Edmund Ironside was born to King Aethelred the Unready
and his first wife,Aelfgifu of York
. He was the couple’s second son, after Aethelstan. He was later known as Ironside due to his bravery fighting the Vikings.
England was troubled by repeated Viking
991 (10th August)
Battle of Maldon
Byrhtnoth of Essex was defeated by the Danish Vikings led by Olaf Tryggvason.
991 (late August)
Following the Viking victory at 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.
Edmund’s sister, Eadgyth, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
Edmund’s sister, Aelfgifu, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
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.
Edmund’s brother, Eadred, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
Edmund’s brother, Eadwig, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
Edmund’s sister, Wulfthryth, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
Edmund’s brother, Edgar, was born to Aethelred and Aelfgifu.
The Vikings left England. Aethelred began a series of raids on Strathclyde and the Isle of Man.
The Danish Vikings made a series of raids along the South coast.
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 (13th November)
St Brice’s Day Massacre
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.
Sweyn Forkbeard invaded England in revenge for the death of his sister and gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire.
King Aethelred was unable to withstand the Viking attacks and so made another Danegeld payment of £24,000 (8kg of silver).
Edmund’s half-brother, Edward, was born at Islip, Oxfordshire. He would become known to history as Edward the Confessor
Sweyn Forkbeard continued to raid England and destroyed the town of Norwich.
Edmund’s half-brother, Alfred, was born to Aethelred and Emma of Normandy.
Edmund’s elder brother Ecgbert 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 King Aethelred.
Edmund’s half-sister, Godgifu, was born to Aethelred and Emma of Normandy.
Aelheah was made the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Sweyn Forkbeard and the Vikings made a series of raids on Kent and Sussex.
King Aethelred 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).
Edmund’s father, Aethelred built a new fleet of ships to try boost defence of the shores.
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 his ships aground.
The Vikings invaded East Anglia. A battle was fought which left the Danes in control of Ipswich.
The Danish Vikings captured Canterbury and took Archbishop Aelheah prisoner.
Edmund’s brother, Edgar, died.
Edmund’s brother, Eadred, died.
1012 (19th April)
The Danish Vikings in Canterbury went on a drunken raid and murdered Archbishop Aelheah of Canterbury. The Viking leader, Thorkell the Tall, tried to stop the murder but was unsuccessful. He was so angry at his comrades that he defected and joined Aethelred’s forces.
Edmund’s father, Aethelred made another Danegeld payment of £48,000 (17 kg of silver) to stop the destruction being caused by the Vikings.
Lyfing was appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
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, Emma and their children fled to Normandy. Edmund and his brother Aethelstan remained in Wessex.
1014 (3rd February)
Sweyn Forkbeard died. He nominated his son, Canute
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 declared their support for Canute.
Edmund’s elder brother, Aethelstan, died fighting the Danes.
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.
Eadric of Mercia killed the two leading thegns of Lindsey in retaliation for their supporting Cnut.
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.
Edmund Ironside raised an army. He was supported by the five towns of Danish Mercia – Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. But, Cnut retained some support in Mercia.
1016 (early January)
Canute 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.
Edmund joined forces with Uhtred the Bold
of Northumbria and raided Danish Mercia. Canute retaliated by taking Northumbria and Uhtred was forced to submit to Canute. Uhtred was murdered shortly afterwards.
Having secured Northumbria Canute marched towards London.
Edmund Ironside marched to London to try to stop Canute from taking the city.
1016 (23rd April)
Aethelred died. Edmund Ironside was proclaimed King Edmund II.
A son, Edward, was born to King Edmund and Ealdgyth. He would be known as Edward the Exile
1016 (c. 9th May)
Battle of Brentford
Edmund Ironside managed to defeat the Danish army led by Canute.
1016 (18th October)
Battle of Assandun
This battle fought between Edmund Ironside and Canute saw the Dane victorious. Edmund had lost control of all of England except Wessex.
1016 (after 18th October)
Edmund had no choice but to agree to share rule of England 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)
King Edmund Ironside died and Canute seized the throne of England.
First published 2016; updated and re-published Jul 26 2020 @ 2:18 pm – Updated – [last-modified]