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Old October 12th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #1

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From: Wakefield West Yorkshire, England
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Aethelflaed, The Greatest English Heroine


Is Aethflaed Lady of the Mercians (c890 to 918) the greatest English Heroine of all time, I am beginning to think she is.

Her only real contenders are Elizabeth I and Eleanor of Aquitaine, certainly Boudicea/Boudica (choose your name they are both equally wrong) is out of the running, firstly she wasn’t English (sic) and also she lost, and here is where Aethelflaed scores maximum points.

She fought three battles and won them all, in fact I firmly believe she led a fourth at Tettenhall, her Husband Aethelraed Lord of the Mercians was known to have been ill for some years, and whilst he may have been present at the battle, Aethelflaed’s winning touch seems present.

The Danish raiding army had been stamping through Mercia, and it was met by a joint Mercian and Wessex army, now this was co-ordinated by someone as the Winchester Manuscript (A) of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles tells us that ~Then when the King learned that they had gone out on a raid, he sent his army from both Wessex and from Mercia, and they got in front of the raiding army from behind when it went on its way home, and then fought with them and put the raiding army to flight, and killed many thousands of it,~

The Battle of Tettenhall sounds like a classic pincer movement, it also looks to have the advantage of using two factions in separate operations, which reduces friction, there is further evidence in that on Aethelraed’s death within a year, Aethelflaed is declared ~Lady of the Mercians~ which is Queen in all but name, also as I point out in my book, for the last ten years Eadward the Elder had done little but secure Wessex from attack, he then seems to be active when Aetleraed his subordinate running Mercia dies then Aethelflaed suddenly comes to the fore.

Now you are no shrinking violet in Anglo Saxon England if you take on the men at their own game and shine brighter and she has been the continuous thread throughout, and it is her Signature that is on the Papers along with her Husbands while he is alive, and then she is declared Lady of the Mercians, and this would have needed not only the support of the ceorls alongt with some of the people and the all important Bishops.

She is the one who seems to be following in her Father Alfred’s footsteps and building the Burhs as a defensive measure against the Dane and Viking raiders, also she is astute enough like her Father to realise it is Money that fights wars, and she ensures the Burhs have traders installed from which she can gain revenue.

In fact this was supposition on my part from reading the Signatures on the Legal papers, so it was doubly pleasing when I came across a passage in ~The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland~ held on the Celt ~Corpus of electronic texts~ Website, telling how Vikings led by Ingimund tried to take Chester when he saw the wealth of the City,

The Annals also tell us that Aethelraed was ill and that it was the Queen who was co-ruler, she is also the only Queen mentioned and is the only none Irish Monarch whose death is recorded, 12th June 918, probably because she was so famous and unusual, she had planned and won three major battles, perhaps four if Tettenhall is included, and saved the northerly City of Chester falling into Irish Viking hands.

I think she is not recorded as much and remembered in England purely due to her untimely death, she was on the verge of negotiating a deal with York to bring the Danelaw fully into the Wessex sphere of influence, had she achieved this then she would have United England for the first time since Eadwine’s day in the 7th Century, as it was we had to wait until her adopted son Aethelstan, completed the job.

I cover Aethelflaed in my book now out in kindle.

[ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vikings-Concise-History-Medieval-ebook/dp/B008YH8EQ8/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1"]Dark Ages to the Vikings 410 to 1050 (A Concise History of Medieval England and the English) eBook: John Ashtone: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YmP6AnLaL.@@AMEPARAM@@41YmP6AnLaL[/ame]#_
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