Æthelwold of Wessex
Æthelwold or Alwaldus (c. 868 – 13 December 902) was the younger of two known sons of Æthelred of Wessex. His older brother Æthelhelm is only recorded as a beneficiary of Alfred the Great's will in the mid-880s and probably died soon afterwards.[a] When Æthelred died in 871, his sons were too young to rule and he was succeeded by his younger brother, Alfred.
After Alfred's death in 899, Æthelwold, as the senior ætheling, had a strong claim to succeed him. In the only surviving charter which has Æthelwold's signature, he is listed above Alfred's eldest son, Edward, implying that he ranked above him. However, Alfred naturally favoured his own son and left the bulk of his property to Edward in his will, as well as giving him opportunities for command in battle once he was old enough.
Revolt against Edward 
When Alfred died in 899, Æthelwold made a bid for the throne. According to the 'A' version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Æthelwold seized an unnamed nun from her convent and married her without the permission of King Edward and against the command of the bishop. However, in the view of historian Pauline Stafford, this account is biased in favour of Edward and may have been intended to deligitimize a politically important marriage. He took her to the royal manors of Twynham (now Christchurch) and then Wimborne Minster, symbolically important as his father's burial place, where he declared that "he would live or die". However, when Edward's army approached and camped nearby at Badbury Rings, he was unable to gain sufficient support to meet them in battle. Leaving behind his wife, he fled to the Danes of Northumbria. According to one version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Northumbrians accepted him as king, but within a year he had been driven out. Northumbrian coins were issued at this time in the name of a king called 'Alwaldus', who is thought to have been Æthelwold.[b]
In 901, he sailed with a fleet to Essex. In 902 he persuaded the Danes of East Anglia to wage war against Edward and joined them in a raid on Mercia and Wessex. Edward retaliated by ravaging the southern Danelaw, but when he withdrew, the men of Kent refused to obey the order to retreat. They met the Danes at an unknown location in East Anglia at the Battle of the Holme. The Danes were victorious but suffered the heavier losses, Æthelwold being amongst those leaders on the Danish side who were killed.
In the view of James Campbell, had Æthelwold not been killed at the Holme he might have united England in a manner which involved much less warfare than ultimately proved to be the case: "Had it not been for the chances of battle and war Æthelwold might very well have been regarded as one of the greatest figures in our island's story". Ryan Lavelle has argued that "it is important to acknowledge the audacity of Æthelwold's actions" and that he "well deserves to be ranked amongst the 'Nearly Men' of early Medieval Europe".
See also 
- Æthelwold is often described as Æthelred's elder son, but according to Barbara Yorke his brother Æthelhelm was the elder and Æthelhelm is listed above Æthelwold in Alfred's will. He may have had another older brother called Oswald (or Osweald).
- The Silverdale Hoard includes a coin of Alwaldus.
- In the view of Nick Higham, Æthelweard shows a "lack of empathy" for Edward the Elder in his chronicle, which Higham attributes to Edward's victory over Æthelweard's ancestor.
- Miller, Edward the Elder
- Yorke, p. 35.
- 'King Alfred's Will' in Simon Keynes & Michael Lapidge, p. 177.
- Dumville, p. 11.
- Yorke, pp. 29-31, 37.
- Stafford, p. 110.
- Campbell, p. 21; Williams, Æthelwold; Woolf, pp. 98-99.
- Blunt, `Northumbrian coins'
- Stenton, pp. 321-22.
- Campbell, p. 21.
- Lavelle, p. 79.
- Yorke, p. 31.
- Higham, pp. 5-6.
- Blunt, C. E. (1985) `Northumbrian coins in the name of Alwaldus (= Aethelwald the atheling, 899-902?)' Brit Numis J 55, 1985 192-4, cited in british and irish archaeological bibliography
- Campbell, James (2001). "What is not known about the reign of Edward the Elder". In Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H. Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21497-1.
- Dumville, David (1979). "The ætheling: a study in Anglo-Saxon constitutional history". Anglo-Saxon England (8).
- Higham, Nick (2001). "Edward the Elder's reputation". In Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H. Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21497-1.
- Keynes, Simon; Lapidge, Michael, eds. (1983). Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred & Other Contemporary Sources. Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0-14-044409-4.
- Lavelle, Ryan (2009). "The Politics of Rebellion: the Ætheling Æthelwold and the West Saxon Royal Succession, 899-902". In Skinner, Patricia. Challenging the Boundaries of Medieval History: The legacy of Timothy Reuter. Brepols.
- Miller, Sean (2004). "Edward (called Edward the Elder) (870s?–924), king of the Anglo-Saxons" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8514. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Stafford, Pauline (2007). "'The Annals of Æthelflæd': Annals, History and Politics in Early Tenth-Century England". In Barrow, Julia; Wareham, Andrew. Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-5120-8.
- Stenton, Frank M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5.
- Williams, Ann (1991). "Æthelwold ætheling d. 903". In Ann Williams, Alfred P. Smyth and D. P. Kirby eds. A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain. Seaby. ISBN 978-1-85264-047-7.
- Woolf, Alex (2001). "View from the West: An Irish perspective". In Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H. Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21497-1.
- Yorke, Barbara (2001). "Edward as Ætheling'". In Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H. Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21497-1.
|King of East Anglia
|King of Northumbria
? 899– 902
Eowils and Halfdan