Eadwulf II of Northumbria

Deceased Person

– 0913

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Who was Eadwulf II of Northumbria?

Eadulf was a ruler in Northumbria in the early tenth century.

The history of Northumbria in the ninth and tenth centuries is poorly recorded. English sources generally date from the twelfth century although some more nearly contemporary Irish annals report some events in Northumbria. Numismatic evidence—mints at York continued to produce coins throughout the period—is of considerable importance, although not in the period of Eadulf's presumed floruit as a new style of coinage appeared in Northumbria between 905 and 927 approximately. These coins bore the name of the city of York and the legend "Saint Peter's money" but no kings are named, so that they are of no help in determining the succession of rulers.

The only thing which can be said with reasonable certainty of Eadwulf is that he died in 913 in Northumbria, an event recorded by the chronicle of Æthelweard and by the Irish Annals of Ulster and Annals of Clonmacnoise. The Irish sources call him "king of the Saxons of the north" while Æthelweard says Eadwulf "ruled as reeve of the town called Bamburgh". The Historia de Sancto Cuthberto states that Eadwulf had been a favourite of King Alfred the Great. Historians have traditionally followed Æthelweard and portrayed Eadwulf as ruler of only the northern part of Northumbria, perhaps corresponding to the former kingdom of Bernicia, with Scandinavian or Norse-Gael kings ruling the southern part, the former kingdom of Deira, an area broadly similar to Yorkshire. Some historians now question this. For example, Benjamin Hudson writes that Eadwulf "might have ruled just the northern part of Northumbria, the old Kingdom of Bernicia, although it is not impossible that he ruled all of Northumbria" and Clare Downham notes that the death of Eadwulf "is so widely reported in 913 that it seems hard to envisage that his fame derived from a three-year reign". Some interpretations make Eadwulf ruler in Bernicia after Ecgberht II, that is to say from the 870s approximately.

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on July 23, 2013


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