Wessex

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of Wansdyke, Wiltshire
The White Horse of Uffington, Berkshire

The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons (Old English: Westseaxna rice) was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain enduring from its foundation in the early 6th century until the emergence of a united English state under the Wessex dynasty in the 10th century.

Wessex was created in the southwest, its capital at Winchester (Hampshire) and reaching westward to Devon and eventually to include Cornwall. Its northern boundary was the River Thames, though not for all of its history, as Dorchester on Thames belonged to Wessex for much of its history.

Wessex eventually became the most powerful of the kingdoms of the English, its later kings recognised overlords by all the kings of Britain, the English and the Britons, and it was they who united England into one kingdom. In the century after unification, the identity of Wessex was not forgotten and after Canute the Great's conquest of 1016, Wessex became one of the great regional earldoms Canute created, and so it remained from 1020 to 1066. After 1066, the Normans dissolved the large English earldoms and Wessex was no more.

In 1999, Prince Edward was made Earl of Wessex; the first since Harold Godwinsson, who fell in battle at Hastings in 1066.

Origin

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Wessex was founded by Cerdic and Cynric (Cerdic's son or grandson) whose people and were known at first not as the West Saxons but as the Gewisse. Cerdic and Cynric are said to have landed on the Hampshire coast in the sixth century and to have conquered the surrounding area, achieving a great victory at Cerdicesford (Charford on the border of Hampshire and Wiltshire). The Chronicle though was written in a later century and the specific events it records appear to have been tidied up. Archæological evidence points instead to the main Saxon presence being in the upper Thames valley and Cotswolds area, while Hampshire and Wiltshire, well covered by archaeologists, are "singularly unproductive in finds suggestive of early Anglo-Saxon settlement".[1]

One suggestion from historians of the period is that the Kingdom of the Gewisse had its centre in the late sixth and early seventh century in the Thames Valley, and that it later expanded to the south and west. Others suggest that centres such as Winchester, which was to become the capital, remained British towns, in which continuity of town life can be traced long after the Saxons arrived. The British origin of many of the early kings' names may hint at this also. Bede states that the Isle of Wight was settled not by Saxons but Jutes, who also settled on the Hampshire coast in the Meon Valley, where the Jutish settlers were known as the Meonsæte. These areas were only acquired by Wessex in the later seventh century.

The names of some of the early West Saxon leaders appear to be British in origin, including the dynastic founder Cerdic (a form of the Old Welsh Ceredic or Caradoc) and Cædwalla (from Cadwallon, a very old British name which Caesar rendered Cassivellaunus). Cynric may be compared with the English cynerice ("kingdom") or the Welsh name Cynwrig. These British-sounding names are interspersed with Old English names such as Ceolwulf, Coenberht and Æscwine. This variation might suggest the early rulers came from a hybrid Anglo-British dynasty or Saxons adopting local names to rule a remaining population, or that the rule of early Wessex shifted between more than one royal clan. All this though is conjecture. The repeated initial “C-“ in early kings' names is no coincidence but common Anglo-Saxon dynastic practice, and it has been suggested that the change in the royal initial to E or Æ with Ecgbryht (Egbert) in the ninth century marked an unacknowledged change of dynasty.

The two main sources for the names and dates of the kings of Wessex are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and an associated document known as the West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List. The Chronicle gives small genealogies in multiple places, under the annals for different years. These sources, however, conflict in various ways and cannot be fully reconciled. A recent analysis by David Dumville that has produced a set of plausible dates for the West Saxon kings has been used by other scholars but cannot be regarded as definitive. Dumville's dates are used in the historical outline below, with reference to the original sources to highlight some of the conflicts. The later genealogies may have been contrived with the intent of connecting all lineages to Cerdic, and this has introduced additional inconsistencies which cannot all be resolved.

Foundation

The Chronicle gives 495 as the date for Cerdic's arrival in Britain:

"495. There came two ealdormen to Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, with five ships, to a place called Cerdicesora, on the same day they fought the Welsh."

F. M. Stenton[2] gives evidence of doubled entries in the Chronicle, which suggests an early sixth-century date for the landing of the ancestor of the Wessex ruling kinship.

Most historians appear agreed that the location of Cerdicesora or "Cerdic's Shore" is somewhere on Southampton Water, perhaps Calshot.


