Open main menu
A Victorian representation of Edgar being rowed on the River Dee.

King Edgar's council at Chester took place in AD 973 shortly after Edgar's coronation at Bath. What happened at Chester has been heavily obscured by the embellishments and political environment of later, twelfth century chroniclers, however, it is claimed that several kings came and pledged their allegiance to Edgar, including Kenneth II of Scotland and Máel Coluim I of Strathclyde and five from Wales.[1]:157-158 The chroniclers wrote that these kings pledged their faith that they would be Edgar's liege-men on sea and land. Later chroniclers made the kings into eight, all plying the oars of Edgar's state barge on the River Dee.[2] Such embellishments may not be factual, and what actually happened is unclear.[3]

Eadwulf Evil-child, the Earl of Bamburgh, Oslac, the Earl of York, and Bishop Ælfsige of Lindisfarne escorted Kenneth II to the council at Chester. Chroniclers wrote that after Kenneth had reportedly done homage, Edgar rewarded Kenneth by granting him Laudian (thought to be Lothian),[4] thereby changing the frontier between Northumbria and Alba (this was the nascent Anglo-Scottish border) in Alba's favour.


An early twentieth-century depiction of Edgar being rowed down the River Dee by eight kings.[5] According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Edgar met six kings at Chester. By the twelfth century, chroniclers alleged that eight kings rowed Edgar down the river in an act of submission.[6]

The traditional location of Edgar's royal residence in Chester is known as Edgar's Field, a park in Handbridge, a district of Chester. The barge is thought to have been rowed from Edgar's residence up the Dee to St John's Church on the opposite bank.[7]


  1. ^ Williams (Ysgafell), Jane (1869). A History of Wales: Derived from Authentic Sources. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
  2. ^ Huscroft, R (2013). The Norman Conquest: A New Introduction. Routledge. p. 21. ISBN 1317866274.
  3. ^ Scragg, D. G. (2008), Edgar, King of the English, 959-975: New Interpretations, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, p. 121, ISBN 1843833999, Precisely what happened at Chester has been irretrievably obscured by the embellishments of twelfth-century historians
  4. ^ Rollason, David W. (2003). Northumbria, 500 - 1100: Creation and Destruction of a Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. p. 275. ISBN 0521813352.
  5. ^ Cassell's History of England (1909) p. 53.
  6. ^ Williams, A (2004). "An Outing on the Dee: King Edgar at Chester, AD 973". Mediaeval Scandinavia. 14: 229–243
  7. ^