• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

King Edmund Ironside Was Killed on the Toilet by a Cesspit Assassin


Mar 22, 2023

Having dominated England for lower than a 12 months, King Edmund is primarily remembered for his uncommon demise. In probably the most uncomfortable murders in historical past, legend has it the Anglo-Saxon king was assassinated on the toilet! Whereas the veracity of this story is up for debate, if true, King Edmund’s passing was certainly one of many messiest deaths in historical past.

Edmund ascended the throne amidst a tumultuous interval in England’s historical past. He was the son of Æthelred the Unready , an Anglo-Saxon king remembered for his incapacity to guard England from the brutal assaults of invading Danes. The animosity between the English and Vikings was palpable, with their hostility additional fueled by the St. Brice’s Day Bloodbath. Masterminded by Æthelred in 1002, it resulted within the demise of the sister of his biggest foe, the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard .

Forkbeard ended up forcing Æthelred into exile in 1013, turning into the primary Danish king of England. However when he died simply 5 weeks later, Æthelred swiftly returned. Throughout the next years he needed to battle it out in opposition to Forkbeard’s son, Cnut.

Following Æthelred’s demise in April 1016, Edmund’s quick reign was marred by warfare. In October 1016 he was thwarted on the Battle of Assandun, although his valiant efforts earned him the nickname Edmund Ironside. His devastating defeat was blamed on one turncoat earl named Eadric Streona, not too long ago voted the eleventh century’s worst Briton by BBC History Magazine .

After their steady struggles on the left, the treaty between Cnut and King Edmund was represented on this Thirteenth-century manuscript with a so-called kiss of peace. The premature demise of King Edmund was then portrayed proper subsequent door. (Cambridge College Library / CC BY-NC 3.0 )

After Assandun, Edmund was pressured to signal the Treaty of Alney, giving Cnut energy over most of England, excepting the Saxon heartland of Wessex. The treaty specified that if one of many kings have been to die, their kingdom would revert to the opposite. Suspiciously, just some weeks afterward November thirtieth, 1016, the 25-year-old Edmund died solely seven months after ascending the throne, making Cnut the only real ruler of England.

Whereas sure chroniclers make no point out of foul play, the circumstances surrounding Edmund’s sudden demise led to centuries of hypothesis. Some avowed he had been poisoned, however probably the most weird claims reported he was unceremoniously murdered on the bathroom. A number of sources blamed Eadric Streon.

Writing over 100 years later, Henry of Huntingdon claimed Eadric despatched his son to stab the king in his personal elements after hiding within the privy. Later chronicles added further grisly particulars, with the French Geoffrey Gaimar arguing that Edmund was killed with a booby-trapped crossbow hidden within the cesspit when he sat down to search out some reduction.

“Maybe surprisingly, no English sources forged suspicion on Cnut,” defined A Clerk of Oxford . William of Malmesbury even wrote that Cnut posthumously referred to Edmund as his brother, making one marvel if there wasn’t a royal cover-up at play.

High picture: Element depicting the weird demise of King Edmund Ironside as portrayed in a Thirteenth-century illustrated Anglo-Norman manuscript of the Lifetime of St Edward the Confessor. Supply: Cambridge College Library / CC BY-NC 3.0

By Cecilia Bogaard

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