Category: The Dark Ages

Learn about the rise of England, Scotland, and Wales in episodes of the British History Podcast that cover the so-called Dark Ages.

286 – Noble Pursuits

After generations of devastating war, England has found itself at peace. Which leaves a question we haven’t had to ask in a while. What did the Anglo Saxons actually do during peacetime? For the regular freemen (which was the vast majority of the population), this is a fairly straightforward question with a straightforward answer. Peace meant that their obligations to… Read more →

284 – AEthelstan the Victorious

Last week, we ended with King AEthelstan’s aggression towards Kingdoms of Wales and Cornwall. We don’t know precisely what occurred, or why AEthelstan demanded crippling tributes from the Welsh and then violently expelled or executed the Cornish of Exeter. But whatever the reason, AEthelstan’s actions echoed through history. In fact, the Welsh border that was established at the River Wye… Read more →

283 – The Kingdoms of the Foreigners

Imagine that you went from being a disfavored bastard with little power, to the most powerful English king that had ever existed, in the space of just a few years. That you went from being functionally orphaned and shunted off to Mercia, to being so powerful that continental rulers were seeking your support and sending their children to your court…… Read more →

282 – How To Win Friends and Influence Jorvik

AEthelstan had completed his annexation of Jorvik, and in doing so he had outperformed every last one of his predecessors, including his grandfather, Alfred the Great. But there were a few loose ends that he still needed to knot up. And as he watched the defenses of Jorvik burn and dolled out Jorvik’s wealth to his loyal men – two… Read more →

280 – King AEthelstan’s Love Life

What is a King’s most important duty? Is it the defense of the realm? Or perhaps the growth of the kingdom’s borders? What about developing the economy? Fostering strong diplomatic alliances? Shepherding the souls of his subjects to Christ? How about just keeping his subjects happy and healthy? When it comes down to it, there are a lot of responsibilities… Read more →

279 – Dynastic Cults

Want to know something strange? When Edward died, the Irish annals said nothing. Not a mention about his death, nor the circumstances of it. And it’s not like the Irish Annals were disinterested with what was happening in the Anglo Saxon kingdoms. After all, they’re the source for our story about AEthelflaed’s defense of Chester. They were so interested that… Read more →

276 – The Bastard Rebel King

The story of Edward is one of contradictions. There’s something about his rule that seems … complicated and requiring more nuance than many of our earlier rulers. Here we have a King that did what must have seemed impossible… he began his rule holding dominion over Wessex and Kent. Huge portions of his kingdom were in outright rebellion against him.… Read more →