In search of Anglo Saxon history in Thelwall

Chocolate box cottage

Chocolate box cottage - Credit: Archant

Our history man goes on the trail of Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo Saxons, and finds clues in a cyty called Thelwall

It was in the year 923 AD, deep in the mists of time when a fortified village was founded close to the borders of Lymm. So important was this settlement that it even got a mention in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. The Chronicles stated: “AD 923 King Edward went with an army late in the harvest and ordered that the village be inhabited and fortified”.

Having read this many times, I decided it was time to put some meat on the bones and go and take a look for myself. I love the challenge of investigating such stories and trying to add some substance to them.

Armed with my video camera it was time to set out on my latest quest to search out evidence behind this story for myself. As I wound slowly down the country lanes I couldn’t help but notice how tranquil the area was and my imagination began to wander, filling my mind with images of Saxon soldiers who would once have roamed the area, jealously guarding the then fortified village, under the command of King Edward.

But what do we know of King Edward during the turbulent times of the 10th century?

Thelwall's picture-postcard post office

Thelwall's picture-postcard post office - Credit: Archant

Edward was the son of Alfred the Great and he became King of the Anglo Saxons from the year 899 to his death on July 17th, 924.

In the year 910, his troops inflicted a decisive defeat on an invading Viking army, ending for good the threat from the North. With this knowledge firmly in my head I arrived at the quaint and unassuming village of Thelwall located close to the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, and it wasn’t long before it became apparent the history books did indeed reflect what is clearly an ancient village, complete with a picture-postcard post office and chocolate box cottages.

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But the jewel in the crown of this historical village has to be the 16th-century timber-framed building known today as the Pickering Arms, for it is this building that gives us the biggest clue for the history of the village.

Upon the outside timbers it states: “In the year 923 King Edward the Elder founded a cyty here and called it Thelwall”.

My film Edward the Elder, shot at Thelwall, can be viewed for free by visiting my channel,

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