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ETHELRED II The Unready

HUSBAND:
ETHELRED II, The Unready. (Æþelræd Unræd)(Aethelred). [CHART A1].
Known as Æthelred II, Aethelred II, Ethelred the Unready, Æthelred the Unready and Aethelred the Unready (from Old English Æþelræd, nicknamed Unræd, "ill-advised"). Born about 968 A.D.; son of EDGAR I, The Peaceable,and Ælfthryth, King of England.

He married (1) Elfreda (Elgifu) [7084314649]. He married (2) Emma of Normandy. He died in 1016.

He was King of England (978–1013, and 1014–1016). The majority of his reign (991–1016) was marked by a developing, defensive war against Danish invaders. {S3}.

Different spellings of this king’s name most commonly found in modern texts are "Ethelred" and "Aethelred", the latter being closer to the original Old English form "Æþelræd". However ‘Ethelred’ is perhaps most familiar to the modern eye, and so is used here. {S3}.

The story of Ethelred's notorious nickname, "Ethelred the Unready", from Old English Æþelræd Unræd, goes a long way to explaining how his reputation has declined through history. His first name, composed of the elements æðele, meaning "noble", and ræd, meaning "counsel" or "advice",[1] is typical of the bombastic compound names of those who belonged to the royal House of Wessex, and it characteristically alliterates with the names of his ancestors like, for example, Æthelwulf ("noble-wolf"), Ælfred ("elf-counsel"), Edward ("prosperous-protection"), and Edgar ("rich-spear").[2] His nickname Unræd is usually translated into present-day English as 'The Unready', though, because the present-day meaning of 'unready' no longer resembles its ancient counterpart, this translation disguises the meaning of the Old English term. Bosworth-Toller defines the noun unræd in various ways, though it seems always to have been used pejoratively. Generally, it means "evil counsel", "bad plan", "folly". Bosworth-Toller do not record it as describing a person directly; it most often describes decisions and deeds, and once refers to the nature of Satan's deceit (see Fall of Man). The element ræd in unræd is the element in Ethelred's name which means 'counsel'. Thus Æþelræd Unræd is a pun meaning "Noble counsel, No counsel". The nickname has alternatively been taken adjectivally as "ill-advised", "ill-prepared", "indecisive", thus "Ethelred the ill-advised". {S3}.

The epithet would seem to describe the poor quality of advice which Ethelred received throughout his reign, presumably from those around him, specifically from the royal council, known as the Witan. Though the nickname does not suggest anything particularly respectable about the king himself, its invective is not actually focused on the king but on those around him, who were expected to provide the young king with god ræd. Unfortunately, historians, both medieval and modern, have taken less an interest in what this epithet suggests about the king's advisers, and have instead focused on the image it creates of a blundering, misfit king. Because the nickname was first recorded in the 1180s, more than 150 years after Ethelred's death, it is doubtful that it carries any implications for how the king was seen by his contemporaries or near contemporaries. Early life

Sir Frank Merry Stenton remarked that "much that has brought condemnation of historians on King Æthelred may well be due to in the last resort to the circumstances under which he became king."[4] Ethelred's father, King Edgar, had died suddenly in July of 975, leaving two young sons behind him. The elder, Edward (later Edward the Martyr), was Edgar's son by his first wife, Æthelflæd,[5] and was "still a youth on the verge of manhood" in 975.[6] The younger son was Ethelred, whose mother, Ælfthryth, Edgar had married in 964. Ælfthryth was the daughter of Ordgar, ealdorman of Devon, and widow of Æthelwold, Ealdorman of East Anglia. At the time of his father's death, Ethelred could have been no more than 10 years old. As the elder of Edgar's sons, Edward - reportedly a young man given to frequent violent outbursts - probably would have naturally succeeded to the throne of England despite his young age, had not he "offended many important persons by his intolerable violence of speech and behaviour."[7] In any case, a number of English nobles took to opposing Edward's succession and to defending Ethelred's claim to the throne; Ethelred was, after all, the son of Edgar's last, living wife, and no rumour of illegitimacy is known to have plagued Ethelred's birth, as it might his elder brother's. It must be remembered that both boys, Ethelred certainly, were too young to have played any significant part in the political manoeuvring which followed Edgar's death. It was the brothers' supporters, and not the brothers themselves, who were responsible for the turmoil which accompanied the choice of a successor to the throne. Ethelred's cause was led by his mother and included ealdorman Ælfhere and Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester. while Edward's claim was supported by Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Saint Oswald of Worcester, the Archbishop of York[10] among other noblemen, notably Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia, and Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex. In the end, Edward's supporters proved the more powerful and persuasive, and he was crowned king before the year was out. {S3}.

