The Lost Anglo-Saxon Monastery By Richard Miller

     Some interesting part of our heritage may have been uncovered; the coronation place of Edgar the Peaceful:

“Newly unearthed remains may come from the monastery where England's first king, Edgar the Peaceful, was coronated more than 1,000 years ago, according to Wessex Archaeology, an archaeological company and charity in England. The so-called smoking gun emerged during an excavation at the famous Bath Abbey, ahead of planned renovations there. During the excavation, archaeologists were surprised to find hints of Anglo-Saxon architecture in two structures next to the abbey. These are the first known Anglo-Saxon structures in all of Bath, a city that was founded by the Roman Empire and that is known for its thermal hot springs. The two apsidal (semicircular) structures, or apses, were found below street level, underneath what once made up the cloisters of the 12th-century cathedral built over Romano-British deposits. The cathedral is just south of the abbey church. After finding the Anglo-Saxon stone structures, archaeologists used a method called radiocarbon dating on charcoal found in some of the plaster of one of these apses. Since scientists know the rate of decay of radioactive carbon, they can use that to infer how long an object has been in the ground. The charcoal dated to 780-970 and 670-770, Wessex Archaeology found. This time window suggests that the abbey was once part of the Anglo-Saxon monastery where Edgar was coronated, in 973.

"When you find something unusual, you have to think, 'What is the most mundane explanation for what we've found?'" Cai Mason, Wessex Archaeology senior project officer, said in a statement. "Most of the time, that will be the explanation, but sometimes that doesn't work, which makes you wonder, 'Have we found something genuinely unusual?'" He added that "this, together with the late Saxon stonework and burials found at the Abbey, provides increasingly strong evidence that we have, indeed, found part of Bath's lost Anglo-Saxon monastery," where Edgar the Peaceful was coronated.

     On Edgar the Peaceful:

“Following his coronation, Edgar travelled north to Chester, where he held court in a palace in a place now known as Edgar's field near the old Dee bridge in Handbridge. There he was met by eight sub-Kings of Britain whom he had summoned. Among them was Kenneth, King of Scots and his son Malcolm, King of the Cumbrians, Maccus, king of several isles and five others, named Dufnall, Siferth, Huwall, Jacob and Juchill. In a demonstration of the power of Wessex, Edgar was rowed up the River Dee to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, by all eight sub-Kings, attended by a great concourse of nobles. The entire occasion represented an assertion of Saxon supremacy over the Celts of England, Scotland and Wales. Edgar the Peaceful married twice, his first wife, Elfleda was divorced to enable him to marry Elfrida, daughter of Ordgar, ealdorman of Devon and Edgar's mistress, she was the widow of Ethelwald, Ealdorman of East Anglia and a woman of notorious reputation. She was said to have been the King's lover before the death of her first husband. He reputedly killed Earl Ethelwald, his rival for Elfrida's affections, in 963, near present-day Longparish, Hampshire, after Ethelwold advised the king against marrying the beautiful Elfrida, but then married her himself. The event was commemorated in 1825 by the erection of Dead Man's Plack. Edgar had Elfrida crowned Queen at Bath Abbey on 11th May, 975. The first instance of a consort being referred to as Queen since Judith of France, widow of Ethelwulf and his son Ethelbald.”

     Maybe he was not so peaceful after all, where women were involved!



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Thursday, 18 July 2024

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