Eadred, king of England (946 [cons. 16 August 946] - 23 November 955)

Eadred (d. 23 Nov. 955), son of Edward the Elder and Eadgifu, was king of England (946-55) after his brother Edmund. It was in Eadred's reign that Northumbria finally became a permanent part of England, nearly three decades after the submission to Æthelstan in 927.

The chronology of Eadred's dealings with Northumbria is not perfectly clear, but can be reconstructed from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the alliterative charters, which specifically call Eadred ruler of the Northumbrians in 946, 949-50, and 955. Eadred received oaths of fealty from the northerners in 947 at Tanshelf, but within the year they accepted Erik Bloodaxe as king. Eadred retaliated in 948, leading an army up to Ripon, where the minster was burnt down; after an attack on his retreating army drove Eadred to threaten to devastate the north, the Northumbrians abandoned Erik and returned to the English fold for a couple of years. In late 950 or 951, the Northumbrians revolted again, in favour of Olaf Sihtricson; in 952 they threw Olaf out and brought back Erik. In 954, the Northumbrians expelled Erik for the last time and received Eadred as their king.

Eadred contributed to the groundwork of the monastic revival by granting Æthelwold the monastery of Abingdon. The earliest Life of St Dunstan reports that Eadred suffered from an unidentified illness, which eventually killed him. He probably delegated authority to Dunstan and others in his last years: fewer than a third of the charters of 953-55 are witnessed by the king. Eadred is not known to have married or had issue, and was buried at the Old Minster, Winchester. His will, which implies that he planned to be buried elsewhere, was apparently overturned in the turmoil of his nephew Eadwig's accession.