Æthelflæd – Timeline

 
•865 A Great Army arrives from Denmark and sets about conquering Northumberland.
•866 Northumberland is conquered by the Danes. They develop Jórvík (York) into their main city.
•870 The Danes conquer East Anglia.
•871 Another army arrives from Denmark to reinforce the Danes and they set about extending the Danelaw into Mercia.
  The young King Alfred ascends the throne of Wessex.
•872 Æthelflæd is born at the height of the Viking invasions of England. She is the eldest child of Alfred the Great of Wessex.
•874 Most of Mercia has been overrun. The Danelaw now extends from London northwards. Only Wessex is left out of the old kingdoms.
•876 The Danish leader, Guthrum, launches a surprise attack on Wessex and utterly defeats Alfred’s army. Alfred and his remaining troops flee from the battle to take refuge in the Somerset Marshes.
•876-8 Alfred’s troops harass the Danish forces and secretly build up a fresh army.
•878 May 6th-12th – King Alfred launches a surprise attack on the Danes and completely defeats them in battle at Thandun or Edington. He then pursued the Danes to their stronghold at Chippenham and starves them into submission.
•880 Alfred starts building a chain of burhs (forts) along his borders.
  Alfred and Guthrum agree a treaty. Guthrum is baptised as a Christian. The treaty divides Mercia, Alfred gains western Mercia; Guthrum incorporated the eastern part of Mercia into an enlarged kingdom of East Anglia (now known as the Danelaw).
•886 King Alfred captures London from the Danes and then returns the city to the Mercians. His prestige among the Anglo-Saxons shoots up and Æthelred, ruler of the remaining Mercia, acknowledges Alfred as his overlord.
•887 To cement their alliance, Alfred offers Æthelflæd in marriage to Æthelred. She is about 15 years old.
•890 King Alfred orders the Anglo-Saxon chronicles to be started (recording a history of England). They are maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the mid 12th Century.
•892 Another great Viking army arrives in force. They find a kingdom defended by a mobile field army and a network of garrisoned fortresses. A four-year struggle between King Alfred and the Vikings starts.
•895 Edward’s son Athelstan is born. As the future king, when he is old enough, he is sent to his aunt in Mercia to be educated and trained in military arts and diplomacy.
•896 The Vikings withdraw and all the Anglo-Saxons regard Alfred the Great as their king, the king of England.
•899 Alfred the Great dies. His wife goes to a convent in Winchester. His son, Æthelflæd’s brother, Edward the Elder, becomes king of Wessex.
•902 Æthelred falls ill and withdraws from political life. Æthelflæd, herself became the effective ruler of Mercia.
•905 Æthelflæd & Æthelred repulse the Norse settlers from taking the important city port of Chester.
•907 City of Chester is fortified.
  With her brother, King Edward of Wessex, she raids Danish East Anglia and brings back the captured body of St. Oswald to Gloucester.
  At about this time, Æthelflæd has Gloucester rebuilt from the Roman ruins and lays out the core street plan, which is still in existence today.
•910 Together the forces of Wessex and Mercia repulse the last major Danish Army sent to ravage England in the battle of Tettenhall in Lincolnshire.
  Æthelflæd wins the support of the Danes against the Norwegians, and enters into an alliance with the Scots and the Welsh against the invaders.
•911 Æthelred dies. Æthelflæd becomes the sole leader of Mercia. The people call her Myrcna hlaefdige, “The Lady of the Mercians”. She continues to co-operate with her brother, Edward.
•912 Æthelflæd expands her policy of building burhs to defend Mercia against the Vikings. She builds fortifications at Scergeat and Bridgenorth.
•913 Further burhs or fortifications are built at Tamworth and Stafford.
•914 Further burhs or fortifications are built at Eddisbury and Warwick.
•915 Further burhs or fortifications are built at Cherbury, Weardbyrig and Runcorn, now providing a defence around the whole of Mercia.
•916 Æthelflæd invades Wales and takes Brecknock, after the murder of Abbot Ecgberht and his companions.
•917 Æthelflæd leads her armies against the invaders, successfully besieging and capturing the Viking stronghold at Derby while her brother was taking Colchester.
  Æthelflæd forms an alliance with kings Constantine II of Alba and Constantine Mac Aed of Strathclyde against Norse York.
•918 Æthelflæd begins to engage with disaffected groups within the Norse kingdom and peacefully overruns the Borough of Leicester.
  Æthelflæd dies at Tamworth, before knowing that the Vikings are willing to accept her as overlord at York.
  Æthelflæd’s daughter, Ælfwynn is recognised by Mercians as their leader.
  King Edward the Elder decides that the Mercians might try for independence under Ælfwynn, and his strength against the Danes is in Wessex and Mercia being united. He removes his niece and sends her to Wessex, probably to live her life out in a convent.
•954 King Athelstan, Æthelflæd’s nephew unites the whole of England permanently under one ruler for the first time. The kingdom of the English is now the greatest power in the British Isles.