[21], Compared to the rest of England, much of English Mercia —Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire —was unusually stable in the Viking age. Video - "The Last Kingdom" Season 3 Music - Natalie Taylor - In the air tonight The Last Kingdom: Aethelflaed is based on a real person (Image: Netflix) Aethelflaed's character is based on a real-life historical figure who was the daughter of Alfred the Great. “Aethel” means “noble” but the meaning of “flaed”, again according to Arman, is unclear but “could mea… Æthelflæd apparaît dans les Histoires saxonnes de Bernard Cornwell, série de romans historiques se déroulant sous le règne d'Alfred le Grand, ainsi que dans la série télévisée The Last Kingdom qui en est adaptée. [24] In 883 Æthelred granted privileges to Berkeley Abbey and in the 890s he and Æthelflæd issued a charter in favour of the church of Worcester. Marios Costambeys dates Æthelflæd's birth to the early 870s. As the Danes were ready to offer her their submission, she died (possibly of dysentery) on 12 June 918 and was taken to be buried with her husband at St Oswald’s Priory in Gloucester. The marriage may have taken place earlier, perhaps when he submitted to Alfred following the recovery of London in 886. The Last Kingdom season 5 theories Season five will consist of another 10 episodes on Netflix, based on books nine and ten of The Saxon Stories: Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer. [19] In the view of Ian Walker: "He was a royal ealdorman whose power base lay in the south-west of Mercia in the former kingdom of the Hwicce around Gloucester". By Billy Oduory 15 minutes ago If Aethelred had given Aethelflaed a chance to be a partner and friend, he would have achieved his ambition of becoming a true King of Mercia. Among the towns where she built defences were Wednesbury, Bridgnorth, Tamworth, Stafford, Warwick, Chirbury and Runcorn. He praised her as “worthy of a man’s name” and “more illustrious than Caesar”. [45] Saintly relics were believed to give supernatural legitimacy to rulers' authority, and Æthelflæd was probably responsible for the foundation or re-foundation of Chester Minster and the transfer to it of the remains of the seventh-century Mercian princess Saint Werburgh from Hanbury in Staffordshire. A few months later, the leading men of Danish-ruled York offered to pledge their loyalty to Æthelflæd, probably to secure her support against Norse raiders from Ireland, but she died on 12 June 918, before she could take advantage of the offer. A shy, blonde child who recoils at the mere sight of the show’s hero Uhtred, she was raised, most likely by her pious mother Aelswith, to fear the heathen her father King Alfred despised and respected. There is a wealth of evidence to support the contention that Mercia was a force to be reckoned with in the Anglo-Saxon period. In the history of The Last Kingdom, Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) has had an ever-changing relationship with Aethelflaed (Millie Brady).In season 4, things change drastically and fans have a lot of feelings about the whole thing. She invested in church buildings throughout Mercia, particularly in Gloucester, which she transformed from a derelict backwater to a vibrant town. She was the eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and his wife Ealhswith. She is one of the few known women who not only held a role within the household as mother and lady – and within the court, as daughter and wife to kings – but also wielded power on the battlefield. At about the age of nine she received a different kind of education, in the harsh realities of her turbulent times. In the 12th century, the historian Henry of Huntingdon declared Æthelflæd to be “so powerful that in praise and exaltation of her wonderful gifts, some call her not only lady, but even king”. Back then, in retaliation for Æthelflæd and Edward’s successful campaigns in the Danelaw, Viking troops had laid waste to large parts of Mercia, carrying off plunder and destroying the land. [1], In 865 the Viking Great Heathen Army landed in East Anglia and used this as a starting point for an invasion. The most famous are Boudicca, her chariot complete with spiked wheels, and the armoured teenager, Joan of Arc. View All The Last Kingdom News . She is a rallying point to all those searching for strong female role models. [83], The 1,100th anniversary of the death of Æthelflaed was marked throughout 2018 in Tamworth with a number of major events, including the unveiling of a new six-metre statue,[84] the