Talk:List of English monarchs

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Judith[edit]

I deleted a reference to the annulment of Judith's marriage to Æthelbald as there are no sources for this, but the deletion was reversed with a reference to peerage.com. This is not an academic source and is not reliable. For example, it has two non-existent children of Æthelberht, one of them an obvious confusion with Æthelred's son Æthelwold, who disputed the throne with Edward the Elder.

There are two sources cited by historians for the marriage. Asser in his life of Alfred condemned the marriage, but did not say that it was annulled, which he would have done if he could. The Annals of St Bertin says that after Æthelbald died Judith sold her possessions and returned to her father. These sources are cited by Janet Nelson in the online DNB on Judith (in her article on Æthelwulf) and Keynes and Lapidge in their edition of Asser, and neither make any mention of an annulment. There is also no mention of an annulment in the DNB article on Æthelbald or the entry for Judith in the Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain by Ann Williams and other leading academic experts.

I have therefore again deleted the reference to an annulment. Dudley Miles (talk) 23:48, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Eleanor of Aquitaine[edit]

Shouldn't she be here? She was the de facto ruler of England for much of Richard I's reign. Serendipodous 14:28, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

It's not a list of regents. Richard75 (talk) 09:02, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Ælfweard[edit]

I inserted a section for Ælfweard, but this was deleted by another editor. Historians now generally accept that he was declared king, although as I said in the footnote, they differ as to whether he was recognised as king of the whole of his father's kingdom or of Wessex only. Ann Williams in the Dictionary of Dark Age Britain says that he became king of Wessex, Sean Miller in the Blackwell Encylopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England that "Ælfweard succeeded" his father, Simon Keynes in the same book that Ælfweard was probably Wessex's candidate for king of the whole kingdom and Æthelstan Mercia's.

In addition the deletion was on the ground that Ælfweard was king of Wessex, not of England, but the kings before him were kings of Wessex or the Anglo-Saxons. Mercia was independent (apart from short periods of rule by Wessex) until the Danish invasion of 874, and Northumbria until its conquest by Æthelstan. The article lists English monarchs, not monarchs of England. Ælfweard has at least as good a claim to be included as some others in the list, such as Edgar Ætheling. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:31, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

I have reverted to 29 March because I think TharkunColl threw the baby out with the bathwater when he deleted the sentence about Aelfweard that was already there (which said he may or may not have been king). However I left out Dudley's addition in case TC wants to make his case here for deleting it, to avoid an edit war. But I think Dudley makes a good point: unless we are going to delete every king between Offa and Athelstan, we can't leave out Aelfweard just for being king of Wessex. Richard75 (talk) 00:43, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Article definition ?[edit]

Can someone please explain what the expression, "English monarchs" means? In the article it says, "This list of English monarchs and the term is highlighted to add emphasis but it is not remotely obvious what it means. I rather naively thought this page would list kings of England, but the first person on this list with a reasonable claim to be called the king of England is Æthelstan, the tenth man on the list. Offa, for example, was never anything other than a king of Mercia. On the other hand, if it means kings who reigned in England (to include king of Kent, king of Mercia, king of Wessex etc) then the list is missing a large number of kings; Cerdic, Cynric, Ceawlin, Ceol etc. So, what exactly is this supposed to be a list of? Cottonshirtτ 06:50, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

From what you're saying here, I take it that you don't need links to "English" or "monarch" at wiktionary and are asking about the validity of the first entries v/a/v the list you memorized in school. You seem not to have read the article. Offa's inclusion, e.g., is fully explained. Try again, then come back and address any inaccuracies or controversies that should be mentioned but aren't already. — LlywelynII 17:35, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Offa's inclusion is explained, but the explanation does not seem to me satisfactory. Why include him and not earlier Bretwaldas? Æthelred I never had any authority extending beyond Wessex. I would start with Æthelstan. There is an article List of monarchs of Wessex which ends with him. I would also delete (highly) dubious monarchs such as the Young Henry and Philip of Spain, although there is the problem that some of them have been the subject of long discussions on this talk page. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:09, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Offa's "inclusion" is not explained because user LlywelynII has made no attempt to answer the question that was asked. Can I suggest he please put aside his incorrect assumptions and try instead to answer the question that was asked. Thank you. Cottonshirtτ 21:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't mind if the list starts with Athelstan, but let's not go back into debates that have already been done to death and resolved. Cottonshirt's question was about the scope of the article -- when should a list of English monarchs start? -- and has nothing to do with which kings belong on the list after England came into being. Richard75 (talk) 21:58, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I not only attempted but did in fact answer your question. To wit, RTFA, which already describes in detail Offa's inclusion and even responds to those like Dudley who would good-naturedly deny his status. Inasmuch as I didn't write any of it, it has nothing to do with any assumptions of mine, correct or otherwise.
If you seriously needed it pasted here:

