Ceolred’s Story

I was born at an early age to Eanred and Margith of Anstige, in the Cairnwood, North of Leigstere (Leicester), or Ratae, on the border of the old Middle Anglia now Mercia. I have two sisters.
My Father had bookland from the Church of St Hardulf at Breedon-on-the-Hill1. A metal-smith by trade he also experimented with glass making. We paid our rent in the form of maintaining the bridge over the Rothley Brook at Anstige. I am named after the Archbishop Ceolred of the Diocese of Leicester and Dorchester on Thames, through who’s patronage and pastoral care I was taught to read and write in Latin and English.
My uncle Edgar inherited the family farm at Glen. I remember the momentous Wapentak meeting on the Burgh Hill at Glen2 where the Fyrd to assist King Burgred force the heathens from Snottingham3 were chosen. Both my father and uncle had served their King in war and volunteered again. I traveled with them, young and eager to prove myself in battle.
Disillusioned with Burgred’s paying off the host we returned home. During the siege we met and befriended a group of fyrd men from Wessex who served their king’s brother – Alfred.
We were impressed at our recent enemy’s fortitude and eagerness to get at the heathen scum – so unlike our own Royal House. My father and uncle had obligations and returned home.
Being young I had none and left home to seek my fortune. I also swore not to have to serve a leader who would bow before the heathens.
I moved away from the Norse influence to Stithenac, still in Middle Anglia to the north of Londin. Here I gave oaths to Aelfric. I learnt my trade as a monger and learnt to fight the heathen scum. My fighting skills, and life, owe more than a little to being in line alongside my, still valued, friends Herewulf and Godwin.
I moved with Aelfric to Stowa in East Anglia, to serve out my oaths to him. There I witnessed the fall of Mercia to the heathens and the pitiful fall of the once great Burgred. So many true Christian Mercians were ready to stand and fight but remaining rightfully true to their King they now suffer the deprivations of occupation. Whilst on an expedition from here I met Raedflaed, then of Londin. The eldest daughter of a respected boatman from Northumbria and his Welsh wife, skilled at needle and other craft. Sent to be educated at Winchester, Raedflaed is wise in the ways of Rome and had travelled widely.
Once my obligations were served, I vowed to dedicate my wealth and health to supporting the fight to rid Mercia and Northumbria of the flotmen and restore Christian order. I travelled to my patron’s see of Dorchester where I made contact with Edgmund of Bercscir, one of the men who so impressed me at Snottingham. I pledged to serve his father, Beornwulf and befriended his other son Beorn.
Since first enjoying the hospitality of Bercscir I now have my own freehold steading, by the river Ock in the Vale of the White Horse, managed by my wife Raedflaed. We have two sons Aelstan and Edward. Through my trade expeditions with Frisia, Francia and beyond – the furthest is Byzantium (that was nice, but hot) – I am proud to have been granted the status of Thegn.
Ironically my aunt married a flotman from Orkney. Apparently there are Christian sympathies in those islands – there may be hope for them yet. I have met (and some of you may meet) my cousin Kari Thorbjornsonnr, a fellow trader, his wife Ragnhild and their children Eiric and Bjorn. Nice people for flotfolk.

1 You can see the existing Church from the M1 near Castle Donnington Services. Half the hill it is on has been quarried away. It is has some wonderful Anglo-Saxon sculptures.
2 Now Great Glen on the A6 south east of Leicester and a nice hill fort, if a bit exposed! Moots and Wapentaks took place here. My Father’s Mother’s family still farm around there.
3 Nottingham, home of the Snottingas – people of Snotta!