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Don't forget the Anglo-Saxons

Blog | By Harry Mount | Nov 08, 2019

Alfred the Great's statue, by Hamo Thornycroft, erected in 1899 on the 1,000th anniversary of his death Source: Odejea

Dr Mary Rambaran-Olm, an Irish historian, has suggested that 'Anglo-Saxon' has white supremacist implications. As we celebrate the 1,120th anniversary of the death of Alfred the Great (849-899). Harry Mount remembers Aethelflaed, Alfred the Great's daughter, and the brilliance of the Anglo-Saxons

Who now remembers our Anglo-Saxon royal family? Well, St Editha’s Church in Tamworth, Staffordshire, does. Last year, on 12th June, a National Service of Commemoration was held for the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Aethelflaed.

Aethelflaed, also known as Ethelfleda, Lady of the Mercians, was the warrior daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex. She rebuilt and fortified Tamworth in 913, and made it her capital when she kicked the Danes out of Mercia. Aethelflaed was the aunt of St Editha of Tamworth, the parish church’s patron saint; and the aunt, too, of Athelstan, King of the English from 927 to 939 AD, said to have been raised in Tamworth.

The historian Michael Wood has said that, without Aethelflaed, there would be no England as we know it. We would all be speaking Danish!

Tamworth is a rare British powerhouse; it’s also where Robert Peel’s constituency was, and close to his country seat and burial spot in Drayton Bassett.

Descendants of Robert Peel were at the church service to salute Ethelfleda – and to salute Tamworth, home to monarchs and prime ministers.