∆thelwine (Ailwyn) Ealdorman of East Anglia


∆thelwine (Ailwyn, died 992) was Ealdorman of East Anglia and one of the leading noblemen in the kingdom of England in the later 10th century.  As with his kinsmen, the principal source for his life is Byrthferth's life of Oswald of Worcester.  Although Byrthferth and Ramsey Abbey remembered ∆thelwine favourably, calling him Dei amicus (friend to God) , the monks of nearby Ely saw him as an enemy who had seized their lands.

∆thelwine was a son of ∆thelstan Half-King , but probably not the eldest son has his brother ∆thelwald seems to have succeeded their father on his retirement in 956.  ∆thelwine appears to have followed ∆thelwald in office from 962.  He was a benefactor of the new Minister at Winchester, and of Ramsey Abbey.

Following the death of King Edgar, ∆thelwine was, with Oswald of Worcester and Dunstan, a leader among the supporters of Edgar's oldest son Edward, which placed him in opposition to his former sister-in-law Dowager Queen ∆lfthryth and ∆lfhere, Earldorman of Mercia.  During the anti-monastic reaction in Edward's short reign, ∆thelwine is portrayed as a stalwart supporter of the monks, but the record suggests that he took advantage of the weakness of Royal government to dispossess the monks of Ely of lands.

Following the death of ∆lfhere in 983, and the withdrawal of the Queen Mother from the court soon after the death of Bishop ∆thelwald of Winchester in 984, ∆thelwine became the leading lay figure at the court of the young King ∆thelred.  His death in 992 probably marks the beginning of ∆thelred's personal reign.

∆thelwine's death is recorded by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Byrhferth provides more detail, reporting that, perhaps following a lengthy illness, ∆thelwine was it attended at his death by Prior Germanus, and ∆lfheah, later Archbishop of Canterbury. His remains were moved to Ramsey where the monks kept a vigil overnight before he was buried there.  (ref 33)