Gaini

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The Gaini (or Ganni were an Anglo-Saxon tribe which made up part of the kingdom of Mercia.

Map of Anglo-Saxon England

The Gaini were established at present-day Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire on the River Trent, by the time of King Alfred, though it was not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle until 1013, Gainsborough is taken from Gains Burgh meaning a fortified settlement (Burgh) of the Gaini. Gainsborough was only a small hamlet, whereas 5 miles upstream was the much larger hamlet of Torksey, mentioned in the Chronicles much earlier, in 873 CE, and which had 213 burgess at the time of the Domesday Survey.

In 868, before he became king, Alfred the Great married Ealhswith, daughter of a Mercian nobleman, Æthelred, known as Mucel, ealdorman of the Gaini. Æthelred witnessed several charters between 867 and 895, and he is probably identical with the ealdorman Mucel who witnessed Mercian charters between 836 and 866. He may have been the son of another ealdorman Mucel who witnessed Mercian charters from 814 to the 840s, and this Mucel in turn was probably the son of ealdorman Esne who witnessed Mercian charters in the late eighth and early ninth centuries.

Ealhswith's brother, Æthelwulf, who died in 903, was also described as an ealdorman.

The Rulers (and their family) of the Gaini tribe.

  • Esne, (c.765 - 814 AD
  • Mucel, (son of Esne). (c.814 - 848 AD
  • Æthelred, (son of Mucel). (c.848 – 895 AD
  • Eadburh, (wife of Æthelred).
  • Ealhswith,(daughter of Æthelred) wife of Alfred the great.
  • Æthelwulf, (son of Æthelred). (c.895 – 903 AD
  • Æthelgyth, (daughter of Æthelwulf).


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