Edmund, Or Eadmund Il
london canute king
EDMUND, or EADMUND IL, (989-1016), son of Ethelred, and the last of the line of West Saxon kings, called on account of his boldness and great strength Ironside, was, on the death of Ethelred the Unready, in April 1016, proclaimed king by the citizens of London and such of the Witan as were in the city. At that very time Canute the Dane was preparing an expedition against London, and he was proclaimed king by the Witan of England, which met at Southampton. In command of a magnificent fleet he anchored before London, and by cutting a ditch round that part of the city not washed by the Thames, completely surrounded it ; but the citizens, fighting with great valour, repulsed all his attacks. Meanwhile Edmund was acknow-ledged by the West Saxons, whc, flocked from every quarter to his standard ; and determining to make o, diversion in favour of London, he met and defeated the enemy at Pen, near Gillingham, in Dorsetshire. Canute was forced to raise the siege of London, and encountering Edmund at Seeorstan, in Wilts, would have been signally defeated, had not the traitor ealderman Edric raised the head of a. fallen thane which resembled that of the king, and called to the Saxons to flee, for their king was dead. Edmund, who was on the top of a hill, saved his subjects from flight by taking off his visor and showing his countenance ; .but from the disorder into which they had been thrown by the untoward incident they were unable to follow up their victory. Canute retained possession of the field of battle, but stole away during the night and resumed the siege of London. Afterwards the Danes were defeated at 13rentford on the Thames, and at Otford in Kent, and fled to the Isle of Sheppey; but being recruited, they met Edmund at Assandun (Ashdown, in Essex), where a battle was fought which virtually decided the fate of the West Saxon kings. Through a second act of treachery on the part of Edric, who fled. at the decisive moment of the battle, with the portion of the army that he commanded, the Saxons were signally defeated, and their chief nobles left dead on the field. Edmund, undaunted by his great losses, wished still to continue the struggle, but Edric and the Witan persuaded him to be reconciled to Canute, and to consent to a division of the kingdom. Edmund retained London and all England south of the Thamea, together with East Anglia and Essex, Canute taking possession of the other and larger portion. Edmund died on the 30th November of the same year, some affirm by the hand of Edric. He was buried in the great minster of Glastonbury, and on his death Canute became sole king of England.