13th December 902: Æthelwold’s revolt against Edward the Elder defeated at the Battle of the Holme

13th December 902: Æthelwold’s revolt against Edward the Elder defeated at the Battle of the Holme


Hello, and welcome to HistoryPod. On 13 December 902 Æthelwold ætheling, a
claimant to the Anglo-Saxon throne was defeated at the Battle of the Holme. Æthelwold was the youngest son of Æthelred
I, King of Wessex, who had been killed in battle and was succeeded by his brother, Alfred
the Great. When Alfred died in 899 the throne passed
to his son Edward, who soon faced opposition from his cousin. Æthelwold had prepared to oppose Edward at
Wimborne in Dorset, but after being unable to raise an army he fled north where he secured
support from the Danes in Northumbria. They sailed together to Essex in 901, and
quickly established an alliance with the East Anglian Danes. The following year Æthelwold’s new forces
began to raid deep into neighbouring Mercia, and even crossed into the northern reaches
of Edward’s Wessex. Edward retaliated by launching his own raids
into East Anglia, prompting the Danes to return before their territory was completely ravaged. Rather than engage in battle, Edward called
for his forces to withdraw. However, the men of Kent were slow to fall
back and met Æthelwold and the returning Danes at the Battle of the Holme on 13 December
902. Although details of the battle are scarce,
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that the Danes suffered numerous losses while defending
their territory. Æthelwold himself was killed, along with
several Danish nobles. This removed the threat to Edward’s crown
and, in 906, he made peace with the East Angles and Northumbrians at Tiddingford in modern
Bedfordshire. Nevertheless, Edward’s armies continued
to harass the Danes and, in partnership with his sister Æthelflæd who ruled Mercia following
the death of her husband, Edward continued to expand Anglo-Saxon dominance across the British Isles.

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