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British Monarchs: Edgar the Peaceable (House of Wessex) 959-975


Edgar the Peaceable


House: House of Wessex
Reign: 959-975



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King Edgar or Eadgar I (c. 942 July 8, 975) was the younger son of King Edmund I of England. He won the nickname, "the Peaceable", but in fact was a stronger king than his elder brother, Edwy, from whom he took the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia in 958. Edgar was acclaimed king north of the Thames by a conclave of Mercian nobles in 958, but officially succeeded when Edwy died in October 959. Immediately Edgar recalled Dunstan (eventually canonised as St. Dunstan) from
exile and made him successively Bishop of Worcester, then of London and finally Archbishop of Canterbury, The allegation that Dunstan at first refused to crown Edgar because he disapproved of his way of life, is a discreet reference in popular histories to Edgar's mistress Wulfthryth, (later a nun at Wilton) who bore him a daughter Eadgyth in 961. Dunstan remained Edgar's advisor throughout his reign, nevertheless.

Edgar's reign was a peaceful one, and it is probably fair to say that it saw the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the English at its height. Although other previous kings have been recorded as the founders of 'England', it was Edgar who consolidated this. By the end of Edgar's reign there was little chance of it receding back into its constituent parts, as it had begun to do during the reign of Edwy.