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AETHELWULF, king of the West Saxons, succeeded his father Ecgberht in A.D. 839. It is recorded in the Saxon Chronicle for 825 that he was sent with Eahlstan, bishop of Sherborne, and the ealdorman Wulfheard to drive out Baldred, king of Kent, which was successfully accomplished. On the accession of AEthelwulf, AEthelstan, his son or brother, was made sub-king of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex. AEthelwulf's reign was chiefly occupied with struggles against the Danes. After the king's defeat 843-844, the Somerset and Dorset levies won a victory at the mouth of the Parret, c. 850. In 851 Ceorl, with the men of Devon, defeated the Danes at Wigganburg, and AEthelstan of Kent was victorious at Sandwich, in spite of which they wintered in England that year for the first time. In 851 also AEthelwulf and AEthelbald won their great victory at Aclea, probably the modern Ockley. In 853 AEthelwulf subdued the North Welsh, in answer to the appeal of Burgred of Mercia, and gave him his daughter AEthelswith in marriage. 855 is the year of the Donation of AEthelwulf and of his journey to Rome with Alfred. On his way home he married Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald. According to Asser he was compelled to give up Wessex to his son AEthelbald on his return, and content himself with the eastern sub-kingdom. He died in 858.

Chronicle, s.a. 823, 836, 840, 851, 853, 855. (F. G. M. B.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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