Aethelred of Mercia was born. The year of his birth is not known but has been estimated based on the fact that it is unlikely that he would have been accepted as Lord of Mercia much younger than 19 years. It is also believed that he was some years older than Aethelflaed
, his wife, and a birth date of 860 would make him 10 years older which seems feasible.
871 (15th April)
King Ceowulf II of West Mercia died. Aethelred became ruler of Mercia with the support of King Alfred the Great.
It is likely that Aethelred was the leader of an invasion of Gwynned in Wales that is known to have taken place this year. Aethelred probably wanted to expand his overlordship of Wales. The Mercians were defeated at the Battle of Conwy.
The Welsh kingdoms of Glywysing and Gwent complained about Aethelred’s tyrannical overlordship and submitted to the protection of King Alfred the Great.
Aethelred had to concede that Mercia could not match the power of Wessex under Alfred the Great and submitted to his father-in-law.
King Alfred the Great captured London from the Vikings. However, as London was in the Kingdom of Mercia, Alfred had no choice but to put the city in the control of Aethelred of Mercia.
Aethelred married Aethelflaed, the daughter of King Alfred the Great. The marriage had been arranged by Alfred so that he could have some control over Mercia and London. Aethelflaed was an intelligent woman who took a keen interest in the rule of Mercia.
A daughter Aelfwynn was born to Aethelred and Aethelflaed. The exact date of her birth is unknown but is thought to have been early in her parent’s marriage.
Aethelred and Aethelflaed fortified the city of Worcester, the first of many fortified burhs that they would construct.
, who had become a Christian and ruled East Anglia as King Aethelstan, died. The peace he had agreed with King Alfred was honoured by his successor.
Aethelred and Aethelflaed founded the Priory of St Oswald in Gloucester. The date is disputed.
A large Danish Viking contingent led by Haesten
arrived in around 250 ships and landed in Kent. At the same time another Viking force of 80 ships landed in northern Kent and made camp at Milton.
Battle of Buttington
Aethelred led an army of Mercians, West Saxons and Welshmen to victory in this battle against the Vikings led by Haesten.
King Alfred entered into negotiations with Haesten, leader of the Viking force at Milton. A settlement was reached whereby Alfred gave Haesten money and treasures while Haesten gave Alfred hostages and swore an oath of peace.
Soon after swearing a peace oath Haesten took his army and laid waste to Benfleet in Essex.
Battle of Farnham
While Alfred had been busy trying to make peace with Haesten, the 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. Aethelred spent much of this period fighting the Vikings alongside Edward so is likely to have been at this battle.
Largely due to the actions of Alfred’s son, Edward and Aethelred of Mercia, the Vikings gave up their raids on English towns and returned to East Anglia and Northumbria.
899 (26th October)
Aethelred of Mercia, became ill and was unable to rule Mercia. His wife, Aethelflaed, took control of Mercia.
Aethelflaed gave a group of Norsemen permission to settle in the Wirral. They were led by Ingimund and had been expelled from Dublin.
The Norsemen led by Ingimund that had settled in the Wirral attacked Chester but were beaten off by Aethelflaed’s forces.
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.
910 (5th August)
Battle of Tettenhall (Wednesfield)
The combined forces of Mercia and Wessex defeated the Northumbrian Vikings.
Aethelred of Mercia died. His wife, Aethelflaed became sole ruler of Mercia. She did not take the title Queen but was known as the Lady of the Mercians.