creation of the town's biggest ever piece of community art,[85] a major commemorative church service, talks, a special guided walk, commemorative ale and an academic conference weekend drawing academics and delegates from all over the world. In January 878 Viking invaders swooped down on the palace at Chippenham in Wiltshire where Alfred and his family were staying. His relics had languished in Viking-held Bardney in Lincolnshire, but Æthelflæd managed to return them to Mercia. Æthelstan, the eldest son of Edward the Elder and future king of England, was brought up in their court and, in the view of Martin Ryan, certainly joined their campaigns against the Vikings. Millie Brady as Aethelflaed in series four of ‘The Last Kingdom’. Celtic visions of Æthelred and Æthelflæd as king and queen certainly offer a different, and equally valid, contemporary take on the complex politics of this transition to a new English state. [39] The Mercian rulers built a new minster in Gloucester and, although the building was small, it was embellished on a grand scale, with rich sculpture. The eldest child of King Alfred the Great, she helped her brother Edward the Elder, king of the West Saxons (reigned 899–924), in conquering the Danish armies occupying eastern England. [49], When Æthelred died, Edward took control of the Mercian towns of London and Oxford and their hinterlands, which Alfred had put under Mercian control. As the rights of lordship had previously belonged fully to the church, this represented the beginning of transfer from episcopal to secular control of the city. Just three years earlier, a Great Viking Army had launched a massive assault on East Anglia. [11], Æthelflæd was born around 870, the oldest child of King Alfred the Great and his Mercian wife, Ealhswith, who was a daughter of Æthelred Mucel, ealdorman of the Gaini, one of the tribes of Mercia. Lorsqu’il s’est agi de déterminer le vrai père de la fille de d’Aethelflaed, Aelfwynn.The Last Kingdom a déchiré les livres d’histoire et a introduit un peu de sang danois dans la lignée royale. She is the daughter of Alfred and Ælswith . The Vikings’ purpose was to conquer the kingdoms completely, yet the battle of Edington in 878 stemmed the tide and a tentative alliance was drawn up, splitting the country in two between English-ruled territory and lands administered by the Danes (the Danelaw). In the Handbook of British Chronology, David Dumville refers to "Q. Æthelflæd" and comments, "The titles given her by all sources (hlæfdige, regina) imply that she wielded royal power and authority". Their choice was wise, since she secured some of the greatest victories in battle of the early 10th century. She is a medieval marvel, but she has been overshadowed by the men who surrounded her in life – her father, Alfred the Great; her husband, Æthelred of Mercia (a kingdom in what is now central England); and her ultimate successor, her nephew, Æthelstan, ‘the king of the whole of Britain’. She could have faded from the records at this point, content to support her husband within the court and bear him many offspring. When it came to the true parentage of Aethelflaed of Mercia’s daughter Aelfwynn, The Last Kingdom tore up the history books and introduced some Danish blood into … Mercia was the dominant kingdom in southern England in the eighth century and maintained its position until it suffered a decisive defeat by Wessex at the Battle of Ellandun in 825. [52][d], In 917 invasions by three Viking armies failed as Æthelflæd sent an army which captured Derby and the territory around it. In 918 Leicester surrendered without a fight. [70][71] She was also praised by Anglo-Norman historians such as John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury, who described her as "a powerful accession to [Edward's] party, the delight of his subjects, the dread of his enemies, a woman of enlarged soul". Why do we not know more about Æthelflæd? Æthelflæd took advantage of a tradition that granted women in Mercia greater rights. She was a product of her age, constrained by her time, yet she achieved so much. Theirs was an entirely political union, designed to strengthen the two kingdoms against Danish and Norwegian incursions in the north. A translation of the Mercian Register is an appendix in Tim Clarkson's biography of Æthelflæd. [65] Æthelflæd died a few months too early to see the final conquest of the southern Danelaw by Edward. She was developing a name as a keen diplomat, an engaged ruler and a military strategist. He was described