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Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Æthelwine (died 992) was ealdorman of East Anglia and one of the leading noblemen in the kingdom of England in the later 10th century. As with his kinsmen, the principal source for his life is Byrhtferth's life of Oswald of Worcester. Æthelwine founded Ramsey Abbey in 969,[1] and Byrhtferth and Ramsey Abbey remembered him as Dei amicus (friend to God), but the monks of nearby Ely saw him as an enemy who had seized their lands.

Æthelwine was a son of Æthelstan Half-King, but probably not the eldest son as his brother Æthelwald seems to have succeeded their father on his retirement in 956. Æthelwine appears to have followed Æthelwald in office from 962. He was a benefactor of the New Minster at Winchester, and of Ramsey Abbey.

Following the death of King Edgar, Æthelwine was, with Oswald of Worcester and Dunstan, a leader among the supporters of Edgar's oldest son Edward, which placed him in opposition to his former sister-in-law Dowager Queen Ælfthryth and Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia. During the anti-monastic reaction in Edward's short reign, Æthelwine is portrayed as a stalwart supporter of the monks, but the record suggests that he took advantage of the weakness of royal government to dispossess the monks of Ely of lands.

Following the death of Ælfhere in 983, and the withdrawal of the queen-mother from court soon after the death of Bishop Æthelwald of Winchester in 984, Æthelwine became the leading lay figure at the court of the young King Æthelred. His death in 992 probably marks the beginning of Æthelred's personal reign.

Æthelwine's death is recorded by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Byrhtferth provides more detail, reporting that, perhaps following a lengthy illness, Æthelwine was attended at his death by Germann, Abbot of Ramsey, and Ælfheah, later Archbishop of Canterbury. His remains were moved to Ramsey where the monks kept a vigil overnight before he was buried there.

The name of Æthelwine's wife is not recorded, but the names of three sons are known. Byrhtferth mentions Edwin; another son named Leofric appears to have witnessed a will in 986, while Æthelweard was killed fighting for Edmund Ironside at the battle of Ashingdon in 1016.


  1. ^ Pope, Janet M. (1994). Harper-Brill, Christopher (ed.). "Monks and Nobles in the Anglo-Saxon Monastic Reform". Anglo-Norman Studies: Proceedings of the Battle Conference. Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press. XVII: 166, 170. ISBN 0 85115 606 1.


  • Campbell, John; John, Eric; Wormald, Patrick (1982), The Anglo-Saxons, London: Phaidon, ISBN 0-14-014395-5
  • Fisher, D. J. V. (1952), "The Anti-Monastic Reaction in the Reign of Edward the Martyr", Cambridge Historical Journal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 10 (3): 254–270, doi:10.1017/s147469130000295x, JSTOR 3021114
  • Hart, Cyril (2004), "Æthelwine [Ethelwine, Æthelwine Dei Amicus] (d. 992)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2008-05-14
  • Henson, Donald (1998), A Guide to Late Anglo-Saxon England: From Ælfred to Eadgar II, Hockwold-cum-Wilton: Anglo-Saxon Books, ISBN 1-898281-21-1
  • Higham, Nick (1997), The Death of Anglo-Saxon England, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN 0-7509-2469-1
  • Lapidge, Michael (1999), "Monasticism", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 320–322, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Miller, Sean (1999), "Æthelstan Half-King", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 17, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Miller, Sean (1999), "Edward the Martyr", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 163, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Stafford, Pauline (1989), Unification and Conquest: A Political and Social History of England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries, London: Edward Arnold, ISBN 0-7131-6532-4
  • Stenton, Frank (1971), Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280139-2
  • Williams, Ann (2003), Æthelred the Unready: The Ill-Counselled King, London: Hambeldon & London, ISBN 1-85285-382-4

External links

This page was last edited on 3 July 2016, at 13:45
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