Biography of Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians 870-918

Paternal Family Tree: Wessex

In 868 [her father] King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex (age 19) and [her mother] Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England were married at Gainsborough [Map]. She the daughter of Æthelred Mucel Mercia Earldorman Gaini and Eadburh of Mercia. He the son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and Osburgh Queen Consort Wessex.

Around 870 Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians was born to King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex (age 21) and Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England.

In 871 [her uncle] King Æthelred of Wessex (age 24) was buried at Wimborne Minster, Dorset [Map]. [her father] King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex (age 22) succeeded King England. [her mother] Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England by marriage Queen Consort England.

In or before 887 Æthelred Earldorman of Mercia and Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians (age 16) were married. She the daughter of King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex (age 37) and Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England.

Death of King Alfred the Great

On 26 Oct 899 [her father] King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex (age 50) died at Winchester, Hampshire [Map]. He was buried at Hyde Abbey. His son [her brother] King Edward "Elder" of the Anglo Saxons (age 25) succeeded King Anglo Saxons. Ecgwynn Unknown Queen Consort Anglo Saxons by marriage Queen Consort Anglo Saxons.

On 05 Dec 902 [her mother] Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England died.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 910. This year Frithestan took to the bishopric of Winchester; and Asser died soon after, who was Bishop of Sherborne. The same year [her brother] King Edward (age 36) sent an army both from Wessex and Mercia, which very much harassed the northern army by their attacks on men and property of every kind. They slew many of the Danes, and remained in the country five weeks. This year the Angles and the Danes fought at Tootenhall; and the Angles had the victory. The same year Ethelfleda (age 40) built the fortress at Bramsbury.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 912. This year died Ethered, alderman of Mercia; and [her brother] King Edward (age 38) took to London, and to Oxford, and to all the lands that thereunto belonged. This year also came Ethelfleda (age 42), lady of the Mercians, on the holy eve called the invention of the holy cross, to Shergate, and built the fortress there, and the same year that at Bridgenorth [Map].

In 912 [her husband] Æthelred Earldorman of Mercia died.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 913. This year, about Martinmas, [her brother] King Edward (age 39) had the northern fortress built at Hertford [Map], betwixt the Memer, and the Benwic, and the Lea. After this, in the summer, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with some of his force into Essex, to Maldon [Map]; and encamped there the while that men built and fortified the town of Witham [Map]. And many of the people submitted to him, who were before under the power of the Danes. And some of his force, meanwhile, built the fortress at Hertford [Map] on the south side of the Lea. This year by the permission of God went Ethelfleda (age 43), lady of Mercia, with all the Mercians to Tamworth [Map]; and built the fort there in the fore-part of the summer; and before Lammas that at Stafford [Map]: in the next year that at Eddesbury [Map], in the beginning of the summer; and the same year, late in the autumn, that at Warwick [Map]. Then in the following year was built, after mid-winter, that at Chirbury and that at Warburton; and the same year before mid-winter that at Runkorn [Map].

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 916. This year was the innocent Abbot Egbert slain, before midsummer, on the sixteenth day before the calends of July. The same day was the feast of St. Ciricius the martyr, with his companions. And within three nights sent Ethelfleda (age 46) an army into Wales, and stormed Brecknock [Map]; and there took the king's wife, with some four and thirty others.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 917. This year came a great naval armament over hither south from the Lidwiccians;40 and two earls with it, Ohter and Rhoald. They went then west about, till they entered the mouth of the Severn; and plundered in North-Wales everywhere by the sea, where it then suited them; and took Camlac the bishop in Archenfield, and led him with them to their ships; whom [her brother] King Edward (age 43) afterwards released for forty pounds. After this went the army all up; and would proceed yet on plunder against Archenfield [Note. South and west Herefordshire]; but the men of Hertford [Note. Probably a mistake for Hereforshire] met them, and of Glocester, and of the nighest towns; and fought with them, and put them to flight; and they slew the Earl Rhoald, and the brother of Ohter the other earl, and many of the army. And they drove them into a park; and beset them there without, until they gave them hostages, that they would depart from the realm of King Edward (age 43). And the king had contrived that a guard should be set against them on the south side of Severnmouth; west from Wales, eastward to the mouth of the Avon; so that they durst nowhere seek that land on that side. Nevertheless, they eluded them at night, by stealing up twice; at one time to the east of Watchet, Somerset, and at another time at Porlock, Somerset. There was a great slaughter each time; so that few of them came away, except those only who swam out to the ships. Then sat they outward on an island, called the Flat-holms; till they were very short of meat, and many men died of hunger, because they could not reach any meat. Thence went they to Dimmet [Note. Possibly Braunton, Devon], and then out to Ireland. This was in harvest. After this, in the same year, before Martinmas, went King Edward (age 43) to Buckingham [Map] with his army, and sat there four weeks, during which he built the two forts on either side of the water, ere he departed thence. And Earl Thurkytel sought him for his lord; and all the captains, and almost all the first men that belonged to Bedford; and also many of those that belonged to Northampton. This year Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians (age 47), with the help of God, before Laminas, conquered the town called Derby [Map], with all that thereto belonged; and there were also slain four of her thanes, that were most dear to her, within the gates.

