||Æthelberht (Wessex) of Wessex is managed by the Medieval Project.|
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|King of the West Saxons
From 855 to 860 he was sub-king of "Kent", which included Surrey, Sussex and part of Essex. In 860 he succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex on the death of his brother Æthelbald. He incorporated the kingdom of Kent fully into Wessex: he did not appoint a sub-king for it, and a charter of his reign is the first to list a full set of witnesses from both Kent and Wessex. 
During his reign a Viking force raided England and despoiled Winchester. On their way back to their ships, they were routed by Anglo-Saxons led by Ealdormen Osric and Æthelwulf. In 865 another Viking force landed in Kent: a peace agreement was reached in return for a payment being made to the Vikings, but they still continued to raid parts of Kent.
Æthelberht granted a charter to Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, exempting it from all obligations to him apart from military service and building bridges.
Charles Cawley suggests that Æthelberht may have been an illegitimate son of Æthelwulf, largely on the basis that the will of King Ælfred refers to him as kinsman, not brother. This might seem unlikely given that his father made him sub-king of Kent, and that he was readily recognised as King of Wessex on the death of his brother Æthelbald. There is no suggestion of illegitimacy in the contemporary sources apart from the way he is referred to in Ælfred's will.
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