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Egbert of Wessex

Rank: 1st
Ruled: January, 802-July, 839
Predecessor: Offa
Date of Birth: circa775
Place of Birth: Wessex, England
Wife: Redburga
Buried: Winchester Cathedral
Date of Death: 839
Parents: Ealhmund and his wife?

Egbert (also Ecgberht or Ecgbert) (b. about 770, d. 839), king of the West Saxons, succeeded to the throne in 802 on the death of Beorhtric.

A somewhat difficult question has arisen as to the parentage of Egbert. Under the year 825 the Chronicle states that in his eastern conquests Egbert recovered what had been the rightful property of his kin. The father of Egbert was called Ealhmund, and we find an Ealhmund, king in Kent, mentioned in a charter dated 784, who is identified with Egbert's father in a late addition to the Chronicle under the date 784. It is possible, however, that the Chronicle in 825 refers to some claim through Ine of Wessex from whose brother Ingeld Egbert was descended.

It is said that at an earlier period in his life he had been driven out for three years by Offa and Beorhtric. The accession of Egbert seems to have brought about an invasion by Ælthelmund, earl of the Hwicce, who was defeated by Weoxtan, earl of Wiltshire.

In 815 Ecgbert ravaged the whole of the territories of the West Welsh, which probably at this time did not include much more than Cornwall. The next important occurrence in the reign was the defeat of Beornwulf of Mercia at a place called Ellandun in 825. After this victory Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex submitted to Wessex; while the East Anglians, who slew Beornwulf shortly afterwards, acknowledged Ecgbert as overlord. In 829 the king conquered Mercia, and Northumbria accepted him as overlord after refusing to fight his forces at Dore. In 830 he led a successful expedition against the Welsh. In 836 he was defeated by the Danes, but in 838 he won a battle against them and their allies the West Welsh at Hingston Down in Cornwall.

Egbert married Redburga, a Frankish princess (possibly a sister of the emperor Charlemagne), and had two sons and a daughter. Egbert died in about 839, and was buried at Winchester. He was succeeded by his son, King Ethelwulf of Wessex.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Image of Egbert is an imaginary portrait drawn by an unknown artist.

Preceded by:
Offa of Mercia
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
Ethelwulf of Wessex