Another party is recorded as landing in 501 under a leader named "Port", and though this may be a legendary name, the battle is recorded in a native source too. The Chronicle states:

"501. At this time came Port to Britain and his two sons Bieda and Mægla with two ships to that place that is named [[Portsmouth|Portesmuþa and slew a young British man, a very noble man.[3]

A Welsh poem, Geraint map Erbin tells that the Prince fell at the battle of Llongborth, which may identify him as the "younfg British man, a very noble man".

After consolidating their position the invaders next appear to have conquered the area around Southampton at the Battle of Natanleod, placed at Netley Marsh.

"508. This year Cerdic and Cynric killed a British king named Natanleod, and five thousand men with him. After that the land was known as Natanleag up to Cerdicesford."

The location of Cerdicesford has been placed at various locations but is most often identified with Charford, a strategic location at the crossing of the River Avon, Hampshire close to the border with Wiltshire.

"514. The West-Saxons came to Briton with 3 ships to a place called Cerdicesora and in the same year they fought the Britons and put them to flight."
"519. Cerdic and Cynric received the West-Saxon kingdom, and the same year they fought with the Britons, in a place now called Cerdicesford. The royal line of West Saxons ruled from that day."

The Chronicle is vague and may duplicate different accounts, but it records multiple landings along a coast known to the Saxons as Cerdic's Shore. It is likely that both Winchester and Silchester would have fallen to the Saxons between the years 508 and 514 if only because these important towns do not appear in the later annals of the British scribes. A later thrust up the Hampshire Avon towards Old Sarum in 519 appears to have been checked by the Britons at Charford. Albany Major in Early Wars of Wessex makes the case that the borders of Hampshire probably match those of the first West Saxon kingdom established by Cerdic and his son. Evidence of this comes from the border between Hampshire and Berkshire which follows generally the line of the Roman road that ran east and west through Silchester but is deflected in the north in a rough semicircle, in such a way as to include the whole district around the town. He argues that the capture of Silchester, of which no record has been passed down to us, was not the work of Mercian Angles but of the West Saxons probably striking north from Winchester and possibly acting in concert with a separate force making its way up the Thames Valley towards Reading. Silchester was left desolate after its fall and it is most improbable that any regard would have been paid to its side of the border had the fixing of the county boundary been made at a later period.[4]

Study of the borders between Hampshire and Wiltshire may suggest that the battle at Charford in about 519 may not have been the victory for the Saxons the Chronicle records but a check on their westward advance, which would corroborate the date given in the Annales Cambriae for the crucial British victory at the Battle of Mons Badonicus in 517AD; Gildas says that Mons Badonicus ended the Anglo-Saxon encroachments on Britain up to his time, so for at least a generation.

Cynric received the crown in about 554; Cynric is Cerdic's son according to some sources and his grandson in others, which name Creoda, son of Cerdic, as Cynric's father. Cynric was in turn succeeded by Ceawlin, who was probably his son, in about 581. All three have arguable British names.

Ceawlin's reign is thought to be more reliably documented than those of the earlier kings, though the Chronicle's dates (560 to 592) are doubted. He overcame pockets of Britons to the northeast in the Chilterns and in Gloucestershire and Somerset the captures of Cirencester, Gloucester and Bath (577), after the long pause caused by the battle of Mons Badonicus, opened the way to the southwest. Ceawlin is one of the seven kings named in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People as holding "imperium" over the southern English; the Chronicle later repeats this claim and refers to Ceawlin as a bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler".

Ceawlin was deposed, perhaps by his successor Ceol, and died the following year. Ceol was the son of Ceawlin's brother, Cutha (or Cuthwine). Six years later, in about 594, Ceol was succeeded by Ceolwulf, his own brother; and Ceolwulf succeeded in turn in about 617 by Cynegils. The genealogies are remarkably inconsistent on Cynegils' pedigree: his father is variously given as Ceolwulf (also written Ceola and Ceol) or as Cuthwine (or Cuthwulf or Cutha). The idea that Cynegils's father was Coel to his British subjects, Cuþwulf to the Saxons and a mixture of the two in common speech is mere speculation.

Christian Wessex and the rise of Mercia

British kingdoms around about the year 800 AD
Her swutelað seo gecwydrædnes ðe
Inscription at St Mary, Breamore

Cynegils accepted Christianity, the first West Saxon king to do so, and was baptised by Birinus at the end of the 630s, perhaps in 640: this is the first event in West Saxon history that can be dated with reasonable certainty. Birinus was then established as bishop of the West Saxons, with his seat at Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Cynegils's successor (and probably his son), Cenwealh, who came to the throne in about 642, was a pagan at his accession. However, he too was baptised only a few years later and Wessex became firmly established as a Christian kingdom. Cynegils's godfather was King Oswald of Northumbria and his conversion may have been connected with an alliance against King Penda of the Mercians, who had previously attacked Wessex.

