St Oswald's Priory, Gloucesterby Philip Halling (CC BY-SA). She asked them why they were fighting in the interests of those who had invaded their own country against her people who had never done them any wrong and further suggested the Irish chiefs should ask the Vikings what lands and goods were promised them for risking their lives in a cause not their own. "Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians." Unfortunately Æthelflæd never reached York to see its citizens pay homage. Mercia itself had not been a proper, independent kingdom for many years. In that last year of her life, Viking leaders in Leicester offered to submit to her rule and there were rumours that powerful Viking leaders in York might form an alliance with Mercia. Inside the city walls a much larger troop of cavalry would be stationed and, at a given point, the army outside should give way before the Vikings and retreat through the open gates where the troop of horse would be unleashed on the invaders. The next year she marched on Leicester which surrendered without a fight and these victories convinced the Danes of York to submit to her rule peacefully. Edward the Elder, brother of Æthelflæd and ruler of Wessex (and indeed of all Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England). These same historians, most notably William of Malmsbury, also recognize Aethelflaed’s significance in her own right as a woman who effectively ruled her kingdom during a time of crisis and left a lasting legacy for her people not only through her influence on her nephew but chiefly by her own accomplishments. Aethelred died in 911 CE with no male heir and Aethelflaed became sole ruler under the title “Lady of the Mercians”. In this article, we take a look at the Kings and Queens that ruled over the kingdom for almost half a millennium. They would both be interred in this building, close by the relics of the saint, after their deaths. Aethelflaed died at Tamworth in 918 and her body was carried 75 miles to Gloucester where she was buried alongside her husband. He may have been killed in battle but it seems this would have been noted; most likely he either left Britain or died of natural causes. Aethelstan was proclaimed king by the Mercians and was then reluctantly accepted by the nobles of Wessex to become King of the Anglo-Saxons and, eventually, the first recognized king of the English people. “Aethel” means “noble” but the meaning of “flaed”, again according to Arman, is unclear but “could mean something like `flood’, or something flowing over.” (32). Aethelred was at least ten years older than Aethelflaed and had probably been betrothed to her early on. Aethelflaed, Anglo-Saxon ruler of Mercia in England and founder of Gloucester Abbey. License. The most famous story comes from the Irish Annals and recounts how, in 907 CE, a Norwegian Viking named Ingimund came from Ireland with his troops to “Aethelflaed, Queen of the Saxons, for her husband Aethelred was sick at that time” asking for a place he could peacefully settle in (170). There can be little doubt that Aethelflaed was brought up in an atmosphere of piety, scholarship & devotion to family & country, all characteristic of King Alfred. (2018, March 07). Aethelred and Aethelflaed worked in accord with Alfred of Wessex and mirrored his Burghal System of defense - in which fortified towns could easily be reinforced by others within a day's march - as well as his educational policies. 2. However, when Æthelred (not to be confused with Lady Æthelflæd, whom this article is about!) Unfortunately this was one of many battles in which Æthelred was not involved. Related Content School children know all about King Alfred burning the cakes, but more importantly, this Saxon king left behind an extraordinary legacy, reforming the traditions and structure of early English society, maintaining peace and introducing structure, judicial processes and education…. Worcesterwas able to preserve considerable intellectual and liturgical continuity and, with Gloucester, became the centre of a Mercian revival under Æthelred and Æthelflæd that extended in… Few however may realise that some of Winchester’s first settlers arrived there more than 2,000 years ago. Worcester Within a few years, Æthelred and Æthelflæd had their first and only child whom they called Ælfwynn. Instead, Aethelflaed dies after falling ill, so her final scene will not include much action if she is to die later in the series. The defense of Chester worked almost as Aethelflaed had planned. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. They were especially generous to the church at Worcester who, in return, agreed to pray for them and dedicate services or at least psalms to their honor and for their continued health. Edward (later Edward the Elder) had succeeded Alfred the Great as King of Wessex in 899, and legend has it that both brother and sister shared their father’s ideal of a ‘united England’. Her reign was so effective that she would eclipse those of contemporaries such as her brother Edward the Elder in Wessex and, in her own time, she seems to have been more widely respected than even her famous father. Even though Aethelflaed has to give up the land she just won from the Danes, Edward slyly tells her that Sigtrygrr has taught them that there are "other ways" to conquer a kingdom than war. 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. The two regions were already allied by the marriage of Alfred and Ealhswith decades before and Aethelred had already accepted Alfred as his lord prior to 886 CE. Messengers arrived at the court to tell the queen about Ingimund’s plan and, even though Aethelred is cited as party to the response, it seems to have been Aethelflaed who prepared the battle plan that saved the city. The sources - which only focus on the king and not on his family - only note that Alfred traveled in secret, and often disguised, with a small company of men. Aethelflaed oversaw the construction of these burhs between 912-917 CE while also fighting off Viking attacks and attending to the business of governing Mercia. Biography Æthelflæd, lady of the Mercians, ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia from 911 until her death in 918. Her probable date of birth is 870 or 871 CE based on the approximate date of her marriage. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. The leading men of York were preparing for a formal submission when Aethelflaed died at Tamworth, possibly of a stroke, on 12 June 918 CE.