EDWY (Eadwig), "The Fair" (c. 940-959), king of the English, was the eldest son of King Edmund and Ælfgifu, and succeeded his uncle Eadred in 955, when he was little more than fifteen years old. He was crowned at Kingston by Archbishop Odo, and his troubles began at the coronation feast. He had retired to enjoy the company of the ladies Æthelgifu (perhaps his foster-mother) and her daughter Ælfgifu, whom the king intended to marry. The nobles resented the king's withdrawal, and he was induced by Dunstan and Cynesige, bishop of Lichfield, to return to the feast. Edwy naturally resented this interference, and in 957 Dunstan was driven into exile. By the year 956 Ælfgifu had become the king's wife, but in 958 Archbishop Odo of Canterbury secured their separation on the ground of their being too closely akin. Edwy, to judge from the disproportionately large numbers of charters issued during his reign, seems to have been weakly lavish in the granting of privileges, and soon the chief men of Mercia and Northumbria were disgusted by his partiality for Wessex. The result was that in the year 957 his brother, the Ætheling Edgar, was chosen as king by the Mercians and Northumbrians. It is probable that no actual conflict took place, and in 959, on Edwy's death, Edgar acceded peaceably to the combined kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria.

AUTHORITIES - Saxon Chronicle (ed. Earle and Plummer, Oxford), sub ann.; Memorials of St Dunstan (ed. Stubbs, Rolls Series); William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum (ed. Stubbs, Rolls Series); Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum, vol. ii. Nos. 932-1046; Florence of Worcester.

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

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