According to some sources the first ruler to assume the title Rex Anglorum is said to have been Offa in 774, who had been King of Mercia since 757, but this claim is based on charters apparently forged in the 10th century.[2][3] However, on some of his coins Offa describes himself as Of Rx A, believed to stand for Offa Rex Anglorum.[4] This probably had a different meaning at the time from what it acquired later, i.e. king of the Angles, and not necessarily the Saxons.[4] Several earlier kings are called rex anglorum or some variant in surviving sources: Aldfrith of Northumbria by Aldhelm; Æthelred of Mercia in Felix's Vita sancti Guthlaci (Life of Saint Guthlac); and Æthelbald of Mercia by Saint Boniface.[5] Regardless, Mercia's dominance did not survive Offa's death, and he has been considered by historians as being driven for personal power rather than nationhood.

Sources included in the original. Now, to repeat myself, read that and then address any inaccuracies or controversies that should be mentioned but aren't already. It is good that you came here rather than blanking article content but, in the future, start out by reading the article yourself and refrain from personal attacks against those who already have and reference it in answering your questions. — LlywelynII 12:11, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
If all we have (other than a forged charter) is that he called himself Rx A, that might just as well have meant King of the Angles, rather than King of the English (the same could be the case for using rex anglorum for other Mercian and Northumbrian kings). Is there any recent scholarly publication (along the lines of A biographical dictionary of dark age Britain) that would have such a list, upon which we could model ours? Otherwise I think we should start at least a century later. (AEfweard, Edgar, Young Henry, Louis and Philip are each unique questions distinct from this one, and should be discussed separately.) Agricolae (talk) 15:38, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Just because the British educational system doesn't include him doesn't mean that Parliament didn't approve Philip's status and even pass lese-majeste statutes criminalizing denial of his sovereignty over England. In fact, he demands inclusion here precisely because he's typically (and unjustifiably) omitted from regnal lists. — LlywelynII 12:11, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Leaving aside disputed monarchs (sorry I raised the subject) the regnal lists in the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England show Æthelstan as first 'king of the English' from 927 when he "succeeded to the kingdom of the Northumbrians". (p. 514) Dudley Miles (talk) 17:31, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Having just read the article again, it seems very far from clear that Offa belongs on this list: we have a forged charter and a coin with an ambiguous engraving on it which falls well short of evidence that an English nation yet existed. Egbert and Alfred and the rest were kings of Wessex, and although Wessex was the dominant English kingdom they were not yet kings of England. Meanwhile the article on Æthelstan states -- with sources -- that Æthelstan was the first king of England. I suggest starting this list with Æthelstan, with a paragraph explaining that his Wessex predecessors often wielded influence beyond their kingdom's borders. And have Offa in a footnote. Richard75 (talk) 22:31, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
If no one objects, I will alter the list to start with Æthelstan. Dudley Miles (talk) 10:05, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
I object. For whatever reason, the traditional list of Kings of England begins with Egbert. This list should as well. It should make clear that the early rulers were not really "Kings of England," but it should still start with Egbert. john k (talk) 03:27, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry but that does not make sense. If they are "not really 'Kings of England' " then they clearly don't belong in an article called "List of English monarchs." We should start with the first king of England and have a paragraph saying that he was one of a line of kings of Wessex going back to Egbert (and link to the Wessex kings article). Also it is not really encyclopaedic to slavishly follow tradition (which one anyway?) for no obvious reason. Richard75 (talk) 11:37, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

It is older rather than traditional lists. My 1984 Whitaker's Almanac starts its list of English kings and queens with Egbert in 827 (why 827?). Lists by modern academic historians such as the Royal Historical Society's Handbook of British Chronology and the Blackwell Encyclopedia (see above) start with Æthelstan in 927. Dudley Miles (talk) 12:11, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

The point is that the list should be both internally consistent with itself and consistent with the other Wikipedia articles on the individuals in this list. It seems pretty obvious that if Offa's own article does not say he was a king of England then he has no place on a list of English monarchs. I am neither a supporter of nor a detractor of claims that Offa was or was not a king of England, my only concern is that Wikipedia should be consistent with itself. Either his article should say he was a king of England, or he should be deleted from this list. If, for example, you go to the page of any later, uncontroversial king of England, say, William II of England, you will find at the bottom of the page an infobox called "English, Scottish and British monarchs" and that lists the first king of England as Alfred the Great. At least one of these lists has to be wrong. The first king of England can't be both Offa and Alfred the Great, it can only be one person. All lists in this encyclopedia claiming to be of the kings of England should start with the same guy. I'm not sure what part of that other editors struggle to comprehend. Cottonshirtτ 05:12, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