by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as "a foolish king's thegn" who was a puppet of the Vikings. Historians consider this unlikely, but she may have sent a contingent to the battle. [69] Irish and Welsh annals described her as a queen and the Annals of Ulster, which ignore the deaths of Alfred and Edward, described her as famosissima regina Saxonum (renowned Saxon queen). In 914 a Mercian army drawn from Gloucester and Hereford repelled a Viking invasion from Brittany, and the Iron Age Eddisbury hill fort was repaired to protect against invasion from Northumbria or Cheshire, while Warwick was fortified as further protection against the Leicester Danes. © Carnival Film & Television Limited 2016 | a division of NBCUniversal International Studios | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy What’s more, she is the only queen in English history to have passed her reign directly to her daughter. The following year, the Vikings conquered East Anglia. Most historians believe that Æthelred was incapacitated in his last years. Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. According to Pauline Stafford, "like ... Elizabeth I she became a wonder to later ages". Tim Clarkson's biography has a detailed discussion of Æthelflæd' burhs. [12] The relics gave the church great prestige as Oswald had been one of the most important founding saints of Anglo-Saxon Christianity as well as a ruling monarch, and the decision to translate his relics to Gloucester shows the importance of the town to Æthelred and Æthelflæd, who were buried in St Oswald's Minster. She known for her roles in 'The Last Kingdom' and 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'. You have successfully linked your account! But there is one warrior woman who is less celebrated. [63], The choice of burial place was symbolic. Everything you ever wanted to know about... lands administered by the Danes (the Danelaw), Æthelwold: Alfred the Great’s rebel nephew. [42][43] Heighway and Michael Hare wrote: In the age when English scholarship and religion reached their lowest ebb, Mercia and in particular the lower Severn valley seem to have maintained traditional standards of learning. [81] Ryan believes that the Mercian rulers "had a considerable but ultimately subordinate share of royal authority".[65]. Alfred had built a network of fortified burhs and in the 910s Edward and Æthelflæd embarked on a programme of extending them. The Last Kingdom: Who plays Finan in The Last Kingdom? [4], Ceolwulf is not recorded after 879. 'The Last Kingdom' Season 4 Review: Uhtred's love for Aethelflaed furthers Alfred's dream of a united England. Yet Æthelflæd wasn’t about to be overshadowed by her husband. Aethelred was an ambitious leader on The Last Kingdom with the wrong motive, always seeking to become greater by exterminating those around him. [64] Martin Ryan sees the foundation as "something like a royal mausoleum, intended to replace the one at Repton (Derbyshire) that had been destroyed by the Vikings". Keynes argues that a new polity was created when Æthelred submitted to Alfred in the 880s, covering Wessex and English (western) Mercia. There is little information on her childhood, and she first appears in the historical record as a fully grown adult. Qui est le vrai père de Aelfwynn ? You can unsubscribe at any time. Eldest child of King Alfred of Wessex, Aethelflaed was cherished by her father and received an education normally reserved for a royal son. Defences were built before 914 at Hereford, and probably Shrewsbury and two other fortresses, at Scergeat and Weardbyrig, which have not been located. Historians disagree whether Mercia was an independent kingdom under Æthelred and Æthelflæd but they agree that Æthelflæd was a great ruler who played an important part in the conquest of the Danelaw. Her marriage to the much older Æthelred, who had served Alfred as a loyal lieutenant, bound together the English-speaking kingdoms of Wessex and the newly reclaimed Mercia. [20] Alex Woolf suggests that he was probably the son of King Burgred of Mercia and King Alfred's sister Æthelswith, although that would mean that the marriage between Æthelflæd and Æthelred was uncanonical, because Rome then forbade marriage between first cousins. But her reputation has suffered from bad publicity, or rather from a conspiracy of silence among her West Saxon contemporaries. King Burgred of Mercia was joined by King Æthelred of Wessex and his brother, the future King Alfred, for a combined attack on the Vikings, who refused an engagement; in the end