BRITAIN’S biggest and bloodiest ever battle was staged on Merseyside, a sensational new BBC TV documentary will reveal tonight.
The Battle of Brunanburh actually took place at Bromborough in Wirral in 937AD, lasted from dawn to dusk, cost the lives of thousands of warriors and changed the structure of the British Isles forever.
"This is one of the most important battles of British History
, on a par with Hastings, yet few people have even heard of it," the writer and archeologist Neil Oliver told the Daily Post.
He will present the programme, A History
of Scotland, which will recall what was called The Great Battle when it is first broadcast on BBC2 at 8pm tonight.
The battle came at a time when there were two kings, Constantine II commander of the northern coalition of tribes and the Anglo Saxon Athelstan from the South. They clashed at Brunanburh which most historians are now convinced is present day Bromborough.
Much of the recent research is based on the work of Wallasey- born Professor Steve Harding and colleagues Dr Paul Cavill and Professor Judith Jesch at Nottingham University who in 2004 were at the forefront at placing the battle in Wirral.
"This was the mother of all Dark Age bloodbaths which would define the shape of Britain into the modern era," said 41-year-old Oliver who first sprung to TV prominence in the series Two Men In A Trench.
"This was a showdown for two very different ethnic identities – a Norse Celtic alliance versus Anglo Saxon.
"It aimed to settle once and for all whether Britain would be controlled by a single imperial power or remain several separate independent kingdoms, a split in perceptions which is still very much with us today."
He said that for decades after it was referred to as The Great Battle, and though Athelstan emerged victorious, such was the savage resistance of the northern "rainbow alliance" from the likes of Gaels, Picts, Celts and Vikings further conflict was avoided and his dream of completely conquering Britain shelved.
"It really was a monster gathering at Brunanburh as so much was at stake," he added. "Athelstan really believed it was his destiny to carry on where the Romans left off by controlling every part of Britain.
"But the fighting was so severe and both sides so devastated by it, that both withdrew to lick their wounds." Its status as The Great Battle, however, may have been diminished by the invasion of the Normans and their victory at Hastings in 1066.
"Just over 100 years later, the Normans’ records would have reflected their sides of things and would have wanted their battle to be remembered above all else.
"But although there’s no plaque in place and the evidence has only been unearthed by intensive work by academics, you would be hard pushed to undermine the significance of Brunanburh in British History
"It many ways it puts Hastings in the shade."
There you go people or brommies as we like to call ourselves.