Edward reigned for only three years before he was murdered by his brother's household. Though we know little about Edward's short reign, we do know that it was marked by political turmoil. Edgar had made extensive grants of land to monasteries which pursued the new monastic ideals of ecclesiastical reform, but these disrupted aristocratic families' traditonal patronage. The end of his firm rule saw a reversal of this policy, with aristocrats seizing, or seizing back, land. This was opposed by Dunstan, but according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography "The presence of supporters of church reform on both sides indicates that the conflict between them depended as much on issues of land ownership and local power as on ecclesiastical legitimacy. Adherents of both Edward and Ethelred can be seen appropriating, or recovering, monastic lands."[11] Nevertheless, favour for Edward must have been strong among the monastic communities. When Edward was killed at Ethelred's estate at Corfe Castle in Dorset in March of 978, the job of recording the event, as well as reactions to it, fell to monastic writers. Stenton offers a summary of the earliest account of Edward's murder, which comes from a work praising the life of Saint Oswald of Worcester: "On the surface his [Edward's] relations with Æthelred his half-brother and Ælfthryth his stepmother were friendly, and he was visiting them informally when he was killed. [Æthelred's] retainers came out to meet him with ostentatious signs of respect, and then, before he had dismounted, surrounded him, seized his hands, and stabbed him. ... So far as can be seen the murder was planned and carried out by Æthelred's household men in order that their young master might become king. There is nothing to support the allegation, which first appears in writing more than a century later, that Queen Ælfthryth had plotted her stepson's death. No one was punished for a part in the crime, and Æthelred, who was crowned a month after the murder, began to reign in an atmosphere of suspicion which destroyed the prestige of the crown. It was never fully restored in his lifetime."[12] Nevertheless, at first, the outlook of the new king's officers and counsellors seems in no way to have been bleak. According to one chronicler, the coronation of Ethelred took place with much rejoicing by the councillors of the English people.[13] Simon Keynes notes that "Byrhtferth of Ramsey states similarly that when Æthelred was consecrated king, by Archbishop Dunstan and Archbishop Oswald, 'there was great joy at his consecration’, and describes the king in this connection as ‘a young man in respect of years, elegant in his manners, with an attractive face and handsome appearance’." Ethelred could not have been older than 13 years of age in this year. {S3}.

During these early years, Ethelred was developing a close relationship to Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester, one who had supported his unsuccessful claim to the throne. When Æthelwold died, on 1 August 984, Ethelred deeply lamented the loss, and he wrote later in a charter from 993 that the event had deprived the country of one "whose industry and pastoral care administered not only to my interest but also to that of all inhabitants of the country." {S3}.

Conflict with the Danes

England had experienced a period of peace after the reconquest of the Danelaw in the mid-10th century by King Edgar, Ethelred's father. However, beginning in 980, when Ethelred could not have been more than 14 years old, small companies of Danish adventurers carried out a series of coast-line raids against England. Hampshire, Thanet, and Cheshire were attacked in 980, Devon and Cornwall in 981, and Dorset in 982. A period of 6 years then passed before, in 988, another coastal attack is recorded taking place to the south-west, though here a famous battle was fought between the invaders and the thegns of Devon. Stenton notes that, though this series of isolated raids had no lasting effect on England themselves, "their chief historical importance is that they brought England for the first time into diplomatic contact with Normandy."[16] During this period, the Normans, who remembered their origins as a Scandinavian people, were well-disposed to their Danish cousins who, occasionally returning from a raid on England, would seek port in Normandy. This led to grave tension between the English and Norman courts, and word of their enmity eventually reached Pope John XV. The pope was disposed to dissolve their hostility towards each other, and took steps to engineer a peace between England and Normandy, which was ratified in Rouen in 991. {S3}.

