Æthelwærd was born circa 880 in Wessex to Alfred the Great (849-899) and Osburga (-bef856) and died circa 921 Wessex of unspecified causes. Alfred the Great (849-899).


Æthelweard (d. 920 or 922) was the youngest son of King Alfred the Great and Ealhswith.

He was born about 880.[citation needed] That he was Alfred's youngest son by Ealhswith is stated by Asser in his biography of the king (c. 893).[1] Asser also provides valuable detail on the boy's upbringing. Whereas his brother Edward and sister Ælfthryth were raised and educated at court, Ælfweard was sent to a type of school (schola), where he learned to read and write both Latin and Old English and was instructed in the liberal arts "under the attentive care of teachers, in company with all the nobly born children of virtually the entire area, and a good many of lesser birth as well." Such education would have started at an early age, before the onset of adolescence.[2]

Since the (late) 890s, Æthelweard attested several of his brother's charters.[5] According to John of Worcester, he died on 16 October 922 and his body received burial at Winchester,[6] where he was soon joined by his brother Edward (d. 924). William of Malmesbury confirms the place of burial, but places his death four years before Edward's.[7] It may have been Æthelweard whose name was entered into the New Minster Liber Vitae, fol. 9v., with the designation clito "ætheling", but if so, he seems to be mistaken for a son of Edward.

Marriage and Family

William tells that Æthelweard had two sons, Ælfwine (c902-) and Æthelwine (c904-), who died fighting in the Battle of Brunanburh and who were buried at Malmesbury, at the behest of their cousin King Athelstan, who was buried there himself only two years later. The connection with this house is prominent in a series of three spurious charters from the Malmesbury archive, in which Athelstan is made to endow the abbey in memory of his "cousins" (patruelia) Æthelweard, Ælfwine and Æthelwine. If Ælfwine and Æthelwine died childless, their deaths would have brought an end to Æthelweard's direct descent.


Offspring of Æthelwærd and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ælfwine (c902-)
Æthelwine (c904-)


#g1: Offspring of Alfred the Great (849-899) and Ealhswith (c852-905)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Edward the Elder (c870-924) 870, 17 July 924, Ecgwynn (c875-) + Ælfflæd (c880-) + Eadgifu of Kent (c902-968)
Æthelflæd (c872-918) 872, Wessex 12 June 918, Tamford, Staffordshire, England Æthelred of Mercia (c855-911)
Æthelgifu, Abbess of Shaftesbury (?-?) , ,
Ælfthryth of Wessex (c872-929) 872, England, United Kingdom (Wessex) 7 June 929, Baldwin II of Flanders (c865-918)
Æthelwærd (c880-922) 880, Wessex 921, Wessex

Will of Alfred the Great, AD 873–888, granting land to Æthelweard (11th-century copy, British Library Stowe MS 944, ff. 29v–33r)

Vital Records

Will of Alfred the Great

(See image to the right.) Through Alfred's patronage, Æthelweard became a wealthy landowner. In his father's will (AD 873 x 888), in which he is unnamed but called Alfred's "younger son" (þam gingran minan suna ), he is the beneficiary of a vast number of estates across the south of Britain: Arreton (Isle of Wight), Dean (i.e. East Dean or West Dean, West Sussex), Meon (i.e. East Meon or West Meon, Hampshire), Amesbury (Wiltshire), Dean (probably West Dean, Wiltshire), Sturminster Marshall (Dorsetshire), Yeovil (Somerset), Crewkerne (Somerset), Whitchurch Canonicorum (Dorset), Axmouth (Devon), Branscombe (Devon), Cullompton (Devon), Tiverton (Devon), Mylenburnan (probably Silverton, Devon), Exminster (Devon), Suðeswyrðe (possibly Lustleigh, Devon), Lifton (Devon) and appurtenant lands, i.e. all his father's property in Cornwall, except Triggshire.



Footnotes (including sources)