Published by Acorn Digital Press
‘I first became interested in the story of Acha, daughter of King Aelle of Deira, when archaeologist Steve Sherlock discovered the stunning bed-burial of a seventh century, high status female at Streethouse near Loftus. The beautiful gold and garnet pendant found there – now part of the Saxon Princess display at Kirkleatham museum – suggested that the woman buried at Streethouse must have been a royal princess or even a queen. Along with many others interested in this period, the discovery set me racking my brains as to who the high status female could have been. One possibility raised was Acha, wife to King Aethelfrid of Bernicia, mother of King Oswald and probably King Oswy too. Acha was fairly quickly ruled out of the running for the Streethouse burial, as she was thought to have lived at too early a date for the style of jewellery.
However, by that time I had become fascinated by her story. Acha must have grown up in the area that we now know as North Yorkshire, she must have travelled between York, Goodmanham, Malton and Catterick. She then moved further north, when she married Aelthelfrid and would have known Bamburgh, Yeavering, and the Farne Islands. She lived in the midst of fierce and bloody land disputes, when kings’ daughters were often sent as Peaceweaver brides to marry their father’s worst enemies. St Hilda of Whitby was her great-niece, but we don’t know whether they ever met.
Acha was an important woman of her time and it was through their mother that her sons claimed the vast Anglo-Saxon kingdom that became known as Northumbria. My novel THE TRIBUTE BRIDE is my imaginative attempt to fill in the gaps of her life.’