Aethelflaed Lady of the Mercians 870 – 918

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Father – Alfred the Great
Mother – Ealhswith of Wessex
Married – Aethelred of Mercia
Children – Aelfwynn



870 (during)
Aethelflaed was born, the eldest child of Alfred, later known as Alfred the Great, and his wife Ealhswith of Mercia. Alfred was brother to Aethelred King of Wessex.
870 (late)
The Viking force attacked Wessex
871 (4th January)
Battle of Reading
A force led by Aethelflaed’s father, Alfred and uncle Aethelred were defeated by the Vikings
871 (8th January)
Battle of Ashdown
Aethelflaed’s father Alfred and his brother King Aethelred led the army to a successful victory against the Vikings
871 (22nd January)
Battle of Basing 
Aethelflaed’s father Alfred and his brother King Aethelred suffered a defeat by the Vikings
871 (22nd March)
Battle of Meretun
Aethelflaed’s father Alfred and his brother King Aethelred were defeated by a Viking force after a long and bloody battle
871 (15th April)
King Aethelred died. Aethelflaed’s father Alfred became King because Aethelred’s two young sons were considered too young to take the throne.
872 (during)
After suffering a year of minor defeats by the Danes, Alfred was forced to buy them off. They promised to leave Wessex alone for five years
872 (late)
The Viking force returned to Northumbria to re-establish their authority
873 (during)
The Viking force moved to Mercia and captured Repton
874 (Spring)
The Vikings forced King Burgred of Mercia into exile and took control of the county by installing Ceolwulf as a puppet king.
874 (during)
Aethelflaed’s brother, Edward, was born.
Aethelflaed’s sister, Aethelgifu was born.
875 (during)
The Viking force attacked Wessex near Wareham (Dorset) and Alfred again sued for peace
876 (during)
The Vikings began dividing up Northumbria preparing to settle the land permanently
877 (during)
The Vikings began dividing up Mercia preparing to settle the land permanently
877 (during)
Aethelflaed’s sister, Aelfthryth, was born.
877 (during)
The Vikings made further raids on Wessex taking land in Wiltshire and Hampshire
878 (Spring)
Alfred burnt the cakes legend stems from this period. The legend states that Alfred was taken in and given shelter by a woman who did not recognise him. She asked him to watch some cakes for her but he was so taken up with his thoughts about how to defeat the Vikings that the cakes were burnt.
878 (May)
Battle of Edington
Alfred defeated the Danish army and forced the Danish leader Guthrum to accept baptism and peace terms. The Treaty of Wedmore recognised Danish occupation of England north of the line from London to Chester. Guthrum was to withdraw to behind this line and be recognised as King of his own independent kingdom. Guthrum’s new Danish Kingdom in England was subject to new laws called Danelaw
878 (June)
As per the treaty agreed between Alfred and Guthrum, the Viking leader and around 30 chief Vikings were baptised
878 (Autumn)
Guthrum, who had been baptised Aethelstan, moved his people to Mercia
879 (during)
Alfred began fortifying a number of prominent towns to make any future Viking attack more difficult. Wessex was covered with a network of public strongholds, several of which have a regular grid of streets that can still be seen today. Examples are Winchester, Chichester and Wareham. He also organised a local defence system. Alfred also spent time and money building ships to match those of the Vikings.
879 (during)
Another band of Vikings arrived in England. They sailed up the Thames and Alfred was concerned that they would join with Guthrum and mount a new attack. However, after a short while they left England and sailed to France.
879 (late)
Guthrum moved his people to East Anglia where he ruled as King Aethelstan
880 (during)
Aethelflaed’s brother, Aethelweard, was born.
882 (during)
Alfred’s new navy won a naval battle against the Vikings destroying two Viking ships and forcing the surrender of two others
885 (during)
A band of Vikings arrived and attacked Rochester in Kent. The town had been fortified by Alfred in 878 and was able to hold out until Alfred arrived with the army and defeated the Vikings.
886 (during)
Alfred the Great captured London. However, as London was in the Kingdom of Mercia, Alfred, put the city in the control of Ealdorman Aethelred of Mercia.
886 (during)
Aethelflaed , married Aethelred, Ealdorman of Mercia. The marriage was made so that Alfred could have some control over Mercia and London.
888 (during)
A daughter Aelfwynn was born to Aethelflaed and her husband Aethelred of Mercia. The exact date of her birth is unknown but is thought to have been early in her parent’s marriage.
889 (during)
Aethelflaed and Aethelred fortified Worcester, the first of many fortified burhs that they would construct.
890 (during)
Guthrum, who had ruled East Anglia as King Aethelstan, died. The peace he had agreed with Alfred was honoured by his successor.
890 (during)
Alfred established a permanent army setting up a system where only half the army was to be on service at any one time. Those not on service could be called on as reinforcements in times of need.
890 (during)
Aethelflaed and Aethelred founded the Priory of St Oswald in Gloucester. The date is disputed.
891 (during)
