ÆLFGIVA . The information about the parentage of the first "wife" of King Æthelred is contradictory. According to Florence of Worcester´s genealogies, she was Ælfgiva, daughter of Ealdorman "Ægelberht", as he names "Ælfgiva, comitis Ægelberhti filia" as mother of King Æthelred´s three sons "Eadmundum, Eadwium et Æthelstanum". (It should be noted in passing that this is the only example of the root "Ægel-" being found in an Anglo-Saxon name; it is therefore possible that "Ægelberhti" represents a transcription error, maybe for "Æthelberhti".) On the other hand, Ailred Abbot of Rievaulx records that she was --- , daughter of Thored Ealdorman of York, naming "filia Torethi…comitis" as the mother of "Edmundum" [King Edmund "Ironsides"]. The Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei, written in , must have used Ailred as its source as it states that the first wife of King Æthelred II was the daughter of "Count Torin". Roger of Wendover is unspecific, noting that "rex Ethelredus" married "cujusdam ducis filiam" by whom he fathered "filium…Eadmundum", although in a later passage he says that King Eadmund had "matrem quondam ignobilem fœminam". No trace of King Æthelred´s first wife has been found in any other contemporary document. In charters dated 996, King Æthelred's mother countersigns "Ælfthryth regina", but there is no mention of the king's wife. This suggests that Ælfgiva (if indeed that was her name) was an "unofficial" wife, having a similar status to Æthelflæd, first "wife" of King Eadgar, King Æthelred´s father. The will of her son ætheling Æthelstan, dated , refers to "the soul of Ælfthryth my grandmother who brought me up" but makes no mention of his mother, which suggests that she played little part in his early life. This seems suprising if she was in fact the mother of all King Æthelred's children who were not born to his known wife Emma, as is generally reported in most secondary sources. There must therefore be some doubt whether [Ælfgiva] was the king's only wife or concubine before his marriage to Emma de Normandie. It is even possible that the unnamed daughter of Ealdorman Thored (referred to by Ailred of Rievaulx) was not the same person as Ælfgiva (named by Florence of Worcester) and that they were both "married" to King Æthelred, either at the same time or one after the other. If this is correct, the sources are contradictory regarding the identity of the mother of King Eadmund "Ironsides".
Ælfgiva married Æthelred II of England King of England between 980 and 985. (Æthelred II of England King of England was born about 966, died on 23 Apr 1016 in London, GB and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD, GB.)
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