History by the Month: September and the Coronation of Æthelstan’

MS 183, f. 1v
MS 183, f. 1v

Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, was king of the Anglo-Saxons 924-927 and the first king of all England 927-39. This is the frontispiece from the manuscript of Bede’s life of Saint Cuthbert which Æthelstan presented to the community of Saint Cuthbert, exiled from Lindisfarne in Northumbria, during the royal journey north to invade Scotland, probably in 934. It is the oldest surviving manuscript made for any king in England. The picture is the earliest portrait of an English king wearing a crown. Æthelstan was crowned in Kingston on Thames, one of the first recorded English coronations, on Sunday 4 September 925. [MS 183, folio 1v]

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