Known for: defeating the Danes at Leicester and Derby, invading Wales
Occupation: Mercian ruler (912-918) and military leader
Dates: 872-879? - 918
Also known as: Ethelfleda, Aelfled, Æthelflæd, Aeoelfled
- Father: Alfred the Great (Ælfred), ruled Wessex 871-899
- Mother: Ealhswith of the Gaini
- Brother: Edward "the Elder," king of Wessex (ruled 899-924)
- Sister: Aethelgiva, Abbess of Shaftesbury
- Brother: Aethelwaerd (three sons with no descendants)
- Sister: Aelfthryth, married Baldwin, Count of Flanders (Aelfthryth was a 4th great-grandmother of Matilda of Flanders, married to William the Conqueror, and thus ancestor of later British royalty)
- Husband: Aethelred (Ethelred, Æthelræd), Earl of Mercia
- daughter: Aelfwyn (Aelfwynn, Ælfwynn, Elfwina)
Aethelflaed (Ethelfleda) was the daughter of Alfred the Great and sister of Edward "the Elder," king of Wessex (ruled 899-924). She joined her husband Aethelred, king of Mercia, in fighting against Danish invaders.
In 911 Aethelred was killed in battle with the Danes, and Aethelflaed became the political and military ruler of the Mercians. She built fortresses in western Mercia as defense against invading and occupying Danes. Aethelflaed led her forces against the Danes at Derby and captured it, and then defeated them at Leicester. Aethelflaed even invaded Wales.
In 918, the Danes in York offered their allegiance to Aethelflaed as protection against Norwegians in Ireland. Aethelflaed died that year.
Aethelflaed was succeeded by her daughter Aelfwyn, whom Aethelflaed had made a joint ruler with her. Edward, who already controlled Wessex, seized the kingdom of Mercia from Aelfwyn, took her captive, and thus solidified his control over most of England. Aelfwyn is not known to have married and may have gone to a convent.
Edward's son, Aethestan, who ruled 924-939, was educated at the court of Aethelred and Aethelflaed.
Aethelflaed on the Net:
- Sample Activity - includes a brief excerpt from the Mercian Register that mentions Aethelflaed or Aeoelfled.
- Touring Gloucester on Britannia - an excavation at St. Oswald's Priory may have revealed Aethelflaed's crypt