Ealhmund, Under King Of Kent

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Birthplace: Wessex, England
Death: after 786
Wessex, England (Killed by King Offa of Mercia)
Immediate Family:

Son of Eaba
Father of Egbert, king of Wessex and Saint Alburga

Occupation: Under-King of Kent, King of Wessex,
Managed by: Sally Gene Cole
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ealhmund, Under King Of Kent


Ealhmund, Under King Of Kent

  • Son of Eaba
  • Ealhmund was King of Kent in 784. He is reputed to be the father of King Egbert who was King of Wessex and, later, King of Kent.


EALHMUND, son of [EAFA & his wife ---] (-after 784, maybe after 801). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that "rex Ealhmundus" was "in Cantia rex" in 784, adding that "this king Ealhmund was the father of Egbert, the father of Æthelwulf"[1457]. He succeeded as EALHMUND King of Kent, in 784 or before. The generally accepted parentage of Ealhmund, according to which he was descended from Ingeld, brother of Ine King of Wessex, is open to debate. This supposed parentage is set out in a later passage, dated 855, in another manuscript of the Chronicle, which lists the ancestors of Æthelwulf King of Wessex, states that Ealhmund was "son of Eafa, son of Eoppa, son of Ingeld…brother of Ine king of Wessex", adds their alleged direct line of ancestors back to Cerdic, first King of Wessex, Cerdic’s mythical ancestry back to Woden, and even Woden’s alleged descent from Noah and "Adam the first man"[1458]. This is clearly one of the dubious lines of descent of the kings of Wessex which are discussed in the introduction to the Chapter. The problem is to decide the point at which fact gives way to fabrication. It is possible that this point occurs very early in the line of ancestry, and that there is doubt whether Ealhmund was even the son of "Eafa" as claimed in this passage. "Eafa" and his supposed father "Eoppa" are not named in any other sources which have so far been identified, although "Ingeld…brother of Ine" is noted in a single passage of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle dated 718 which records his death. The absence of any mention of Ealhmund’s parentage in the earlier passage in the Chronicle dated 784 certainly suggests doubt about the line of ancestry which is reported in 855. By the latter date, few people alive could have challenged Ealhmund’s reported parentage from personal acquaintance with his parents. This suggestion of course assumes that the Chronicle was a living document which was composed over time, with successive passages being added by different authors as time passed. This hypothesis is plausible, but is impossible to prove or disprove. If it is correct, it is possible that Ealhmund was not related to the family of the earlier kings of Wessex at all. Looking elsewhere for his possible ancestry, it is interesting to note that Ealhmund's predecessor as king of Kent was named Ecgberht, the name which Ealhmund gave to his own son, and which was a name not previously used in the royal families of Wessex, at least so far as can be ascertained from the surviving primary sources. If this speculation is correct, it would of course mean that the usually represented ancestry of Ecgberht King of Wessex would require reconsideration. "Ealmundus rex Canciæ" granted land at Sheldwich, Kent to Hwitrede abbot of Reculver by charter dated 784[1459]. Mercian involvement in Kentish affairs appears to have increased again in 785-789[1460]. Presumably King Ealhmund was deposed as King of Kent by Offa King of Mercia as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in a much later passage recalls that "the Kentishmen … formerly … had been wrongly forced away from their allegiance to his [Ecgberht King of Wessex's] kinsmen"[1461]. This event may have taken place in 789, the date when King Ealhmund's son Ecgberht is later described in the Chronicle as having been expelled from England by Beorhtric King of Wessex and Offa King of Mercia[1462]. "Ealhmund princeps" subscribed a charter of "Beorhtric rex" dated 801[1463], but this may be a different individual who has not been identified. If the identity of Ealhmund’s wife is as suggested below, the individual named in the 801 charter must certainly have been a different person from Ealhmund King of Kent. m ---. The name of Ealhmund's wife is not known. It is possible that she was ---, daughter of ---, who married secondly Alhmund [of Northumbria]. According to a manuscript which recounts the founding of Wilton Monastery, “Elburga, filia Alqmundi martyris, filii Alrudi regis Northumbrorum” was “soror Egberti Regis, ex parte regis”, clarifying that he was Ecgberht King of Wessex (“quia Egbertus fuit filius Alqmundi, filii Offæ Regis, de prosapia Inæ”)[1464]. As Alhmund of Northumbria’s death is dated to 800, Ealhmund of Wessex would have been her first husband. The reliability of this manuscript is not known. The document dates the founding of Wilton abbey by King Echberht to 773, which is clearly anachronistic, and shows that it cannot be relied upon entirely. It is probably safer to treat the narrative with caution until some other corroboration is found in another source.

