The Earls of Mercia

Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England
Baxter, Stephen
Date published: 
November 2007

Offering a fresh interpretation of power structures and political patterns in late Anglo-Saxon England, this book focuses on the family of Ealdorman Leofwine, which obtained power in Mercia, and retained it throughout an extraordinary period of political upheaval between 994 and 1071. The house of Leofwine survived events such as the Viking wars, a palace revolution in 1006-7, and further rounds of political bloodletting during the reign of Æthelred 'the Unready'. It maintained power through Cnut's conquest of 1016, the explosive factional politics of Edward the Confessor's reign, the battles of 1066, and even the first few years of William the Conqueror's reign. Stephen Baxter examines why this family retained power for so long, and why it eventually fell.