Name: King Egbert (Ecgberht)
Born: c.769
Parents: Ealhmund of Kent (Father)
House of Wessex
Reign: 802-839
Married: Redburh of Francia (Redburga)
Children: Aethelwulf
Died: 839
Buried at: Winchester
Succeeded by: his son Aethelwulf


Egbert (Ecgberht in Anglo Saxon) king of Wessex (802-39), and the first Saxon king recognized as sovereign of all England . He was the son of a Kentish noble but claimed descent from Cerdic (reigned 519-34), founder of Wessex, the kingdom of the West Saxons in southern England. During the late 8th century, when King Offa of Mercia (reigned 757-96) ruled most of England, Egbert lived in exile at the court of Charlemagne. Egbert regained his kingdom in 802. He conquered the neighboring kingdoms of Kent, Cornwall, and Mercia, and by 830 he was also acknowledged as sovereign of East Anglia, Sussex, Surrey, and Northumbria and was given the title of Bretwalda (Anglo-Saxon, "ruler of the British"). During following years Egbert led expeditions against the Welsh and the Vikings. The year before his death he defeated a combined force of Danes and Cornish at Hingston Down in Cornwall. He was succeeded by his son Aethelwulf, the father of Alfred.

# The final supremacy of the West Saxons was mainly brought about by the Danish invasion. But the man who laid the foundation of the West Saxon power was Ecgberht, the so-called first king of all England.

Ecgberht himself generally bore the title of King of the West Saxons, like his ancestors: and though in dealing with his Anglian subjects he styled himself Rex Anglorum, that title perhaps means little more than the humbler one of Rex Gewissorum, which he used in addressing his people of the lesser principality. The real kingdom of the English never existed before the days of Eadward the Elder, and scarcely before the days of William the Norman and Henry the Angevin. As to the kingdom of England, that was a far later invention of the feudal lawyers.

The kingdom descended to his weak son, AEthelwulf. His second son, AEthelstan, was placed over Kent, Essex, Surrey, and Sussex, as under-king.

[1]This entry in the [Anglo-Saxon] Chronicle, however, is probably erroneous, as an exactly similar one occurs under AEthelwulf, seven years later.

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