Jump to Navigation

King Egbert and the Naming of England

Print this article   Email this article

George T. Beech investigates whether a King of Wessex adopted a new name for his country in 828, but failed to implement the change.

John Speed's 17th-century map, 'Britain as it was Dividied in the Tyme of the Englishe Saxons especially during their Heptarchy'. Click to enlarge. In the October 2007 edition of History Today I proposed that people first began to call England by that name early in the 11th century. It was the foreign-born Cnut (r.1016-35) and his advisers who almost certainly promoted this move in an attempt to end the fighting between native English peoples and the Danes by creating a unified country under a single monarch. After having finished that project I was startled to come across the statement of an early 17th-century historian, John Speed, who in his History of Great Britain (1625) wrote:


 This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.

Please choose one of these options to access this article:

Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.

If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us



About Us | Contact Us | Advertising | Subscriptions | Newsletter | RSS Feeds | Ebooks | Podcast
Copyright 2012 History Today Ltd. All rights reserved.