Battle of Tettenhall

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Battle of Tettenhall
Part of the Viking invasions of England
Date 5 August 910
Location Tettenhall or Wednesfield (modern day Wolverhampton), England
Result Decisive Anglo-Saxon victory
Belligerents
Danelaw Vikings Mercia, Wessex
Commanders and leaders
King Eowils  
King Halfdan  
King Edward of Wessex
Æthelflæd
Casualties and losses
Heavy, in the thousands Unknown

The Battle of Tettenhall (sometimes called the Battle of Wednesfield or Wōdnesfeld) took place, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, near Tettenhall on 5 August 910. The allied forces of Mercia and Wessex met an army of Northumbrian Vikings in Mercia. The allied army scored a great victory over the Viking force, the last major army sent by the Danes to ravage England.

Background[edit]

After successful raids by Danish Vikings, significant parts of North-Eastern England, formerly Northumbria, were under their control. Danish attacks into central England had been resisted and effectively reduced by Alfred the Great, to the point where his son, King Edward of Wessex, could launch offensive attacks against the foreigners. Edward was allied with the Mercians under his sister Æthelfleda, and their combined forces were formidable. The allies launched a five-week campaign against Lindsey in 909, and successfully captured the relics of Saint Oswald of Northumbria.

The battle[edit]

The Vikings quickly sought retaliation for the Northern excursion. In 910, the Danelaw Kings assembled a fleet and transported a Danish army, via the River Severn, directly into the heart of Mercia. There they ravaged the land and collected large amounts of valuable plunder, but quickly sought to return North rather than be trapped in hostile territory. They knew King Edward was away, massing a fleet of ships in Kent. However, to the surprise of the Danes, the King met with his Mercian allies and moved to surround the raiders. The Vikings found their way to Bridgnorth was blocked by the allied army. Unable to reach their exit route to the sea, and pursued through hostile land by Edward and Aethelfleda's forces, they were forced to choose battle.

While little is known of the exact maneuvers employed at the battle, it is obvious the allies trapped their Viking opponents and inflicted heavy casualties on them. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that "many thousands of men" were killed, referring to the Danes. Seemingly unable to retreat, the Kings leading the Viking raid were both killed by the allied troops.

Consequences[edit]

With the Northern Danes subdued, the forces of Wessex and Mercia could be focused against those who had settled further South. It was also the defeat of the last great raiding army from Denmark to ravage England. With allied strength rising, England was soon united under one domestic monarch, and Danish expansion was quelled permanently.

Popular Culture[edit]

The Battle of Tettenhall figures prominently in the concluding chapter of Bernard Cornwell's 2013 novel The Pagan Lord. This is book 7 of his ongoing series, The Saxon Stories. In it, the primary character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg lures the Danish army north to Tettenhall and holds them at bay until the combined forces of King Edward of Wessex and Æthelflæd could arrive.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 52°35′00″N 2°08′00″W / 52.583333°N 2.133333°W / 52.583333; -2.133333