New Anglo-Saxon gallery for Tamworth Castle

Summer 2020 will see Staffordshire’s Tamworth Castle unveil a new state-of-the-art gallery celebrating the town’s Anglo-Saxon history – including a forgotten ‘warrior queen’.

While largely a hidden heroine of history, for anyone hooked on TV series The Last Kingdom – set to begin its fourth season on Netflix this year – the name of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, may be more familiar. Your group can learn more about the real-life inspiration behind one of the leading characters of this sweeping drama series at Tamworth Castle, from where Aethelflaed (pronounced Eth-al-fled) ruled the Kingdom of Mercia and where she died in June 918. This ‘warrior queen’ – also known as the ‘Lady of the Mercians’ – may not be a household name, but she leaves a legacy as one of the most powerful figures of her time whose successful rule is said to have been key to the founding of England.

The ‘Battle and Tribute’ gallery – supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant – will feature hands-on interactive exhibits and cutting-edge audio-visual technology, as well as showcase pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found, and artefacts from Tamworth Castle’s collection.

Housed on the top floor of the castle, the new permanent exhibition aims to explore and celebrate Tamworth’s important Anglo-Saxon history, covering many aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard including the themes of battle, Kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.