Discover King Egbert of Wessex and Bretwalda

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.

Born 770
Parents Ealhmund of Kent (Father)
Married Redburh of Frankia
Children Aethelwulf
Died 839 (69), buried in Winchester

Reign 802-839 (37)
Crowned 802 (32)
Predecessor None
Successor Aethelwulf (son)
House Wessex

Events of King Egbert’s Life

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.

795
Egbert’s son, Aethelwulf, is born in Aachen, Germany.

802
Egbert succeeds to the throne of Wessex, as his rival Beorhtric is poisoned by his own wife, Eadburh.

815
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.

838
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.

Interesting Facts 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 Fought by King Egbert

Skirmish in Cornwall
In 815, victory for Wessex, as he invades Cornwall (Dumnonia).

Battle of Ellandun
In 825, victory for Wessex over Beornwulf of Mercia.

Skirmish of Mercia
In 829, victory over King Wiglaf of Mercia.

Skirmish of Mercia
In 830, defeat for Wessex, as Wiglaf retakes Mercia.

Battle of Carhampton
In 836, defeat for Egbert and Aethelwulf by Danish Vikings.

Battle of Hingston Down
In 838, victory for Wessex over the combined Cornish and Danish forces.

FAQs About King Egbert

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.

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