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Length of reign of Saxon and Danish Kings of England 872-1066

From the late ninth century until the Normans conquered Britain in 1066, the most powerful ruling house in England was the House of Wessex (also known as the House of Cerdic). The House of Wessex was the most influential of the Anglo-Saxon ruling houses in pre-Norman Britain, and King Egbert was the first ruler of these kingdoms to be named Bretwalda, ruler of the Britons, as he united the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia. A fictional version of King Egbert (also spelled Ecbert) was popularized in early seasons of the critically acclaimed TV series 'Vikings'.

Alfred the Great

The grandson of King Egbert was King Alfred the Great, who the first widely accepted ruler of England (by the Britons) after his defeat of the Viking invaders in the late ninth century. King Alfred the Great was also the first king to make universal changes to the education and legal system, and he laid the groundwork for creating a standing army. He was given the title 'the Great' by Reformation-era historians, due to the improvements made to quality of life in England during his reign.

Foreign invasions

In the eleventh century, the number of Viking invasions intensified, and there were several occasions where Danish kings ruled over England, particularly between 1016 and 1042. From 1042 until 1066, Edward the Confessor reclaimed the throne from the Danish kings, before Harold Godwinson (an Anglo-Saxon of Danish descent) was named king upon Edward's death. Harold's ascension to the throne created problems, as he was not the true heir to Edward's throne, and he was immediately threatened by the Danes and Normans. Although Harold successfully defended the north from a Danish invasion, he immediately marched his army south to repel the Norman armies of King William, where he was defeated (according to legend, Harold was killed by an arrow through the eye during the Battle of Hastings). This marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon rule over Britain, but the legacy of these kings has continued. Every King or Queen of England since Henry II can trace their roots back to the House of Wessex, as Henry II's mother was the granddaughter of Edmund II, King of England in 1016.

Length of reign of Saxon and Danish Kings of England from 872 to 1066

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Release date

July 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

872 - 1066

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Statistics on "The British Royal Family (UK)"

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