Talks

The Reign of Æthelred the Unready: A View from Sherborne
by Dr Levi Roach

Date: Thursday 5 March 2020

An exciting revisionist perspective on the reign of one of England’s most notorious kings, emphasising the important role of Sherborne and its abbey in these years

The Reign of Æthelred the Unready: A View from Sherborne
The Reign of Æthelred the Unready: A View from Sherborne

Few kings are as synonymous with failure as Æthelred ‘the Unready’. Hounded by Vikings and plagued by indecision, his reign seems to mark the beginning of the end of Anglo-Saxon England. In this talk, I challenge this view, arguing that Æthelred was not as unsuccessful nor as ill-advised as is traditionally thought. I also shed new light on the connections between the king and Sherborne Abbey (or Cathedral, as it was), and on the role of its bishop, Wulfsige, in Æthelred’s regime. As soon becomes clear, the view from Sherborne is very different from that enshrined in popular culture.

Levi Roach studied at Cambridge and Heidelberg, before taking up a permanent post at the University of Exeter in 2012. He is a past winner of the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize and his biography of King Æthelred ‘the Unready’ won the Longman-History Today Prize for best ‘scholarly but accessible’ book.

Back to the previous page