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
The Danes encamped at Bridgnorth had been campaigning for years. Many had come here with Haesten and the Appledore fleet. They were the veterans of the continental campaigns. And for years now they had been fighting tooth and nail with the Anglo Saxons. But despite all the time they had spent here. Despite their massive numbers, their surprise marches, their end runs, their seizure of territory… despite the fact that they had made allies with (and campaigned alongside) the kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia… despite all of that, they had nothing to show for their efforts. Support the Show
To keep you entertained over the long weekend, here's a short term special for you to enjoy.
When I write an episode I begin by looking at what has happened in the past, then at what will come in the future, and only after that do I allow myself to focus on what is occurring for this episode. I do this because I want to know the context of these events. The sources that have survived don’t often give us the Why, or even the How. They’re all about what and when… and that’s not the real meat of history. If you want to know what people were actually experiencing, you need to know what they had already gone through, and why they were making the decisions that they made. This will become easier as we move forward in time – we will eventually have diaries and personal letters and detailed accounts of political meetings. But even now – if you look close you can see a bigger picture. We can get – at least a little bit – to the why and the how. Support the Show
It's that time again!
For the Viking army fleeing Shoebury, there wasn’t much to look forward to in a winter holiday at Chester. It would be wet. It would be cold. It would be creepy. The old Roman settlement had been abandoned for quite some time, and that probably didn’t sit well with the superstitious danes. And besides being creepy, Chester promised generally rough living. Sure, it might sit next to farm land and a few small settlements, but this wasn’t the civitas it had once been… the Danes weren’t marching in and setting up in a nice little manor. These were ruins. Old ruins. This was going to be hardcore camping. Support the Show
“Then came the king’s troops, and routed the enemy, broke down the work, took all that was therein money, women, and children and brought all to London. And all the ships they either broke to pieces, or burned, or brought to London or to Rochester.” That’s what the Chronicle has to say about AEthelred’s siege of Hasten’s fortress at Banfleet. As we spoke about last week, we don’t know how many women and children came with fleet, but it’s clear from the Chronicle that they existed. Support the Show
Learn more about Dr. Sheridan and her work Dr. Sheridan’s Wiki page Dr. Sheridan’s Great Archaeology page Dr. Sheridan’s Academia.edu page The Achavanich Beaker Burial Project Links Twitter: @AvaBeakerBurial Facebook: facebook.com/achavanichbeakerburial Website: https://achavanichbeakerburial.wordpress.com/ Support the Show
Imagine that you’re in your 20s. You are a member of the royal dynasty… the next in line for the throne. But your future court is filled with powerful Ealdormen who expect their king to be a warrior. Given the mood of the nobles, and how some of them are chaffing at your father’s style of rule, it’s become clear that you can’t leave any doubt. Any weakness and your succession could be in jeopardy. And then suddenly, one of the most fearsome armies of Northmen in Western Europe arrives on your shores… and you lead the army that routed it. That was the situation that Edward AEtheling found himself in at Farnham. His position at court dramatically improved in response to that victory. In a single day of fighting, he had proven his worth and silenced his detractors. Support the Show
892 was not a very good year. Alfred’s gambit to pacify the forces of Hastein through the power of baptism and gifts had failed utterly, and now they were encamped in Benfleet Essex, launching raids into Wessex and (probably) Mercia. And as for the gargantuan fleet of 250 ships to the south at Appledore? It was still there. Support the Show
Twitter: @AvaBeakerBurial Facebook: facebook.com/achavanichbeakerburial Website: https://achavanichbeakerburial.wordpress.com/ Canmore: Canmore.org.uk Support the Show
It's that time again!
What was Alfred’s reaction to the news of a massive viking fleet crossing the channel? Was it a surprise? Did he just expect it at this point? Was he angry that he would have to fight for his kingdom yet one more time? Based on his apparent devotion to his religion, I imagine he wondered what they had done to invite yet another test of their faith in the form of bristling war ships. But in truth, there was nothing he could have done. The Danes were, in many respects, like a natural disaster… but in the case of this fleet, what launched them towards the shores of Wessex was an actual natural disaster. Support the Show
A massive fleet was off the coast of Kent, heading directly for Alfred’s realm. It was a fleet of 250 ships teeming with skilled, highly experienced raiders. But fleets don’t materialize out of thin air. They come from somewhere… And curiously, over the last 14 years, the scribes of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle were actually giving the backstory to this particular fleet … because this fleet is the very same one that occupied Fulham in 879. Back when Alfred had only just defeated Guthrum and his kingdom was stretched too thin to be able to oust them. Support the Show
Today we’re going to cover 5 or 6 years, and we’re going to cover a fascinating theory that (if true) should color virtually everything we know about the life of Alfred the Great… and that’s because the Life of Alfred the Great might not have been written for Alfred. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Support the Show
The Sons of Rhodri Mawr were in a difficult position. Their father had been a powerful ruler in Britain… he was a man who had gained vast swaths of territory for his dynasty and was one of the few kings in British history that could claim the title of “the great.” Now when he died, there was a period of instability. War had threatened to turn his kingdom… the mighty kingdom of Gwynedd… into nothing more than a Mercian subkingdom. However, Rhodri’s sons proved to be just as ferocious as their father, and they quickly reestablished the independence of North Wales and set their confederation of kingdoms on a path for further expansion. But recent events had presented them with a significant barrier to their ambitions. Support the Show