Leodwaldings

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The Leodwaldings were an Anglo-Saxon aristocratic clan in Northumbria who claimed descent from King Ida of Bernicia. They played a prominent role in eighth century Northumbrian politics, providing several kings and prelates.

The death of King Osred son of Aldfrith in 716 ended the era when Northumbria was ruled by direct descendants of King Æthelfrith of Bernicia. Although another direct descendant of Æthelfrith—Osric—ruled Northumbria from 718 to 729, and the last of Aldfrith's sons, Offa, did not die until 750, the rulership of Northumbria first came to the Leodwaldings in 716.[1]

The genealogy in the Historia Brittonum makes the Leodwaldings descendants of a son of Ida named Ocg. The family name is taken from Leodwald son of Ecgwulf, grandfather of the first prominent members of the family. Two sons of Leodwald are known from genealogies of their descendants: Cuthwine and Eata.[2]

The first prominent members of the family are Cuthwine's sons Coenred (ruled 716–718) and Ceolwulf (ruled 729–737 or 738; died 764). No descendants of Cuthwine's sons are known. The two known sons of Eata were the dominant figures of mid-eighth century Northumbria. Ecgberht was Archbishop of York from 734 until 766. Ecgberht's brother Eadberht was king from Ceolwulf's abdication in 737 or 738 until his own abdication in 758.

Eadberht's son Oswulf was king for less than a year, but Oswulf's son Ælfwald ruled from 779 until his murder in 788 and was considered a saint at Hexham Abbey where his remains were buried. Ælfwald left two sons, Ælf and Ælfwine, who were killed in 791 on the orders of King Æthelred. Eadberht's daughter Osgifu married Alhred, king from 765 to 774. They had two known sons. Osred was king from 788 to 790, killed by Æthelred when attempting to retake power in 792. Alhmund was killed in 800 on the orders of King Eardwulf. He too was considered a saint and martyr.

Æthelberht, Ecgberht's successor as Archbishop, is described as his kinsman by Alcuin, but there is no evidence that he was a Leodwalding.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Osric is generally presumed to have been a son of Aldfrith, but it is possible that he was a son Aldfrith's half-brother Eahlfrith of Deira. See Kirby, p. 147; Yorke, p. 88.
  2. ^ Yorke, p. 90, table 11.

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