A History of the British Monarchy/Saxon Rulers/Ethelbert
Ethelbert ruled from 860-866.
Ethelbert, the third son of Ethelwulf and Osburh, a Jutish princess, was born circa 835. The grandson of Egbert, first King of the English, he succeeded his brother Ethelbald on 20 December, 860. Ethelbert had previously been sub-king of Kent, the traditional title given to the early heirs to the throne of Wessex. He was crowned at Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. Almost immediately, the savage Viking invasions on Wessex were renewed.
The Vikings merciless raids of pillage, slaughter and rape struck abject terror into Saxon hearts, leaving destruction, desolation and smoking ruins in their wake. The people had good cause to utter the much repeated prayer "From the fury of the Northmen , O Lord, deliver us." The Vikings who harried Wessex at this time were Danish. A huge Viking fleet landed in East Anglia in 865, under the curiously named Ivar the Boneless, who was for some time the driving force behind the Viking attacks on England. His army remained there for a while, garnering it's resources for a major invasion. The city of Winchester, the ancient capital of Wessex, was burned to the ground.
A minor victory over the raiding Vikings was achieved by the Saxons of Hampshire and Berkshire under Aldermen Athelwulf and Osric. The Vikings occupied the Isle of Thanet, where they spent the Winter. They were bought off by the men of Kent, but characteristically, did not keep the agreement and began to ravage England with renewed force shortly thereafter.
Ethelbert died, unmarried and childless, in 866 at around the age of thirty-five. He had reigned for only five years. His body was interred at Sherborne Abbey in Dorset.