Penda's attacks marked the rise of the Kingdom of the Mercians, which would in time deprive Wessex of its territories north of the Thames and the Avon, encouraging the kingdom's reorientation southwards. Cenwealh married Penda's daughter, and when he repudiated her, Penda again invaded and drove him into exile for some time, perhaps three years, probably in the late 640s or early 650s. In exile in East Anglia he was converted to Christianity. Returning home, Cenwealh faced further attacks from Penda's Christian successor Wulfhere, but was able to expand West Saxon territory in Somerset at the expense of the Britons. He established a second bishopric at Winchester, abandoning to the Mercians that of Dorchester-on-Thames. Winchester developed into the capital of Wessex.

After Cenwealh's death in 673, his widow, Seaxburh, held the throne for a year, but with such unwonted cruelty that after her day the title "Queen" was forbidden in Wessex for two hundred years. She was followed by Æscwine, apparently descended from another brother of Ceawlin; this was one of several occasions on which the kingship of Wessex is said to have passed to a remote branch of the royal family, always with an unbroken male line of descent from Cerdic or at least a claim to it. Æscwine's ruled just two years and in 676 the throne passed back to Cenwealh's immediate family, with the accession of his brother Centwine. Centwine fought and won battles against the Britons, but the details have not survived.

After Centwine came Cædwalla (another British name), who claimed descent from Ceawlin, and in Cædwalla's two winters he conquered the kingdoms of Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight, although Kent regained its independence almost immediately and Sussex followed some years later. In 688 he went to Rome, was baptised by the Pope and died soon afterwards.

Ine succeeded Cædwalla. Ine also claimed descent from Cerdic through Ceawlin, but through a long-separated line of descent. Ine enjoyed the longest reign of all the West Saxon kings, 38 years, and his most famous achievement was not a feat of arms but his law code; the oldest surviving English code of law outside Kent. He also established a second West Saxon bishopric at Sherborne in Dorset, covering the territories west of Selwood Forest. Near the end of his life he followed in Cædwalla's footsteps by abdicating and making a pilgrimage to Rome. The throne then passed to a series of other kings who claimed descent from Cerdic but whose supposed genealogies and relationship to one another are unknown.

The 8th century Mercian domination was at its height under Offa, who claimed the title “Emperor of Britain” and acted as overlord of all the English kingdoms. Wessex still continued its gradual advance west, conquering the heart of the British kingdom of Dyfnaint, which became Devon. The system of shires originated in Wessex, and had been established by the mid-eighth century.

Egbert

At Offa's death Ceolwulf succeeded him but his subjects were rebelling and Mercian power was ready to fail. In 802 Brihtric of Wessex was succeeded by Egbert (Ecgbriht), from a cadet branch that claimed descent from Ine's brother Ingild. Never more though would the line of kings depart: all subsequent kings down to Elizabeth II have been descended from Egbert.

Egbert's origin is uncertain. Most previous kings had born names beginning with a 'C', a dynastic mark, and Ecgbryht's accession might mark a change, or he might have been given his name to imitate the old Kentish dynasty Eslingas, as he was to be sent to rule as underking of Kent. From his day forth, the West Saxon Kings bore names with E or Æ.

Egbert subdued the Cornish (the “West Welsh”), who had allied with the Vikings, winning victories in 813 and then again at "Gafulford" in 822.[5] In 825 he broke Mercian power: Egbert decisively defeated King Beornwulf of Mercia at Ellendun and seized control of Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Essex from the Mercians, and assisted East Anglia to rebel.

In 829 Egbert conquered Mercia itself, driving its King Wiglaf into exile, and the king of Northumbria acknowledged Egbert as overlord; thus Egbert became the “Bretwalda”, or high king of Britain. Wiglaf returned in 830 to restore Mercian independence but never its dominance.

Coming of the Vikings

Danish Vikings raided Britain mercilessly in the ninth century, and attacked Wessex in the latter part of Egbert's reign, from 835 onwards. In 851 a Danish fleet of 350 ships arrived in the Thames Estuary and swung through East Anglia and Mercia, defeating King Beorhtwulf of Mercia in battle. From here they invaded Wessex, Egbert's son and successor King Æthelwulf crushed them in the exceptionally bloody Battle of Aclea (probably Ockley in Surrey). This victory postponed Danish conquests in England for fifteen years, but raids on Wessex continued.