We should try to get this list and the template list to agree with each other. I suggest that we keep this list as it is and try to get the template to start with Athelstan, here: Template talk:English, Scottish and British monarchs. Richard75 (talk) 12:51, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree with John that many lists (such as the official website, Alison Weir's 1996 Britain's Royal Families, John E. Morby's 1989 Dynasties of the World, the comprehensive British Monarchs 1998 compiled by Mike Ashley, Collier's Encyclopedia, Everyman's Factfinder) start at Egbert, though there are sources (of the same date) that start at Athelstan (e.g. The Guinness Book of Answers, 1991, p. 696). I think there is a danger if you decide to select one source over another. You're favoring one or two sources that start at Athelstan over many, many other sources that start elsewhere. So, I'm inclined to agree with John on the basis that the majority of sources I've examined start at Egbert (regardless of publication date, but obviously excluding very old sources that often start at William I). DrKiernan (talk) 22:33, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

It's not just a question of the number of sources on one side or the other. There ought to be a way of determining the difference between a king of England and a king of Wessex who is the overlord or bretwalda over some other kingdoms. At what point did England become an enduring nation instead of one man's personal empire? Certainly not during Offa's time, as even this article stated until a few days ago. We need to look at the sources and see if any of them explain why they chose Egbert or Athelstan as the first entry on their list. Richard75 (talk) 23:11, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
There isn't a cut off line to use. Hundreds of years in the future historians try to find historical boundaries but the fact is history just isn't like that. I suggest that every candidate for inclusion be presented here on the talk page, and then be included or not according to consensus.Gazzster (talk) 04:00, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, history is very often exactly like that. What's not usually like that is "what actually happened". The gulf between history and what actually happened can be very wide. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 01:58, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

The books cited by DrKiernan are by popular writers, but Wikipedia should be based on the views of modern academic historians. So far as I can discover, all modern historians regard kings up to Æthelred I as kings of Wessex. They are not unanimous on who was first king of England, but most opt for Æthelstan. The chief exceptions are Ann Williams in the 1991 Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain and Richard Fletcher in the 1989 Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England, who style him as king of Wessex. The Royal Historical Society's 1986 Handbook of British Chronology has sections 'The Local rulers of Anglo-Saxon England to AD 927' and 'Kings of England 927-1066'. Richard Abels' 1998 Alfred the Great and Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge in their edition 1983 of Asser have kings up to Edward the Elder as kings of Wessex, and kings from Æthelstan on as kings of England, although Keynes usually prefers the title king of the English. Pauline Stafford's 1997 Queen Emma & Queen Edith has kings up to Æthelred I as of Wessex and from Æthelstan king of England. She does not commit herself on Alfred and Edward. Sarah Foot's 2011 biography is called Æthelstan: The First King of England. These are all leading academic historians of Anglo-Saxon England, and their views give a strong case for Æthelstan and no case for any other candidate. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:27, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Looking at the reader feedback, I think there's a more important issue. Virtually all the comments say the list should be extended to include the British monarchs. DrKiernan (talk) 10:02, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

A list of English monarchs has to end in 1707, but I have tried to make the continuation more obvious. Dudley Miles (talk) 13:39, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
List of English and British monarchs redirects here. The reader feedback indicates that this page should instead redirect there. DrKiernan (talk) 15:51, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I have changed it to a disambig pointing to both. Dudley Miles (talk) 16:05, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Given that British monarchs after 1707 were usually still referred to in all but the most formal contexts as "King [or Queen] of England" until the early twentieth century, I don't think it's at all obvious that a list of English monarchs "has to" end in 1707. A single unified list from the early Wessex monarchs (whether Egbert or Athelstan) to Elizabeth II at some location seems like a very good idea. john k (talk) 17:04, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

King Edmund murdered[edit]

I'm pretty sure that Edmund was murdered; his article -- and all the sources I have seen -- make it pretty clear that he was murdered by Leof. Unless there is a source which casts doubt on this story, I would be inclined to revert the edit removing his murder from this list. Richard75 (talk) 22:12, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

He was stabbed in a brawl with Leofa, when he intervened to protect his seneschal, who was trying to expel Leofa. I think it should be called manslaughter rather than murder as Leofa was obviously deranged and did not know what he was doing. I do not like the word murder as it seems to me to wrongly put it on the same level as the deliberate killing of Edward the Martyr, but I am happy for you to restore it if you feel strongly. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:33, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I'll put killed or slain. Richard75 (talk) 22:42, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Stupid people[edit]

