The Battle at Brunanbuhr
In 870, except Wessex, all Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were conquered by a Viking army. The King Ælfred of Wessex (Alfred the Great) and his descendants succeeded in gradually conquering these areas, however, they were no longer independent Kingdoms, but Counties of the newly formed England. England’s greatest opponents at the time were the Kingdoms of Alba, Strathclyde, which was linked to Alba by the MacAlpin dynasty and the Norman Jorvik, which was also conquered by Sitric Cáech in 921.
926 married Æthelstan, grandson Ælfreds and King of Wessex, his Sister with Cáech and raised after his death the following year claim to the Throne, for which he expelled the relatives of Cáechs and beat the Vikings at York. After his victory, he was recognized by the Kings of Alba, Deheubarth, Northumbria and Strathclyde and proclaimed King of England.
When Constantine II., King of Alba, was believed to be in breach of contract, Æthelstan made a successful invasion, after which Constantine allied with the King of Dublin Olaf Guthfrithsson and the King of Strathclyde Owen I. After defeating the Norman King Amlaíb Cenncairech (according to the Old Irish document), Guthfrithsson crossed the Irish Sea to unite his Army with the Constantines and Owens.
Even if the sources are inaccurate, they uniformly describe a huge and bloody clash. In an Old english Poem of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it´s called:
In a Poem, the earliest 975 completed Æthelweards Chronicle it´s called:
The Annals of Ulster describe the Battle in a similar way:
A mighty War, lamentable and terrible, was cruelly conducted between the Saxons and the Norsemen. Many thousands of North Men with no numbers died while King Anlaf escaped with a few men. Although a large number of Saxons fell on the other side, Aethelstan, king of the Saxons, won a big victory.
A most detailed list of those killed in battle is contained in the Annals of Clonmacnoise and names several Kings and Princes.
Place of Action
The different sources designate the Place differently.
|Symeon of Durham||Brunnanwerc, Bruneford or Weondune|
|William of Malmesbury||Brunefeld or Bruneford|
|Annals of Clonmacnoise||plaines of othlyn|
|Egil’s saga Brunandune||Vinheithr|
The name Bromborough, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, could be derived from the Old English Brunanburh. Although the Place could never be found with certainty, further evidence of Brunanburh’s connection with Bromborough was examined.
Many scientists today approve the term “near Bromborough”. Yet, in the past, dozens of other imaginable venues have been proposed, with discussions still ongoing between historians and philologists.
Æthelstan’s victory assured him of England as a fully united kingdom. However, he was militarily weakened and the other parties were forced to secure their positions. The Battle of Brunanburh still has a large presence in Malmesbury, 320 km south of all proposed locations. Their residents fought for Æthelstan, who granted them five hides land (2.4 km ²) and made all free men. Also, the Warden and Freemen of Malmesbury, an organization still in existence today, were founded to commemorate Æthelstan in their ceremonies.
After the death of Æthelstan, his Body was transferred from Gloucester to Malmesbury and buried there.