Who was Æthelflæd?

Historians today acknowledge that the heroine of my historical novel, King Alfred’s Daughter, was one of the most influential leaders of the Anglo-Saxon era. Yet she was almost written out of the contemporary historical records by those anxious to promote their own power and legacy. Manipulating the media and ‘fake news’ are all too familiar to us today. But it was also used in Anglo-Saxon times. Back then, the written word was confined to an educated religious elite subservient to powerful kings, and so it was easy to control the communication channels.

Fortunately, we can now piece together Æthelflæd’s achievements, because she made an impact in many specific places that were recorded by local people. As ‘Lady of the Mercians’, she founded many well-known towns that populate the Midlands today. By building a chain of fortified towns, or burhs, on the River Severn and along the boundary of the Danelaw (roughly a line between London and Chester), she helped fulfil the dream of her father, King Alfred, of a united England. Today, these towns, and the churches she founded within them, stand as monuments to her campaign to provide safe havens for the people of Mercia.

 PLACES where you can discover the Anglo Saxon heroine who was written out of history


In future blogs, we will go on a virtual tour of places that have a direct connection to Æthelflæd and celebrate what this extraordinary woman did over 1100 years ago.

These include the following cities and towns: Gloucester, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Chester, Stafford, Tamworth, Derby, Bridgnorth, Leicester, Warwick, Runcorn. Oxford, Wednesbury and others.