Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia

ÆLfhere, Ealdorman Of Mercia

Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia

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Ælfhere (floruit 956–983) was ealdorman of Mercia. His family, along with those of Æthelstan Half-King and Æthelstan Rota, rose to greatness in the middle third of the 10th century. In the reign of Edward the Martyr, Ælfhere was a leader of the anti-monastic reaction and an ally of Edward's stepmother Queen Dowager Ælfthryth. After the killing of Edward by Ælfthryth's servants in 978, Ælfhere supported the new king, Ælfthryth's son Æthelred the Unready, and was the leading nobleman in the Kingdom of England until his death in 983.

Origins and relations

Ælfhere was a son of Ealhhelm (fl. 940–951) who had been one of the several ealdormen in Mercia in the reigns of Kings Edmund and Eadred. The family was of Wessex origin, like most of those prominent in Mercia in the period, and may have been connected to the royal family, probably members of a collateral branch of the Royal house.Henson, p. 127; Higham, p. 4. Charters variously call Ælfhere and Ælfheah propinquus, that is consanguineal relative, of Kings Eadred, Eadwig, and Edgar, and of the chronicler Ealdorman Æthelweard. Ealhhelm was a major figure who witnessed a large number of charters; Stafford, p. 38. See Williams, p. 144, table 1, for the known and conjectured relationships. The family's power-base was probably in south-west Mercia, in the diocese of Worcester, the former Kingdom of the Hwicce. Ælfhere's brother Ælfheah (fl. 959–972) was an...
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