King Egbert (Ecgberht) ruled from 802-839, and is thought to be descended from the founder of Wessex, Cerdic (514-534), despite being the son of a Kentish noble. He was sent into exile by Offa, and resided at the court of Charlemagne. Upon his return, Egbert took back Wessex and conquered Mercia, Kent and Cornwall. Later, he was acknowledged as ruler of Northumbria, East Anglia and Sussex and would become known as Bretwalda, ruler of the British.
Facts about King Egbert
- Born. c.770.
- Parents. Ealhmund of Kent (Father).
- Married. Redburh of Frankia.
- Children. Aethelwulf.
- Acceded. 802.
- Crowned. 802.
- Reign. 39 years.
- Died. 839, aged c.69. Buried in Winchester.
- Successor. Aethelwulf, son of Egbert.
10 things you may not know about King Egbert
- Early Bid. Egbert made a bid of the throne of Wessex at around 16 years of age, but was unsuccessful.
- Exile. Offa of Mercia and Beorhtric of Wessex forced Egbert into exile. Egbert fled to Frankia.
- Charlemagne. Egbert spent 3 years at the court of Charlemagne, and married a local noblewoman called Redburh.
- Poison. Egbert was able to succeed to the throne of Wessex, because Beorhtric of Wessex had been poisoned by his own wife, Eadburh.
- Independence. Upon taking the throne of Wessex, King Egbert immediately removed Wessex from Mercian control.
- Victory. Egbert defeated Beornwulf of Mercia at the Battle of Ellandun, which made Wessex stronger than Mercia for the first time.
- Overlord. Egbert became overlord of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Essex, achieving Caedwalla’s creation of an extended West Saxon kingdom.
- Bretwalda. In 829, Egbert conquered Mercia. Eanred of Northumbria submitted too, and Egbert became Bretwalda, ruler of the British.
- Cornwall. Egbert became allied with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and received the church’s blessing for Wessex to become the permanent overlord of Cornwall.
- Longevity. Egbert was the longest living king of his dynasty for 250 years. He lived to around 69.
Battles and Skirmishes
- Skirmish in Cornwall. 815. Victory for Wessex, as he invades Cornwall (Dumnonia).
- Battle of Ellandun. 825. Victory for Wessex over Beornwulf of Mercia.
- Skirmish of Mercia. 829. Victory over King Wiglaf of Mercia.
- Skirmish of Mercia. 830. Defeat for Wessex, as Wiglaf retakes Mercia.
- Battle of Carhampton. 836. Defeat for Egbert and Aethelwulf by Danish Vikings.
- Battle of Hingston Down. 838. Victory for Wessex over the combined Cornish and Danish forces.
Timeline for King Egbert
– 770 –
Egbert is born in Kent, to Ealhmund of Kent.
– 786 –
Egbert makes a bid for the throne of Wessex at the young age of 16, but is denied by overlord, Offa, who places Beorhtric on the throne instead.
– 789 –
Egert is driven into exile in Frankia by King Offa and King Beorhtric. There he spends 3 years at the court of Charlemagne.
– 802 –
Egbert succeeds to the throne of Wessex, as his rival Beorhtric is poisoned by his own wife, Eadburh.
Egbert ravages Cornwall, subjugating them to Wessex rule.
– 825 –
King Egbert is victorious at the Battle of Ellandun, over Beornwulf of Mercia. Mercia lost so much in the battle, that Wessex was now more powerful. Egbert accepts overlordship of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Essex.
A Cornish revolt is suppressed.
– 829 –
Egbert conquers Mercia, defeating Wiglaf. King Eanred of Northumbria submits to Wessex rule too. King Egbert becomes Bretwalda.
– 830 –
Wiglaf retakes Mercia from Wessex and gains control of London.
– 835 –
Viking raids occur in Sheppey.
– 836 –
Egbert is defeated at the Battle of Carhampton, by Danish Vikings.
Egbert is victorious at the Battle of Hingston Down, defeating a combined army of Cornish and Danish troops.
Cornwall becomes permanently ruled by Wessex, approved by the church.
– 839 –
Egbert dies, and is succeeded by his son Aethelwulf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was King Egbert? He was the Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex from 802-839. Son of Ealhmund of Kent and Father of Aethelwulf of Wessex. He was one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings.
How old was King Egbert when he died? Around 69.
When did King Egbert die? In 839 of natural causes.
When was King Egbert born? Around 770.
Where is King Egbert buried? He is buried in Winchester.
Where did King Egbert live? He lived most of his life in Winchester, but also spent his early life in Kent and Frankia.
Where was King Egbert born? He was born in Kent.
Who did King Egbert marry? He married Redburh of Frankia, while attending the court of Charlemagne.