However, in August of that same year a sizable Danish fleet began a sustained campaign in the south-east of England. It arrived off Folkestone, in Kent, and made its way around the south-east coast and up the river Blackwater, coming eventually to its estuary and occupying Northey Island.[17] About 2 km east of Northey lies the coastal town of Maldon, where Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex, was stationed with a company of thegns. The battle that followed between English and Danes is immortalized by the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon, which describes the doomed but heroic attempt of Byrhtnoth to defend the coast of Essex against overwhelming odds. Stenton summarizes the events of the poem: "For access to the mainland they [the Danes] depended on a causeway, flooded at high tide, which led from Northey to the flats along the southern margin of the estuary. Before they [the Danes] had left their camp on the island Byrhtnoth, with his retainers and a force of local militia, had taken possession of the landward end of the causeway. Refusing a demand for tribute, shouted across the water while the tide was high, Byrhtnoth drew up his men along the bank, and waited for the ebb. As the water fell the raiders began to stream out along the causeway. But three of Byrthnoth's retainers held it against them, and at last they asked to be allowed to cross unhindered and fight on equal terms on the mainland. With what even those who admired him most called 'over-courage', Byrhtnoth agreed to this; the pirates rushed through the falling tide, and battle was joined. Its issue was decided by Byrhtnoth's fall. Many even of his own men immediately took to flight and the English ranks were broken. What gives enduring interest to the battle is the superb courage with which a group of Byrhtnoth's thegns, knowing that the fight was lost, deliberately gave themselves to death in order that they might avenge their lord." This would be the first of a series of crushing defeats felt by the English at the hands of first Danish raiders, then organized Danish armies. {S3}.

In 991 Ethelred was around 24 years old. In the aftermath of Maldon, it was decided that the English should grant the tribute to the Danes that they desired, and so a gafol of 10,000 pounds was paid them for their peace. Yet it was presumably the Danish fleet that had beaten Byrhtnoth at Maldon that continued to ravage the English coast from 991-93. In 994, the Danish fleet, which had swollen in ranks since 991, turned up the Thames estuary and headed towards London. The battle fought there was inconclusive. It was about this time that Ethelred met with the leaders of the fleet, foremost among them Olaf Tryggvason, and arranged an uneasy accord. A treaty was signed between Ethelred and Olaf that provided for seemingly civilized arrangements between the now-settled Danish companies and the English government, such as regulation settlement disputes and of trade. But the treaty also stipulates that the ravaging and slaughter of the previous year will be forgotten, and ends abruptly by stating that 22,000 pounds of gold and silver have been paid the raiders as the price of peace.[19] In 994, Olaf Tryggvason, already a baptized Christian, was confirmed as Christian in a ceremony at Andover; King Æthelred stood as his sponsor. After receiving gifts, Olaf promised "that he would never come back to England in hostility."[20] Olaf then left England for Norway and never returned, though "other component parts of the Viking force appear to have decided to stay in England, for it is apparent from the treaty that some had chosen to enter into King Æthelred's service as mercenaries, based presumably on the Isle of Wight." {S3}.

In 997 Danish raids began again. According to Keynes, "there is no suggestion that this was a new fleet or army, and presumably the mercenary force created in 994 from the residue of the raiding army of 991 had turned on those whom it had been hired to protect."[22] It harried Cornwall, Devon, western Somerset, and south Wales in 997, Dorset, Hampshire, and Sussex in 998. In 999 it raided Kent, and in 1000 it left England for Normandy, perhaps because the English had refused in this latest wave of attacks to acquiesce to the Danish demands for gafol or tribute, which would come to be known as Danegeld, 'Dane-payment'. This sudden relief from attack Ethelred used to gather his thoughts, resources, and armies: the fleet's departure in 1000 "allowed Æthelred to carry out a devastation of Strathclyde, the motive for which is part of the lost history of the north." {S3}.

In 1001 a Danish fleet - perhaps the same fleet from 1000 - returned and ravaged west Sussex. During its movements, the fleet regularly returned to its base in the Isle of Wight. There was later an attempted attack in the south of Devon, though the English mounted a successful defence at Exeter. Nevertheless, Ethelred must have felt at a loss, and in the Spring of 1002 the English bought a truce for 24,000 pounds. Ethelred's frequent payments of immense Danegelds are often held up as exemplary of the incompetency of his government and his own short-sightedness. However, Keynes points out that such payments had been practice for at least a century, and had been adopted by Alfred the Great, Charles the Bald, and many others. Indeed, in some cases it "may have seemed the best available way of protecting the people against loss of life, shelter, livestock, and crops. Though undeniably burdensome, it constituted a measure for which the king could rely on widespread support." {S3}.