the Mercians bought peace with them. Aethelflaed was succeeded by her daughter Aelfwyn, whom Aethelflaed had made a joint ruler with her. Thereafter the two kingdoms became allies, which was to be an important factor in English resistance to the Vikings. Ahead of series four of The Last Kingdom, we revisit a feature by Janina Ramirez in which she reveals how the wife, mother, diplomat – and, above all, warrior-queen – left an indelible mark on Anglo-Saxon England in the 10th century. [6][e] She was succeeded as Lady of the Mercians by her daughter, Ælfwynn, but in early December 918 Edward deposed her and took Mercia under his control. In Keynes's view, "the conclusion seems inescapable that the Alfredian polity of the kingship 'of the Anglo-Saxons' persisted in the first quarter of the tenth century, and that the Mercians were thus under Edward's rule from the beginning of his reign". In The Last Kingdom, he is depicted as abusive to Lady Aethelflaed, although this may not have been the case in real life. The Last Kingdom season four spoilers follow. [a] Information about Æthelflæd's career is also preserved in the Irish chronicle known as the Three Fragments. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription, She is a medieval marvel, but – as the daughter of Alfred the Great, and ultimately succeeded by her nephew Æthelstan – Æthelflæd has been overshadowed by the men in her life. Æthelflæd erscheint hier als eine der Hauptpersonen in der zweiten Staffel, wobei einige der dargestellten Ereignisse (z. She ensured her daughter, Ælfwynn, would succeed her, but also fostered her brother’s son, who would become the great unifier of England, King Æthelstan. She is one of the few known women who not only held a role within the household as mother and lady – and within the court, as daughter and wife to kings – but also wielded power on the battlefield. Read on to learn what Dreymon himself has to say about their relationship in the new season. Æthelflæd was born around 870 at the height of the Viking invasions of England. [12] Tim Clarkson, who describes Æthelflæd as "renowned as a competent war-leader", regards the victory at Derby as "her greatest triumph". The version of record as reviewed is: "Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians" (PDF), WikiJournal of Humanities, 1 (1): 1, 2018, doi:10.15347/WJH/2018.001, ISSN 2639-5347, Wikidata Q59649817.mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}, This article is about the Lady of the Mercians. About Tomatometer. [14] Æthelflæd was thus half-Mercian and the alliance between Wessex and Mercia was sealed by her marriage to Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians. Références According to Nick Higham, "successive medieval and modern writers were quite captivated by her" and her brother's reputation has suffered unfairly in comparison. Wainwright sees Æthelflæd as willingly accepting a subordinate role in a partnership with her brother and agreeing to his plan of unification of Wessex and Mercia under his rule. A new biography by Tom Holland is imminent [since published in 2019], and she will hopefully attract media attention over the coming year. He commented: "It was through reliance on her guardianship of Mercia that her brother was enabled to begin the forward movement against the southern Danes which is the outstanding feature of his reign". The land was valuable, including most of the city's usable river frontage, and control of it enabled the Mercian rulers to dominate over and profit from the city. In 904 Bishop Werferth granted a lease of land in the city to Æthelred and Æthelflæd, to be held for the duration of their lives and that of their daughter Ælfwynn. She began her career in 2014, playing the daughter of Selfridge's tycoon, Harry Gordon Selfridge in ITV's 'Mr Selfridge'. By 878, most of England was under Danish Viking rule – East Anglia and Northumbria having been conquered, and Mercia partitioned between the English and the Vikings – but in that year Alfred won a crucial victory at the Battle of Edington. Aethelflaed is strong, brave and intelligent; she has a mind as thoughtful as her father’s and a will as strong as her mother’s. Charters show the Mercian leaders supporting the revival by their generosity to monastic communities. Concerned by the relocation of Viking settlers from the Irish coast to the north-west, Æthelflæd made two plans: on the one hand, she offered land for the Vikings to settle in the Wirral, and on the other instructed that the ancient Roman city of Chester be