992 was a bad year. There was treason, Vikings, the King’s closest advisor absconded with half the navy, and tipped off an enemy invasion with just enough time to let them escape.
The Battle of Maldon was a catastrophe. The brave last stand of Ealdorman Byrhtnoth was never going to change that fact. He was the leading man of Essex and the second most powerful Ealdorman in England and now he was dead. And his Fyrd was defeated. To top it off, there are indications that, facing [...]
By 984 the Regency council had been broken and a new inner circle of nobles had been elevated. And this development was accompanied by a rapid series of changes at the highest levels of the kingdom. The political rivals of this new council were rapidly losing power, with titles (and even lands) of wealthy dynasties [...]
At 16 years old, King AEthelred was considered fully grown by Anglo Saxon standards. And as a bonus graduation present, the powerful Bishop AEthelwold of Winchester… who appears to have been the defacto head of state while AEthelred was a child… had died. With his passing, the power of the old guard had been broken [...]
Before we get back to our story, I’ve been seeing your conversations online and it made me realize I need to clarify something. Some of you took the discussion of AEthelred’s unflattering nickname, and how he caught hell for some things that were out of his control or part of the common culture, and [...]
“Under AEthelred nothing was done; or, more truly, throughout his whole reign he left undone those things which he ought to have done, and he did those things he ought not to have done.” That is the damning conclusion of Edward Augustus Freeman, a Victorian historian, and epic beard grower.
King Edward, like those before him, had died under mysterious and apparently violent circumstances. And the next in line for this increasingly bloody throne of England was his 12 year old little half-brother. Æthelred.
“No man can make himself king, but the people have the choice to choose as king whom they please; but after he is consecrated as king, he then has dominion over the people, and they cannot shake his yoke from their necks.” So reads the homily written by the famed writer, AElfric. He was [...]
King Edgar the Peaceable was buried at Glastonbury in 975. But weirdly that isn’t the end of his story. William of Malmesbury tells us that nearly a century later, in 1053, the Abbot Ailward re-opened the King’s tomb. Malmsbury doesn’t tell us WHY the monk opened the grave, so I suppose we can just assume [...]
Human beings can’t really be summed up in a nickname. Usually we are more complicated than a word or two. And sometimes, the nickname just doesn’t reflect reality. If you take Edward the Elder, for example, the name probably conjures up an image of Gandalf. But Edward was only in his early 50’s when he [...]