Anglo-Saxon, Cnut. 1016-1035 AD. Dover mint, c. 1029-1035/6 AD (Moneyer Eadwine)

Anglo-Saxon, Cnut. 1016-1035 AD. Dover mint, c. 1029-1035/6 AD (Moneyer Eadwine)


AR Short Cross Penny, 1.05g (17mm, 3h). Edwine moneyer. Bust left with scepter; +CNV T RECX / +EDPINE ON DOFRA Voided short cross with an annulet at center

Pedigree: From the Douglas Bayern Collection

References: Spink 1159. North 790. BMC Anglo-Saxon 52, Naismith, MEC 8, 2042

Grade: Slightly wavy flan, but struck from fresh dies and pretty toning. EF  (wc1033)

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Not as much is known about the reign of Cnut for a variety of reasons. The lack of historical record on the ruler is the principal problem. Surprisingly the reign of his predecessor Aethelred is well recorded, particularly the end of his reign. This is not the case with Cnut. The best surviving record of his reign comes from the text Enconium Emmae Reginae. This document was written by a Flemish monk just after Cnut’s reign and while the title and work were commissioned by Emma, Cnut's wife (she was also the widow of Aethelred), it is more based on the life of Cnut and his son Harthacnut.

Another likely reason why little is known of Cnut is because the changes that took place in his reign were not life shattering as compared with other times in the history of England, such as the Norman Conquest. Cnut wanted to rule England in the style of an English king. Cnut was formerly a King of Denmark and continued in that position throughout his reign as King of England.

At the beginning of his reign in 1017, Cnut divided England into four parts - East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex (which he left for himself). He also married Emma which secured his legitimacy as the King. Emma’s sons by Aethelred escaped for Normandy to avoid repercussions. Cnut advanced many of his fellow Scandinavians to positions of authority in his new government. He also spent a lot of his time trying to expand control elsewhere in the Scandinavian region.

When Cnut died in 1035 his two sons, Harthacnut and Harold Harefoot (half brothers and competitors for rule) divided the Kingdom amongst themselves.