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Æthelred II of Northumbria

Æthelred was king of Northumbria from c.854 to 862, with a break in 858. He was the son of Eanred.

Kings of Northumbria AE Styca Aethelred II.jpg
AE Styca of Æethelred II
King of Northumbria
(second time)
Reign c.858 – 862 AD
Predecessor Rædwulf
Successor Osberht
King of Northumbria
Reign c.854 – 858 AD
Predecessor Eanreds
Successor Rædwulf
Died c.862
House Northumbria
Father Eanred
Copper alloy styca of King Aethelred II

Relatively little is known of his reign from the surviving documentary record. He appears to have been expelled in favour of Rædwulf, whose reign is confirmed by the evidence of coinage. However, Rædwulf was killed the same year, fighting against Vikings, and Æthelred was restored to power. He was assassinated a few years later, but no further details are known of his murder.

The dating of Æthelred's reign is extremely problematic. According to the written sources, he was expelled in 844 and assassinated in 849, but recent reinterpretations of ninth century Northumbrian chronology based on numismatic evidence argue for his reign beginning c. 854, his expulsion having taken place c. 858, and his assassination c. 862.

The new styca coinage, small brass coins containing very little silver and much zinc, which began in his father's reign, continued in Æthelred's. Large numbers of his styca coins have been found, again minted in York by a number of moneyers. A moneyer active in this period named Eardwulf was sometimes confused with Æthelred's grandfather King Eardwulf in older works on numismatics.

Written and numismatic evidence agrees that Æthelred was succeeded by Osberht.


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