The Last Kingdom: Uhtred comes across the 'Sickness'
The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now and the series is set during the Anglo-Saxon period. The show is based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell and follows protagonist Uhtred of Bebbanburg (played by Alexander Dreymon), who was born a Saxon but was raised by Danes. Historian Rory Naismith spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the accuracy of some of the locations in The Last Kingdom.
How accurate is Winchester in The Last Kingdom?
The Last Kingdom fans would have noticed at the start of many scenes in the series, the name of the location appears onscreen.
The place-name is written in Old English and is then translated into the present-day name.
For example, during the time in which the series is set, Winchester was known as “Wintanceaster”.
Winchester is one of the main locations in the fourth season of the series, as it was taken over by the Viking warrior Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson) and his new ally Brida (Emily Cox).
At the time, the kingdom belonged to King Edward (Timothy Innes), who had just taken over the throne from his father Alfred (David Dawson).
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Fans have been keen to know how historically accurate the series is, and historian Naismith, a professor specialising in Anglo-Saxon history, has provided some insight.
Speaking to Express.co.uk he said the Sigtryggr storyline may not have happened in real life.
He said: “The first thing is we don’t know whether it was ever put under siege at that point. It doesn’t seem to have any historical basis.
“[The kingdom] was developed under Alfred the Great, some of the reconstruction took place in the later decades of the ninth century.
“It was becoming a more important place in the kingdom, people think of it as the capital of Wessex but it wasn’t really true.”
He revealed how there was no capital as such at the time, and the “capital” was considered to be wherever the king happened to be staying.
Naismith added: “This was just one of several large places. I think it would have been a bit smaller in scale.
“We did have some important buildings, there was an early version of Winchester Cathedral, but it would have been a hell of a lot smaller.”
He also commented on the fact many of the “Roman” buildings in the series seem to be made out of stone, when in fact they would have been made out of wood.
He said there would have been “some Roman remains” at the time but “not of the same scale”.
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Any rocks or bricks left over from the Roman period would have been taken and put to different uses.
In the series, the event was known as the “Sack of Winchester” or the “Siege of Winchester”.
The siege took place in the original Saxon Stories novels, as well as The Last Kingdom series.
The sack took place in the year 911 when the Dane army of Sigtryggr attacked the Wessex “capital”.
They took a number of hostages, including Edward’s mother Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth), his young sons and Uhtred’s daughter Stiorra (Ruby Hartley).
Edward became overwhelmed during the attack as he did not know what action to take.
He felt belittled when he had to rely on the help of Uhtred and his men, but he was grateful when Uhtred managed to bargain with Sigtryggr and get his sons to safety.
Fans were outraged to see Edward and his sister Aethelflaed (Millie Brady) strike a bargain with Sigtryggr, which involved giving away his daughter Stiorra.
Sigtryggr had agreed to leave Winchester if he could take Stiorra with him, as the pair had started to develop feelings for each other.
Winchester had also been used as a refuge for many villagers while the mysterious “sickness” spread in one of the season four episodes.
The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now
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