In 855-6 Æthelwulf went on pilgrimage to Rome and his eldest surviving son Æthelbald seized the throne. On his return, Æthelwulf agreed to divide the kingdom with his son to avoid bloodshed, ruling the new territories in the east while Æthelbald held the old heartland in the west. Æthelwulf was succeeded by each of his four surviving sons ruling one after another: the rebellious Æthelbald, then Ethelbert, who had previously inherited the eastern territories from his father and who reunited the kingdom on Æthelbald's death, then Æthelred, and finally Alfred the Great, after the first two brothers died in battle with the Danes without issue, while Aethelred's sons were too young to rule when their father died.

Wessex stands alone

In 865 the Danish Great Army arrived in England and over the following years overwhelmed the kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia. Wessex was invaded in 871, and although Æthelred and Alfred won some victories and succeeded in preventing the conquest of their kingdom, a number of defeats, heavy losses of men and the arrival of a fresh Danish army in England compelled Alfred to pay the Danes to leave Wessex.[6] The Danes spent the next few years subduing Mercia and some of them settled in Northumbria, but the rest returned to Wessex in 876. Alfred responded effectively and was able with little fighting to bring about their withdrawal in 877. A portion of the Danish army settled in Mercia, but at the beginning of 878 the remaining Danes mounted a winter invasion of Wessex, taking Alfred by surprise and overrunning much of the kingdom. Alfred was reduced to taking refuge with a small band of followers in the marshes of the Somerset Levels, but after a few months he was able to gather an army and defeated the Danes at the Battle of Edington, bringing about their final withdrawal from Wessex to settle in East Anglia.

The Treaty of Wedmore following Alfred's victory divided England between Alfred and the Danes. Guthrum was baptised and became King of East Anglia, under the baptismal name “Æthelstan”), while Mercia was divided along the line of the River Lea and Watling Street; the lands to the northeast became known as the Danelaw, which term survived into the law code of Henry I. Alfred was recognised as overlord of all England, and he took homage from the other British kings in due course.

Over the following years Alfred carried out a dramatic reorganisation of the government and defences of Wessex, building warships, organising the army into two shifts which served alternately and establishing a system of fortified burhs across the kingdom. This system is recorded in a 10th century document known as the Burghal Hidage, which details the location and garrisoning requirements of thirty-three forts, whose positioning ensured that no one in Wessex was more than a long day's ride from a place of safety.[7] In the 890s these reforms helped him to repulse the invasion of another huge Danish army – which was aided by the Danes settled in England – with minimal losses.

Alfred also reformed the administration of justice, issued a new law code and championed a revival of scholarship and education. He gathered scholars from around England and elsewhere in Europe to his court, and with their help translated a range of Latin texts into English, doing much of the work in person, and orchestrated the composition of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. As a result of these literary efforts and the political dominance of Wessex, the West Saxon dialect of this period became the standard written form of Old English for the rest of the Anglo-Saxon period and beyond.

English Mercia was restored to Ceolwulf II as King of the Mercians, but he was succeeded not by a king but by a mere ealdorman named Æthelred, who acknowledged Alfred's overlordship and married his daughter Æthelflæd.

The unification of England

Continued Danish incursions from within and without were repulsed and the English strengthened their position. In 911 Ealdorman Æthelred died, leaving his widow, Alfred's daughter Æthelflæd, to rule Mercia. Alfred's son and successor Edward the Elder, then annexed London, Oxford and the surrounding areas. Between 913 and 918 a series of English offensives overwhelmed the Danes of Mercia and East Anglia, bringing all of England south of the Humber under Edward's and Æthelflæd's power. In 918 Aethelflaed died and Edward took over direct control of Mercia and thenceforth there would one kingdom: the Kingdom of the English. In 927 Edward's successor Athelstan was crowned King of the Mercians and of the West Saxons. He conquered Northumbria, bringing the whole of England under one ruler for the first time, and took homage from all the kings of Britain. The Kingdom of the West Saxons had thus been transformed into the Kingdom of the English.

Although Wessex had now effectively been subsumed into the larger kingdom which its expansion had created, like the other former kingdoms it continued for a time to have a distinct identity which periodically found renewed political expression. After the death of King Eadred in 955, England was divided between his two sons, with the elder Edwy ruling in Wessex while Mercia passed to his younger brother Edgar. In 959 Edwy's death reunited England under Edgar, who was the first king to without war.

