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Edgar

(943—975) king of England


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St Dunstan (c. 909—988) archbishop of Canterbury

Edmund I (921—946) king of England

St Ethelwold (c. 908—984)

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(943–75),

king of England (959–75). The reign of Edgar marks an important stage in the development of the English monarchy. His coronation at Bath in 973, when the king was in his 30th year, had strong ecclesiastical as well as secular implications, and indeed the ceremony contained elements that formed the basis for all future coronations. Edgar's early years were not easy. He and his elder brother Edwy were the sons of King Edmund (939–46), and on the death of their uncle Edred (946–55) Edwy succeeded to the throne. He proved incompetent, and a revolt in 957 by the Mercians and the Northumbrians resulted in a partition which left Edwy ruling Wessex, but Edgar (still only 14) as king in the north. Civil war was averted by the death of Edwy in 959, and Edgar ruled thereafter a reunited kingdom. In the secular field he was remembered for his good peace, and for his laws in which he recognized the validity of Danish social and legal customs where they had settled. Late in his reign, c.973, he was responsible for a massive reform of the coinage. In religious matters he worked closely with St Dunstan, whom he had appointed as bishop of Worcester, then of London, and finally as archbishop of Canterbury. Immediately after his coronation, Edgar sailed to Chester, where he received formal pledges of loyalty from a number of rulers drawn from the Welsh, Scottish, Cumbrian, and Scandinavian communities. Later historians tell of a ceremonial rowing on the river Dee, with the king at the helm and the other rulers at the oars.

Subjects: British History — Christianity.


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