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British Monarchs: Edward the Martyr (House of Wessex) 975-978

Edward the Martyr

House: House of Wessex
Reign: 975-978

King Edward the Martyr or Eadweard II (c. 962 March 18, 978/979) succeeded his father Edgar as King of England in 975, but was murdered after a reign of only a few years. As the murder was attributed to "irreligious" opponents, whereas Edward himself was considered a good Christian, he was canonised as Saint Edward the Martyr in 1001.

On March 18, 978 the king was hunting with dogs and horsemen
near Wareham in Dorset. During this the king decided to visit his young brother Ethelred who was being brought up in the house of his mother Elfrida at Corfe Castle, near Wareham. Separated from his retinue, the King arrived alone at the castle. Whilst still on his horse in the lower part of the castle Elfrida offered Edward a glass of mead, and while he was drinking it, he was stabbed in the back by one of the queen's party. Ethelred himself was then only ten years old, so was not implicated in the murder. An alternative account comes from Henry of Huntingdon who alleges that Elfrida herself committed the murder

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