History Extra logo
The official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed

18 March: On this day in history

What events happened on 18 March in history? We round up the events, births and deaths…

Published: March 18, 2022 at 6:05 am
Try 6 issues for only £9.99 when you subscribe to BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed

18 March 978: King Edward is murdered at Corfe

The teenage monarch is viciously stabbed in the back

Advertisement

On 18 March 978, a brutal murder was committed at Corfe in Dorset – and the victim was Edward, king of the English. “No worse deed for the English race was done than this,” the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle lamented.

The main suspect for the assassination was Edward’s stepmother, Ælfthryth, widow of his father, King Edgar. Certainly she had a motive: with Edward dead, his younger half-brother – her son, Æthelred – would inherit the English throne. It has been suposed that she invited the young king to Corfe to participate in a hunt, with murder in mind.

That March evening, as the hunters gath- ered, mounted and ready to ride out, Ælfth- ryth offered Edward a cup of wine. Turning to sip from the cup, he was stabbed in the back by her servants. As he fell from his steed, bloodied but still alive, Edward’s foot became caught in the stirrup – and, when the horse fled, he was dragged to his death.

The murdered king was buried quickly and unceremoniously at Saint Mary’s Church in nearby Wareham; soon afterwards, though, his remains were disinterred and moved to the more-prestigious Shaftesbury Abbey. Following reports of various miracles at his tomb, he was then canonised – becoming known as Edward the Martyr. | Written by Helen Carr


18 March 1809

Frederick, Duke of York, resigns as commander-inchief of the British Army. It had been revealed that his mistress, Mary Anne Clarke, had been making money by offering to use her influence on behalf of officers wishing to gain promotion.


18 March 1861

After a year and a day's hostilities the first Taranaki War was brought to an end when a truce was signed between the New Zealand government and their Maori opponents.


18 March 1882

HMS Edinburgh is launched at Pembroke Dockyard.


18 March 1913

King George I of Greece was assassinated by anarchist Alexander Schinas while walking in the streets of Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki.


18 March 1940

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met in the Alps at the Brenner Pass and discussed Italy's participation in the war against France and Great Britain.

Advertisement

18 March 1962

The Algerian War of Independence was brought to an end when representatives of the French government and the Front de Liberation Nationale signed the 'Evian Accords' at Evian-les-Bains.

Browse more On this day in history
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content