Earl Aethelred of Mercia
An ealdorman is the term used for a high-ranking royal official and prior magistrate of an Anglo-Saxon shire or group of shires from about the ninth century to the time of King Cnut...

 Æthelred (died 911) was ruler of Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 from about 883, when he submitted to King Alfred
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

 of Wessex. He married Alfred's daughter Æthelfleda between 882 and 887, and his title was "Lord of the Mercians". Although he had many attributes of a king, he was subject to the power of his close ally Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

. His descent is unknown, and he does not appear to have been closely related to his immediate predecessors.

In 886, he was given control of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 by Alfred. As Alfred reconquered the Danelaw
The Danelaw, as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , is a historical name given to the part of England in which the laws of the "Danes" held sway and dominated those of the Anglo-Saxons. It is contrasted with "West Saxon law" and "Mercian law". The term has been extended by modern historians to...

, it was useful to place the ruler of the divided Kingdom of Mercia in control of its former eastern region.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great...

 says that Æthelred spent much of the 890s leading military campaigns in eastern England. He was recorded as fighting many battles against the Welsh
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, and at one point Brochwael ab Meurig, joint ruler with his brother of the Welsh Kingdom of Gwent appealed to Alfred for help against Earldorman Æthelred. From about 902, Æthelfleda became the effective ruler of Mercia due to Æthelred's ill health, and when he died in 911 she succeeded him. After Æthelfleda's death in 918, their daughter Ælfwynn briefly ruled Mercia until deposed by Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder was an English king. He became king in 899 upon the death of his father, Alfred the Great. His court was at Winchester, previously the capital of Wessex...


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