The earldom of Wessex

When the Danish king Cnut took the English throne in 1016, he established earldoms based on the former kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia, but initially administered Wessex personally. Within a few years, however, he had created an earldom of Wessex, encompassing all of England south of the Thames, for his supporter Godwin, an Englishman. For almost fifty years the vastly wealthy holders of this earldom, first Godwin and then his son Harold, were the most powerful men in English politics after the king. On the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066, Harold became king, reuniting the earldom of Wessex with the crown. Within months, the Normans came, slew Harold in battle and did away with the great earldoms: thus 1066 marks the extinction of Wessex as a political unit.

In the Leges Henrici Primi (the Laws of Henry I) it is recited that different laws applied in the three parts of England, Wessex, Mercia and the Danelaw. Otherwise however Wessex ceased to have significance.

Kings of the West Saxons

Reign King Notes
Kings of the Gewissae
Cerdicings
519 to 534 Cerdic Welsh name
534 to 560 Cynric Possibly Welsh name
560 to 591 Ceawlin Welsh name
591 to 597 Ceol
597 to 611 Ceolwulf
611 to 643 Cynegils Welsh name
c. 626 to 636 Cwichelm
643 to 645 Cenwalh Welsh name; Deposed
648 to 674
Kings of the West Saxons
Cenwalh Queen Seaxburh 672 to 674
672 to 674 Seaxburh Cenwalh until his death 674
674 to 674 Cenfus
674 to 676 Æscwine
676 to 685 Centwine Deposed by Cædwalla
685 to 688 Cædwalla Abdicated
688 to 726 Ine Abdicated
726 to 740 Æthelheard
740 to 756 Cuthred
756 to 757 Sigeberht Deposed (and killed?) by Cynewulf
757 to 786 Cynewulf Assassinated by Cyneheard, brother of Sigeberht
786 to 802 Beorhtric
802 to 839 Egbert
839 to 858 Æthelwulf
858 to 860 Æthelbald
860 to 865 Æthelbert
865 to 871 Æthelred
Kings of the English
871 to 899 Alfred the Great The only Anglo-Saxon king to be given the nickname "the Great".
899 to 924 Edward the Elder Died 17 July 924
924 Ælfweard? Second son of Edward the Elder. Died 2 August 924, only 16 days after his father
924 to 927 Æthelstan Became King of the English in 927 when the Northumbrians accepted his lordship.[8]

Symbols

Wyvern or dragon

A modern version of the Wessex flag
Flag on the Bayeux Tapestry

Wessex is often symbolised by a wyvern or dragon. Henry of Huntingdon and Matthew of Westminster both talk of a golden dragon being raised at the Battle of Burford in AD 752 by the West Saxons. The Bayeux Tapestry depicts a standard with a golden dragon, not on a flag but a dragon attached by its mouth to the staff. On the standard the dragon is shown without rear legs, which later heraldry would term a "wyvern".

A panel of 18th century stained glass at Exeter Cathedral indicates that the association of a dragon with the kingdom of Wessex pre-dates the Victorians. Nevertheless, the association was popularised in the 19th century, particularly in the writings of E A Freeman. When county councils were created, Somerset County Council adopted a golden dragon as a badge, and in 1911 the College of Arms granted it of armorial bearings showing a red dragon, apparently inspired not so much by Wessex as by the legend that King Arthur "Pendragon" was buried at Glastonbury. In 1937 Wiltshire County Council also received a shield with a red dragon, and in 1950 two golden Wessex dragons were granted as supporters to the arms of Dorset County Council.

In the British Army the wyvern has been used to represent Wessex: The 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division adopted a formation sign consisting of a gold wyvern on a black background, and both the Wessex Brigade and Wessex Regiments used a cap badge featuring the heraldic beast.

When Sophie, Countess of Wessex was granted arms, the sinister supporter assigned was a blue wyvern, described by the College of Arms as "an heraldic beast which has long been associated with Wessex".

The Wessex Society promoted the use of a flag for Wessex, designed by William Crampton, which features an heraldic golden wyvern on a red background. It was registered by the Flag Institute as the Flag of Wessex in 2011.

The Arms of Saint Edward

Coa King Edmund Ironside.svg

A coat of arms was attributed anachronistically by mediæval heralds to the Kings of Wessex. These arms appear in a manuscript of the thirteenth century, and are blazoned as:

Azure, a cross patonce between four martlets Or.[9]

Though these arms were a work of romantic imagining, heraldry as such did not develop until the twelfth century, nevertheless they have some slim basis: a silver penny issued under Edward the Confessor bore a cross and between its arms four birds, perhaps intended to be doves.

