Ecgwynn was born circa 875 in England . She married Edward the Elder (c870-924) 893 JL in Wessex.


Ecgwynn or Ecgwynna, was the first consort of Edward the Elder (c870-924), later King of the English (r. 899–924), by whom she bore the future King Æthelstan (r. 924–939), and a daughter who married Sihtric Cáech, Norse king of Dublin, Ireland and Northumbria. Extremely little is known about her background and life. Not even her name is given in any sources until after the Norman Conquest. The first to record it is William of Malmesbury, who presents it in Latinised guise as Egwinna and who is in fact the principal source for her existence.

Ecgwynn's marriage to Edward the Elder appears to have been consummated before his accession to the throne (899). If Æthelstan was aged thirty when he was elected king (924), as William of Malmesbury claims he was,[2] the year of his birth would have been 893 or 894.[3] By this time, Edward had reached majority and one of his priorities would have been to secure the continuation of Alfred's line.[4] No sources report what became of Ecgwynn afterwards, though two events are directly relevant.

First, William writes that on King Alfred's instigation, Æthelstan was sent to be raised at the Mercian court of his aunt Æthelflæd.[5] Second, it is known that by 901, Edward had taken to wife Ælfflæd, a daughter of ealdorman Æthelhelm.[6] The reason for this decision is unclear. It may simply have been that Ecgwynn was no longer alive in 899 and that it was therefore only natural that Edward looked for a fresh bride.[3] It is also possible that Edward's first marriage was thought to lack the political import that was needed to buttress his position as king of the English.[7] Alfred may have been responsible for arranging the first marriage and so his death in 899 would have afforded Edward and his counsellors room to follow a different course.


Offspring of Edward of Wessex and Ecgwynn (c875-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Athelstan (895-939) 895 Wessex 27 October 929 Gloucestershire, England
Edith the Poleworth (c896-) 896 England 9999 Ireland Sitric Cáech (c890-927)




Footnotes (including sources)


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