Although I think we have made it abundantly clear in three places in the article that this is a list of English monarchs, and that there is a separate list of British monarchs for post-1707, the feedback left for this page still consists mainly of negative people who came here looking for Elizabeth II or Victoria and then gave up. Is there anything else we can do that we haven't done already to make it more obvious? I am inclined to give up and say that stupid people deserve what they get, but am willing to consider some last-ditch effort if anyone can think of something. Richard75 (talk) 19:31, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Short of merging the two articles as I suggested, I think the only thing to do is state more explicitly at the start the remit of this article. I simplified the hatnote because I think its length and complexity essentially defeated the purpose of a hatnote, which is to direct users to the correct article quickly. DrKiernan (talk) 16:23, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Might also help to be explicit that what we call "England" is considered to have come into existence in 927. It is implied in the lede, but not really stated. Might even say something like "England, which is considered to have started in 927 with the conquering of Northumberland and continued as an independent entity until 1707 with its incorporation into the United Kingdom..." or something less inelegant... AS it stands, this crucial information is somewhat buried in the lede, it should be the first or second thing one reads. Canada Jack (talk) 20:26, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks guys, this looks much better now. Richard75 (talk) 22:37, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Harold Godwinson[edit]

Should Harold Godwinson be included under the House of Wessex? I don't see any evidence that he was related to Edward. Rojomoke (talk) 16:32, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

There is a genealogical argument out there that he descends from AEthelred I, although this is dismissed by most historians as either the result of wishful thinking or simply irrelevant. They don't know what to do with Harold - it is not uncommmon, as we have done here, to make him an appendix to the House of Wessex, not for genealogical reasons but simply to avoid dealing with a 'House' that only has one member, just as it is not uncommon to see Stephen listed as one of the Norman monarchs, rather than having a House of Blois with only one member. All of these 'Houses' in the sense that they imply male-line descent are more a phenomenon of Wikipedia over-categorization than a reflection of the groupings of monarchs made by historians (e.g. in Iberia, the Kings of Leon/Castile would consist of a single political family from Fernando I to Pedro the Cruel, even though the first three generations of that run are placed in a different genealogical 'House', and the first king of the Burgundian 'House' was no less a relative of the other lines of the same family than his predecessor was, simply because his predecessor happened to be his mother rather than his father. Agricolae (talk) 17:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Former German solution[edit]

I see that some have considered the option of listing British monarchs along with their pre-Union predecessors. That would be useful, if nothing else, because it would show why William IV, Edward VII and Elizabeth II are not William I, Edward I and Elizabeth I respectively (and vice-versa, why Elizabeth I is not just Elizabeth, like Anne and John). de.wiki had an interesting solution to the issue, but it seems to have been discarded in favour of en.wiki's layout. See this version of their list of British monarchs. Surtsicna (talk) 17:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

All solutions have their problems. I do not like the former German solution of showing English and Scottish monarchs together as it seems to imply a Whig view of history, as if the independent histories of the two countries were just a preparation for their eventual union. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:01, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
While I appreciate what they are trying to do, I am not too fond of the layout itself, particularly the way it implies a relationship between what were at the time two completely distinct kingdoms, simply because of a successional quirk 500 years later. Maybe a compromise - rather than merging them all, just begin the British page with a simple two-column list (not a full table) of monarchs of the two kingdoms, nothing more than Name (years), to provide context for the list of the combined entity. This may, however, open up a can of worms - were not some of the rulers of the Welsh principalities every bit as much monarchs of part of what became Britain as, say Kenneth I? and if we admit them, then how can we exclude Viking York, Strathclyde, Mercia, the Picts, etc. Agricolae (talk) 18:14, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Why this need to overcomplicate everything? We can exclude them very easily, simply by saying that the list only covers the traditional list of monarchs of united England and Scotland. I'd just add beyond that that, for a list of monarchs, the Union of Crowns seems more clearly significant to me than the Act of Union. I don't see any reason at all why List of British monarchs should not start with James I. john k (talk) 16:41, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Because there is no logical reason for doing England and Scotland together but then leaving out all the others. As for why the Acts of Union are more significant than the personal union of the crowns, the answer is that until the Acts of Union created a new country, which the article clearly explains. Also there must be a reason the Germans stopped doing it in the way that is now proposed. Let's leave it as it is. Richard75 (talk) 17:21, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
There is the very logical reason that those are the two kingdoms that were joined together in 1707, and that the other states were small, ephemeral, and, with the exception of Wessex, not the immediate ancestors of the two main kingdoms. Furthermore, your "answer" as to why the Act of Union is more important to this list than the union of crowns is not, grammatically speaking, an answer. I'm not sure it even rises to the level of tautology. The Act of Union was incredibly important for Scotland. It was not particularly important for English history. Certainly nobody in England particularly thought that the Act of Union meant that England had ceased to exist as a state; they believed that the Act of Union was essentially the annexation of Scotland by England. Which, indeed, it was, in all but name. For over 200 years thereafter, the ruler of this "new" state continued to be universally referred to as the "King (or Queen) of England" and the state itself was often called "England" as a shorthand. This usage - common in England, near universal outside the British Isles - only really came to be seen as "incorrect" during the present reign. Splitting our list of English monarchs at 1707 is an anachronistic reification of the Act of Union to mean something that nobody at the time would have taken it to mean. john k (talk) 08:39, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