It seems that no amount of money could staunch the flow of Danish assaults. Indeed it may have encouraged them for in 1003 Danish armies were again active in the west under the command of Swein Forkbeard, who had been with fleet that had attacked London in 994. By 1004 Swein was in East Anglia, where he sacked Norwich. In this year a nobleman of East Anglia, Ulfcytel Snillingr met Swein in force, and made an impression on the, until then, rampant Danish expedition. Though Ulfcytel was eventually defeated, outside of Thetford, he caused the Danes heavy losses and was nearly able to destroy their ships. The Danish army left England for Denmark in 1005, perhaps because of their injuries sustained in East Anglia, perhaps from the very severe famine which afflicted the continent and the British Isles in that year. {S3}.

During the next twelve years England was devastated by a succession of large Danish armies, either under the leadership of King Sweyn I of Denmark or of other commanders such as Thorkell the Tall, which Ethelred's government failed to combat effectively. He was only able to halt the depredations of these armies by the payment of large payments of Danegeld. Each payment led to the withdrawal of the Danes, but on each occasion a fresh onslaught began after a year or two, and each Danegeld payment was much larger than the last. Ethelred's most desperate response was the massacre of the Danes living in England on St Brice's Day (13 November) 1002. Finally in 1013 English resistance collapsed and Sweyn conquered the country, forcing Ethelred into exile, but after his victory Sweyn lived for only another five weeks. In 1014, Canute the Great was proclaimed King of England by the Danish army in England, but was forced out of England that year. Canute launched a new invasion in 1015. Subsequently, Ethelred's control of England was already collapsing once again when he died at London on 23 April 1016. Ethelred was buried in St Paul's and was succeeded by his son, Edmund Ironside. {S3}.

Marriages and issue

Ethelred married first Ælfgifu, daughter of Thored, the ealdorman of York, by whom he had six sons: Æthelstan Ætheling (died 1011), Edmund Ironside, Ecgberht Ætheling, Eadred Ætheling, Eadwig Ætheling (killed 1017) and Eadgar Ætheling the Elder. They also had four daughters: Edith, who married Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia, and Ælfgifu, who married Uchtred the Bold, ealdorman of Bamburgh. Less certainly there may also have been a daughter named Wulfhild married to Ulfcytel Snillingr, and a fourth daughter, Aethelreda married to Gospatric. {S3}.

His second marriage, in 1002, was to Emma of Normandy, sister of Richard II, duke of Normandy. Emma's grandnephew, William I of England, would later use this relationship as the basis of his claim on the throne. They had two sons, Edward (later King of England and known now as Edward the Confessor) and Ælfred Ætheling. By this marriage, he also had Goda of England, who married Drogo of Mantes, Count of Vexin. {S3}.

All of Ethelred's sons were named after previous kings of Wessex / England. {S3}.

Legislation

Ethelred's government produced extensive legislation, which he "ruthlessly enforced."[26] Records of at least six legal codes survive from his reign, covering a range of topics.[27] Notably, one of the members of his council (known as the Witan) was Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York, a well-known homilist. The three latest codes from Ethelred's reign seemed to have been drafted by Wulfstan.[28] These codes are extensively concerned with ecclesiastical affairs. They also exhibit the characteristics of Wulfstan's highly rhetorical style. Wulfstan went on to draft codes for King Cnut, and recycled there many of the laws which were used in Ethelred's codes. {S3}.

Despite the failure of his government in the face of the Danish threat, Ethelred's reign was not without some important institutional achievements. The quality of the coinage, a good indicator of the prevailing economic conditions, significantly improved during his reign due to his numerous coinage reform laws. {S3}.

He died on 23 April 1016.

WIFE (1):
ELFREDA (Elgifu)(Ælfgifu).
Daughter of Thored, Earl of Northumbria.

CHILDREN of Ethelred II and Elfreda:
  1. Æthelstan Ætheling (died about 1012)
  2. Ecgberht Ætheling (died about 1005).
  3. EDMUND Ironside. (died 1016). [CHART A1].
  4. Eadred Ætheling (died about 1012)
  5. Eadwig Ætheling (executed by Canute 1017)
  6. Eadgar Ætheling the Elder (died about 1008)
  7. Edith (married 1 Eadric Streona possibly 2 Thorkell the Tall)(She married Aelfgar Earl of Mercia, son of Leofric III Earl of Mercia and Godiva.).
  8. Ælfgifu (married Uchtred the Bold, earl of Northumbria)
  9. Possibly Wulfhild (married Ulfcytel Snillingr)
  10. Abbess of Wherwell.


WIFE (2):
Emma of Normandy.
sister of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. She married Aethelred in 1002 AD.

