Aethelwulf (Ethelwulf)

d. 858

Aethelwulf ruled as King of Wessex from 839-856, and it was during his reign that the first major Danish invasions of England took place. The initial conflicts did not go well for Aethelwulf; he lost a sea battle to the Danes in 842, but regrouped and soundly defeated the Danes at the Battle of Aclea in 851.

Aethelwulf was well known for his religious fervour, so perhaps it should have come as no surprise that in 856 he stepped aside as king and allowed his son Aethelbald to take the throne - though it seems equally likely that by doing so he hoped to avoid the turmoil of civil war between supporters of Aethelbald and his own loyal followers. He died only two years after abdicating.

Time period(s): Saxon

Tags: Aethelwulf   Aethelbald   Mercia   Battle of Aclea  

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