King Edmund II (Ironside) of England 990 – 1016

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Edmund Ironside

Father – King Aethelred the Unready
Mother – Aelfgifu of York
Spouse – Ealdgyth
Children – Edward the Exile, Edmund
King of England – 1016
Predecessor – Aethelred the Unready
Successor – King Cnut



990 (during)
A son, Edmund was born to Aethelred the Unready and Aelfgifu. He was the couple’s third son.
991 (during)
England was troubled by repeated Viking attacks and following the Viking victory at the Battle of Maldon, King Aethelred was forced to pay the Vikings £10,000 pounds (3.3 kg of silver) to make them leave Wessex alone. The payment was known as a Danegeld.
994 (during)
A party of Viking raiders sailed up the River Thames and put London under siege. Aethelred was forced to make another Danegeld payment of £16,000 (5.3 kg of silver) to make the raiders leave.
1000 (Summer)
The Vikings left England. Aethelred began a series of raids on Strathclyde and the Isle of Man.
1001 (during)
The Danish Vikings made a series of raids along the South coast.
1002 (February)
Edmund’s mother Aelfgifu died.
1002 (5th April)
Edmund’s father, Aethelred married Emma the daughter of Richard, Duke of Normandy. The marriage was part of an alliance treaty with Normandy.
1002 (during)
St Brice’s Day Massacre
Edmund’s father, King Aethelred, ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England. He hoped that by ridding England of Danes he would minimise the risk of attack from within. However, the sister of the Viking warrior, Sweyn Forkbeard, was among those killed.
1002 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England in revenge for the death of his sister and gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire.
1002 (during)
Edmund’s father, Aethelred was unable to withstand the Viking attacks and so made another Danegled payment of £24,000 (8kg of silver).
1003 (during)
Edmund’s half-brother, Edward, was born at Islip, Oxfordshire. He would become known to history as Edward the Confessor.
1004 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard continued to raid England and destroyed the town of Norwich.
1005 (during)
Edmund’s elder brother Egbert died.
1005 (16th November)
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Aelfric of Abingdon, died. He left his fleet of ships to the people of Kent. He also left his best ship to Aethelred.
1006 (during)
Aelheah was made the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
1006 (July)
Sweyn Forkbeard and the Vikings made a series of raids on Kent and Sussex.
1007 (during)
Edmund’s father was unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat the Vikings and so was forced to make another Danegeld payment of £36,000 (12 kg of silver).
1008 (during)
Edmund’s father, Aethelred built a new fleet of ships to try boost defence of the shores.
1009 (during)
The new English navy was destroyed after Captain Wulfnoth took 20 boats on a piracy mission. Another Captain, Brihtric, who had tried to stop Wulfnoth ran ships aground.
1010 (during)
The Vikings invaded East Anglia. A battle was fought which left the Danes in control of Ipswich.
1011 (during)
The Danish Vikings captured Canterbury and took Archbishop Aelheah prisoner.
1012 (19th April)
Thorkell the Tall defected to Aethelred’s forces after a group of his men murdered Archbishop Aelheah of Canterbury.
1012 (April)
Edmund’s father, Aethelred made another Danegeld payment of £48,000 (17 kg of silver) to stop the destruction being caused by the Vikings.
1013 (during)
Lyfing was appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
1013 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and took Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. London alone held out against the Danes.
1013 (December)
Having conquered the majority of England Sweyn Forkbeard proclaimed himself King of England. Aethelred, Emma and their children fled to Normandy. Edmund and his brother Aethelstan remained in Wessex.
1014 (June)
Edmund’s brother, Aethelstan, died fighting the Danes. This made Edmund heir to the throne.
1014 (3rd February)
Sweyn Forkbeard died. He nominated his son, Cnut to succeed him.
1014 (Spring)
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 declared their support for Cnut.
1014 (Autumn)
Edmund’s father, Aethelred and his family, returned to England. Aethelred made it clear that he was unhappy with the people of Lindsey for not supporting him.
1015 (Summer)
Eadric of Mercia killed the two leading thegns of Lindsey in retaliation for their supporting Cnut.
1015 (August)
Determined to claim the English throne, Cnut invaded England with a large Danish force.
1015 (late August)
Edmund married Ealdgyth, wife of one of the murdered thegns from Lindsey both in defiance of his father and also to gain support from the people of Lindsey.
1015 (Autumn)
Edmund Ironside raised an army. He was supported by the five towns of Danish Mercia – Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. However, Cnut retained some support in Mercia.
1016 (early January)
Cnut began attacking more regions of England. Edmund Ironside’s army refused to fight without authorisation from King Aethelred. At Edmund’s request Aethelred summoned an army but was warned that his son may betray him and returned to London.
1016 (Spring)
Edmund joined forces with Uhtred the Bold of Northumbria and raided Danish Mercia. Cnut retaliated by taking Northumbria and Uhtred was forced to submit to Cnut shortly afterwards Cnut murdered Uhtred.
1016 (April)
Having secured Northumbria Cnut marched towards London.
1016 (April)
Edmund Ironside marched to London to try to stop Cnut from taking the city.
1016 (23rd April)
Aethelred died. Edmund Ironside was proclaimed King Edmund II.
1016 (Spring)
A son, Edward, was born to Edmund and Ealdgyth.
1016 (c. 9th May)
Battle of Brentford – Edmund Ironside managed to defeat the Danish army led by Cnut at Brentford.
1016 (18th October)
Battle of Assandun – This battle fought between Edmund Ironside and Cnut saw the Dane victorious and left Edmund in control of only Wessex.
1016 (after 18th October)
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)
Edmund Ironside died and Cnut seized the throne of England.



Published Feb 13, 2016 @ 3:55 pm – Updated – Jan 3, 2019 @ 3:55 pm


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016). King Edmund Ironside of England. Available: Last accessed July 18th, 2019


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