- "The last men standing. My greatest fighters. Or the most fearful, the ones who cowed and hid and ran? The Scots will return! They want to take our land and see us gone. So unless you want to end up rotting on a slave ship, I suggest you find the stomach to fight. To fight! Or leave! Go on, leave now! There is no place for doubt... or weakness. I will never surrender to invaders! My men can be destroyed! The villages starved! They can dig a trench a mile wide! But while I live, these walls will not be breached. This fortress will not fall! I will never yield my birthright, nor seek peace with those who attack us. We fight on, until they are all butchered. We fight on for Bebbanburg! For Bebbanburg!"
- —Ælfric's speech to his soldiers at Bebbanburg.[src]
Ælfric Uhtredson or Ælfric of Bebbanburg was a supporting character and antagonist in both The Saxon Stories novel series, and The Last Kingdom television series. Ælfric was Ealdorman Uhtred's younger brother, making him Uhtred's uncle.
Following Uhtred's father's death and Uhtred himself being captured by the Danes, Ælfric usurped Uhtred's position as the lord of Bebbanburg. After finding out that Uhtred was still alive, Elfric's goal was to kill him, in order to ensure that he remained the ruler of Bebbanburg.
(To Be Added)
Bebbanburg, Northumbria; Whilst exploring outside the Bebbanburg gates, Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg spots Viking long ships off the coast. Lord Uhtred quickly retreats to the Bebbanburgh fortress to raise the alarm. He dispatches his first son, also named Uhtred, to scout the long ships and specifically instructs him to not engage in any combat. He then orders Ælfric to take in as many and Elders as they can. He wants every man inside the fortress and each and everyone of them must be prepared to die. ("Episode 1.1")
Danes arrive at the gates of Bebbanburg. Earl Ragnar is riding Uhtred’s horse. He then throws Uhtred’s decapitated head on the ground. Lord Uhtred orders Ælfric to bury what’s left of his son. Lord Uhtred then orders Ælfric to choose 30 men to remain in Bebbanburg to protect Uhtred as he is now the heir. Ælfric would rather be with Uhtred at Eoferwic but he does as told. ("Episode 1.1")
The following day, Ælfric informs Uhtred that his father is leading the soldiers to Eoferwic, where he will join the Kings of Northumbria. He then tell Uhtred that he has work to do in the stables, but that he should eat first. Not long after, Ælfric and Scallion watch as Uhtred rides off to fight alongside his father. Ælfric tells Scallion that if his brother falls in battle, so must Uhtred. ("Episode 1.1")
Ælfric learns from Kjartan that Uhtred is still alive. So, he arranges a meeting with the Danes to buy Uhtred back, if only to kill him so that he may claim his seat to the throne. Unbeknownst to him however, when they arrive for the meeting, his priest Beocca warns Uhtred about Elfric's intention, and advises him to go to Winchester. Ravn demands three hundred silver coins in exchange for Uhtred. However, he is reluctant to pay such a high price. He’s already offered them food, land, and his sword. They eventually settle on two hundred pieces of silver. However, before the deal can be finalized, Earl Ragnar intervenes and buys Uhtred. ("Episode 1.1")
Northumbria; Ælfric and his men chase Uhtred and Brida into the woods. They lose Uhtred, and he orders his men to find Uhtred and kill him. Brida and Uhtred remain hidden within a ditch until Ælfric. ("Episode 1.2")
Bebbanburg, Northumbria; Brother Trew arrives in Bebbanburg and gives Ælfric Abbot Eadred’s letter. In the letter, Ælfric discovers that Uhtred is now a warrior and wishes to take Bebbanburg. The Abbot wishes for peace, but Uhtred wishes his uncle dead. They fear Uhtred wants all of Northumbria. Ælfric is open to an alliance. If King Guthred was to raise an army against Kjartan, Ælfric would be prepared to add to that army. In return, he wants Uhtred’s head. ("Episode 2.2")
Eoferwic, Northumbria; Ælfric and Aidan arrive in Eoferwic with 200 men. King Guthred says they can lay a siege to Dunholm as early as tomorrow. The unified armies of Guthred, Aelfric, the two brothers can march on Dunholm. They'll show Kjartan their numbers and starve him of water, food, and life itself. Ælfric wants to know how Uhtred died. He asks if he begged. Gisela retorts that Uhtred would never do something so pride-less. Sigefrid and Erik reveal that Uhtred is still alive, which angers Ælfric, as the agreed upon price for 200 men was Uhtred’s head. Abbot Eadred and Brother Trew assure Ælfric that he will never hear from Uhtred again. However, Gisela warns Ælfric that her brother is part fool and that he shouldn’t do business with him. Ælfric takes Gisela’s advice and plans to leave. ("Episode 2.3")
Bebbanburg, Northumbria; King Guthred, Abbot Eadred, and Brother Trew plead with Lord Ælfric to reconsider joining them. They offer him Gisela as a bride. Abbot Eadred adds that Gisela was also fond of Uhtred. Abbot Eadred suspects that Uhtred is the reason she’s hiding. In that case, Ælfric agrees to join them, but only after Gisela is delivered to him. Until then, Aidan will return with them to Eoferwic. Finally, they will deliver a message to Kjartan that Uhtred will be found and killed. ("Episode 2.3")
