The King Who Led a Fierce Resistance Against a Renewed Viking Invasion of England
Understandably, the massacre of the Danes upset other Danish settlers and their countrymen across the sea. The result was yet another Viking invasion of England, this one by Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard. He conquered England in 1013 and forced Ethelred to flee to Normandy. However, Sweyn died shortly thereafter, at which point Ethelred returned. With his son Edmund playing a leading role, he chased Sweyn’s son, Canute, out of England in 1014. Canute returned a year later with a large Danish army, and proceeded to pillage and devastate much of England. However, crown prince Edmund mounted a fierce Anglo-Saxon resistance, which stymied the Danish invaders.
When Ethelred died in 1016, Edmund, who by now had earned the nickname “Ironside” because of his toughness and tenacity, succeeded him on the English throne as Edmund II. Unfortunately for Anglo-Saxon England, their heroic king’s reign proved short lived, as Edmund died not long thereafter, in weird circumstances that demonstrated that even if the king’s sides were iron, his bottom was not. On the night of November 30th, 1016, Edmund went to the privy to answer a call of nature. Unbeknownst to him, an assassin lay in wait in the cesspit for the royal bottom to show up. When Edmund sat down to do his business, the assassin stabbed upwards with a sharp dagger, then fled, leaving the weapon embedded in the king’s bowels.