Revised 01/12/2019



(Gewisse later WESSEX)

[WESK161] Cerdic, according to the Saxon Chronicle was of German origin, ninth in descent from Woden, this descent being set out in the Winchester manuscript, written centuries later, as follows:

Woden. He was a pagan god, so it is pure speculation which of the following down to Elesa were real people of Germanic origin, the short answer being probably none;
Brand aka Brona

Cerdic landed in England at Cerdices-ora [= Cerdic's shore] (495). He took him twenty-four years to subdue Gewisse, which he then ruled for a further fifteen (519-34), and died 534. After his death, the whole of his kingdom except for the Isle of Wight passed to his son. The Isle of Wight passed to his sister's son, Wihtgar (who had landed in England in 514). The Saxon Chronicle (followed by William of Malmesbury), names Cerdic's son as Cynric.

[WESK171] Creoda ruled Gewisse. This extra generation may have been inserted at a much later date.

[WESK181] Cynric ruled Gewisse (died 560).

[WESK191] Ceawlin ruled Gewisse (560-92). Ceawlin, together with Cuthwine, fought a strategic battle at Dyrham, near the Roman ruins of Aqua Sulis (Bath) in 577, defeating the Britons of the south-west.

[WESK201] Cuthwine.

[WESK211] Cuthwulf, King of Wessex (594-611).

[WESK221] Ceolwald.

[WESK231] Cenred (born c.655) was sub-King ruling a fragment of Wessex (672-).

[WESK241] Ingeld (born c.675) died 718.

[WESK251] Eoppa (born c.700).

[WESK261] Eafa (born c.720).

[WESK271] Ealhmond of Kent (born 740) married [KENT272] --- (daughter of sub-King Aethelbert II of Kent, see KENT (ANGLO-SAXON) KINGDOM). Ealhmond succeeded his father-in-law as Ealdorman (sub-King or vassal King) of Kent (762-64 & 784-785), and was probably killed 785.

[WESK281] Egbert Saxon (born c.770-75) claimed descent from Ingeld, the brother of King Ine of Wessex, (the first true king of the West Saxons), and through him back to Cerdic. Egbert married Redburga (said to be possibly of Flemish origin, and also said to be a sister of the King of the Franks, viz. Charlemagne). Egbert remained in France at the Court of Charlemagne. After Queen Eadburga poisoned her husband, King Brihtric, Egbert returned from France and took the throne of Wessex without opposition. Egbert was King of Wessex (802-39), and died 839. See Mortuary Chests below.

[WESK291] Aethelwulf (born possibly at Aachen, c.795-800) married 1. (c.830) Osburh (daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Oslac, possibly of Hampshire); then 2. (at Verberie-sur-Oise, October 856, [on Aethelwulf's return from a visit to Rome]) [CARO277] Judith (daughter of King Charles II the bald of France and HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR). Aethelwulf was King of Wessex (839-856) and died January 858. He was buried at Winchester Abbey, where his bones are preserved in mortuary chests along with those of other monarchs, down to King William II in 1100.


Winchester Cathedral
(21 October 2002)

see below

Afterwards, Aethelwulf's son and heir Aethelbald married (858) his step-mother Judith. They later separated and Judith returned to France, staying initially at Senlis under her father's protection, until she eloped (c.862) with [FLAN271] Count Baldwin I (see FLANDERS COUNTY).

[GODW261] Aethelred I (born c.837, 3rd son of Aethelwulf & Osburh), King of Wessex (845-71), married (c.867-68) Wulfrida. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Meredune (Hants), and died shortly afterwards (23rd April 871). See EARL GODWINE for his descendants.

[WESK301] Alfred the Great (born at Wantage, c.847, 4th son of Aethelwulf & Osburh) married (at Winchester, 868) [MUCE262] Ealhswith (daughter of [MUCE251] Aethelred, see GAINI).

But, according to the town history of Gainsborough, Lincs, --

Alfred, age twenty, married Elhswitha Muchel at the old church and afterwards feasted at Gainsborough Castle, home to the Earls of the Gaini.

Alfred succeeded his brother Athelred as King of Wessex (871-886), then became King of England (886-899). He died October 899. Ealhswith died shortly afterwards (902).

