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Ethelwulf - 839-856

Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert and Redburga. He succeeded his father in 839 and was crowned at Kingston upon Thames. At Ethelwulf's request, his four sons each became king in turn rather than risk weakness in the kingdom by allowing young children to inherit the mantle of leadership.

Ethelwulf had been 'sub-king' of Kent and was Bishop of Winchester for a while. He fought successfully against the Danes, winning a victory at Oakley in Surrey; he also won another battle at sea. He took his son, the future Alfred the Great, on a pilgrimage to Rome and on the way back, aged about fifty-six himself, he married the Emperor Charlemagne's thirteen-year-old granddaughter Judith (his second marriage; his first was to Osburgh of Oslac).

When he got back to England he found his son Ethelbald in open revolt, and under pressure he found himself obliged to share the throne with him. He lived for only a further two years.

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