Ealhmund & his wife had one child:

  • a) ECGBERHT, ([769/80]-839). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that "Egbert succeeded to the kingdom of Wessex" after the death of Beorhtric in 802, in a later passage describing him as Ecgberht as son of Ealhmund, and in another passage which setting out his complete ancestry from his son Æthelwulf King of Wessex[1465]. On Beorhtric's death, he established himself in 802 as ECGBERHT King of Wessex, rebelling against Mercian overlordship.

Biography from Wikipedia

He is not known to have struck any coins,[1] and the only contemporary evidence of him is an abstract of a charter dated 784, in which Ealhmund granted land to the Abbot of Reculver.[2] By the following year Offa of Mercia seems to have been ruling directly, as he issued a charter[3] without any mention of a local king.

General consensus among historians is this is the same Ealhmund found in two pedigrees in the Winchester (Parker) Chronicle, compiled during the reign of Alfred the Great.[4] The genealogical preface to this manuscript, as well as the annual entry (covering years 855–859) describing the death of Æthelwulf, both make King Egbert of Wessex the son of an Ealhmund, who was son of Eafa, grandson of Eoppa, and great-grandson of Ingild, the brother of King Ine of Wessex, and descendant of founder Cerdic,[5] and therefore a member of the House of Wessex (see House of Wessex family tree). A further entry has been added in a later hand to the 784 annal, reporting Ealhmund's reign in Kent.

Finally, in the Canterbury Bilingual Epitome, originally compiled after the Norman conquest of England, a later scribe has likewise added to the 784 annal not only Ealhmund's reign in Kent, but his explicit identification with the father of Egbert.[6] Based on this reconstruction, in which a Wessex scion became King of Kent, his own Kentish name and that of his son, Egbert, it has been suggested that his mother derived from the royal house of Kent,[7] a connection dismissed by a recent critical review.[4]

Historian Heather Edwards has suggested that Ealhmund was probably a Kentish royal scion, whose pedigree was forged to give his son Egbert the descent from Cerdic requisite to reigning in Wessex.


  • Bierbrier, M.L., "Genealogical Flights of Fancy. Old Assumptions, New Sources", Foundations: Journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, 2:379–87.
  • Edwards, Heather (2004). "Ecgberht [Egbert] (d. 839), king of the West Saxons". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8581. Retrieved 14 May 2014. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  • Garmonsway, G.N. ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, London: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.Grierson, Philip; Blackburn, Mark (2006). Medieval European Coinage, With A Catalogue of the Coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: 1: The Early Middle Ages (5th–10th Centuries). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-03177-X.
  • Kelley, David H., "The House of Aethelred", in Brooks, Lindsay L., ed., Studies in Genealogy and Family History in Tribute to Charles Evans. Salt Lake City: The Association for the Promotion of Scholarship in Genealogy, Occasional Publication, No. 2, pp. 63–93.
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Ealhmund, Under King Of Kent's Timeline

Wessex, England
Kingdom of Wessex, Britain
Age 39
From AngloSaxon Chronicles:
Age 41
Wessex, England
Wessex, England
Under-king of Kent