1) I meant to say "...the answer is that until the Acts of Union created a new country, England and Scotland continued to be two separate countries, which the article clearly explains." (I must have got distracted.)
2) By your logic the UK, Canada, Australia, Jamaica and the other Commonwealth realms are all one single country, just because they have the same monarch, which is obviously wrong.
3) Scotland nearly went its own way, with a different monarch to England, in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution. The permanent union of the two countries in 1707 was by no means inevitable in 1603, and for this article to imply otherwise would be a kind of Whig history, which we don't do. (Similarly your argument for why Wessex is different from the other pre-England kingdoms, which ignores Mercia's pre-eminence before Wessex.)
4) The fact that some ignorant people say "England" when they mean Great Britain or the United Kingdom is neither here not there: they are wrong and it is not "anachronistic" to say so. An encyclopedia should endeavour to be accurate, not pander to ignorance. Nobody is suggesting that England (or Scotland) ever ceased to exist as political entities, but they did cease to be independent nations in 1707 and you need look no further that the express terms of the Acts of Union to see that.
In short, the need for a change has yet to be demonstrated. Richard75 (talk) 19:13, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

1) Again, my point is that the Act of Union was not a particularly important event in English history. People at the time did not view the Act of Union as abolishing the Kingdom of England and creating a new state, but rather as annexing Scotland to the Kingdom of England and renaming England to Great Britain. I'd say that this understanding of what happened is probably closer to the truth than the idea that a new state was created. 2) I don't believe this follows at all. My point was that in a list of monarchs, the union of crowns is more important than the Act of Union. I'd also note that we don't have lists of Canadian, Australian, and Jamaican monarchs. 3) Scotland did not have a different monarch to England in 1689. Both kingdoms accepted William and Mary after James's departure from England. What in the world are you referring to? At any rate, I don't see how using 1603 rather than 1707 as the dividing point implies anything about inevitability. It's a list. Its purpose is to provide a convenient reference, not to teach people about constitutional history. And the distinction between Wessex and the other kingdoms isn't that Wessex was more important, it's that Wessex is the direct ancestor of the Kingdom of England, to the point where there's no very clear dividing line between the two, which is not the case with any of the other kingdoms, including Mercia. 4) My point was not that "some ignorant people" referred to Great Britain as "England." My point was that this was considered a perfectly correct short-hand, at least outside Scotland, until fairly recently. This is not inevitably incorrect. As a similar example, "Denmark" is typically used a a shorthand for the union between Denmark and Norway from the 16th to the early 19th centuries. This is not incorrect - it's a convenient shorthand. Similarly, until the mid-twentieth century, "England" was seen as a convenient shorthand for the united kingdom established in 1707 and expanded in 1801. You wouldn't refer to places in Scotland or Ireland as being in England, but you might refer to the state as a whole as "England." john k (talk) 16:35, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
"We don't have lists of Canadian [...] monarchs" - unfortunately, we do. And also an even more pointless list of New Zealand monarchs. But I haven't the energy to try and get them deleted myself. Opera hat (talk) 19:03, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
In response to John K — 1) That is a very Anglo-centric view of what happened, and I bet that all Scottish people would disagree with you. They would be right too, because the terms of the acts of union made it clear that this was not intended to be a mere annexation but a union of two co-equal partners (notwithstanding that Scotland was smaller in area and population). "[U]niversally referred to as the "King (or Queen) of England" -- I doubt it was universal in Scotland, and certainly not in official state documents or in diplomacy. 2) Let's pretend for now that there are no lists of Canadian etc monarchs on Wikipedia, despite what Opera Hat found out... I agree it makes no sense to have separate lists for each of those countries. But I suggest that the difference here is that they were colonies which later became independent, and so each new kingdom inherited a monarchy with the same person and same rules of succession as Britain. England and Scotland, on the other hand, ended up with the same person on their thrones by accident of birth, and joined together a century later, i.e. the opposite situation. But I may be splitting hairs here, so I will be interested to see what other people think. 3) I said "nearly." The point is that while it may seem to you to have been inevitable after 300 years' hindsight, it was not inevitable at the time. Scotland had to be bribed to go along with William and Mary's accession to the throne. 3½) I agree with you now about Wessex. 4) I don't think that an encyclopedia should use shorthand. People expect more accuracy than that from an encyclopedia. Richard75 (talk) 20:32, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
All Scottish people live in a legalistic fantasy land? Just because you are Scottish does not mean that you cannot recognize that what happened in 1707 was practically the annexation of Scotland by England. Many leading Scottish people at the time certainly did recognize this, which is why they strongly opposed the Act of Union. And many Scottish nationalists today view the Act of union in the same light. 2) I'm not arguing against a separate list of Scottish monarchs. I'm arguing that we should have one list that includes both post-union monarchs and pre-union british monarchs. 3) I don't see any reason why we should ignore 300 years of hindsight in deciding how to organize lists on Wikipedia. 4) I'm not saying we shouldn't explain the technical issues in the article, just that our organization of articles needn't be dictated by pedantry, so long as the pedantic distinctions are explained in the article. john k (talk) 14:25, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Alfred[edit]

