Queen consort of Wessex
SpouseEdward the Elder
IssueÆthelstan, King of England
Edith of Polesworth (possibly)

Ecgwynn or Ecgwynna (fl. 890s), was the first consort of Edward the Elder, later King of the English (reigned 899–924), by whom she bore the future King Æthelstan (r. 924–939), and a daughter who married Sihtric Cáech, Norse king of Dublin, Ireland, and Northumbria. Extremely little is known about her background and life. Not even her name is given in any sources until after the Norman Conquest. The first to record it is William of Malmesbury, who presents it in Latinised guise as Egwinna and who is in fact the principal source for her existence.[1]

Married life

According to William of Malmesbury, Æthelstan was thirty years old when he became king in 924, which would mean that he was born around 894 and Ecgwynn's marriage to Edward the Elder took place in about 893.[2][3] By this time, Edward had reached majority and one of his priorities would have been to secure the continuation of Alfred's line.[4] No sources report what became of Ecgwynn afterwards, though two events are directly relevant. First, William writes that on King Alfred's instigation, Æthelstan was sent to be raised at the Mercian court of his aunt Æthelflæd.[5] Second, it is known that by 901, Edward had taken to wife Ælfflæd, a daughter of ealdorman Æthelhelm.[6] The reason for this decision is unclear. It may simply have been that Ecgwynn was no longer alive in 899 and that it was therefore only natural that Edward looked for another bride.[3] It is also possible that Edward's first marriage was thought to lack the political import that was needed to buttress his position as king of the English.[7] Alfred may have been responsible for arranging the first marriage and so his death in 899 would have afforded Edward and his counsellors room to follow a different course.[8]

Other Languages
asturianu: Egwina
español: Egwina
français: Ecgwynn
hrvatski: Ecgwynna
italiano: Ecgwynn