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Edwy of England

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Edwy All-Fair
Rank: 12th
Ruled: November 23, 955-October 1, 959
Predecessor: Edred
Date of Birth: 941
Place of Birth: Wessex, England[?]
Wife: Elgiva[?] (annulled)
Buried: Winchester Cathedral
Date of Death: October 1, 959
Parents: Edmund I and Elgiva[?]

Edwy All-Fair was a King of England (955-959). The eldest son of King Edmund, Edwy was chosen by the nobility to succeed his uncle Edred as King. His short reign was marked by ongoing conflicts with his family, the thanes, and especially the Church, under the leadership of Saint Dunstan and Archbishop Odo.

According to one legend, the feud with Dunstan began on the day of Edwy's consecration, when he failed to attend a meeting of nobles. When Dunstan eventually found the young monarch, he was cavorting with a noblewoman named Ethelgive and refused to return with the bishop. Infuriated by this, Dunstan dragged Edwy back and forced him to renounce the girl as a "strumpet." Later realizing that he had provoked the king, Dunstan fled to the apparent sanctuary of his cloister, but Edwy, incited by Ethelgive, followed him and plundered the monastery. Though Dunstan managed to escape, he refused to return to England until after Edwy's death.

Frustrated by the king's impositions and supported by Archbishop Odo, the thanes of Mercia and Northumbria switched their allegiance to Edwy's brother Edgar in 957. Edwy was defeated in battle at Gloucester, but rather than see the country descend into civil war, an agreement was reached among the nobles by which the kingdom would be divided along the Thames, with Edwy keeping Wessex and Kent in the south and Edgar ruling in the north. In the few remaining years of his reign, Edwy ruled his realm more wisely and made significant gifts to the Church. He died, however, at the age of twenty, and was succeeded by his brother and rival, Edgar, who reunited the kingdom.

Preceded by:
Edred
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
Edgar



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