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The Royal Women Who Made England (Hardback)

The Tenth Century in Saxon England

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 10th Century P&S History > Royal History Women of History World History > Europe

By M J Porter
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 16 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399068437
Published: 30th January 2024



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Throughout the tenth century, England, as it would be recognised today, formed. No longer many Saxon kingdoms, but rather, just England. Yet, this development masks much in the century in which the Viking raiders were seemingly driven from England’s shores by Alfred, his children and grandchildren, only to return during the reign of his great, great-grandson, the much-maligned Æthelred II.

Not one but two kings would be murdered, others would die at a young age, and a child would be named king on four occasions. Two kings would never marry, and a third would be forcefully divorced from his wife. Yet, the development towards ‘England’ did not stop. At no point did it truly fracture back into its constituent parts. Who then ensured this stability? To whom did the witan turn when kings died, and children were raised to the kingship?

The royal woman of the House of Wessex came into prominence during the century, perhaps the most well-known being Æthelflæd, daughter of King Alfred. Perhaps the most maligned being Ælfthryth (Elfrida), accused of murdering her stepson to clear the path to the kingdom for her son, Æthelred II, but there were many more women, rich and powerful in their own right, where their names and landholdings can be traced in the scant historical record.

Using contemporary source material, The Royal Women Who Made England can be plucked from the obscurity that has seen their names and deeds lost, even within a generation of their own lives.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is an excellent book. Unique in its scope and brilliant in its use of contemporary evidence. I highly recommend this to everyone.

NetGalley, Rebecca B

A great and informative read! You can tell a lot of hardwork and research went into this. I came away knowing more than I came with. And it wasn't a difficult read! Can't ask for more than that.

NetGalley, Lashawn Castings

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very informational book on the women who made England. It's an in-depth look at these Royal Women covering a large span of English history.

NetGalley, Lindsay Goodman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

M J Porter does a great job in telling the story of the royal women of England. It was everything that I was hoping for in a historical nonfiction book.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

I enjoyed reading this book and the information that can be cleaned on the early Queens of England are fascinating.
M.J.Porter has tirelessly researches a very difficult subject like a good family historian. She tells us about her sources, her theories and explains how they came about.

NetGalley, Emma Potter

If you want to learn more about the people who formed England, this is the book for you. It sounds like it's about the women but it does address the men heavily where little is known about the women during that period. It's well constructed, interesting and educational. The author put alot into this and I will definitely be adding to my hardcopy library!

NetGalley, Christine Cazeneuve

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved learning about the strong women behind or sometimes on the English throne and how they shaped their worlds then and even into today!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very informative! I love the information and the way the author discussed each topic. As a history lover, I think my fellow history lovers will enjoy reading this as well specially of they are researching more about the female historical figures of England.

NetGalley, Yves von Hagen

If you want to learn more about the royal house of Wessex and the women who were close to the throne, I would recommend you read, “The Royal Women Who Made England: The Tenth Century in Saxon England” by M.J. Porter.

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author is a prolific writer of historical fiction of the period, as well as other periods in English and European history. This is a nonfiction selection and although it's perfectly readable and "everyday language" accessible, it's also well annotated and factual. The chapter notes are worth the price of the book and will provide many hours of extra reading. The author has also included a number of appendices including family trees, charters, and a number of facsimiles and photos of relevant geographical points of interest, castles, statues, and illuminated manuscript pages. It added quite a lot of interest to see some of the places that they lived and the castles (and coins).

The fact that the focus of the book was on the women of the times was also an interesting and welcome choice on the part of the author. Almost all of the extant contemporary sources are centered around the male power players, so to get background info on the wives, daughters, queens, and princesses was excellent.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

It’s always nice to learn something new. The 10th century is so, so far away it is astounding that there’s even material enough to know anything about the people (even royalty) who lived then. For people who are interested in Anglo-Saxon England and its royalty this book will be a nice addition to a collection.

NetGalley, Sarah Matsson-Klingzell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The fascinating look at the real women who were the wives and daughters of the men who ruled Wessex, from Alfred on. Anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories will love to see the real characters behind the books and Netflix series.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

About M J Porter

MJ Porter is the author of over fifty fiction titles set in Saxon England and the era before the tumultuous events of 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building and told from a young age that it housed the long-dead bones of Saxon kings, it’s little wonder that the study of the era was undertaken at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The Royal Women of the Tenth Century is a first non-fiction title. It explores the ‘lost’ women of this period through the surviving contemporary source material. It stemmed from a frustration with how difficult it was to find a single volume dedicated to these ‘lost’ women and hopes to make it much easier for others to understand the prestige, wealth and influence of the women of the royal House of Wessex.

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