The British History Podcast show

The British History Podcast

Summary: iTunes is restricting our list to 300 episodes for some reason. To access all episodes, click subscribe. The BHP is a chronological retelling of the history of Britain with a particular focus upon the lives of the people. You won't find a dry recounting of dates and battles here, but instead you'll learn about who these people were and how their desires, fears, and flaws shaped the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales. Support the Show

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  • Artist: Jamie Jeffers
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2011 The British History Podcast, Inc. All rights reserved.


 274 – The Missing Shire | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:44

In the last several episodes I’ve been breaking down the weird evidence that surrounds Edward towards the end of his reign. It’s been a deep dive and has been focused on some pretty granular details, and the reason why I’ve done that is because I can’t conclusively make a statement on what he did… it’s shrouded. All I can do is give you the evidence, and then give you the context in which that evidence took place, and provide a few thoughts and theories on what it might mean. That’s why the BHP has felt a bit like Serial over the last month or so. That’s coming to an end, and we’re going to return to the usual tone very soon, but I hope you have enjoyed this foray into the questions that Edward’s reign has raised. Because questions like this… questions without answers… and questions that require a thorough look not just into the written record, but also into the archaeology and cultural matters, is what makes the study of history come alive. The questions, and the digging, is what the study of history is all about. So let’s get into one of the last big questions about the end of Edward’s reign. Support the Show

 273 – I Do… Do I? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:04

Last episode we talked about the rapid growth of AEthelflaed’s power, Edward’s militarizing AEthelflaed’s borders, Edward visiting her at her capital city and bringing his army with him… the fact that she died shortly thereafter and Edward ordered his army to occupy the city… and then the signs of rebellion coming out of Northern Mercia, and Edwards eventual capture and disinheriting of his niece, AElfwynn Second Lady of Mercia. Judging by your e-mails, you found that series of events as suspect as I did. Support the Show

 272 – The End of the Age of AEthelflaed | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:13

Trying to tell the story of AEthelflaed is like trying to study gravity. We know her indirectly, by the impressions she left and the political shifts that happen around her. We can see the impact she left both on her lands, and in the devotion of her subjects. And so in many respects, we know AEthelflaed through the shadow she left in her wake. And the size and strength of these political and military feats seem to far outstrip the picture of AEthelflaed that is painted in the Chronicle – particularly the picture painted in the copy made in Wessex during the reign of her brother Edward… which essentially paints no picture at all. Support the Show

 271 – How to Break a Kingdom in Six Months | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 58:05

For the last several years, the Anglo Saxons had been on a true war footing. AEthelflaed and Edward had been showing skill and audacity in the field, and it had paid dividends. Under their leadership, the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of the south had been taking the fight to the Danish controlled lands and were seizing massive portions of key territories. But the Northmen weren’t about to take this assault on their newly won lands lying down. Scandinavian fleets from across the sea, as well as large armies surging from the Five Boroughs and Northumbria, were mustering to challenge the Anglo Saxon gains in the south. Support the Show

 270 – War in the Five Boroughs | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:43

There’s an entry from the Irish Fragmentary annals that caught my attention. It talks about the defeat of Hroald and Ohter at the hands of AEthelflaed… and it specifically gives credit to AEthelflaed for this battle, and then goes on to say that following that victory her fame spread in all directions. Support the Show

 269 – The Western Front | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:12

Wessex and Mercia have had a busy decade. Both kingdoms militarized their borders, fought off invasion forces, and even took the offensive and marched into neighboring kingdoms. And even though the Chronicle is mysteriously tight lipped on all of these fights, it’s clear that way more than just construction work was going on at all of the burhs. There were battles being waged. Battles that largely went unrecorded for some reason… but battles nonetheless. We know this because other sources from that time tell us that real blood, sweat, and tears were going into the acquisition and defense of these border shires. Support the Show

