House of Wessex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

House of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex[1]
CountryKingdom of Wessex, Kingdom of England
Titles
Founded519
FounderCerdic of Wessex
Final rulerEdward the Confessor
Dissolution1093
 
Jump to: navigation, search
House of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex
Golden Wyvern of Wessex[1]
CountryKingdom of Wessex, Kingdom of England
Titles
Founded519
FounderCerdic of Wessex
Final rulerEdward the Confessor
Dissolution1093

The House of Wessex, also known as the House of Cerdic, refers to the family that initially ruled a kingdom in southwest England known as Wessex, from the 6th century under Cerdic of Wessex until the unification of the Kingdoms of England.

The House became rulers of all England from Alfred the Great in 871 to Edmund Ironside in 1016. This period of the English monarchy is known as the Saxon period, though their rule was often contested, notably by the Danelaw and later by the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard who claimed the throne from 1013 to 1014, during the reign of Æthelred the Unready. Sweyn and his successors ruled until 1042. After Harthacanute, there was a brief Saxon Restoration between 1042 and 1066 under Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson, who was a member of the House of Godwin. After the Battle of Hastings, a decisive point in English history, William of Normandy became king of England. Anglo-Saxon attempts to restore native rule in the person of Edgar the Ætheling, a grandson of Edmund Ironside who had originally been passed over in favour of Harold, were unsuccessful and William's descendants secured their rule. Edgar's niece Matilda of Scotland later married William's son Henry I, forming a link between the two dynasties.

Timeline of Wessex and England rulers[edit]

Genealogy[edit]

The following chart is a family tree of the kings of the House of Wessex, a dynasty whose members were Kings of Wessex, and then, from Athelstan onwards, Kings of England.

Many of the links shown are disputed. Egbert, who became King of Wessex in 802, was probably of Kentish origin, and his ancestry back to Cerdic may have been invented to legitimize his claim to the throne of Wessex.[2] The links tracing the ancestry of the Godwins back to King Æthelred I are based on theories put forward by genealogists which are rejected by almost all historians.

In places the tree has been extended to show those kings of Wessex or England who were not actually of the house of Cerdic, although in every case these kings are related to the House of Wessex through marriage, and so can be included here. These include Canute the Great and his two sons.

For a continuation of this tree, please see English monarchs family tree.

Wessex family tree.jpg

Links to persons named:

Attributed coat of arms[edit]

Royal Arms of Edward the Confessor.svg

A coat of arms was attributed by medieval heralds to the Kings of Wessex. These arms appear in a manuscript of the thirteenth century, and are blazoned as Azure, a cross patonce between four martlets Or.[3] The assigning of arms to the West Saxon kings is prochronistic as heraldry did not develop until the twelfth century. These arms continued to be used to represent the kingdom for centuries after their invention.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Friar, Basic Heraldry, 12.
  2. ^ Heather Edwards, Ecgberht, Oxford Online Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
  3. ^ College of Arms MS L.14, dating from the reign of Henry III
  4. ^ For example in Divi Britannici by Winston Churchill, published in 1675, and Britannia Saxona by G W Collen, published in 1833.
House of Wessex
New title
England united under Wessex
Ruling house of England
829–1013
Succeeded by
House of Denmark
Preceded by
House of Denmark
Ruling house of England
1014–16
Ruling house of England
1042–66
Succeeded by
House of Godwin