How Anglo-Saxon warriors entered the Viking-led enemy alliance in the Battle of Brunanburh

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Found – the forgotten battlefield that defined Britain was fought near modern day Liverpool: the site where Anglo-Saxon warriors entered into a Viking-led alliance during the Battle of Brunanburh is being established by academics

  • During the battle in 937AD, King Aethelstan’s English forces fought against a Viking-led alliance
  • During the conflict, there were close-quarters combat with shields, arrows, axes and spears
  • The site of the battle remains unknown despite its historical significance

A bloody Anglo-Saxon conflict that is believed to have taken place in Liverpool, which forged modern England, is seen by historians as one of the most important battles in British history, but remains largely unknown to the people.

During the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 AD. King Aethelstan’s English forces fought against a Viking-led alliance in a brutal battle that killed six kings and seven counts.

At the time of the battle, Great Britain was a divided nation ruled by the Celts in the far north, the Earls of Northumberland (of Norse, Viking decent) in the north of England and most of Ireland, while the Anglo-Saxons were central and southern England. .

During the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 AD.  King Aethelstan's English forces fought a Viking-led alliance in a brutal battle that killed six kings and seven counts.

During the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 AD. King Aethelstan’s English forces fought a Viking-led alliance in a brutal battle that killed six kings and seven counts.

The site of the battle has been a mystery despite its historical significance, with archaeologists recently claiming it took place near Liverpool

The site of the battle has been a mystery despite its historical significance, with archaeologists recently claiming it took place near Liverpool

Brunanburh saw the Anglo-Saxons face off against a joint army of Celts and Norse warriors.

The site of the battle has been a mystery despite its historical significance, with archaeologists recently claiming it took place near Liverpool.

The conflict mainly took place in skirmishes in which a long line of iron willow shields was carried by warriors who also wielded swords, spears and axes, The Telegraph reports.

The attackers threw spears and fired arrows at the enemy’s shield wall, hoping to break the defenses before coming into close contact.

THE BATTLE OF BRUNANBURH

The Battle of Brunanburh, which pitted a West Saxon army against a combined treasure of Vikings, Scots and Irish in 937, was one of the most decisive events in British medieval history.

In 927, King Aethelstan invaded Northumbria, occupied York, and expelled the relatives of King of Ireland Anlaf Guthfrithson, rulers of York and Dublin.

Ten years later, in the summer of 937, Anlaf and Constantine launched their invasion with “the largest Viking fleet ever in British waters.”

At some point later in the year, Aethelstan advanced from Mercia and attacked the main Allied army around Brunanburh.

In a battle described as “immense, lamentable and terrible,” King Aethelstan defeated a Viking fleet led by the Anlaf and Constantine, king of Alba.

Anlaf escaped by sea and returned to Dublin the following spring.

Had King Athelstan – Alfred the Great’s grandson – been defeated, it would have been the end of Anglo-Saxon England.

But after the victory, Great Britain was founded for the first time and Athelstan became the de facto king of all of Great Britain, the first in history.

Shields collided with shields and hunters slashed each other in the brutal battle as they tried to open a gap in the first line of defense before the rows behind it would fill.

When the shield wall broke, the fierce fighting got even bloodier with warriors being killed trying to flee.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of annals in Old English, said of the battle: “Never greater slaughter / Was there on this island, never so much / People fell for this / At the edges of the sword.”

After examining medieval manuscripts, uncovering weapons, and conducting land surveys, experts believe the real battlefield was in Wirral.

It is rumored to have taken place in County Durham, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

In 927, King Aethelstan invaded Northumbria, occupied York, and expelled the relatives of King of Ireland Anlaf Guthfrithson, rulers of York and Dublin.

Ten years later, in the summer of 937, Anlaf and Constantine launched their invasion with “the largest Viking fleet ever in British waters.”

At some point later in the year, Aethelstan advanced from Mercia and attacked the main Allied army around Brunanburh.

In a battle described as “immense, lamentable and terrible,” King Aethelstan defeated a Viking fleet led by the Anlaf and Constantine, king of Alba.

Anlaf escaped by sea and returned to Dublin the following spring.

Had King Athelstan – Alfred the Great’s grandson – been defeated, it would have been the end of Anglo-Saxon England.

But after the victory, Aethelstan prevented the dissolution of his kingdom in what the historian Alfred Smyth described as “the greatest battle in Anglo-Saxon history before Hastings.”

At the time, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle described how Athelstan’s forces pursued the Scots and Vikings after they were defeated and slaughtered them mercilessly.

WHY PROFESSOR MICHAEL WOOD IS CONVINCED THAT THE BATTLE HAS FOUND IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE

TV historian Professor Michael Wood

TV historian Professor Michael Wood

Most people believe that the Battle of Brunanburh took place in Bromborough on the Wirral, Merseyside.

But TV historian Professor Michael Wood is convinced it was set 100 miles away in South Yorkshire, near the quaint village of Burghwallis.

He gives six main reasons as evidence for the location of the battle in South Yorkshire:

1 – He says a battlefield on the main route from York to the Danish heart of England in Mercia is a much more likely location for battle.

The region south of York was the center of conflict between the Northumbrians and the West Saxon kings in the second quarter of the 10th century.

2 – The name Bromborough comes from an old English place name Brunanburh or ‘Bruna’s fort’ which is the same as the battle.

But Professor Wood argues that Bromborough’s location of the battle “rests on name only.”

He says Bromborough is not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book and does not appear until the 12th century.

3 – There are also doubts as to whether Brunanburh should be spelled with a single or double ‘n’, as it was by several 10th and 11th century chroniclers.

Changing the spelling to a double ‘n’ and Brunnanburh changes the Old English meaning of ‘Bruna’s fort’ to ‘the fort at the well’, which could refer to Robin Hood’s Well.

4 – Professor Wood highlights a poem in 1122 in which John of Worcester reported that Anlaf’s fleet landed in the Humber, the other side of the country from the Wirral.

5 – And a lost poem from the 10th century, quoted by William of Malmesbury, says that the Northumbrians submitted to the invaders in or near York, implying that the invaders were in Yorkshire leading up to battle.

6 – An early source from Northumbria, the Historia Regum, gives an alternate name for the battlefield: Wendun.

Professor Wood said this could be interpreted as ‘the dun by the Went’ or ‘Went Hill’ in south Yorkshire, near Robin Hood’s Well.

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