Shouldn't this list start with Alfred? He was the first "king of the Anglo-Saxons." I don't think there was anybody who used the exact title "English monarch," so I would assume this phrase is intended to encompass such variations as "king of the Anglo-Saxons", "king of the English", and "king of England." Alfred is part of the same Wessex line as Aethelstan, which I don't think should be broken based on a minor variation of title. Kauffner (talk) 10:08, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

There's more discussion on that in the section above: #Article definition ?. DrKiernan (talk) 10:16, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
The decision to start with Æthelstan was taken after the discussion referenced by DrKiernan above because he is regarded by academic historians as the first king of England. It is partly a matter of his title, but mainly because he was the first king to rule all England including Northumbria, which had never before been controlled by a king of Wessex. The BBC site on Æthelstan describes him as "the first king of all England". Dudley Miles (talk) 13:21, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Charles the first did NOT reign until 1649...[edit]

...assuming that by "reign" we mean actually holding some level of power. Sure, if we go by English law then he reigned until 1649 according to the statutes passed after the Restoration, but according to those same statutes Charles II ascended the throne in 1649, not 1660 as the article says. Regarding Charles I a more sensible date for the end of his reign would be either 1642 (start of the civil war when Charles lost his power over half the country) or 1646 (end of the war when he lost all of his power completely). After that, from 1646-1649, the only power he held was being alive - moreover Parliament (and separately, Cromwell and the army) offered to restore him to the throne if he met certain conditions (e.g. establishing a puritan England) which he refused, and this would have made no sense had he still been the reigning king. So I suggest Charles I's reign as either 1625-1642 or 1625-1646. Thoughts? 101.114.113.127 (talk) 13:16, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Well 1642 is out of the question since in your own argument you admit he still held power over half the country and was still commanding the Royalist forces. There is a case for 1646 if he was a prisoner or a fugitive from that time until his death. I would support a note to that effect. I would not support removing 1649 altogether because we need to avoid POV, and he still reigned until his death even though he did not rule, and of course Royalists did not recognise his usurpation -- in fact even the rebels did not get round to passing a law abolishing the monarchy until 1649, so on any view he reigned until then. But we were able to reach a compromise about the date of the start of his son's reign (see archives for discussion) and do something along the lines of what we did for Charles II would be ok. Let's get a consensus first though, otherwise it could lead to an edit war. Richard75 (talk) 13:34, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Who should be listed as an “English monarch"?[edit]

Should English kings prior to Athelstan (r. 927-939) be included in the article "List of English monarchs"?

