Hidden historical heroines (#36: Eormenburg)

Saint Eormenburg (late 7th century) is a mythohistorical figure from Kentish royal legend, a granddaughter of the great Kentish king Eadbald (616-640). She is also known as “Domne Eafe”, which is probably a vernacular corruption of the Latin Domina (Lady) Æbbe. Eormenburg’s two brothers – Æthelberht and Æthelred – were fostered by their elder cousin, […]

Hidden historical heroines (#34: Edith Swanneck)

Edith Swannesha (Ealdgȳð Swann hnesce – “Edith [the] Gentle Swan” – c. 1025 – c. 1086) – also known as “Edith Swanneck” or “Edith the Fair” – was the first wife and consort of Harold Godwinson, a famous beauty known for her gentleness and the pleasing paleness of her skin. Edith was Harold’s common-law wife […]

The naked truth: Lady Godiva

Legend has it that on this day (10 July) in 1040, Lady Godiva made her naked journey on horseback through the streets of Coventry, seeking a remission on the harsh taxes that her husband had imposed on his tenants.    The legend First recorded in the 13th century, the story of the good Lady Godiva’s […]

Hidden historical heroines (#31: Saint Margaret of Scotland)

Margaret of Wessex (c. 1045 – 16 November 1093) – known posthumously as Saint Margaret of Scotland – was an English Princess who was born in exile and became queen-consort of Scotland. Known for her piety and praised for her charitable works in life, she was canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church […]

What If..? (#01: Harold Godwinson had won the Battle of Hastings)

Part of a new series on revisionist history, speculating on tiny changes in British history that could cause a ‘butterfly effect’.     Before the first week of the year 1066 was out, Edward the Confessor, Over-King of England, was dead. Likely heirs scrambled to claim the throne. Harold Godwinson – the Earl of Wessex […]

Hidden historical heroines (#21: Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians)

  Æthelflæd (868 – 918) was the eldest daughter of the beloved Saxon King Alfred the Great and was chronicled in the historical record as Myrcna hlæfdige, or ‘Lady of the Mercians’.   Born to Alfred, King of Wessex and his queen, Ealhswith of the House of Mercia, Æthelflæd (meaning “noble beauty”) knew only strife […]

Hidden historical heroines (#16: Judith of Flanders)

  Judith of Flanders (c. 843 – 870) was a great-granddaughter of Charlemagne, the eldest daughter of the Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Bald of the House of the Carolingians. She was twice-over Queen of Wessex, the dominant and largest Anglo-Saxon kingdom.   In 855 King Æthelwulf of Wessex, an extremely pious […]

Hidden historical heroines (#05: Queen Ælfthryth)

  Ælfthryth of Devon (c. 945 – c.1001) was a Saxon Queen: wife, stepmother and mother to a succession of kings. She was in fact the first king’s wife known to have been crowned and anointed as Queen of the Kingdom of England.   To say Ælfthryth was a ‘heroine’ is stretching the usual definition […]