Ancestors and Parentage of King Egbert

Events Before King Egbert

Ancestors and Parentage

King Egbert of Wessex was the son of King Ealhmund of Kent and his wife, the queen of Kent, whose name is not known. Ealhmund and wife also had a daughter, St. Alburga. The queen’s father was King Ethelbert II of Kent, who was the son of King Wihtred of Kent and Cynegyth. Her great-grandfather was King Egbert I of Kent. King Ealhmund descended from Cerdic, king of the West Saxons (reigned 519‑34), was under‑king of Kent in 784, and died in 786.

There was a Bishop Egbert to whom Bede refers in favorable terms and was shown as interested in the Continent. Archbishops Egbert (732-66) and Aelbert (766-80) were called the founders of the first cathedral school of the Middle Ages. There is a poem by Aethelwulf, datable 803/21, about the abbots of Bishop Egbert’s monastery. He describes a spiritually and culturally respectable community, with a fine church and ecclesiastical ornaments. The community cannot be identified however, and might be any Northumbrian monastery.  It is within the realm of possibility that Bishop Egbert was a relation of the queen of Kent, King Egbert’s mother, but specific information confirming this has not been found.

There was also a well-known Frank, Count Egbert, contemporary with Egbert of Wessex. In 808 Count Egbert was commanded by Charlemagne to cross the Elbe and occupy the area on the banks of the river Stor called Esesfelth and begin its fortification, and in 811 Egbert was one of twelve counts who were nominated by Charlemagne to negotiate about the Danish frontier with an equal number of Danes. This Egbert was the husband of St. Ida, according to her biography.

King Egbert of Kent, great-great-grandfather of King Egbert of Wessex, founded the monastery of Chertsey in Surrey, but before his death its endowment was greatly enlarged by a sub-king of Surrey who acknowledged the overlordship of Wulfhere. By 771-2 Offa ruled the south to such an extent that he could dispose of land in Sussex, by charters to which Egbert of Kent and Cynewulf of Wessex set their hands in consent, evidently as vassals. Probably their submission was uneasy, for Offa fought several uprisings in both Wessex and Kent at later dates.

King Egbert of Wessex, could also proudly say he was the great-great-grandson of Ine’s brother Ingild. When Ine abdicated in 726, in order to make a pilgrimage to Rome, the throne of Wessex had a succession of kings who, while being descendants of Cerdic, were not in a direct line of succession from him. Egbert’s branch of the house of Cerdic lost the West-Saxon kingship when his distant relative Aethelheard took the throne. In 784, Egbert’s father Ealhmund was crowned under-king of Kent, which included the sub-kingdoms of Surrey, Sussex, and Essex. Ealhmund had sufficient claim to be acknowledged by the men of Kent as their ruler. That Ealhmund was descended from the old royal house of Aethelbert is implied by the statement in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that the kingdom of Kent was “wrongly forced away from Egbert’s kin; while it was under the hand of the kings Cuthred and Baldred, whom Coenwulf  the Mercian set up.”

“Egbert” is a Kentish name meaning “bright sword.” The old Saxon meaning of the name Egbert is “famous with the sword.” So to both Wessex and Kent the name Egbert would have significance. King Egbert would be a colorful warrior and live up to the meaning of his name. The name “Egbert” seems not to have survived the Old English period, but was revived in the nineteenth century. There are several, though not many, mentions of the name “Egbert,” in various forms, in the Domesday Book. In the Index to  the Domesday Book is listed, “Egbert, Yorkshire reference #2.” In British Family Names & Their Origins & Meanings,  are listed the Frisian personal and family names of Egbert, Ebbert, Egberts, and Egber. An Egbert is listed as holding land in 1086 in the Domesday Book, and as an undertenant of land at the time of the Domesday Survey.

Chertsey Abbey map
for more information see Chertsey Abbey

It is said that if you can trace your lineage back to King Egbert it will follow that you can also go all the way  back to Adam and Eve.
See  King Egbert's Lineage
See also Descendants of Adam to Henry II of England

Historical Time Line
The Making of Kings- Kingship, The Army and Warfare
Events before King Egbert's Time- Beginning in Europe, The 7 Kingdoms and the ChurchLineage, Ancestors and Parentage
The Life of King Egbert- The Early Years (775-802)
The Kingship- Chronicle Excerpts, 802-824, 825-829, 830-839, Reasons for Success

The People and Places Important to King Egbert - The People, The Places
Society in King Egbert's Time- Part 1 (Government, Household, Allegiance, Finances) Part 2 (Great Hall, Cooking & Eating, Food, Feasts, Christmas)
Part 3
(Crafts & Trade, Clothing and Appearance, Hygiene, Medicine) Part 4 (Peasants, Farming, Gardens & Plants, Common Tasks, Home, Village) Part 5 (Art)
Sources and References