refortified in case they decided to press southwards into Mercia. They then moved on Mercia, where they spent the winter of 867–868. In Mercia, Alfred's sister Æthelswith had been the wife of King Burgred of Mercia; she had witnessed charters as queen and had made grants jointly with her husband and in her own name. In Higham's view, Keynes makes a strong case that Edward ruled over an Anglo-Saxon state with a developing administrative and ideological unity but that Æthelflæd and Æthelred did much to encourage a separate Mercian identity, such as establishing cults of Mercian saints at their new burhs, as well as reverence for their great Northumbrian royal saint at Gloucester: There must remain some doubt as to the extent to which Edward's intentions for the future were shared in all respects by his sister and brother-in-law, and one is left to wonder what might have occurred had their sole offspring been male rather than female. Read more about the real history behind The Last Kingdom here. She was exceptional for many reasons. [28], Æthelred's health probably declined at some stage in the decade after Alfred died in 899, and Æthelflæd may have become the de facto ruler of Mercia by 902. When this failed they applied to Æthelflæd, her husband being ill, for permission to settle near Chester. By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. Stafford argues that Æthelred and Æthelflæd exercised most or all of the powers of a monarch after Alfred's death but it would have been a provocative act formally to claim regality, especially after Æthelwold's rebellion. Millie Brady is a British actress, born in London, England. We’re first introduced to Aethelflaed, the future iron lady of Mercia, in the first season of Netflix’s The Last Kingdom. No similar offer is known to have been made to Edward. Nothing is known of Aethelflaed’s youth and she only enters the pages of history at the age of 15 or 16 when she was married to Aethelred. The series has deviated from the books in terms of relationships, as fans have revealed Uhtred and Aethelflaed remained a couple of a while, before separating. [22] Mercian scholarship had high prestige at the courts of Alfred and Edward. She is mentioned in Alfred’s will, where he leaves her an estate plus 100 pounds, while her husband is bequeathed a precious sword. Aethelflaed: who was the warrior queen who crushed the Vikings? Gwent in south-east Wales was already under West Saxon lordship but, in the view of Charles-Edwards, this passage shows that the other Welsh kingdoms were under Mercian lordship until Edward took direct power over Mercia. [35] After Æthelflæd's death, Edward encountered fierce resistance to his efforts to consolidate his control of the north-west and he died there in 924, shortly after suppressing a local rebellion. He records that she declined to have sex after bearing a daughter because it was “unbecoming of the daughter of a king to give way to a delight which, after a time, produced such painful consequences”. [13] Many Mercians disliked the subordination of their ancient kingdom to Wessex, and Wainwright describes the Mercian annalist's description of the deposition of Ælfwynn as "heavy with resentment". Æthelflæd is as important now as she was more than a millennium ago. Alfred adopted the title King of the English, claiming to rule all English people not living in areas under Viking control. [12] According to Frank Stenton, Æthelflæd led Mercian armies on expeditions, which she planned. Yet Michael Wood has argued that “without her England might never have happened”. She is an actress, known for The Last Kingdom (2015), Jerks (2017) and Die Vaterlosen (2011). In the mid-880s, Alfred sealed the strategic alliance between the surviving English kingdoms by marrying Æthelflæd to Æthelred. In 909 Edward sent a West Saxon and Mercian force to the northern Danelaw, where it raided for five weeks. Richard Abels describes him as "somewhat of a mysterious character", who may have claimed royal blood and been related to King Alfred's father-in-law, Ealdorman Æthelred Mucel. [6], The most important source for history in this period is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle but Æthelflæd is almost ignored in the standard West Saxon version, in what F. T. Wainwright calls "a conspiracy of silence". [79] In Wainwright's view, she was ignored in West Saxon sources for fear that recognition of her achievements would encourage Mercian separatism: [Æthelflæd] played a vital role in England in the first quarter of the tenth century.