[WESK314] Aelftrudis (daughter of Alfred) married (893) [FLAN281] Count Baldwin II (see FLANDERS COUNTY).

[WESK319] Edward the elder (born c.871-72, son of Alfred) married 1. (c.894) Egwina (daughter of Sigehelm, Ealdorman [sub-king] of Kent). She died c.901-02.

However, Edward may not have married her at all as, although described as a noblewoman, scandal-mongers of the day remembered her as a shepherd's daughter, to whom Edward took a fancy in his youth.

Edward married 2. (c.901) Aelflaed (daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Aethelhelm of Wiltshire by his wife Elswitha), died 920; then 3. (c.920) Eadgifu of Kent (daughter of Sigehelm, Ealdorman [sub-king] of Kent). Edward was King of England (899-924), and died at Farndon-on-Dee, Cheshire, suppressing a rebellion by an alliance of Mercians and Welsh (July 924). Eadgifu died 968.

Mike Ashley gives Edward's 3 wives as: 1. (c.894) Egwina (a noblewoman), died c.901; 2. (c.901-02) Elfleda (daughter of Ealdorman Athelhem of Wiltshire); 3. (c.920) Edgiva (daughter of Ealdorman Sigehelm of Kent).

Michael Swanton gives: 1. Ecqwynn; 2. Aelfflaed; 3. Eadgifu.

[WESK323] Eadgifu (daughter of Edward by his 2nd wife Aelflaed) married 1. (c.917) [CARO283] King Charles III (see CAROLINGIAN KINGS); then 2. (at St. Quentin, c.951) Count Herbert the old of Vermandois.

[WESK322] Edith (daughter of Edward by his 1st wife Egwina) married (at Tamworth, January 926) [DUBL311] King Sihtric II caech (see DUBLIN KINGDOM).

[WESK324] Edith (born c.910, daughter of Edward by his 2nd wife Aelflaed) married (September 929) [SAXY279] EMPEROR OTTO I (see SAXONY (LIUDOLFIN HOUSE) NOBILITY).

[WESK326] Adele (daughter of Edward by his 3rd wife Eadgifu) married [AQUI301] DUKE EUBLES II (see AQUITAINE (HOUSE OF POITIERS) DUKEDOM).

[WESK325] Athelstan (born c.895, son of Edward by his 1st wife Egwina), King of England (927-39), never married, and died at Gloucester (27th October 939), buried at Malmesbury Abbey. The tomb today is empty.



Malmesbury Abbey
(25 February 2011)


Tomb at Malmesbury

Close-up of the head

Close-up at the foot

[WESK321] Edmund I (born 921-22, son of Edward by his 3rd wife Eadgifu), the elder, the deed-doer, the just, the magnificent, married 1. (c.940) [Saint] Aelfgifu; then 2. Aethelflaed of Damerham (daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Aeflgar of Essex). Edmund was King of England (939-946), and was murdered at Pucklechurch, Gloucs, 26th May 946 by an outlaw, Thegn Liofa, and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey.


Glastonbury Abbey
(15 August 1996)

Mike Ashley gives Edmund's 2 wives as: 1. (c.940) Elgiva, died c.944-45; 2. (c.946) Athelfleda (daughter of Ealdorman Alfgar of Wiltshire).

Michael Swanton gives: 1. Aelfgifu; 2. Aethelflaed of Damerham.

[WESK331] Aedgar the peaceable (born c.944, son of Edmund of & Aelfgifu) married 1. Aethelflaed Eneda (daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Ordmear of Hertford); then 2. (c.964) Aelfthryth (born c.945, daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Ordgar of Devon, and widow of Ealdorman [sub-king] Aethelwald of East Anglia). Aedgar was King of Mercia (957-59), King of Northumbria (957-59), King of England (959-75), died 8th July 975, and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey. Aelfthryth died 1002.

Mike Ashley gives Aedgar's 2 wives as: 1. (c.960) Athelfleda (daughter of Ealdorman Ordmaer of Hertford); 2. (c.964) Elfrida (daughter of Ealdorman Ordgar of Devon, and widow of Ealdorman Athelwald of East Anglia).

Ordgar, DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, died 971, and was buried at Exeter.