Argument[edit]

For some years, this list of kings was stable and started with Offa of Mercia (774–796), following the model of the official British Monarchy site. Information on kings prior to Athelstan was removed after a discussion among a small number of editors. A list like this should be modeled on similar lists that appear in published sources. Since we don’t have limitations with respect to space, our list can be more detailed than those that are published. We can also include appropriate disclaimers for kings whose status is in doubt, so determining who was really the first king of England is not directly relevant. But I will give my view on this matter anyway. If “England” implies Angles and Saxons united in a single nation, the logical place to start is Alfred the Great (871–899). He can be credited for uniting the two peoples, with his son Edward the Elder finishing the job soon after he died. Nobody on this list used the exact title “English monarch”, so the title the person held is obviously not the determining factor. Here is what some relevant sources say:

Alfred[edit]

  • "The kingdom of England was founded in 886 by Alfred the Great," according to The British Chronicles (2007) by David Hughes. Hughes' list of monarchs naturally starts with Alfred.
  • Alfred was "King over all England except for that part that was under Danish domination," according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’s entry for the year 900.
  • "By the 890s, Alfred's charters and coinage were referring to him as 'king of the English'." (BBC)

Egbert[edit]

  • ”Egbert went on to attack East Anglia and Northumbria and unite the land that was England”, according to A Short History of England (2011) by Simon Jenkins (p. 26).
  • ”Because his domain included Cornwall, hitherto unconquered, it is fair to say that Egbert was the first king of all England,” Ashley, Mammoth Book. Greatness Bites (talk) 12:43, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

It seems to me that there is a case for including people like Offa, Egbert and Alfred in a section dedicated to people who were king of England / the English before there was a settled English monarchy, as this article is the logical place for people to come and look for that information. It isn't enough just to link to List of kings of Wessex, because Offa was not king of Wessex but Mercia. We can have a short paragraph explaining that this was a temporary state of affairs that did not survive after the deaths of Egbert and Offa. Where Alfred is concerned, I don't object to him being on the list at all, as long as we make it clear that he did not rule in the Danelaw area, and that Athelstan was the first king to rule the whole of England (unless Edward was). Richard75 (talk) 13:01, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree that as people expect to find these kings it would be helpful to explain why they are excluded. Second draft: "Offa of Mercia, Egbert of Wessex and Alfred the Great are sometimes described as kings of England by popular writers, but not by academic historians. In the late eighth century Offa achieved a dominance over southern England which did not survive his death. In 829 Egbert of Wessex conquered Mercia, but he soon lost control of it. In the late ninth century Alfred was overlord of western Mercia, but never ruled eastern and northern England, which was then the Danelaw. His son Edward the Elder conquered the eastern Danelaw, but Æthelstan became the first king to rule the whole of England when he conquered Northumbria in 927." Dudley Miles (talk) 13:50, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Maybe add some dates in brackets, but this paragraph is good. Richard75 (talk) 14:30, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Is it your contention that no academic historian has ever referred to Alfred or Egbert as kings of England? That's certainly a bold claim. I think John Eric's Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England (1996) might qualify as an academic history. He refers the Edward the Elder as a "king of England". Edward's army, as well as Alfred's, are both called "the English army," not the Wessex army. Who was the first king of England is a modern convention, not necessarily something academics are better qualified at determining. Greatness Bites (talk) 16:20, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I have never said that no academic has ever called them kings of England, I'm only saying that if they were not kings of all of England then we should be careful about calling them kings of England just because of what some academics call them. Certainly not all academics agree on this, since some name Athelstan as the first (because he was king of all England, unlike Alfred). It really boils down to what our definition of "king of England" is going to be for the purposes of this article. If that is not necessarily something academics are better qualified at determining, then Wikipedia's current definition (king of all England, not just England minus the Danelaw or Northumbria) would seem to be good enough. I do agree that the other candidates should be mentioned in the article though, and I like Dudley Miles's solution. Richard75 (talk) 17:22, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
P.S. - We've been through all this before, above: #Article definition ?. Richard75 (talk) 17:38, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Then I have to wonder if you actually read what DM wrote, since it is both categorical and rather ORish on the issue of what academic historians say. As I explained in the nomination, I do not think that we should be determining who the first king of England was, developing our own criteria, or otherwise reinventing the wheel. The British Monarchy site, Ashley, and others have already created lists of monarchs that we can use as models. Our list should not leave stuff out that the RS treats as notable enough for inclusion. Greatness Bites (talk) 21:19, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I can read perfectly well thanks; try to be less of a dick. Also Ashley describes Alfred and Edward as kings of the West Saxons, and Athelstan as King of the English, the first king he applies that term to, so perhaps he doesn't help your case as much as you keep suggesting he does. Richard75 (talk) 21:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Plenty of sources call Athelstan king of the West Saxons as well, so I don't think that means much of anything. Edward is first on Ashley's list of English kings, and not on his list of West Saxon kings. Greatness Bites (talk) 22:50, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Alfred, from 886, controlled all of England not under Danish occupation, and styled himself King of the Anglo-Saxons. This was also true of Edward the Elder and Athelstan. It is clear that the list should begin with Alfred (if not earlier). It should also be noted that ruling all of England is not the sole criteria for inclusion in this list. If it were, there would be gaps during the 940s and 950s when Northumbria was ruled by Eric Bloodaxe and, later, when England was divided between Eadwig and Edgar, and similarly in 1016 when it was divided between Edmund Ironside and Cnut. ðarkuncoll 18:21, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Also, if we want to get really technical, Cumbria wasn't incorporated into England until the time of William Rufus. Does this mean we should leave out all monarchs before him? ðarkuncoll 18:21, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Those are fair points. As long as we agree on a standard to apply, state what it is in the article, and then apply it consistently, then that's fine. Richard75 (talk) 18:47, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

