A lady in a castle on the Front Line between Wessex and the World, at Binsey, Oxford. UK

Looks like that particular battle went to Wessex. And not a sword in sight.
Strong women don’t always get put in the History books under the right headings.
Saint is much easier than Warrior Princess.
The Celtic and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in around 600
It is in Cynegils’ reign that the first event in West Saxon history that can be dated with reasonable certainty occurs: the baptism of Cynegils by Birinus, which happened at the end of the 630s, perhaps in 640. Birinus was then established as bishop of the West Saxons, with his seat at Dorchester-on-Thames. This was the first conversion to Christianity by a West Saxon king, but it was not accompanied by the immediate conversion of all the West Saxons: Cynegils’ successor (and probably his son), Cenwealh, who came to the throne in about 642, was a pagan at his accession. However, he too was baptised only a few years later and Wessex became firmly established as a Christian kingdom. Cynegils’s godfather was King Oswald of Northumbria and his conversion may have been connected with an alliance against King Penda of Mercia, who had previously attacked Wessex.
These attacks marked the beginning of sustained pressure from the expanding kingdom of Mercia. In time this would deprive Wessex of its territories north of the Thames and the Avon, encouraging the kingdom’s reorientation southwards. Cenwealh married Penda’s daughter, and when he repudiated her, Penda again invaded and drove him into exile for some time, perhaps three years. The dates are uncertain but it was probably in the late 640s or early 650s. He spent his exile in East Anglia, and was converted to Christianity there. After his return, Cenwealh faced further attacks from Penda’s successor Wulfhere, but was able to expand West Saxon territory in Somerset at the expense of the Britons. He established a second bishopric at Winchester, while the one at Dorchester was soon abandoned as Mercian power pushed southwards. Winchester would eventually develop into the effective capital of Wessex.
After Cenwealh’s death in 673, his widow, Seaxburh, held the throne for a year; she was followed by Aescwine, who was apparently descended from another brother of Ceawlin. This was one of several occasions on which the kingship of Wessex is said to have passed to a remote branch of the royal family with an unbroken male line of descent from Cerdic; these claims may be genuine, or may reflect the spurious assertion of descent from Cerdic to legitimise a new dynasty. Aescwine’s reign only lasted two years, and in 676 the throne passed back to the immediate family of Cenwealh with the accession of his brother Centwine. Centwine is known to have fought and won battles against the Britons, but the details have not survived.
Centwine was succeeded by another supposed distant relative, Caedwalla, who claimed descent from Ceawlin. Caedwalla reigned for just two years, but achieved a dramatic expansion of the kingdom’s power, conquering the kingdoms of Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight, although Kent regained its independence almost immediately and Sussex followed some years later. His reign ended in 688 when he abdicated and went on pilgrimage to Rome where he was baptised by Pope Sergius I and died soon afterwards.
His successor was Ine, who also claimed to be a descendant of Cerdic through Ceawlin, but again through a long-separated line of descent. Ine was the most durable of the West Saxon kings, reigning for 38 years. He issued the oldest surviving English code of laws apart from those of the kingdom of Kent, and established a second West Saxon bishopric at Sherborne, covering the territories west of Selwood Forest. Near the end of his life he followed in Caedwalla’s footsteps by abdicating and making a pilgrimage to Rome. The throne then passed to a series of other kings who claimed descent from Cerdic but whose supposed genealogies and relationship to one another are unknown.
During the 8th century Wessex was overshadowed by Mercia, whose power was then at its height, and the West Saxon kings may at times have acknowledged Mercian overlordship. They were, however, able to avoid the more substantial control which Mercia exerted over smaller kingdoms. During this period Wessex continued its gradual advance to the west, overwhelming the British kingdom of Dumnonia. At this time Wessex took de facto control over much of Devon, although Britons retained a degree of independence in Devon until at least the 10th century.[18] As a result of the Mercian conquest of the northern portion of its early territories in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, the Thames and the Avon now probably formed the northern boundary of Wessex, while its heartland lay in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Dorset and Somerset. The system of shires which was later to form the basis of local administration throughout England (and eventually, Ireland, Wales and Scotland as well) originated in Wessex, and had been established by the mid-8th century.
The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex is popularly assumed to have originated around its later capital, Winchester.  In fact, its origins lie in the Upper Thames Valley (stretching roughly from Lechlade to Reading), with the emergence of a people referred to in early sources as the Gewisse, who, by the end of the 7th century, had come to be known as the West Saxons.  Yet the process by which Anglo-Saxon polities formed following the collapse of Roman authority in Britain in the early 5th century remains obscure.
Two twelfth-century Latin texts (edited by John Blair)[4] were adapted into two Middle English accounts of the Life of Saint Frithuswith, which are included in the South English Legendary.[5] The accounts differ slightly in their story. The shorter tale recounts that Frithuswith was born to Didan (an Anglo-Saxon sub-king) and his wife Safrida around AD 650. With the help of her father, Frithuswith founded a priory (St Frideswide’s Priory) while still young, but even though Fritheswith was bound to celibacy, Algar (that is, Æthelbald), a Mercian king, sought to marry her. When Frithuswith refused him, Algar tried to abduct her.
A longer tale is attributed to Robert of Cricklade, then prior of Oxford, and was later recorded by William of Malmsbury.[2] According to this account (recorded in the South English Legendary), Fritheswith flees to Oxford. There she finds a ship sent by God which takes her to Bampton. Meanwhile the King searches for her in Oxford, but the people refuse to tell him where she is. When he has searched the whole town but cannot find her, he becomes blind.[6] In the shorter version, Frithuswith hides in a forest outside Oxford, but when Algar comes to look for her, she sneaks back into the town. The king follows her, but just outside the Oxford city gates he falls off his horse and breaks his neck.[7]
In the longer life, the nuns in Binsey complain of having to fetch water from the distant River Thames, so Frideswide prays to God and a well springs up. The well water has healing properties and many people come to seek it out. This well can still be found today at the Church of St Margaret in Binsey, a few miles upriver from Oxford.
Frithuswith remained abbess of the Oxford monastery until her death in about 727, where she was later buried.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s