[WESK349] Aethelred II the unready (born c.968, son of Aedgar & Aelfthryth). At the age of 10, he succeeded his elder brother King Edward II the martyr (murdered March 978, age 16), and was King of England (978-1013 & 1014-1016). He married 1. (c.985) Aelflida (born c.964, daughter of Ealdorman [sub-king] Thored of Northumbria), died 1002; then 2. (5th April 1002) [NORM313] Emma (eldest daughter of DUKE RICHARD I, see NORMANDY DUKEDOM), whereupon she adopted the English name Aelfgifu.

Aethelred's worst decision was to order the massacre of all the Danes living in England (except for the Anglo-Danes of the Danelaw), which event took place on St. Brice's Day, 13th November, 1002, and resulted in punitive raids and much slaughter by King Swein forkbeard of Denmark, which continued until eventually he usurped the throne of England (December 1013), and Aethelred fled to Normandy. King Swein died shortly afterwards (February 1013-14), and Aethelred returned to the throne on condition that he ruled more justly (which he didn't). After further battles against Swein's son Cnut, Aethelred died worn out at London (23rd April 1016), and was buried in the church of St. Paul the Apostle. Afterwards Emma returned to England where she married (2nd July 1017) Cnut, recently crowned King of England and later to become King of Denmark (1018), and then King of Norway (1028). After Cnut's death (1035), Emma was forced into exile in Flanders whilst Harold harefoot (son of Cnut by his first wife) was first Regent (1035-37), then King of England (1037-40). Harold was deposed (March 1040), and Emma returned from Bruges with her son (by Cnut) Harthacnut; who was then crowned King of England (June 1040). After Harthacnut's death (June 1042), Emma's son (by Aethelred) Edward the confessor, became King of England (June 1042). However, Edward dispossessed Emma of her property (1043). She died (14th March 1052) and was buried at Winchester Cathedral.

Mike Ashley gives Aethelred's 2 wives as 1. (c.985) Elgiva (daughter of Ealdorman Thored of Northumbria), died 1002; 2. (April 1002) Emma (daughter of Duke RICHARD OF NORMANDY).

Michael Swanton gives: 1. Aelfgifu (daughter of Earl Thored of Northumbria); 2. Aelfgifu/Emma (daughter of DUKE RICHARD I OF NORMANDY).

[WESK352] Elgiva (daughter of Aethelred & Aelflida) married [BERN331] Earl Uhtred (see BERNICIA).

[WESK353] Goda/Godgifu (daughter of Aethelred & Emma) married 1. [SUDE421] Count Dreux of Mantes and the Vexin (see SUDELEY); then 2. (c.1036) [BOUL331] Count Eustace II of Boulogne (see BOULOGNE COUNTY).

[WESK354] Edward the confessor (born c.1003, son of Aethelred & Emma), was exiled in Normandy from c.1016-35, but became King of England (1042-66). Brought up in a Norman environment, he was more Norman than Anglo-Saxon. He sent for several Normans to help him rule England, for which he became unpopular. Edward had no issue and towards the end he sent messengers to King Andrew I of Hungary to send over his nephew [WESK361] Edward Aetheling the exile with a view to appointing him as his successor. Unfortunately Edward died shortly after his arrival in London (see below). It was said that the king then appointed his distant kinsman [NORK339} DUKE WILLIAM II OF NORMANDY as his successor (see NORMANDY DUKEDOM), though this was later disputed, resulting in the Norman Conquest shortly after Edward's death.

[WESK351] Edmund II ironside (born c.993, son of Aethelred & Aelflida) married (c.1015) [MERW333] Ealdgyth (see MERCIA EARLDOM (2)). Edmund succeeded his father as King of England (1016). Soon afterwards Edmund fought Cnut at the Battle of Ashingdon (18th October 1016). This was a crushing defeat for Edmund, who was severely wounded. Afterwards Edmund and Cnut signed a peace treaty on the Island of Alney in the River Severn near Deerhurst, and it was mutually agreed that Edmund would be King of Wessex only and Cnut would be King of Mercia. The treaty was never enforced, for the mortally wounded Edmund died shortly afterwards at Oxford (30th November 1016), and was buried at Glastonbury Abbey. So Cnut then became sole King of England (1016-35). Henry of Huntingdon (12th Century) gave the following account of Edmund's death:

