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Late Anglo-Saxon Period Kings of Wessex By the time Edward the Martyr took the throne in 975 Christianity was widespread throughout England and the rest of Britain Edward was born in 963 and was just entering his teenage years when his father Edgar died He made a claim to the throne as the first son of the king His half-brother Aethelred son of the third wife made another claim qtd in Britannia 1 Edward was murdered when he rode to visit Aethelred at Corfe is Dorset Aethelreds vassals pretended to welcome Edward and in doing so stabbed him It is safe to assume that Aethelred would not have instigated this incident being a mere seven years of age at the time Edward was later canonized by his brother and was known as King Edward the Martyr Following the assassination of his brother Edward Aethelred was forced upon the English throne at the age of ten Aethelred was married twice His first wife Elfigfu of Mercia bore him no less than eleven children His second marriage to Emma of Normandy produced three children Throughout his reign as King he was hindered by the fact that he could not fully trust the support of his generals at a time when the Danish invaders were a constant threat to the English In an act of futile appeasement Aethelred attempted to stop Danish cravings by paying what was known as Danegeld Danegeld was an annual tax believed to have been imposed originally to buy off Danish invaders in England m-w 1 In 1009 however the King of the Danes Sweyn decided that as well as keeping the territory and monies he had taken from the English that he would now take the whole country Four years later in 1013 Sweyn had control of England and Aethelred had fled to Normandy to seek protection from Emmas brother Robert the Good Sweyn died in 1014 and Aethelred reclaimed the English crown
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