261 – The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Mercian Register
Some reigns are better documented than others, but even those kings about whom we have a decent amount of information can still elude the researcher. We can see his actions, we can guess at his motivation, but he remains largely off-stage, spoken about by others.
Another difficulty is location. I was able to visit certain places where the link to the Anglo-Saxons is tangible. But battle sites, even when identified, are now no more than fields.
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When I went to Repton, the trench revealing Viking burials had only recently been backfilled, and the team was due to dig again later that year. Much of the archaeology has been revealed, only to disappear again.
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The Anglo-Saxon watermill discovered at Tamworth shone valuable light on the way such workings were constructed but although it was excavated in the s, the site has now been built on. Winchcombe Abbey features heavily in the book. It was a royal minster, and its abbess, Cwoenthryth, was accused by later chroniclers of having murdered her young brother, so that she could secure the throne of Mercia for herself. The church chroniclers would have had no reason to record a favourable history of her life. On a trip to Gloucestershire, I visited Winchcombe.
Alas, the abbey is no more. Tree-ring dating of recently excavated waterfront structures at Bull Wharf immediately to the east is of this period. It seems reasonable to suppose that an extant treaty agreed by Alfred and Guthrum, the Danish king of East Anglia, which famously defines the border between their territories, dates from Alfred died in The fields of the Mercians were ravaged on all sides by the throng we spoke about, and deeply, as far as the streams of the Avon, where the boundary of the West Saxons and Mercians begins.
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Then they were transported across the river Severn into the west country, and there they ravaged great ravagings. Both Tettenhall and Wednesfield are now suburbs of Wolverhampton.
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Lady of the Mercians. This spirited heroine assisted her brother greatly with her advice; she was of equal service in building cities, nor could you easily discern whether it were more owing to fortune or her own exertions, that a woman should be able to protect men at home, and to intimidate them abroad.
Then in the year after this [i.
Then in the next year [i. 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.
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- 261 – The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Mercian Register!
In , Edward's offensive against Danish held territory began in earnest. And the people of York had also promised her, and some given a pledge, and some confirmed by oaths, that they would be at her disposal. But very soon after they had agreed thereon, she died at Tamworth, 12 nights before Midsummer [i.
Those names which have survived into modern times are given their familiar spelling. Back to: section two. It is dated , but is given the Indiction number five, which would suggest a date of see: Anno Domini. The Old English word is gesette , which will bear various interpretations — the Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon dictionary has: To set, put, fix, confirm, restore, appoint, decree, settle, possess, occupy, place together, compose, make, compare, expose, allay.
It is a peculiarity of Manuscript B that after the year-number is generally omitted. It is not in Manuscripts E and F, which have only a few desultory annals during the whole period of Edward's reign. Collected Papers by F. Wainwright, Phillimore, , pp. Michael Swanton trans. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Dent,