When the king, fearful and most formidable to his enemies, was prospering in his kingdom, he went one night to the lavatory to answer a call of nature. There the son of Ealdorman [sub-king] Eadric, who by his father's plan was concealed in the pit of the privy, struck the king twice with a sharp knife in the private parts, and leaving the weapon in his bowels, fled away. Then Eadric came to King Cnut and saluted him, saying, "Hail, sole king!" When he revealed what had happened, the king answered, "As a reward for your great service, I shall make you higher than all the English nobles". Then Eadric ordered him to be beheaded, and his head to be fixed on a stake on London's highest tower.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles simply say Edmund "passed away", and that in 1017 his successor Cnut divided his kingdom into four, with Mercia for example under Eadric, and that Eadric was killed [executed] later that year. Henry of Huntingdon's version of Edmund's death was taken from The Chronicles of John of Worcester (450-1066) and is probably fictitious.

Mike Ashley gives Edmund's wife as: (c.1015) Edith (widow of Thane Sigeferth of East Anglia).

Michael Swanton gives: --- (widow of Thegn Siferth of the Seven Boroughs).

Stirnet web-site (ZZmisc03) gives Ealdgyth as daughter of Edwin of Mercia, son of Leofwine & Alwara. This her 1st husband. Her 2nd husband was (?) Outred/Uchtred of Atiscross.

[WESK361] Edward Aetheling the exile (son of Edmund) was banished to Sweden by King Canute (1016), and thence went to Kiev possibly around 1019 after [SWED312] Princess Enguerherda of Sweden married [KIEV321] GRAND DUKE JAROSLAF OF KIEV (see KIEV PRINCEDOM). Here Edward then met and became a close companion of exiled Prince Andrew of Hungary. In 1046 Prince Andrew was recalled to Hungary to take the throne, and he was accompanied by Edward Aetheling. Shortly afterwards Edward Aetheling was recalled to England "to be groomed to succeed to the English throne". Edward married [BRUN322] Agatha (born c.1018, daughter of March Count Liudolf of West Friesland, see BRUNSWICK). A later historian recorded that Edward ---

"espoused the kinswoman of the Emperor of Germany, and the fruits of the union were Edgar Atheling, Christina and Margaret, the latter of whom afterwards became the wife of Malcolm, King of Scots; and through her, the rights of the line of Cerdic were transmitted to Malcolm's progeny, after the conquest of England."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (Worcester, 1067), in connection with his daughter Margaret, stated:

"her mother's family goes back to the emperor Henry who had dominion over Rome".

The Chronicles of the Kings of Man (which are believed to contain extracts from the Chronicle of Melrose) stated:

"Edward took in matrimony Agatha, daughter of Henry the German emperor by whom he begat ... "

Agatha was step-grand-daughter of [GER2301] EMPEROR (1024-39) CONRAD II the Salic, also the first-cousin once-removed of [GER2321] EMPEROR (1039-56) HEINRICH III the black, and also second-cousin of [GER2331] EMPEROR (1084-1105) HEINRICH IV (see GERMAN KINGDOMS AND DUKEDOMS). Shortly after returning to England, Edward died at London (April 1057). Agatha died c.1090.

[WESK372] Margaret (born 1046, daughter of Edward Aetheling & Agatha) married [CANM381] King Malcolm III of Scots (see KINGS OF SCOTLAND).


In 1525 the bones of several Wessex Kings, one woman (King Cnut's wife Emma) and two bishops (Wine and Aelfwine), were placed in ten mortuary chests on view in the Presbytery. During the Civil War, the chests were ransacked by treasure seekers and the bones scattered. The bones were later restored to the chests, though due to damage incurred only six chests were salvageable. Also, it would appear that the lid of one chest was made up from parts of King Ecgberht's and King Cynewulf's chests. It is unlikely that they managed to correctly identify all pieces of bone., whilst the remains from Kings Cnut and Rufus were said to have been shared between two chests, together with other bones found scattered elsewhere. In 2012 it was decided to remove the chests for DNA examination, and scientists at Bristol University hope to ultimately bring together the bones from each individual. In (or about) September 2012, the chests were placed in the Lady Chapel and the lids taken off to expose the bones. At the present time (May 2013) a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant for the project is (hopefully) awaited.

Below are representative examples of these chests. All photos were taken in 2005 by AJZ.