Despite assumptions made by many historians that the Anglo Saxons did not use cavalry the evidence suggests that they did.
Compared to the studies of the militaries of the ancient world, where cavalry were used by the Greeks, Persians, Romans and the steppe peoples, like the Sarmatians, little is known about Anglo Saxon battle tactics, let alone, about their use of cavalry.
Despite popular myth, the Vikings were not invincible. From the time of Alfred the Great’s victory at Ashdownin 871 the Anglo- Saxons had realised that unity and the implementation of the ‘Burgh’ or Burghal Hidage system would enable them to counter and usually defeat Viking armies.
If you’ve been watching the Last Kingdom lately, you will have seen that Athelred is portrayed as a monstrous and cruel character who mistreated Aethelflaed and humiliated her at every opportunity.
There is no truth in this and in fact the evidence that is available indicates that they had a healthy relationship.
In 1938 workmen who were building the Railway Inn at Meols found what they described as “a Viking boat” in one of their excavations. They were told to ignore it and get on with the work of building the pub. No other investigations were carried out. A year later World War II started so there were other more urgent priorities to deal with.
For centuries, Historians, Scholars and Antiquarians have debated and argued as to where the battle took place. Academics too, have studied the various chronicles and many have advocated several locations with many placing the battle as having been fought on the East Coast, near the River Humber or in Lancashire, near Burnley. Other locations claim the battle, but the current Academic consensus, is that it was fought on the Wirral.
This forgotten battle is regarded by most historians as the event that created the English nation; but where is took place has been lost for centuries. There have been many attempts to locate the battlefield, but these have been based on trying to interpret a few clues and information taken from manuscripts written sometimes hundreds of years later. None of them have been able to firmly place the symbol of crossed swords on a map to show where the battle was.
The Wirral peninsula lies very close to what was the largest Roman legionary fortress in their Empire, at Chester. The Roman Roads Research Association, who are working with Wirral Archaeology on this project have documented proven several Roman roads to the north, east, and south of Chester. But none have been fully proven to the west across Wirral. This seems to be very odd as there is extensive evidence of Roman activity at Meols, in Storeton and probably in Birkenhead.
Wirral has a fascinating history along our sea-coast to the Irish Sea that has been long forgotten by most people including communities living in the area. We hope that this project will help to revive interest in the history of this area, and its place in our local and national heritage.
The Irish Sea coastline that we see now was very different in the past and extended much further out to sea. The coast has been gradually eroded away by the sea over the centuries, and the erosion would have continued to this day without the construction of the sea wall along most of the coastline. Many places that were once inhabited have been inundated. The township of Meols itself has probably migrated inland over the centuries as the sea gradually took away the land.