It is true that historians are not unanimous on who was the first king of England. The online Dictionary of National Biography describes kings up to Æthelred I as kings of Wessex, Alfred and Edward the Elder as kings of the Anglo-Saxons, and kings from Æthelstan on as kings of England. A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain describes kings up to Edmund I as kings of Wessex, and Eadred on as kings of the English (presumably reflecting the final defeat of Viking York in 954). Virtually no historian describes any king before Æthelstan as king of England, although there is bound to be the rare exception, such as Eric John cited above on Edward the Elder.

Cumbria in the tenth century was part of the British kingdom of Strathclyde and would not have been regarded by contemporaries as English. Lothian was then English but was lost later in the century to Scotland. The boundary between England and Scotland was not finally settled until the the late Middle Ages, but this does not mean that kings before then were not kings of England.

Not all kings after Æthelstan ruled all of England. Edmund and Eadred lost parts of it for large parts of their reigns. But the same applies to later kings such as Stephen and Charles I. Æthelstan is the first king to have ruled all England. He has the best claim to be regarded as first king of England, a view accepted by most historians, although some would put it later - none so far as I know earlier, with the possible exception of Eric John. Dudley Miles (talk) 21:51, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

This is an "English monarch" list, not a "king of England" list. So we can add Alfred and Edward, and label them Anglo-Saxon kings. Egbert ruled all of England as well, but I still wouldn't count him as a king of England. I don't think it should matter that the boundaries of Alfred's kingdom were different than those of modern England. After all, Italy and Germany have gone through radical boundary changes, but we can still make king lists for them. I found another academic source:

The distinctively Alfredian political order which emerged in the 880s is implicit in the boundary established between Alfred and Guthrum; and in view of the styles employed in charters of the late 880s and early 890s and adopted by Asser in his Life of King Alfred (893), there is no reason why it should not be described, unequivocally, as 'the kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons.' --- Simon Keyes, "King Alfred and the Mercians", from Kings, Currency, and Alliances edited by Mark A. S. Blackburn, D. N. Dumville (1998, p. 36)

Just in case you're wondering, Alfred's charter styles were Rex Anglorum et Saxonum, Anglorum Saxonum rex, and Angol Saxonum rex. Asser called him Angol Saxonum rex. Greatness Bites (talk) 04:18, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
With his massive overhaul of administration, economy, learning and defence, and, even more importantly, his deliberate policy of cultivating a unified English identity, Alfred is the founder of the state that we now call England. This list is a list of rulers of a state, not a territory. If it were the latter, then it would continue to the present day, since all rulers of Britain since 1707 have been, ipso facto, rulers of the territory of England. ðarkuncoll 11:19, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I would agree to Alfred and Edward being added to the list (but nobody before Alfred), if we have a note somewhere to mention that the Danes occupied part of England during Alfred's reign. So then Dudley's paragraph could look something like this: "Offa of Mercia and Egbert of Wessex are sometimes described as kings of England by popular writers, but not by academic historians. In the late eighth century Offa achieved a dominance over southern England which did not survive his death. In 829 Egbert of Wessex conquered Mercia, but he soon lost control of it. In the late ninth century Alfred the Great was overlord of western Mercia, but never ruled eastern and northern England, which was then the Danelaw. His son Edward the Elder conquered the eastern Danelaw, but Æthelstan became the first king to rule the whole of England when he conquered Northumbria in 927." Then start the list at Alfred. Richard75 (talk) 12:26, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Okay, we're closing in on consensus. The phrase, "not by academic historician" still sounds ORish to me. Even though they have each ruled enough territory to be considered kings of England, Offa's was an Angle kingdom while Egbert ruled a Saxon kingdom. Greatness Bites (talk) 13:18, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm happy with that - let's start the list with Alfred. ðarkuncoll 21:37, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I have added Alfred and Edward the Elder to the list, and mentioned Offa and Egbert in the lede. Any views as to whether we should include Ælfweard of Wessex after Edward? I found this edit as a precedent we might follow. Richard75 (talk) 22:26, 25 September 2013 (UTC)