Outside Bebbanburg, Northumbria; A battle ensues on the shores of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Bebbanburg is under attack. Ælfric leads his fleet of soldiers into battle, forcing their attackers to retreat. However, they themselves are forced to retreat when the Scottish arrive with reinforcements. ("Episode 4.1")
Bebbanburg, Northumbria; Ælfric and a handful of his men make it behind the kingdom’s walls before shutting the gates, locking several of his own men outside to fend for themselves. He watches as they are slaughtered by the Scottish. Aidan reveals that they lost over half their men, leaving them with no choice but to gather more, as the Scottish will surely attack again. If they take Bebbanburg, the Scottish will have a gateway to the south, where they’ll proceed to take all of Northumbria. Ælfric approaches the last of his fighters. He assures them that the Scottish will return, and so they’ll have to fight to keep their home. ("Episode 4.1")
Aidan tells Ælfric that all the mercenaries have turned down their offer to fight. Silver will not tempt them as they believe Bebbanburg is doomed. There is, however, another way. Aidan’s gotten word that Æthelred of Mercia is sending monks to retrieve the heart of St. Oswald. It may be their only chance. However, Ælfric refuses to give it up, reasoning that he's a devoted Christian, who fears his saints. Bebbanburg was his reward from God for his constant and unwavering piety. So, instead he instructs Aidan to round up the farmers’ sons and will use them to defend his kingdom. ("Episode 4.1")
Ælfric is unimpressed with the warriors Aidan managed to wrangle up. Aidan tells Ælfric that the slaver can get them more trained men, but he wants 10,000, which they don’t have to offer. Aidan again proposes that the sell the heart of St. Oswald. The monks that Æthelred dispatched to will arrive soon.
Ælfric and Aidan watch as ships near the kingdom. They don’t know whether it’s mercenaries coming to help defend them or a donation from the slaver. They could possibly even be Scots returning for a fight. Aidan suggests that they pay the Scots to go away, but Ælfric refuses. Instead, he orders Aidan to send men out to speak with them. If they return with heads on their shoulders, then they know the Scots are willing to negotiate.
Rather than sending men out, Aidan goes to investigate on his own. He orders the guard to alert Lord Ælfric, who comes down just in time to see his son, Wihtgar get off the boat. He was believed to have drowned, but he is very much alive. When he got word that Bebbanburg was under attacked, he seized the moment and brought strong and loyal warriors.
Ælfric and Aidan greet Young Uhtred, Brother Oswi, and Brother Iestyn as they approach. Ælfric tells them to turn back as he has no desires to sell the heart of St. Oswald. Young Uhtred pleads with him, claiming that if nothing else, he wishes to see Bebbanburg. Ælfric welcomes them inside but tells Aidan to put them in the slave quarters.
Young Uhtred is captured by Wihtgar. He suspects that young Uhtred was trying to steal away and demands to know why. Brother Oswi and Brother Iestyn are awakened from their sleep and held at knife point while Wihtgar tortures young Uhtred for answers. When he can’t get the answers out of him, Wihtgar kills both monks. Ælfric joins them. He remarks that young Uhtred’s face is familiar somehow. When Ælfric demands to know who he is, young Uhtred replies that he’s Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Ælfric isn’t convinced and orders for young Uhtred to be executed. When one of Ælfric's men attempts to kill him, Uhtred tackles his attacker to the ground and nearly chokes the life out of him before Uhtred, Beocca, Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric arrive. Uhtred holds a blade to Ælfric’s throat. Uhtred explains that no one else has to die save for his uncle. As Lord of Bebbanburg, he swears to provide for and protect them. Uhtred then looks to Aidan and asks where his allegiance lies. Aidan replies that he’s loyal to the true heir of Bebbanburg and points up to Wihtgar, who’s pointing a crossbow at Uhtred. He demands that Wihtgar put down the bow. Instead, he fires it, striking Ælfric in the eye, killing him instantly. The men of Bebbanburg then pledge their allegiance to Wihtgar. ("Episode 4.2")
This list shows the victims Ælfric has killed:
- Several unnamed Scottish soldiers
This list shows the victims Ælfric has killed:
- (To Be Added)
This list shows the battles Ælfric has participated in:
This list shows the battles Ælfric has participated in:
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- Prior to his usurpation of Bebbanburg, he may have served as the Sciregerefa or 'shire-reeve' (the origin of "sheriff") in the territory of Bebbanburg.
- As the sole Anglo-Saxon Earl ruling in the Kingdom of Northumbria after the Danish conquest, Ælfric referred to himself as the "Lord of Bernicia", the name for what used to be the northern-most Anglo-Saxon realm in Britain prior to its unification with Deira (Yorkshire and County Durham), which formed the kingdom of Northumbria in the mid-7th century. Bernicia was ruled from Bebbanburg.
- The name Ælfric comes from Old English. The name is made up of the words ælf, which means "elf", and ric, which means "ruler".
- Ælfric was a noble; he was a son to the lord of Bebbanburg, the second son. His older brother served as lord but when he was killed, Ælfric usurped the land from his young nephew, and served as the lord of Bebbanburg.