Æthelswith, Queen of Mercia was born circa 838 in England, United Kingdom (Wessex) to Æthelwulf of Wessex (c795-858) and Osburga (-bef856) and died 888 Pavia, Italy of unspecified causes. She married Burgred of Mercia (c825-874) 853 JL in England, United Kingdom.


Queen Æthelswith of Mercia (c. 838–888) was the only known daughter of King Æthelwulf of Wessex. She became Queen Æthelswith when she married King Burgred of Mercia in 853. The couple had no issue. Her marriage probably signaled the subordination of Burgred to his father-in-law and the Saxon kingdom at a time when both Wessex and Mercia were suffering Danish (Viking) raids. Burgred also had ongoing problems with the Kingdom of Powys on his western border and in 853 Æthelwulf subjugated the Welsh state on Burgred's behalf. (See House of Wessex family tree).

Repeated Danish incursions over the years gradually weakened Mercia militarily and in 868 Burgred was forced to call upon Æthelswith's brother King Æthelred of Wessex to assist him in confronting an entrenched Danish army at Nottingham. This was the last time the Saxons came to the aid of the Mercians and is also notable as the occasion on which Alfred the Great (849-899), another brother of Æthelswith's, married his Mercian wife Ealhswith (c852-905).

Burgred's reign lasted till 874 when the Vikings drove him from the kingdom and he fled to Rome with Æthelswith. He died shortly after. Æthelswith lived on in Italy, to be buried at Pavia in 888..


Offspring of Æthelwulf of Wessex (c795-858) and Osburga (-bef856)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Æthelstan of Kent (-c852) 830 England, United Kingdom (Wessex) 852 England, United Kingdom (Wessex)
Æthelswith of Wessex (c838-888) 838 England, United Kingdom (Wessex) 888 Pavia, Italy Burgred of Mercia (c825-874)
Æthelbald of Wessex (-860) 833 Wessex 20 December 860 Sherborne, Dorsetshire, England Judith (844-870)
Æthelberht of Wessex (-865) 836 Wessex 865 England
Æthelred of Wessex (c847-871) 847 Wessex 23 April 871 Wessex Wulfthryth of Wessex (c840-)
Alfred the Great (849-899) 23 April 849 Wantage, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom 26 October 899 Winchester, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom Ealhswith (c852-905)


  1. Simon Keynes & Michael Lapidge eds, Alfred the Great, Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (Penguin Classics). London: Penguin, 1983, pp. 69, 113, 232, 281.


Footnotes (including sources)

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