Morcar FITZ EARNGRIM of Northumbria, King's Thegn


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Morcar FITZ EARNGRIM of Northumbria, King's Thegn

  • Married: Before 1004
  • Died: 1015, Oxford, England

  Research Notes:

King Æthelred II granted land in Derbyshire to "Morcar minister" under a charter dated 1009. With his brother, he was one of the leading thegns of the northern Danelaw.

Simeon of Durham records that "Sigeferth and Morkar the sons of Earngrim" were killed in 1015 on the orders of "duke Edric Streona" and that the king took possession of their estates. The Historia Fundatoris of Burton Monastery records its foundation by “Consul ac comes Merciorum dominus Wulfricus Spott regali propinquus prosapiæ” in 1004, adding that "…comite Morkero cæterisque cognatis eius" were buried there. 1


Morcar and his brother Sigeferth were two of the leading noblemen of eleventh-century Northumbria. They seem to have been connected with the ætheling Athelstan, son of Æthelred II, whose mother was the daughter of Thored, earl of Northumbria; both Morcar and Sigeferth were beneficiaries under the terms of the ætheling's will. Morcar married Ealdgyth, a niece of another Northumbrian ealdorman, Ælfhelm, and of the Mercian thegn Wulfric Spot. He was thus a cousin by marriage of Ælfgifu of Northampton, daughter of Ælfhelm, who married Cnut in about 1013. Morcar and his brother were among those nobles of the north who accepted Cnut's father, Swein Forkbeard, as king in 1013 and it was probably this act which led to their downfall after the death of Swein and the return of Æthelred II in 1014. The brothers were murdered at the king's court in the winter of 1015, by Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia. This incident provoked a fatal breach between the king and his son Edmund Ironside. 2

  Marriage Information:

Morcar married Ealdgyth FITZ ÆLFTHRYTH.


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands, Morcar.

2 A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain: England, Scotland, and Wales, C. 500-c. 1050, by Ann Williams, Alfred P. Smyth, David Peter Kirby, D. P. Kirby, p. 181.

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