Aethelstan Background
The Aethelstan Trust
The symbolism of the statue of Æthelstan

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Æthelstan means Noble Stone. As his life and achievements emerge into modern-day awareness from 1000 years ago, so his figure emerges from the rocks of history.

King Aethelstan

The Crown
It is important that the Aethelstan we honour wears a crown, being the first King to do so, his predecessors wearing a helmet.

The Cloak
A reminder of the cloak given to him by Alfred that signified his Grandfather’s favour. Just as a cloak protected him in bad weather, so he protected his people.

The Sword
Æthelstan holds a sword. His Grandfather Alfred gave him a sword and a cloak, effectively knighting his grandson. In doing so Alfred clearly bestowed his favour on the boy as his successor demonstrating to his court for the first time in this way that he saw Aethelstan as a future King.

Æthelstan fought many battles in his short life and was seen as a feared warrior. His name alone spread fear on the battlefield.

Brought up initially in Wessex, a land long at war long with the Danes who had been advancing into neighbouring Mercia. Mercia’s landholding had significantly reduced over the previous century as the Danes conquered with their eyes focussed on taking Wessex too.

Alfred’s fight back continued through his son, Edward the Elder and his daughter, Aelthelflaed who through marriage became the Lady of the Mercians.

Æthelstan was sent from Wessex to Mercia, to Aethelflaed’s court and at her side learned the warrior skills he would need.

Between all the members of this lineage, the dream of uniting the tribes of England under one Crown was finally achieved by Aethelstan in 927 AD.

The Shield
Clearly necessary in battle it is a symbol of his warrior aspect.

The shield can also represent his protection of his people against their enemies.

He took his role as king very seriously passing laws that aimed to care for the vulnerable.

The Scroll
This manuscript could be a new law, such as:-

It could be a charter to bequeath land or rights on those who helped him

And it could represent learning - his court attracted the learned of the time

The Book
A reference to learning and his educated court.

And to symbolise the commissioning of a translation of the bible. He was a Christian king and regularly converted his enemies away from their Pagan Gods.