Tamworth, Staffordsh­ire


As the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia, Tamworth has an intriguing past. King Offa (757-796), its most admired leader, had a royal palace at Tamworth from which he communicat­ed with foreign powers such as Charlemagn­e and Pope Adrian I. But in 874 the Vikings destroyed Tamworth, and it lay in ruins until 913, when it was re-forti ed by Aethel aed, daughter of King Alfred the Great, who became known as the Lady of the Mercians. When she died in Tamworth just ve years later Mercian power declined and the region was merged into the Kingdom of Wessex. A statue of warrior queen

Aethel aed stands at the foot of the Norman Tamworth Castle, where a new interactiv­e exhibition, Battle and Tribute, brings the town’s tumultuous Anglo-Saxon history to life.

Other gems in town include the Assembly Rooms, built in 1889 to commemorat­e Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee; almshouses built in 1678 to provide homes and a garden for local poor women; and the Moat House, a Tudor stately home, where you can stop for refreshmen­t in a beer garden with a notably aristocrat­ic backdrop. www.visittamwo­

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