lineally descended from Crioda, 1st Earl of Mercia, who died in 594. Wurts reports that Ealhswith, daughter of Ethelan, Earl of Mercia, descended through Crioda, 1st Earl of Mercia
Imagination suggests that the legendary daughter of the Gainis chieftains to be a very attractive lady with blonde hair and blue eyes. However, history has not been kind to recording factual details of this fascinating point in time and therefore for many years verification of this detail has not been possible.
According to Phillipa Stevens at Winchester Libraries, Elswitha could not have been unattractive, as females born to the ruling classes were often primarily groomed to marry the males of neighbouring tribes to create allies. If a tribesman's daughter developed as physically unattractive they were often hidden away in those dark ages. Elswitha, however, did not simply attract another eligible local chieftain though; she was to marry the King of England.
In 868 Alfred of Wessex married Elswitha Mucil, daughter of the elderman of the Gainis in the old town, and she became his Queen Consort. Alfred who is reputed to be one of the greatest of all English Kings, was given this the highest of all accolades by his people and will be forever remembered in history as Alfred "The Great". According to royal genealogy, Alfred and Elswitha had three surviving children, Ethelfled Lady of the Mercians, Elthrith who married Baldwin II, Count of Flanders, (five generations later Matilda of Flanders married William the Conqueror), and Edward the Elder who succeeded Alfred the Great who died in 899. Elswitha died in 902. Today there exists Elswitha Hall, which was the birthplace of another famous character - Sir Halford Mackinder, the building was named to honour the Queen from Gainsborough. Our present sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, is a 35th generation descendant of this royal dynasty.
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