A1 Journal article – refereed

Æthelfrith and the Battle of Chester

List of Authors: Clive Tolley

Publisher: Chester Archaeological Society

Place: Chester

Publication year: 2017

Journal: Chester Archaeological Society Journal

Journal acronym: JCAS

Volume number: 86

Number of pages: 45

eISSN: 0309-359X


King Æthelfrith, who ruled over Northumbria in the late sixth to early seventh century, led a series of expansionist raids against the British king-doms along the western seaboard, and was a fierceand successful leader. So relates the main historian of the period, the Northumbrian monk Bede, writing a century or so later. Among these expeditions far from Æthelfrith’s homeland that Bede recounts was a victorious foray to Chester. The batle which took place is unusual for the period in the detail with which it is described, and unique in having leftus archaeological remains in the form of a ‘battlecemetery’ at Heronbridge, just to the south of Chester. In this paper, I do not engage with the details of the excavation of the site but I raise some questions about their interpretation and consider the general historical situation in northern Britannia at the time; I also take up some points raised by the modern historiography of the battle,in particular the reliability of the ancient sources.

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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:59