Thomas Hardy's Wessex

The author Thomas Hardy used a fictionalised Wessex as a setting for many of his novels. Hardy was a Dorset man and his novels following in loving details the life of the villages of his native shire and sometimes a wider scope. He adopting the term Wessex from his friend the Rev William Barnes, the Dorset poet.

Hardy's Wessex did not include Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire (although the city of Oxford, renamed "Christminster", is visited as part of Wessex in Jude the Obscure). He gave the counties the following fictionalised names:

Hardy's Wessex
Berkshire: North Wessex
Devon: Lower Wessex
Dorset: South Wessex
Hampshire: Upper Wessex
Somerset: Outer Wessex
Wiltshire: Mid-Wessex
Cornwall was described as Off-Wessex or Lyonesse

The name 'Wessex' in use

  • Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church[10]
  • Wessex Institute of Technology
  • Wessex Stadium, home to Weymouth F.C.
  • 43rd (Wessex) Brigade – British Army's regional command for the South West region
  • Royal Wessex Yeomanry – British Army territorial unit
  • Wessex Archaeology – an educational charity and the largest UK archaeological practice[11]
  • Wessex culture – an archæological label used to describe a Bronze Age culture whose remains are found in the Wessex area
  • Wessex League –football league covering Hampshire and parts of the surrounding counties
  • Wessex Trains – train operating company that used to operate in much of the South West region
  • Wessex Water – water supply and sewage company that covers much of the South West region
  • Wessex Cyclists Touring Club – cycling and events across the region[12]
  • University of Southampton sports teams have adopted 'Wessex' as a group identity[13]
  • Southampton University Rugby Football Club players are called Wessex Rangers.
  • University of Reading halls of residence adopted 'Wessex' as its name.[14]
  • Wessex Scene – a student newspaper produced by Southampton University Student's Union (SUSU)
  • Westland Wessex – a British built helicopter
  • Wessex Saddleback – a pig breed originating from Wessex
  • The A338 "Wessex Way", a road linking Bournemouth in Hampshire to the A31 and leading to Salisbury in Wiltshire
  • Wessex Deanery – responsible for the organisation and assessment of junior doctors training within the area[15]

Earl of Wessex

In 1999, Prince Edward was made Earl of Wessex on the occasion of his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones. His Royal Highness could not receive a Dukedom as he had been promised the title Duke of Edinburgh when that title reverts to the Crown, and another Dukedom should not become superior to Edinburgh by an earlier grant, and so the name of Wessex was perhaps the most noble earldom, appropriate to a royal prince.

The last Earl of Wessex before Prince Edward was Harold Godwinson, who became king and fell at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Outside links

References

  1. H R Loyn, Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman conquest, 2nd ed. 1991:34
  2. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England 19–25, noted in Loyn 1991:34 note 54.
  3. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle  Parker Chronicle (501) Her cwom Port on Bretene 7 his .ii. suna Bieda 7 Mægla mid .ii. scipum on þære stowe þe is gecueden Portesmuþa 7 ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe æþelne monnan.
  4. Major, Albany F Early Wars of Wessex (1912, 1978) p.17
  5. Major, Albany F. Early Wars of Wessex, p.105
  6. "Alfred the Great (849 AD - 899 AD)". http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alfred_the_great.shtml. 
  7. The Burghal Hidage: Alfred's Towns, Alfred the Great website
  8. Simon Keynes (2001). "Edward, King of the Anglo-Saxons". in N. J. Higham & D. H. Hill. Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 0-415-21497-1. 
  9. College of Arms MS L.14, dating from the reign of Henry III
  10. URC Wessex Synod Website, http://www.urcwessex.org.uk
  11. "Wessex Archaeology – One of the UK's leading heritage practices, and an educational charity". Wessexarch.co.uk. http://www.wessexarch.co.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  12. "Cycling in Wessex – CTC Wessex Homepage". Wessexctc.org. http://www.wessexctc.org. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  13. "succ.tk". succ.tk. http://www.succ.tk. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  14. "Wessex Hall @ University of Reading". Reading, Berkshire. http://www.reading.ac.uk/life/accommodation/acc_Wessex.aspx. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  15. "NESC NHS Education South Central". Nesc.nhs.uk. http://www.nesc.nhs.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2010.