House of Wessex

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House of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex[1]
Country Kingdom of Wessex, Kingdom of England
Titles
Founded 519
Founder Cerdic of Wessex
Final ruler Edward the Confessor
Dissolution 1093

The House of Wessex, also known as the House of Cerdic, refers to the family that initially ruled a kingdom in southwest England known as Wessex, from the 6th century under Cerdic of Wessex until the unification of the Kingdoms of England.

The House became rulers of all England from Alfred the Great in 871 to Edmund Ironside in 1016. This period of the English monarchy is known as the Saxon period, though their rule was often contested, notably by the Danelaw and later by the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard who claimed the throne from 1013 to 1014, during the reign of Æthelred the Unready. Sweyn and his successors ruled until 1042. After Harthacanute, there was a brief Saxon Restoration between 1042 and 1066 under Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson, who was a member of the House of Godwin. After the Battle of Hastings, a decisive point in English history, William of Normandy became king of England. Anglo-Saxon attempts to restore native rule in the person of Edgar the Ætheling, a grandson of Edmund Ironside who had originally been passed over in favour of Harold, were unsuccessful and William's descendants secured their rule. Edgar's niece Matilda of Scotland later married William's son Henry I, forming a link between the two dynasties.

Timeline of Wessex and England rulers[edit]

Genealogy[edit]

For a family tree of the House of Wessex from Cenric down to the children of King Alfred the Great, see:

A continuation into the 10th and 11th centuries can be found at

Attributed coat of arms[edit]

Royal Arms of Edward the Confessor.svg

A coat of arms was attributed by medieval heralds to the Kings of Wessex. These arms appear in a manuscript of the thirteenth century, and are blazoned as Azure, a cross patonce (sometimes a cross fleury or cross moline) between four martlets Or.[2] The assigning of arms to the West Saxon kings is prochronistic as heraldry did not develop until the twelfth century. These arms continued to be used to represent the kingdom for centuries after their invention.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Friar, Basic Heraldry, 12.
  2. ^ College of Arms MS L.14, dating from the reign of Henry III
  3. ^ For example in Divi Britannici by Winston Churchill, published in 1675, and Britannia Saxona by G W Collen, published in 1833.
House of Wessex
New title
England united under Wessex
Ruling house of England
829–1013
Succeeded by
House of Denmark
Preceded by
House of Denmark
Ruling house of England
1014–16
Ruling house of England
1042–66
Succeeded by
House of Godwin