CHILDREN of Ethelred II The Unready, and Emma of Normandy:


SOURCES:

ANCESTORS OF ETHELRED II The Unready
Adam (4001BC-3071BC) and  Eve
Seth (3871BC-2959BC)
Enos (3766BC-2861BC)
Cainaan (3676BC-2766BC)
Mahaleleel (3606BC-2711BC)
Jared (3541BC-2579BC)
Enoch (3379BC-2948BC)
Methusalah (2214BC-2345BC)
Lamech (3127BC-2350BC)
Noah (2945BC-1995BC)
Shem (2443BC-1843BC)
Arphaxad (2343BC-1905BC)
Salah (2308BC-1875BC)
Eber (2278BC-1814BC)
Peleg (2244BC-2005BC)
Reu (2214BC1975BC)
Sereug (2182BC-1952BC)
Nahor (2152BC-2004BC)
Terah (2122BC-1918BC)
Abraham (2052BC-1877BC) and Sarah
Isaac (1892BC-1713BC) and Rebekah
Jacob (Israel) (1892BC-1739BC)  and Leah
Judah (c1870-after1670BC) and Tamar
Mahol  (c1700-?)
  |
Dardanus. (c1650-1412).
Erichthonius ( 1412-1368) and Astyoche Ilium
Troas, King of Dardania.  (1366-1326).  
Ilus, King of Troy. (1326-1277). 
Laomedon (1277-1233), King of Troy,  md Strymo.   
Priam, King of Troy
Munion (c1260-1181) and Troana 
Thor and Sebil
Loridi
Einridi
Vingethor
Vingenar
Moda
Magi
Odin (Sceaf)
Bedwig
Hwala (Wala)
Hathra (Athra)
Itermon
Heremod
Sceldwea (Celdwa) 
Beaw (Beu)   
Taetwa  
Geat
Godwulf. (Gudolfr)  
Finn
Frithuwulf
Frealaf
Frithuwald.( Bor)
ODIN
Baeldaeg md Nanna, dau of Gewar, King of Norway
Brond (Brona)   
Frithogar (Frithugar) 
Freawine  
Wig    
Gewis   
Elsa I. (Elesa I)    
Elsa II. (Elesa II) 
Cerdic I, King of Britain & West Saxons 
Creoda 
Cynric
Ceawlin, King of Wessex 
Cuthwine
Cuthwulf
Coelwald
Cenred
Ingild
Eoppa
Eafa
Eahlmund
Egbert, King of Wessex
Ethelwulf
Alfred the Great
Edward the Elder
Edmund I and Elgiva
Edgar I, The Peaceable  
Ethelred II, the Unready 


HOW ARE WE RELATED:
Ethelred II, The Unready. (c968-1016) md Elfreda. 
Edmund Ironside.                                  
Edward Athling, the Exile.                      
Margarethe md Malcolm III Caenmore of Scotland.  
Edith.  She married HENRY I, King of England.    
Matilda. (Maud) md (1) Henry V of Germany.        
HENRY II, King of England, md Ida.              
William I Longspee md Ela Fitzpatrick.           
William II Longspee md Idonie de Camville.        
Ela Longspee md James de Audley.                  
Hugh de Audley md  Isolde de Mortimer.            
Hugh de Audley md  Margaret de Clare.           
Margaret de Audley.   md Ralph de Stafford.      
Hugh Stafford.  md Philippa de Beauchamp.         
Edmund Stafford.  md Anne of Gloucester.        
Humphrey Stafford.  md Anne Neville.            
Margaret Stafford md Robert Dunham.             
John Dunham md Elizabeth Bowett.                
John Dunham II md Jean Thorland.                 
John Dunham III md Benedict Folgamsee.           
Ralph Dunham.  He married Elizabeth Wentworth.    
Thomas Dunham. He married Jane Bromley.          
John Dunham Sr.. He married Susanna Kenney/Keno.  
John Dunham Jr..  He married Mary.                
Mary Dunham. She married  James Hamblin.          
Elkenah Hamblin.  He married Abigail Hamblin.     
Sylvanus Hamblin.  He married Dorcas Fish.        
Barnabus Hamblin.  He married Mary Bassett.      
Isaiah Hamblin.  He married Daphne Haynes.       
Jacob Vernon Hamblin md Sarah Priscilla Leavitt. 
Ella Ann Hamblin md Warren Moroni Tenney.         
Clive Vernon Tenney md Minnie Williams
Mildred Ella Tenney = Glenn Russell Handy
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris