Putting the Sex Back in Wessex: The Scandalous Reign of Queen Elgiva & Her Clash with a Demon-Fighting Bishop | Ancient Origins Members Site


Putting the Sex Back in Wessex: The Scandalous Reign of Queen Elgiva & Her Clash with a Demon-Fighting Bishop

Putting the Sex Back in Wessex: The Scandalous Reign of Queen Elgiva & Her Clash with a Demon-Fighting Bishop

The Queens of England (as in the consorts of Kings) during the early Medieval periods of English history rarely receive any coverage in the history books. Hands up anyone who can name the wife of William the Conqueror? It was Matilda of Flanders and she was crowned Queen of England at Westminster in May 1068.

As for the earlier, pre-Norman Conquest Saxon queens, their fame is not helped by the fact they have some distinctly unmemorable Old English names: Ealhswhith, Aethelflaed, Eadgifu, Aelfthryth, Eadburh and Aelfgifu. In fact, lots of ‘Aelfgifu’s – one even went on to become a saint: St Aelfgifu of Shaftesbury, which further boosted the popularity of that name. Incidentally you’ll often see Aelfgifu written as Elgiva – the modern equivalent would be Ethel or Eliza.

Queenly Behavior

Furthermore, even where these queens are mentioned, they have distinctly minor walk-on parts to play. For example, King Alfred the Great’s mother Osburh (a rare queen whose name does not begin with “AE” or “EA”) vanished from history after giving Alfred, when he was still a child, a book of poetry as a prize for reciting a poem.


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