Gloucester will celebrate the life of Aethelflaed on 9 – 12 June 2018 thanks to joint Great Place funding from the Heritage Lottery and Arts Council, Gloucester City Council and Gloucester Business Improvement District; with events organised by Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester Civic Trust, Gloucester Culture Trust, Gloucester History Festival and the Museum of Gloucester.
Tuesday 12 June 2018 marks the 1100thanniversary of the death of Aethelflaed, one of the most pivotal women in English history, who ruled from and was buried in Gloucester. A fascinating and interactive programme of events along with a website www.Aethelflaed2018.co.ukhas been launched to celebrate her life and achievements that had a profound impact on not only Gloucester but all across England. Exclusive talks BBC historians and regulars at the Gloucester History Festival, Dr Janina Ramirez and Tom Holland, and a Saxon-inspired funeral procession through the ancient streets that she laid out, are among the undoubted highlights for visitors and history buffs this June.
As the ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, she laid the foundations of the England we know today. Gloucester’s connection to Aethelflaed is indeed a strong one as she refortified the former Roman settlement and defended it from the Vikings, she ruled from the Anglo Saxon Palace in Kingsholm, She built St Oswald’s Priory to house the sacred relics of one of England’s most devoutly Christian kings and she was buried beneath the same building.
There will be an Anglo-Saxon encampment at St Oswald’s Priory where members of the public will have the chance see what life was like in the tenth century and also take part in an archaeological study. The encampment will host specially commissioned music, drama and spoken word performances inspired by Aethelflaed. Members of the public can enjoy free Saxon Tours of Gloucester to help set the scene and a special exhibition will be held at the Museum of Gloucester over the summer. Gloucester Cathedral will hold a special Evensong dedicated to Aethelflaed on the actual anniversary, Tuesday 12 June.
Cllr Lise Noakes, chair of the Gloucester Culture Trust and cabinet member for Culture & leisure, said: “The aim of this festival is for more people to find out about this amazing warrior woman who not only influenced Gloucester, but also Britain as it is known today. We are proud to have worked with so many partners to deliver a festival that has something for everyone.”
Nick Brookes, chair of Gloucester Business Improvement District, said: “Gloucester owes a great debt to Lady Aethelflaed. After the Romans, Aethelflaed played a hugely important role in laying the foundations of the Gloucester we see today. We hope that the public will join us in celebrating her life and achievements.”
The Programme is as follows:
Friday 8 June to Sunday 10 June – Living History at St Oswald’s Priory
Saturday 9 June – Saxon Funeral Procession (12pm from Gloucester Docks)
Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 June – Aethelflaed Commissioned Pieces
- Spaces – George Moorey
- Spaniel In The Works presents Ballad of Aethelflaed
- Founding Mother on a Chessboard of Kings – Grove and JPDL
- Interactive Storytelling – Shirley Halse
Sunday 10 June – Blackfriars Talks
- Aethelflaed And Gloucester: The Golden Minster – Carolyn Heighway And Michael Hare
- Women Warlords and Warrior Queens – Janina Ramirez
- Aethelflaed: England’s Founding Mother – Tom Holland
The entire programme of events can be found at www.aethelflaed2018.co.uk.
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