Aethelred the Unready

In 975 AD Edward __became King of England at the age of 12. The only other descendent left was his brother Aethelred__.

In 978 AD Edward was murdered and Aethelred became king. Aethelred was too only a young boy when he took the throne. He was nicknamed the ‘unready’ because he was unwise and did not listen to his advisors. Aethelred had a bad reign, as a new wave of Vikings invasion came to England during his control.


The Vikings used Normandy to shelter before and after raiding England. The Normans __were __descendents of Vikings that had settled in France 100 years earlier. Aethelred made a deal with the Duke of Normandy to support each other against their enemies and sealed the deal __by marrying the Duke’s sister - __Emma.


__King Sven Forkbeard __was the leader of the Vikings at this time. He invaded England with a powerful army as he wanted some of England’s __wealth __and he wanted __revenge __as Aethelred had killed his sister in a bloody massacre. He also felt that should he succeed in taking over England, he would strengthen his position against other Viking leaders back in Scandinavia.

Danegeld Helps

One way that Aethelred attempted to stop Viking attacks was to pay them to leave. This payment was called Danegeld __(money for the Danish). To begin with the Danegeld worked. Some Vikings left and some Vikings even stayed to protect the English! But it was only __temporary.

Danegeld Hinders

As you can imagine, by paying the Vikings to leave they left, but returned __and __demanded more Danegeld, as they knew they would get it. Other Vikings __ignored __the offer of money and __stayed to terrorise __the South Coast of England for three years. Giving the Vikings Danegeld is an example of Aethelred not listening to his advisors.

Change Under the Vikings

The Vikings had a positive and negative impact on England.

- __Caused __death __and destruction through __raids

- __Settled in __Danelaw, forcing Anglo Saxons to become second class citizens

- Introduced new ways of making things (farming, crafts, amber, different foods, slavery).

- Introduced new language, many words of which we still use today like ‘Thursday’ and ‘Dirt’

This video is not produced or owned by Study Rocket Ltd and is provided by the copyright holder BBC.

What changes came about under the Vikings?
Your answer should include: language / food / settlement / craft / skills / amber / farming
What was Danegeld?
Why was Normandy important?
Your answer should include: shelter / close to england