Ealdgyth was born. The identity of her parents is not known. Her birth year has been calculated on the assumption that she was 20 years old when she married for the first time.
The Viking, Sweyn Forkbeard
invaded England in revenge for the St Brice’s Day Massacre where Danes living in England, including Sweyn’s sister, were killed by order of King Aethelred
. Sweyn gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire and King Aethelred was forced to make a danegeld payment to the Vikings
The Vikings had continued to make raids on England and another Danegeld payment had to be made.
The Vikings invaded East Anglia and took control of Ipswich.
Ealdgyth married Sigeferth, a thegn of Lindsey. The exact date of her marriage is unknown. In 1012 Ealdgyth would have been about 20 years old a typical marriageable age.
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and took Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. London alone held out against the Danes.
Having conquered the majority of England Sweyn Forkbeard proclaimed himself King of England. King Aethelred, his wife, Emma
and their children fled to Normandy. Aethelred’s sons Edmund
and Aethelstan remained in Wessex.
1014 (3rd February)
Sweyn Forkbeard died. He nominated his son, Cnut
to succeed him.
Although the English nobles had accepted Sweyn as King they were not so keen to support his young son and called for Aethelred to return. However, the people of Lindsey, including Ealdgyth’s husband, declared their support for Cnut.
Edmund Ironside became heir to Aethelred when his brother, Aethelstan, died fighting the Danes.
King Aethelred returned to England. He was very unhappy with the people of Lindsey for not supporting him.
Eadric of Mercia killed Ealdgyth’s husband Sigeferth and his brother Morcar, in retaliation for their support of Sweyn Forkbeard’s son, Cnut. Ealdgyth was placed in the Abbey of Malmesbury.
1015 (late August)
Ealdgyth, married Edmund Ironside, son of King Aethelred. Edmund did this in defiance of his father, Aethelred and also to gain the support of the people of Lindsey.
Ealdgyth’s husband, Edmund Ironside raised an army against Cnut who believed he should be king and was prepared to fight for the crown. Edmund was supported by the five towns of Danish Mercia – Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. However, Cnut retained some support in Mercia.
A son, Edward
, was born to Ealdgyth and Edmund.
1016 (23rd April)
King Aethelred died. Edmund Ironside was proclaimed King Edmund II.
1016 (after 18th October)
After failing to defeat Cnut, Edmund had no choice but to agree to share rule with Cnut. Cnut ruled Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia while Edmund ruled Wessex. It was agreed that on the death of either party the other would rule all of England.
1016 (30th November)
Ealdgyth’s husband, Edmund Ironside, died and Cnut
seized the throne of England.
A son, Edmund, was born to Ealdgyth and posthumously to King Edmund.
Ealdgyth’s sons, Edward and Edmund, were sent to Sweden to the court of Olof Skotkonung. They were possibly meant to be murdered but were sent to either Kiev or Poland. It is not clear whether Ealdgyth accompanied her sons into exile, but she disappeared from the records after 1017.