Shropshire Star

Author explores Bridgnorth's dark age history

A novelist has written a new book that describes how a Shropshire market town was founded by a long forgotten British queen.

Author David Stokes

In his new novel, King Alfred’s Daughter, which is released this week, author David Stokes, describes how Aethelflaed , the Queen of Mercia, founded Bridgnorth on a strategic defensive location on the Severn, probably as a result of the Viking raid along the river in 911.

Mr Stokes, who studied history at Oriel College, Oxford and is an Emeritus Professor at Kingston University, says that sadly Aethelflaed's contribution to the formation of Bridgnorth and other British towns has been largely overlooked.

In his novel, Mr Stokes, who lives in the Peak District, connects the historically real queen with the mythical King Arthur, making her his daughter.

But he says the novel is based based on contemporary sources and archaeological evidence.

He said: “Historians today acknowledge that Aethelflaed, the heroine of my historical novel King Alfred’s Daughter, was one of the most influential leaders of the Anglo-Saxon era. Yet she was almost written out of the contemporary historical records by those anxious to promote their own power and legacy.

""Fortunately, we can now piece together her achievements because local people recorded the impact she made in specific places. As ‘Lady of the Mercians’, she built well-known towns, such as Gloucester, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Tamworth, Chester, Runcorn, Derby, Bridgnorth and Warwick – places that today stand as monuments to her counter-attack on the Vikings."

King Alfred's Daughter is published by Book Guild Publishing and is available online and from bookshops priced at £9.49 for the paperback.

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