The Society was invited by The Tamworth and District Civic Society to send a representative to a service at the Church of St Editha, Tamworth to commemorate the death of Ethelfleda 1100 years ago. It was agreed that Mike Hodgkinson should represent the Society.
The event was held on 12th June, the day she died at Tamworth which was her stronghold. About 500 guests attended including the Earl of Wessex, the Danish Ambassador, several bishops, military representatives, at least six professors of history, local dignitaries and representatives from the towns which had been founded or rebuilt by Ethelfleda and her husband Ethelred. The atmosphere was enhanced by a local woman, dressed as Ethelfleda, supported by several armed Anglo-Saxon warriors.
Security was tight and entry to the church was by ticket only; guests had to be seated at least half an hour before the start of the service. Guests were told that "Aethelflaed" was the correct name and the "ae" should be pronounced "a" as in apple. Apparently Ethelfleda is a Victorian error like Boudicea.
The service which lasted almost 2 hours included speeches from the Earl of Wessex, the church dean, two bishops and several professors of history. Fortunately Mike already knew a lot about the life of Aethelflaed but it must have been hard work for people with very little knowledge.
Overall it was a fitting tribute to a woman who was the lynchpin in the formation of a civilised, Christian and united English nation. The foundations of English language, law and culture were established by her father Alfred. Her marriage to Ethelred of Mercia, Alfred's main ally against the Danes, her alliance with her brother Edward to re-conquer the area of Mercia in the Danelaw and her action in fostering Edward''s eldest son Athelstan who completed the conquest of England ensured that these foundations led to the establishment of the English nation.