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Eadgar-portrait silver penny

“The Peaceable”

Eadgar was the son of Eadmund and the grandson of Edward the Elder and thus the great-grandson of Alfred the Great (871-899) who first began the quest to unite England under one rule. It was Eadgar who reconquered the Danelaw, a region bound by Watling Street, which they retained following their defeat in 878 by Alfred the Great. Thus it was Eadgar who first united England and became the recognized king by Saxsons and Danes alike. Eadgar was also recognized as King of England by the Kings of Scotland and Wales.

Eadgar brought peace to a new united England and as such the economy flourished. We also find that with economic prosperity came a flowering of late Anglo-Saxson art and culture. We also find a great increase in the number of monistaries throughout the kingdom for both men and women. Unfortunately, his descendants were not as talented as he and as such the reign of Eadgar was also the peak in prosperity for the Anglo-Saxson period. Eadgar was succeeded by his sons Edward the Martyr who was stabbed to death and Aethelred II who lost the kingdom to the Danish King Cnut.

Monetary System

EADGAR silver penny cross

Note: It was Eadgar who instituted a uniform coinage throughout the land. Eadgar set the pattern for the ‘reformed’ coinage of the later Anglo-Saxon and Norman period and standardized the use of the king’s portrait as in old Roman tradition. The reverse of the coinage normally displayed a cruciform pattern with the name of the mint in addition to that of the moneyer. Permission was granted to most fortified towns of burghal status to open a mint with the number of moneyers varying according to the size and importance of the region. In addition, some royal manors were also permitted to mint coinage and some ecclesiastical authorities were granted moneyer authority as well. By the middle of the 11th century AD, some 70 mints had been in operation.


AR Silver Penny
AR Silver Penny (no portrait pre-reform)

AR Silver Half Penny

Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong