Saturday, August 8, 2015

English Kings Prior to William the Conqueror

Coins are available for all the kings listed here and many of the kings of portions of the country that precede them. Even earlier roman coins are available for the Caesars and for governors of the province of Britannia.
I could probably list a hundred kings of England if I were not too fussy about it.  There were kings of fractions of the country for centuries, but in order to call a king: King of England, I would say that most of the country would have to be included.  There are probably coins available from many of these kings, but do they qualify as collectibles for the purpose I am proposing here.
I have included photos of coins available on line at this writing.  This proves that this is an expensive hobby.  Some less desirable coins will run as low as $500, but many cannot be had for less that $3500 and most run up to $4-6000.  Further research might get you less beautiful and less clear coins for a more reasonable price.  In all cases the coin is above the caption.

This coin was not available at this post date.
Egbert 802-839  Egbert was king of Wessex, he campaigned to add Mercia, which controlled many counties of sub political units in the south.  When he defeated Offa(of Offa's dike fame) he was referred to as ruler of England. He had the submission of Northumbria which he was not king of, but dominated.  So..I guess he qualifies.

Aethelwulf  839-855 Went on pilgrimage to Rome and returned to find that of his two sons, Aethelbald would not give up the portion in the west that he had been administering while Aethelwulf was gone...So the kingdom was divided.  When Aethelwulf died, they continued divided till Aethelbald died, and Aethelbert rejoined the two halves.

This coin was not available at this post date.
Aethelbert 860-866 He ruled the joined kingdoms after his brother died and in fact joined all the ruled territories into one kingdom instead of separate units ruled by one king.

Aethelred I 866-871 the fourth son of Aethelwulf  and older brother of Alfred the great, ruled and lost portions of the kingdom to the Danes(Vikings) and was not recognized by all as the king of England, but since he was living in an England that was divided as much as ever into kingdoms, he deserves the name as much as the predecessors.
Alfred the great 871-899 He reabsorbed the lost territory from his older brother's reign, and called himself king of the Anglo Saxons. Championed education in the kingdom and was a learned and merciful man himself.  Much improved the legal systems in the country. regained most land that had been taken by the Vikings over many years.
Eadward I the elder 899-924  Eadward was not sure to become king.  He was not the eldest choice of all the candidates. Wrangling of inheritances and political moves eventually made him the choice over others. Fighting over the succession and with the Vikings in York ensued. He and his sister added to area ruled till he controlled all south of the Humber river.  He gained complete control of Mercia after his sister died, as she was queen of Mercia by marriage. 
Aethelstan 924-939
He was second in line after his half brother in Wessex and accepted immediately by the Mercians.  His half brother died within months and he became king in Wessex, though there was some resistance.  He defeated York, the last Viking kingdom and became king of all England, though it would not last after his death and York would have to be reconquered later. 
Eadmund the magnificent 930-946  Northumbria was conquered by king Olaf and Eadmund reconquered them. he was murdered by Leofa, an exiled thief. Edmund had conquered Strathclyde, but returned it to Scotland, assuring the Scots of secure borders and they then remained allied with the English.   
Eadred  946-955
Olaf again tried to re-establish himself in the north as had other Scadinavian princes.  Eadred finally defeated them all and regained York.  He died at 32 and childless and was succeeded by his nephew.

Eadwig all-fair 955-959 ruled only four years amid disputes with the nobles and the church.  He was succeeded by his brother who had been declared king by the nobles in the north.

Eadgar the peaceful 959-975 a small man.  he standardized measures in the kingdom.  Under him all of England became one kingdom and would not sink back into separate petty kingdoms.
This coin was not available at this post date.
Eadward II the martyr 975-978
He was very young when he became king and others wielded power for him. Giving support to the church in attempts to dispossess it of lands granted earlier by king Edgar, he was murdered at Corfe castle and later recognized as a saint.

Aethelred the unready 978-1016 The Danes raided England and he paid them off for a time.  Sweyn Forkbeard eventually invaded and took over England.  Aethelred was exiled to France and when Forkbeard eventually died he returned.  Unready was a name that actually meant poorly advised not unprepared.
Cnut the great 1016-1035
After his father's death England reverted to Aethelred.  Cnut invaded again, and retook England from Aethelred.  he ruled England well for 19 years and prospered because his reign protected England from more raids from the Danes.

Harold I harefoot 1035-1040

Harthacnut 1040-1042
Edward the confessor 1042-1066
Edward was a complicated case.  William was his natural heir, having no children himself, and he promised him the throne.  Harold II had not Royal blood in the literal sense, but was from an influential family of barons.  Harold was a favorite, and also expected the crown.  He traveled to Normandy and was captured by hostile action, and in return for his escape, he swore, so the story goes, on holy relics without knowing it, that he would not accept the throne if offered and allow William to succeed.  When the time came, Harold took the throne, and William invaded.  And the rest is history, including members of my own family through my grandmother Mitchell

This coin was not available at this post date.
Harold II 1066

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