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle was begun
892 (during)
A large Danish Viking contingent arrived in around 250 ships. They landed in Kent and a number of them took over a half completed fortified building in Appledore. At the same time another Viking force of 80 ships landed in northern Kent and made camp at Milton. Alfred stationed his army midway between the two.
893 (during)
Alfred entered into negotiations with Hasteinn, leader of the Viking force at Milton. A settlement was reached whereby Alfred gave Hasteinn money and treasures while Hasteinn gave Alfred hostages and swore an oath of peace. 893 (during) Soon after swearing a peace oath Hasteinn took his army and laid waste to Benfleet in Essex.
894 (during)
Battle of Farnham
While Alfred had been busy trying to make peace with Hasteinn, the Appledore Vikings had raided towns in Hampshire and Berkshire. They were returning to Appledore with their booty but were cut off by Alfred’s son, Edward who recovered the stolen treasure and put them to flight. Edward then pursued the Vikings, caught up with them and held them under siege on an island in the River Colne.
894 (during)
While Alfred and Edward had been occupied with the Vikings in Kent, the East Anglia Vikings had sailed to Exeter and lay siege to the city. Alfred had intended to help his son defeat the Vikings on the island but had to divert and go to Exeter and lay siege to the city. A further group of Vikings marched west probably to relieve the siege of Exeter but they were met at Buttington by a large force led by the Ealdormen of Mercia, Somerset and Wiltshire who succeeded in putting them to flight and the Vikings returned to East Anglia. Soon afterwards the Vikings in Exeter withdrew and also returned to East Anglia.
894 (late)
The Vikings built a new fort about 20 miles north of London by the river Lea.
895 (during)
A son, Aethelstan, was born to Aethelflaed’s brother Edward and Ecgwynn. Historians are divided on the subject of whether or not Aethelstan was illegitimate.
895 (Summer)
Alfred led an attack on the Viking fortress by the river Lea but was beaten back.
895 (Autumn)
Alfred built two new fortresses by the river Lea which meant that the Viking force further up the river were unable to get their boats out to sea.
895 (late Autumn)
On learning of Alfred’s actions the Vikings abandoned their boats on the river Lea and marched overland to Bridgenorth on the river Severn where they built a new fort.
896 (Summer)
The Vikings gave up their raids on English towns and returned to East Anglia and Northumbria.
899 (26th October)
Alfred died. He was succeeded by his son, Edward, known as Edward The Elder, King of the Angles and Saxons.
900 (8th June)
Aethelflaed’s brother Edward was crowned King of the Angles and Saxons.
902 (during)
Aethelred of Mercia became ill, Aethelflaed took control of Mercia.
902 (during)
Aethelflaed gave a group of Norsemen led by Ingimund, that had been expelled from Dublin, permission to settle in the Wirral.
905 (during)
The Norsemen led by Ingimund that had settled in the Wirral attacked Chester but were beaten off by Aethelflaed’s forces.
907 (during)
Aethelred and Aethelflaed fortified the town of Chester. This gave them control of the lower Dee and also a fortified, protected Burh to use as base from which to harry the Northumbrian Danes.
907 (during)
Aethelflaed founded the Church of St Werburgh. It was later to become Chester Cathedral
910 (5th August)
Battle of Tettenhall (Wednesfield). The combined forces of Mercia and Wessex defeated the Northumbrian Vikings
911 (during)
Aethelred died. Aethelflaed became sole ruler of Mercia. She did not take the title Queen but was known as the Lady of the Mercians. Aethelflaed’s brother took control of the cities of London and Oxford.
912 (during)
Aethelflaed fortified Bridgnorth.
913 (during)
Aethelflaed fortified Tamworth and Stafford
913 (during)
Aethelflaed’s brother King Edward succeeded in taking East Anglia from the Danes.
914 (during)
Aethelflaed refortified the iron age hill fort at Edisbury and Warwick
915 (during)
Aethelflaed built fortified burhs Runcorn and Chirbury
915 (during)
The body of St Edmund of East Anglia was reinterred at Bury St Edmunds
916 (during)
Aethelflaed led a successful expedition into Wales to avenge the murder of an abbot. She captured the wife of the king of Brycheiniog.
917 (during)
Aethelflaed led a Mercian force and lay siege to Derby. The town fell.
917 (during)
Aethelflaed formed alliances with two Scottish Kings, Constantine II of Alba and Constantine Mac Aed of Strathclyde, against Viking held York.
918 (early)
Aethelflaed began negotiating with disaffected groups in Northumbria. She took Leicester without the use of force.
918 (12th June)
Aethelflaed died at Tamworth in Staffordshire
918 (Late June)
Aethelflaed’s daughter Aelfwynn was recognised as Lady of the Mercians.
918 (December)
Edward the Elder was concerned that Mercia may seek independence and so removed Aelfwynn and took control of Mercia himself.


Published Aug 25, 2015 @ 11:31 pm – Updated – Jan 25, 2019 @ 2:03 pm


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). Aethelflaed Lady of Mercia Timeline. Available: Last Accessed June 23rd, 2019


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