Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Burhred

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BURHRED or BURGRÆD (reigned 852–874), king of the Mercians, succeeded Beorhtwulf [q. v.] in 852. Encouraged probably by the descents of the northern pirates, the Welsh, under Roderic Mawr, revolted from Mercia in 853. Burhred and his witan asked help of his over-lord Æthelwulf, the West-Saxon king. His request was readily granted, and the two kings devastated North Wales, conquered Anglesey, and brought the land again under the dominion of the Mercian king. The next year Burhred married Æthelswyth, the daughter of Æthelwulf, at Chippenham. When in 868 the Danes established themselves in Nottingham and threatened Mercia, Burhred and his witan sought the help of Æthelred and Ælfred. The West Saxons and Mercians joined forces and marched to Nottingham. The Danes refused to give battle, and the English laid siege to the town; they were unable to take it, and Burhred made peace with the invaders. Overawed, as it seems, by this united action, the Danes were for a while forced to remain inactive. Before long, however the Mercian kingdom owned the Danish supremacy. When Ecgberht, the Northumbrian king, was turned out of his kingdom in 872, he and Archbishop Wulfhere are said to have been received by Burhred (compiler in Chron. Maj. i. 407). In 874 the Danes conquered Mercia. Burhred fled before them: he went over sea and dwelt at Rome. Before long he died there, and was buried in St. Mary's Church in the English school.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron. i. 122-5, 132,142. Rolls Ser.; Asser. 469, 470, 475, 478, Mon. Hist. Brit.; Æthelweard's Chron. 511, 513. Mon. Hist. Brit.; Florence of Worcester, i. 74, 92. Eng. Hist. Soc.; Matt. Paris, Chronica Majora, i. 407, Rolls Ser.; Green's Conquest of England, 80, 101, 106.]

W. H.