King Aethelred I of Wessex Timeline 840-871

Aethelred of WessexBorn – c. 840
Died – 23rd April 871
FatherKing Aethelwulf (795 – 858)
MotherOsburgh (810 – 855)
Spouse – m. c865 Wulfthryth (b. 840)
ChildrenAethelhelm (b. 868), Aethelwold (869 – 902)
King of Wessex – 866 – 871
PredecessorAethelbert – 860 – 865
SuccessorAlfred – 871 – 899


840 (around)
Aethelred of Wessex, was born to King Aethelwulf of Wessex and Osburgh. He was the couple’s fifth child – Aethelstan, Aethelbald, Aethelbert and Aethelswith had been born earlier.
840 (around)
The Vikings began making raids along the South coast of England.
843 (Easter)
Battle of Carhampton
King Aethelwulf was defeated by a Viking force.
849 (around)
Aethelred’s brother, Alfred, was born to Aethelwulf and Osburgh at Wantage, Berkshire.
850 (during)
A Viking raiding force was defeated by Aethelred’s elder brother Aethelstan in a naval battle off Sandwich, Kent.
851 (during)
King Aethelwulf, fought a Danish force at Acleah in Surrey and was victorious.
852 (during)
Aethelred’s eldest brother, Aethelstan, died.
853 (during)
Aethelred may have accompanied his brother Alfred to Rome. In Rome Alfred was confirmed by the Pope. As a younger son, Alfred was possibly being prepared for a life in the Church.
853 (Easter)
Aethelred’s sister, Aethelswith, married King Burgred of Mercia, sealing an alliance between Wessex and Mercia.
853 (Autumn)
King Aethelwulf and Burgred of Mercia joined forces to defeat a Welsh force led by Cyngen ap Cadell.
854 (around)
Aethelred’s mother, Osburgh, died.
854 (during)
Aethelred first witnessed his father’s charters.
855 (during)
King Aethelwulf and his brother, Alfred, went on a pilgrimage to Rome. Aethelred’s eldest brother Aethelbald became regent of Wessex and his brother Aethelbert became Subregulus of Kent.
856 (July)
Aethelwulf King of Wessex was betrothed to Judith, daughter of Charles, King of the Franks.
856 (1st October)
Aethelred’s father married Judith, daughter of Charles II, King of the Franks.
856 (October)
Aethelwulf, his new wife, Judith and his youngest son, Alfred returned to Wessex. Aethelwulf may have shared rule with Aethelbald or taken back full control.
858 (13th January)
King Aethelwulf died. Aethelred’s elder brother, Aethelbald, became King of Wessex.
860 (during)
King Aethelbald, shocked church elders and the ealdormen by marrying his stepmother.
860 (20th December)
King Aethelbald, died at Sherborne. Aethelred’s brother Aethelbert became King of Wessex.
865 (around)
The legendary Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok was shipwrecked off the Northumbrian coast. King Aelle immediately marched to the coast, defeated the Viking army and took Ragnar prisoner.
865 (during)
Aelle killed Ragnar Lothbrok by throwing him into a pit of snakes. This act led to the formation of the Great Heathen army by the sons of Ragnar who vowed to avenge the death of their father.
865 (during)
The Great Heathen Army led by the sons of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, Halfdan, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Ubba and Ivar the Boneless, landed in East Anglia. They accepted a payment of horses from King Edmund of East Anglia to go away.
865 (Autumn)
Aethelred became King of Wessex when his brother, Aethelbert, died.
866 (during)
The Great Heathen Army took York and established the Viking kingdom of Jorvik in the north.
866 (during)
Aethelred was crowned King Aethelred I of Wessex at Kingston-upon-Thames.
867 (21st March)
The rival Kings of Northumbria, Osberht and Aelle of Northumbria united and attacked Viking York. However after breaching the city walls they were cut down in the narrow streets. Osberht and Aelle were both killed. Ivar the Boneless claimed victory over Northumbria and installed Egbert as puppet King.
868 (around)
Aethelred married Wulfthryth, possibly of Wiltshire.
868 (during)
A son Aethelhelm, was born to Aethelred and Wulfthryth.
868 (during)
Aethelred’s younger brother, Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of a Mercian noble strengthening ties with Mercia.
King Burgred of Mercia, appealed for help against a Viking attack. King Aethelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred marched north with an army but by the time they arrived Burgred had paid the Vikings to leave thus avoiding battle.
869 (20th November)
The Great Heathen Army marched into East Anglia and defeated King Edmund of East Anglia. He was taken prisoner and horrifically murdered.
869 (Autumn)
The Viking force led by Ivar the Boneless sacked the monastery at Peterborough killing the monks and abbot.
869 (around)
A son, Aethelwold, was born to Aethelred and Wulfthryth.
870 (during)
Ivar the Boneless disappeared from records (possibly died or returned to Scandinavia)
870 (Autumn)
The Viking force now led by Halfdan attacked Wessex
870 (28th December)
Halfdan and the Vikings took Reading
870 (31st December)
Battle of Englefield
A group of Vikings left Reading and approached Englefield where a number of Saxons had mustered under King Aethelred I. The Saxons succeeded in killing a number of Vikings and the rest retreated to Reading.
871 (4th January)
Battle of Reading
King Aethelred I of Wessex and his brother Alfred attacked the gateway to the town of Reading but were beaten back by the Vikings.
871 (8th January)
Battle of Ashdown
Aethelred had re-grouped his army and secured victory against the Vikings.
871 (22nd January)
Battle of Basing
The Saxons, led by Aethelred and Alfred, fought the Vikings but were forced to retreat.
871 (22nd March)
Battle of Meretum
Aethelred, supported by his brother Alfred, fought the Vikings. The battle was inconclusive and both sides withdrew. Aethelred was badly injured in the battle.
871 (23rd April)
Aethelred died from injuries sustained in the Battle of Meretum. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Alfred because his sons were considered too young to succeed.


Published Jan 29, 2018 @ 2:04 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018 – 2020). Aethelred of Wessex 840 – 871. Last accessed [date]

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