Æthelberht (Wessex) of Wessex
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Æthelberht (Wessex) of Wessex (abt. 0835 - 0866)

Æthelberht "Athelbert, Ethelbert, King of Wessex" of Wessex formerly Wessex
Born about in Of, Wantage, Berkshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died at about age 31 in Sherbourne (Shirburn)map
Profile last modified | Created 3 Aug 2013
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Æthelberht (Wessex) of Wessex is a member of the House of Wessex.
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Preceded by
King of the West Saxons
Succeeded by



Æthelberht was the third son of Æthelwulf of Wessex [1] and Osburh.[2]

From 855 to 860 he was sub-king of "Kent", which included Surrey, Sussex and part of Essex.[2][3] In 860 he succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex on the death of his brother Æthelbald.[3][4] He incorporated the kingdom of Kent fully into Wessex:[4] 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. [2]

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.[3][4] 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.[3]

Æthelberht granted a charter to Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, exempting it from all obligations to him apart from military service and building bridges.[5]

Æthelberht died in 865 and was buried at Sherborne, Dorset.[2][3][4]

Research Notes


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.[1] 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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Charles Cawley. ÆTHELBERHT (830/35-865/66), entry in "Medieval Lands" database - child 7 under Æthelwulf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry by Sean Miller for 'Æthelberht (d. 865)', print and online 2004
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Michael Swanton (editor and translator). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, new edition, Phoenix Press, 2000, pp. 66-68
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Asser. Life of King Alfred, translated by Albert S Cook, Ginn and Company, 1906, p. 12, Internet Archive
  5. A J Robertson. Anglo-Saxon Charters, 2nd edition, 1956, reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 16-21
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry by Sean Miller for 'Æthelberht (d. 865)', print and online 2004
  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, entry for 'ETHELBERT or ÆTHELBERHT (d. 866)', Wikisource
  • Cawley, Charles. ÆTHELBERHT (830/35-865/66), entry in "Medieval Lands" database (accessed 9 June 2021) - child 7 under Æthelwulf
  • Wiki[edia; Æthelberht, King of Wessex

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I plan soon to do some work on this profile on behalf of the Medieval Project
posted by Michael Cayley
I have now finished the main work I currently intend on this profile. If anyone spots any typos etc, please either correct them or message me. Thanks.
posted by Michael Cayley

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