Aethelheard of Wessex

Aethelheard (d. 740), or Æþelheard, was a King of Wessex (726 - 740). There is a questionable record of Aethelheard having been the brother-in-law of his predecessor, Ine, but his ancestry is unknown.

When Ine abdicated and went to Rome in 726, he left behind no obvious heir, and according to Bede simply left his kingdom "to younger men". In the wake of his departure, the West Saxon throne was disputed between Aethelheard and a rival claimant, Oswald. Oswald may have had the better claim, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls him a descendant of the early king Ceawlin, but it was Aethelheard who prevailed. It is possible that his success was due to the support of Ethelbald of Mercia, since he seems to have been subject to Ethelbald afterward. However, Aethelheard's lack of independence does not seem to have prevented Ethelbald from taking considerable territory from Wessex in 733, including the royal manor of Somerton.

Preceded by:
Ine
King of Wessex
726 - 740
Succeeded by:
Cuthred

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