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Ethelred - 866-871

Ethelred was another younger brother of Ethelbald, ruling from 866 to 871. He was the third son of Ethelwulf and Osburgh of Oslac to wear the mantle of kingship.

Ethelred (Also known as Ethelred I) was crowned at Kingston upon Thames. Although the name of his wife is not recorded, Ethelred had two children -Ethelhelm and Ethelward. He fought no fewer than eight battles against the Danes, and died of wounds after the Battle of Merton in Oxfordshire.

Perhaps surprisingly, Ethelred I was venerated as a saint, and was held in great esteem because of his piety. The story is told that before the crucial Battle of Ashdown, despite the urgency of the situation he refused to rise from his knees or leave his tent until he had completed hearing the Mass. He said he would not serve man before God.

Ethelred is buried in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, where a Purbeck marble slab is believed to be a part of that which originally covered his grave. Such was his fame that a memorial brass was put in Wimborne Abbey in 1440, six hundred years after his birth - the only memorial brass effigy of an English king.

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