Earl ¥thelwald, his rival in love, near present-day Longparish, Hampshire.[9] The event was commemorated by the Dead Man's Plack, erected in 1825.[9] In 1875, Edward Augustus Freeman debunked the story as a "tissue of romance" in his book, Historic Essays;[10] however, his arguments were rebutted by naturalist William Henry Hudson in his 1920 book Dead Man's Plack and an Old Thorn.[4]

      Coronation at Bath

      Edgar was crowned at Bath and along with his wife ¥lfthryth was anointed, setting a precedent for a coronation of a queen in England itself.[11] Edgar's coronation did not happen until 973, in an imperial ceremony planned not as the initiation, but as the culmination of his reign (a move that must have taken a great deal of preliminary diplomacy). This service, devised by Dunstan himself and celebrated with a poem in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, forms the basis of the present-day British coronation ceremony.

      Main article: King Edgar's council at Chester
      The symbolic coronation was an important step; other kings of Britain came and gave their allegiance to Edgar shortly afterwards at Chester. Six kings in Britain, including the King of Scots and the King of Strathclyde, pledged their faith that they would be the king's liege-men on sea and land. Later chroniclers made the kings into eight, all plying the oars of Edgar's state barge on the River Dee.[12] Such embellishments may not be factual, and what actually happened is unclear.[13]


      Edgar died on 8 July 975 at Winchester, Hampshire. He left behind Edward, who was probably his illegitimate son by ¥thelflµd (not to be confused with the Lady of the Mercians), and ¥thelred, the younger, the child of his wife ¥lfthryth. He was succeeded by Edward. Edgar also had a possibly illegitimate daughter by Wulfthryth, who later became abbess of Wilton. She was joined there by her daughter, Edith of Wilton, who lived there as a nun until her death. Both women were later regarded as saints.[14][15]


      "[H]e was extremely small both in stature and bulk..."[16]

      See also

      House of Wessex family tree; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Wessex#House_of_Wessex_family_tree [3]

  • Sources 
    1. [S12116] "Margaret of Wessex", Pedigree Chart, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_monarchs%27_family_tree, retrieved or revisi.

    2. [S12121] "Edmund I", Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_I, retrieved or revisited, recorded & uploaded to the websit.

    3. [S12122] "Edgar the Peaceful", Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_the_Peaceful, retrieved or revisited, recorded & up.

    4. [S12595] "The House of Wessex", http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/saxon_21.htm, https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/.

    5. [S12144] "¥lfgifu of Shaftesbury", Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86lfgifu_of_Shaftesbury, retrieved or revisited,.