Edward the Elder Biography
(King of Wessex)
Edward the Elder was the King of Wessex from 899 until his death in 924. Known for his patience and military strategies, he was able to unite Wessex and Mercia by taking over southeast England and the Midlands. His sister Ethelflaeda played a pivotal role in helping him in his endeavours. Together, they brought England under one rule by winning over the Danes, Britons and Scots, thus building one of the most powerful kingdoms in the British Isles. He maintained his leadership by following his sister’s strategy of establishing fortified towns, or burhs, throughout the region of Mercia. Edward’s discord with the monks of Old Minster and its bishop prompted him to establish monasteries in Ramsbury, Sonning, Wells, and Crediton. He was known to have revived the practice of trial by ordeal in cases of perjury. Though a good leader, he is barely acknowledged by modern historians mostly because he did not match up to his father who was considered a far more capable leader. In fact, his father was believed to have left no stone unturned in trying to ensure that his son eventually assumed the throne after him. After Edward’s death, his son Aethelstan became the successor to the throne.