History and Heritage Fair – Brunanburh

Vikings line up for battle

Wirral Archaeology CiC at Port Sunlight History and Heritage Fair – the Battle of Brunanburh

The Battle of Brunanburh is the theme for our stand at this year’s History and Heritage Fair in Port Sunlight on 25th March.

In the year 937 a great battle was fought between the Anglo-Saxon king, Æthelstan, leading a combined Mercian and West Saxon army and a coalition of forces led by Anlaf Guthfrithson, the ruler of Dublin, and Constantine, king of Alba (part of modern Scotland).

The two sides met at a place recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Brunanburh.

The location of Brunanburh has remained a bit of a mystery but Wirral Archaeology CIC as well as several leading historians believe that battle took place on the Wirral.

The reason for Anlaf and Constantine challenging Æthelstan is often debated but since he came to the throne in 927 he had pursued an aggressive expansionist policy. By 937 the borders of Æthelstan’s kingdom closely match those of modern day England. In the course of securing these borders Æthelstan had wrested control of York from Anlaf’s father, Gurthfrith, and invaded Alba and Strathclyde forcing their kings, Constantine and Owain ap Dyfnwal to recognise him as their lord.

In the autumn of 937 these three kings along with men from other viking settlements in Ireland, the Isle of Mann and the Hebrides joined forces with the aim of forcing Æthelstan back into his own kingdom.

The battle, although a costly affair, was a victory for Æthelstan and ensured that his achievements would be remembered and he himself could arguably be called the first King of England.

To find out more, contact us or visit WitralInfoBank

For more information on Wirral Archaeology’s search for the battlefield visit our project page – The Search for the Battle of Brunanburh.

Warriors Fighting