Note 40. The pirates of Armorica, now Bretagne; so called, because they abode day and night in their ships; from lid, a ship, and wiccian, to watch or abide day and night.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 917. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went [her brother] King Edward (age 43) with his army to Stamford [Map], and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord. It was whilst he was tarrying there, that Ethelfleda (age 47) his sister died at Tamworth [Map], twelve nights before midsummer. Then rode he to the borough of Tamworth; and all the population in Mercia turned to him, who before were subject to Ethelfleda (age 47). And the kings in North-Wales, Howel, and Cledauc, and Jothwel, and all the people of North-Wales, sought him for their lord. Then went he thence to Nottingham, Nottinghamshire [Map], and secured that borough, and ordered it to be repaired, and manned both with English and with Danes. And all the population turned to him, that was settled in Mercia, both Danish and English.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 918. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward to Maldon [Map]; and repaired and fortified the town, ere he departed thence. And the same year went Earl Thurkytel over sea to Frankland with the men who would adhere to him, under the protection and assistance of [her brother] King Edward (age 44). This year Ethelfleda (age 48) got into her power, with God's assistance, in the early part of the year, without loss, the town of Leicester, Leicestershire [Map]; and the greater part of the army that belonged thereto submitted to her. And the Yorkists had also promised and confirmed, some by agreement and some with oaths, that they would be in her interest. But very soon after they had done this, she departed, twelve nights before midsummer, at Tamworth [Map], the eighth year that she was holding the government of the Mercians with right dominion; and her body lieth at Glocester, in the east porch of St. Peter's church [Map]. This year also was the daughter of Ethered, lord of the Mercians, deprived of all authority over the Mercians, and led into Wessex, three weeks before midwinter. Her name was Healfwina.

On 12 Jun 918 Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians (age 48) died at Tamworth, Staffordshire [Map]. She was buried at St Oswald's Priory [Map].

Time Team Series 1 Episode 4: The Fortress in the Lake was filmed between 16 Sep 1993 and 18 Sep 1993. It was originally shown on 06 Feb 1994.

Locations: Llangorse Lake, Breconshire [Map], St Paulinus' Church, Llangorse [Map].

Category: Time Team Early Medieval.

Time Team:

Tony Robinson (age 47), Presenter

Mick Aston (age 47), Bristol University Landscape Archaeologist

Carenza Lewis (age 30), Royal Commission on Historic Monuments

Phil Harding (age 44), Wessex Archaeological Trust Field Archaeologist

Robin Bush (age 50), Archivist.

Victor Ambrus (age 58), Historical Illustrator

John Gator, Chris Gaffney, Geophysics

Damian Goodburn, Ancient Woodworking Specialist

Mark Redknap, National Museum of Wales

Techniques: Magnetometry

Sources: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 916, Book of Llandaff Chapter 4 Section 7: Llan Cors, Book of Llandaff Chapter 8

Historical Figures: King Elised of Brecknock, Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians.

Outcomes: Reconstructed Iron Age boat made from 3.5 tonnes of oak; a copy of an original discovered in Llangorse Lake in Brecon Museum. Metal working on site, shale ring. Boundary Ditch.

Channel 4 Episode

[her daughter] Ælfwynn of Mercia was born to Æthelred Earldorman of Mercia and Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians.

Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians 870-918 appears on the following Descendants Family Trees:

King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex 849-899

Royal Ancestors of Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians 870-918

Kings Wessex: Daughter of King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex

Ancestors of Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians 870-918

Great x 4 Grandfather: Eoppa Wessex

Great x 3 Grandfather: Eafa Wessex

Great x 2 Grandfather: Ealmund King of Kent

Great x 1 Grandfather: Egbert King Wessex

GrandFather: King Æthelwulf of Wessex

Father: King Alfred "The Great" of Wessex

Great x 1 Grandfather: Oslac

GrandMother: Osburgh Queen Consort Wessex

Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians

GrandFather: Æthelred Mucel Mercia Earldorman Gaini

Mother: Æalhswith of Mercia Queen Consort of England

GrandMother: Eadburh of Mercia