When the English stripped Richard of the family lands he was set to inherit, Gráinne could have either A) started a rebellion or B) negotiated with the Crown. Surprisingly, Gráinne chose plan B. She parlayed with English representative Lord Deputy Henry Sidney in 1576, going so far as to offer him three galleys and two hundred fighting men. He didn’t take her up on the offer, but he did sail with her to inspect her coastal defenses of Galway. Gráinne made sure to bill him for her troubles. Sidney walked away with the impression that “This was a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland.”
In the early Middle Ages Woolpit was amid the most agriculturally and densely populated part of rural England. It wasn’t impossible that strangers might pass through, and in those days many villages were self-contained with their own customs, clothes, and dialects. You could enter a place a few miles away and have trouble understanding the locals.
When author Bernard Cornwell discovered that among his distant ancestors was an ealdorman named Uhtred who held Bebbanburg, he decided he wanted to weave that into his story. The Uhtred who lived held court in the early 10th century, over 100 years after The Last Kingdom’s events, and nothing much is known about him. Our fictional hero’s remarkable upbringing and adventures are just that — fiction. But we like to think the real Uhtred had his fair share of escapades, too.
Not long after that, she led her troops in a campaign against the Danes at Derby and was victorious. The following year she took Leicester without a fight, and shortly after that York declared allegiance to her. Aethelflaed was quickly amassing the forces to take on anyone, including her brother, King Edward.