Edmund I of England

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Edmund I (Old English: Ēadmund) (922 – 26 May 946), called the Elder, the Deed-doer, the Just, or the Magnificent, was King of England from 939 until his death. He was a son of Edward the Elder and half-brother of Athelstan. Athelstan died on 27 October 939, and Edmund succeeded him as king.


Military threats

Shortly after his proclamation as king he had to face several military threats. King Olaf III Guthfrithson conquered Northumbria and invaded the Midlands. When Olaf died in 942 Edmund reconquered the Midlands. In 943 he became the god-father of King Olaf of York. In 944, Edmund was successful in reconquering Northumbria. In the same year his ally Olaf of York lost his throne and left for Dublin in Ireland. Olaf became the king of Dublin as Olaf Cuaran and continued to be allied to his god-father. In 945 Edmund conquered Strathclyde but ceded the territory to King Malcolm I of Scotland in exchange for a treaty of mutual military support. Edmund thus established a policy of safe borders and peaceful relationships with Scotland. During his reign, the revival of monasteries in England began.

Louis IV of France

One of Edmund's last political movements of which we have some knowledge is his role in the restoration of Louis IV of France to the throne. Louis, son of Charles the Simple and Edmund's half-sister Eadgifu, had resided at the West-Saxon court for some time until 936, when he returned to be crowned King of France. In the summer of 945, he was captured by the Norsemen of Rouen and subsequently released to Duke Hugh the Great, who however, held him in custody. The chronicler Richerus claims that Eadgifu wrote letters both to Edmund and to Otto I in which she requested support for her son; Edmund responded to her plea by sending angry threats to Hugh, who however, brushed them aside.[1] Flodoard's Annales, one of Richerus' sources, report:

Death and succession

On 26 May, 946, Edmund was murdered by Leofa, an exiled thief, while celebrating St Augustine's Mass Day in Pucklechurch (South Gloucestershire).[4] John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury add some lively detail by suggesting that Edmund had been feasting with his nobles, when he spotted Leofa in the crowd. He attacked the intruder in person, but in the event, Edmund and Leofa were both killed.[5]

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