king of England (899–924), known as ‘the Elder’. Up to 910 when he won a decisive victory against the Danes at Tettenhall in Staffordshire, Edward was involved first in suppressing a revolt led by his cousin Æthelwold, then in efforts to keep the peace with Danish forces. Tettenhall left Edward in effective command of all England south of the Humber. His success was possible partly because of the readiness of Danes, settled into the countryside, to submit to a strong legitimate king who could offer peace, and partly due to co‐operation between the West Saxons and the Mercians. Edward worked well first with his brother‐in‐law *Æthelred, ealdorman of Mercia, and after his death in 911 with his widow, Edward's own sister *Æthelfleda, the formidable ‘lady of the Mercians’. An outstanding feature of their campaigns was the implementation of a ‘burghal’ policy, setting up fortified defences at towns manned by forces drawn from surrounding estates. Burhs were built or repaired (where existing fortifications already existed) at places such as Hertford, Witham, Buckingham, Bedford, Maldon, Towcester (specially defended by a stone wall), Tempsford, and Colchester by Edward, and at Bridgnorth, Tamworth, Stafford, Warwick, and Runcorn by Æthelfleda.
At various points in his reign Edward also had his overlordship recognized by Welsh princes, Scottish rulers, by the Britons of Strathclyde, and by Northumbrian noblemen exercising authority at Bamburgh, but his major contribution to the ultimate achievement of English unity rested on military and institutional success south of the Humber.
Subjects: British History.