Æthelwulf of Wessex

On this day, 13 January, in the year 858, Æthelwulf, Anglo-Saxon King in England, died in Steyning, Sussex, England. He was my 35th great-grandfather through his great-granddaughter Eadgifu of Wessex and my 36th great-grandfather through his great-grandson Edmund I of England, both children of Edward “The Elder” of Wessex and Mercia and grandchildren of his son Alfred “The Great” of Wessex.

The son of the Egbert, King of Wessex, Æthelwulf was born in 795 in Aachen, Germany. He ascended his father’s throne in 839, four years after the Danes had commenced significant raids of the English coast. As ruler of the West Saxons from 839 to 856, Æthelwulf allied his kingdom of Wessex with Mercia, thereby withstanding repeated invasions by Danish Vikings. In 851, Æthelwulf scored a major victory over a large Danish army at Aclea, Surrey.

At some point, Æthelwulf married Osburh, daughter of Oslac—”King Æthelwulf’s famous butler.” Little is known about Osburh, other than what was written by her son’s (King Alfred “The Great”) biographer, who described Osburh as “a most religious woman, noble in character and noble by birth.”

Together, Æthelwulf and Osburh had five sons and one daughter. Their eldest son, Æthelstan, was old enough to be appointed King of Kent in 839, so he must have been born in the early 820s. Æthelstan died in the early 850s. Their second son, Æthelbald, is first recorded as a charter witness in 841. If, like Alfred, he began to attest when he was about six-years old, then he would have been born circa 835. Æthelbald was King of Wessex from 858 to 860. Their only daughter, Æthelswith, was born about 838. In 853, she married Burgred, King of Mercia. Their third son, Æthelberht, was born about 839 and was King of Wessex from 860 to 865. Their fourth son, Æthelred, was born around 848 and was King of Wessex from 865 to 871. Finally, their youngest son, Alfred, was born around 849 and was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred is both my 34th and my 35th great-grandfather.

It is assumed that Osburh died sometime before 855, because Æthelwulf made a pilgrimage to Rome in 855.

In 856, en route home from his pilgrimage, Æthelwulf visited the court of the Charles the Bald, King of West Francia, my 34th great-grandfather through his son Louis “Le Bègue” of Francia and my 35th great-grandfather through his daughter Rothilde.

While there, Æthelwulf met Charles the Bald’s daughter, Judith of Flanders, who was 14 years old at the time. (Æthelwulf was nearly 50 years old.) In July 856, Æthelwulf and Judith were engaged; then, on 1 October 856, they were married in Verberie, France.

Æthelwulf then returned to his kingdom, where he learned that he had been deposed by a rival faction. However, Æthelwulf continued to rule Kent and several other eastern provinces until his death on 13 January 858. After his death, his widow Judith married his eldest son and successor, Æthelbald.

#englishhistory    #familyhistory     #genealogy

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Æthelwulf of Wessex

  1. I’m always impressed by your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Samantha! You are always so supportive. By the way, I REALLY love reading your posts too!


  2. Another good read! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

The Letters

Louise Mabey


Words of wisdom, inspiration, feeling

Our Great Ancestors

Where Distant Family Become Close

From Ballachulish to South Mississippi

Mississippi family history letters

Writer Within

The Efforts of a Writer Trying to Write

Horses Dirt and Motherhood

This Life of Mine with 9


Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Aquila's Place

An Eccentric Mix of Literature and Opinions

And the Tenth Time

"Nine times out of ten... But what about the tenth time?"

The Women Who Made Me

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Amanda Bradburn

Author | Editor | Genealogist | Professional Bookworm

Daze & Weekes

A (charmingly?) delusional Victorian actress surviving in the hideous and grotesque modern world.

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

Miner Descent

Tracing each branch back to their arrival in America

Dusty Roots & Forgotten Treasures

Researching, Preserving, and Sharing Genealogical Information For Future Generations

Tales of a Family

Finding my Way Home

Lives Our Ancestors Left Behind

What were their stories for us?

Lineage Hunter

Exploring Multiple Family Lines

About Those Ancestors

They can hide, but they can't run!

Generations of Nomads

On the Trail of Family Faces, Places, and Stories Around the World


how we go on...


This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Forgotten Ancestors

Tracing The Faces

Tracking Down The Family

Family History and Genealogy


Jane Roberts: Yorkshire-Based Professional Family History Researcher

A Wise Heart's Journey

Finding ancestors one step at a time.

Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

so I start this site in Virginia... go figure

The Lives of my Ancestors

Lives, Biographies and Sketches of my Family History

%d bloggers like this: