Ealhswith

Female ~852 - 0902


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

  • Name Ealhswith  
    Born ~852  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Female 
    Died 5 Dec 0902  [2
    Buried Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • at New Minster...
    Person ID I50597  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 8 Feb 2018 

    Family Alfred the Great, King of Wessex,   b. 23 Apr 849, Wantage, Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Oct 899, Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Married 868  [2, 3, 4, 5
    Children 
     1. Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians,   b. ~870, (Wessex) England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jun 918, Tamworth, Gloucester, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons,   b. ~874, (Wantage, Berkshire) England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 924, Farndon, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 24 Sep 2021 
    Family ID F18784  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - ~852 - England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Winchester, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Ealhswith or Ealswitha (died 5 December 902) was the wife of King Alfred the Great. Her father was a Mercian nobleman, ¥thelred Mucel, Ealdorman of the Gaini, which is thought to be an old Mercian tribal group. Her mother was Eadburh, a member of the Mercian royal family, and according to the historian Cyril Hart she was a descendant of King Coenwulf of Mercia.[1] She is commemorated as a saint in the Christian East and the West on July 20.[2]

      Reign 23 April 871 – 26 October 899
      Died 902
      Burial New Minster, Winchester
      Spouse Alfred, King of Wessex
      Issue ¥thelflµd, Lady of the Mercians
      Edward, King of England
      ¥thelgifu
      ¥thelweard of Wessex
      ¥lfthryth, Countess of Flanders
      Father ¥thelred Mucel
      Mother Eadburh

      Life[edit]
      She was married to Alfred in 868 at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. His elder brother ¥thelred was then king, and Alfred was regarded as heir apparent.[3][4] The Danes occupied the Mercian town of Nottingham in that year, and the marriage was probably connected with an alliance between Wessex and Mercia.[5] Alfred became king on his brother's death in 871.

      Ealhswith is very obscure in contemporary sources. She did not witness any known charters, and Asser did not even mention her name in his life of King Alfred. In accordance with ninth century West Saxon custom, she was not given the title of queen. According to King Alfred, this was because of the infamous conduct of a former queen of Wessex called Eadburh, who had accidentally poisoned her husband.[6]

      Alfred left his wife three important symbolic estates in his will, Edington in Wiltshire, the site of one important victory over the Vikings, Lambourn in Berkshire, which was near another, and Wantage, his birthplace. These were all part of his bookland, and they stayed in royal possession after her death.[4]

      It was probably after Alfred's death in 899 that Ealhswith founded the convent of St Mary's Abbey, Winchester, known as the Nunnaminster. She died on 5 December 902, and was buried in her son Edward's new Benedictine abbey, the New Minster, Winchester. She is commemorated in two early tenth century manuscripts as "the true and dear lady of the English".[4]

      Ealhswith had a brother called ¥thelwulf,[4] who was ealdorman of western and possibly central Mercia under his niece's husband, ¥thelred, Lord of the Mercians, in the 890s.[7] He died in 901.[8]

      Children

      Alfred and Ealhswith had five children who survived to adulthood.[4]

      ¥thelflµd (d. 918), Lady of the Mercians, married ¥thelred, Lord of the Mercians
      Edward the Elder (d. 924), King of the Anglo-Saxons
      ¥thelgifu, made abbess of her foundation at Shaftesbury by her father
      ¥lfthryth, Countess of Flanders (d. 929), married Baldwin II, Count of Flanders
      ¥thelweard (d. c.920) [2]

  • Sources 
    1. [S12118] "Alfred the Great", Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_the_Great, retrieved or revisited, recorded & upload.

    2. [S12119] "Ealhswith", Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ealhswith, retrieved or revisited, recorded & uploaded to the webs.

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

    4. [S12307] "Alfred the Great (849-899)", Biography, http://familypedia.wikia.com/wiki/Alfred_the_Great_(849-899), revisited or retr.

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