Egbert of Wessex Biography
(King of Wessex)
Egbert, also spelt Ecgberht, Ecgbert, or Ecgbriht, was an Anglo-Saxon king who ruled over Wessex between 802 and 839. An incredibly competent leader, he paved the way for the coming of his grandson, Alfred the Great. The son of Ealhmund of Kent, Egbert was compelled into exile by Offa of Mercia and Beorhtric of Wessex. However, following the demise of Beorhtric, he came back and ascended to the Wessex throne. Not much information is available on the first two decades of his reign. It is believed that he was successful in retaining his kingdom’s freedom against Mercia, which was the dominant kingdom in Southern England. In 825, he was victorious against Beornwulf of Mercia and expanded his control over the Mercian dependencies in south-eastern England. After winning against Wiglaf of Mercia, he captured the kingdom and reigned there directly for a brief period before Wiglaf was able to drive him back. However, Egbert stopped him from regaining Kent, Sussex, and Surrey. These territories were later passed to Egbert’s son Æthelwulf, who reigned over them under his father. Following Egbert’s death in 839, Æthelwulf became the king.