King Athelstan (824 to 939)


King Athelstan

King Athelstan, according to the modern historians, is the first King of England and one of the best Anglo-Saxons Kings. As the King of Anglo-Saxons his rule was from 924 to 927 and as the King of the English his rule was from 927 to 939.

King Athelstan’s parents were King Edward the Elder and his first wife, Ecgwynn. King Athelstan never married and his half-brother Edmund I succeeded him. He was the first Anglo-Saxon King to have ruled the whole of the England. He belonged to the House of Wessex and practiced Chalcedonian Christianity as a religion.

King Athelstan Timeline

  • King Athelstan was born around 893/895
  • The Anglo-Saxon King ruled from 924 to 939
  • His coronation took place on 4th September 925
  • King Athelstan conquered York in 927
  • In 934 after Athelstan’s invasion of Scotland, Constantine II submitted to him
  • Athelstan won the battle of Brunanburh against invading Scots and Vikings in 937
  • King Edward the Elder died on 27th October 939 in Gloucester
Early-Medieval-KIngs-Coronation-Gospels-King-Athelstan-Saint-Matthew

King Athelstan, according to the modern historians, is the first King of England and one of the best Anglo-Saxons Kings.

King Athelstan Early Life

King Athelstan was around thirty years old when he became King in 924. He was the oldest and tallest son of Edward and his first wife Ecgwynn. There is little known of his mother. Some regarded her as an inferior birth, whereas others described her of noble birth.

According to some historians, Athelstan mother was not even Edward’s wife, but a concubine. Whereas other regard her as legitimate wife of Edward. Athelstan’s grandfather once honoured him with a ceremony where he gave him a sword, a belt with gems and a scarlet cloak, which is proof that Athelstan was always the potential heir. He was educated in his aunt and uncle’s Mercian court and gained his military trainings in the Mercian campaigns.

King Athelstan’s Rule

King Athelstan had to face opposition from different factions, as in the earlier part of his rule; struggle for power was going on. This struggle ended once Athelstan defeated the Danish Vikings and conquered York in 1927 and became the first King to rule the entire English territory.

King Athelstan’s invasion of Scotland in 934 is also an important event in his rule. The invasion was completed by both land and sea. As a result, Constantine acknowledged the Athelstan’s overlordship.

King Athelstan fought the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 with an alliance of Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin, Constantine, King of Scotland and Owen, King of Strathclyde. The English forces won this battle, which prevented any dent to the English unity. This battle is considered as one of the most significant battles of English history.

King Athelstan Death

King Athelstan died on 27th October 939 in Gloucester. According to King Athelstan’s wish he was buried at the Malmesbury Abbey, where his cousins were buried who died during the battle of Brunanburh. King Athelstan’s father, grandfather and half-brother all were buried at Winchester.

Edmund I succeeded him as King Athelstan never married and as a result had no children. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest kings of the English history.

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