 268 – Viking Invasion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:23

AEthelflaed, Lady of Mercia, and her brother, King Edward, had been bringing the fight to the Danes… they had been stretching their borders into Danish controlled lands and they haven’t just been on the offense… they’ve been winning. When an army was raised out of Leicester in 913 for the express purpose of countering the Mercian advance, AEthelflaed and the Fyrd of Mercia defeated them. And they did so, even though Leicester was fighting alongside their Northampton allies. Support the Show

 267 – The Southern Expansion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:44

O potent elfleda! Maid, men’s terror! You did conquer nature’s self; worthy The name of man! More beauteous nature’s form of A woman; but your valour shall secure Man’s higher name. For name you only need Not sex to change: unconquerable queen, King rather, who such trophies have obtained! O virgin and virago both farewell! No caesar yet such triumphs hath deserved As you, than any, all, the Caesar’s more renowned! That’s a translation of a Latin praise poem for AEthelflaed. It was included in the writings of the 12th century scribe, Henry of Huntingdon. Support the Show

 266 – The Rise of AEthelflaed and the Breaking of Northumbria | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:57

The Battle of Tettenhall, as we discussed last episode, remains a mystery to us. We aren’t certain of the circumstances that started the battle, exactly where the battle took place, nor which Anglo Saxon leaders actually fought in it. But one thing scholars agree upon is that Mercia and Wessex won a resounding victory – and that this victory meant that the Danes were in for more war. Support the Show

 265 – The Battle of Tettenhall; and Zombies, maybe. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:32

There is so much that the Chronicle hides from us after the death of Alfred. Edward’s apple seems to have fallen fairly far from the tree, because the record his court produces during his reign is spare even by Anglo Saxon standards. But even with all of its contradictory statements and black holes, the Chronicle couldn’t hide the fact that a storm was coming. Support the Show

 264 – The Lost Rebellion | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:48

In the year 909 we get an odd entry from the Chronicle. “This year St. Oswald’s body was removed from Bardney into Mercia.” It’s an weird entry that caps a very strange section of the Chronicle. In the seven year period from 902 to 909 we’ve got three blank years, two star gazing entries, one entry about Chester getting refurbished in 907 and then finally the discussion of what happened to the bones of Saint Oswald in 909. Even for the Chronicle, that’s pretty sparse. Support the Show

 263 – AEthelflaed and Ingimund | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:51

When we left off last episode, war had come to Mercia. Ingimund and his Scandinavian allies abandoned their peace treaty and were seeking to expand their borders, but according to the Irish Annals and the Welsh annals, it wasn’t AEthelred Lord of Mercia who was organizing the defenses. It was AEthelflaed, Queen of the Saxons. Support the Show

 iPhone Podcasts: Enabling Continuous Play | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:11

I can't believe I have to do this... but this is the world we live in now.

 262 – AEthelred and AEthelflaed | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:12

A year after Edward took the throne – in year 901, while he was still fighting AEthelwold’s rebellion – something strange appeared in the Charters. This event doesn’t get discussed in the Chronicle. But these Charters reveal that in 901, there was an enormous gathering of the important political figures of Wessex. This gathering took place in Southampton, and the charters reveal that (with the exception of the Bishop of Worcester), all of the Bishops of Kent, Sussex, and Wessex were present. This council was also attended by AEthelweard, Edward’s younger brother, as well as Edward’s two sons… AEthelstan (his eldest son, and the son of Ecgwynn), and the infant Aelfweard (the newborn son of Edward’s new wife, AElfflaed). Accompanying Edward to this meeting was his household, his thegns, and important figures from Winchester. There is a lot of interesting things going on at this meeting, as revealed in the witness lists of these charters. One of them is that, the infant AElfweard (the child of Edward’s new marriage) was listed above AEthelstan, Edward’s first born. Support the Show

 261 – The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Mercian Register | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:26

I hope that after the last few episodes (and honestly, the last few years) have dispelled the myth of elegance that surrounds monarchy. Especially medieval monarchy. Support the Show


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