(H)Rædwald’s unnamed queen

Known only from Bede’s references(HE II, 12 & 15), she appears to have been a formidable woman with a strong sense of honour and tradition. Following Rædwald’s baptism, she is said to have persuaded Rædwald not to abandon his ancestral beliefs, which led to the establishment of his temple of two altars (HE II, 15). Bede further tells how her husband also followed her advice over the question of the refugee Northumbrian prince Edwin, which led to Rædwald’s triumph at the River Idle (HE II, 12).

She was perhaps mother to (H)Rædwald’s step-son Sigeberht – if so, she might have had East Saxon affinities.

Further reading:

Norman Scarfe, “Rædwald’s Queen and the Sutton Hoo Coins: Dishonour, Diplomacy, and the Battle of the river Idle”, Suffolk in the Middle Ages (Boydell 1986), pp.30-37.

© Copyright Dr Sam Newton, Blotmonaþ AD 2000


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