Aethelflaed (pronounced Eth-el-fled) was the most powerful woman of the Anglo-Saxon era. Daughter of Alfred the Great, she ruled the kingdom of Mercia, an area extending from Lincolnshire in the northeast, the Wirral in the northwest and as far south as the Thames. She was a successful military strategist, fighting the Vikings, taking and holding land as far north as the border of Yorkshire, and bringing their leaders to pledge loyalty to her.
Aethelflaed came to power at a time when England was made up of many kingdoms, each with its own culture and traditions. Mercia was one of the largest and was fiercely independent. She made Gloucester its spiritual, cultural and learning capital.
Aethelfaed also made a difference nationally. Her military and political leadership laid the foundations for joining England’s numerous kingdoms into the single country we know today.
This year marks the 1100th anniversary of Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia’s death and her burial in Gloucester. Gloucester will be honouring the occasion with a series of living history, archaeological and musical events, celebrating her life and the impact she had on our lives today.