I was blessed to visit the wonderful village of Repton - the historic capital of Mercia. If you watched the Last Kingdom, you know I am talking about top heritage and epic battles. Repton is a village in Derbyshire, located on the edge of the River Trent floodplains. Christianity was reintroduced to the Midlands at Repton, where some of the Mercian royals were baptized in AD 653.
Mercia was one of the three important Anglican Kingdoms, and an important battleground between Danes and Anglo-Saxons. Maybe Æthelred and Æthelflæd rings a bell? Æthelred married Æthelflæd, the daughter of Alfred the Great. She assumed power when he died and ruled as "Lady of the Mercians" until Edward took control of London and Oxford. Her daughter Ælfwynn ruled for six months, until uncle Edward had deprived her of all authority in Mercia.
The architecture and heritage are stunning, taking you back in time. I never seen such a clean and tidy "village". Everything, from buildings to shops, looks like a top Instagram location.
Cottages and many other well maintain buildings are giving Repton posh vibes. The atmosphere is echoed by Repton School, a thriving independent boarding school in the heart of the Midlands. I was amazed by the facilities in the school, including brand new football pitches, greenhouses, space telescope, several science labs and more.
Repton is the cradle of Christianity in the Midlands, and St. Wystan Church is one of the most important landmarks in the area. The Christians have worshipped on this site since 653 AD, when Elfleda introduced Christianity to his father's kingdom at Repton.
The crypt was constructed in the early 8th century, and converted into a Mausoleum for King Æthelbald of Mercia, King Wiglaf and his grandson Saint Wystan. The crypt become a place of pilgrimage, until the Danish invasion, when St.Wystan body was removed and taken with the fleeing monks.
Repton crypt is one of the oldest and most important examples of Anglo-Saxon architecture to survive intact. It maintained the heritage and has an unique beauty ... old but pure. There are so many important churches across England, but each of them has something different.
The crypt is a small chamber, about 1.5 square meters, with nine square bays. The mausoleum held not the bodies of the royal family but their bones. After death, the bodies were buried and only when the flesh had decayed were the skull and long bones recovered and placed in caskets of wood and iron on the mausoleum shelves.
I spent a good half-day in Repton, including a visit at the Red Lion pub! What I liked most at St. Wystan Church was himself guarding the entrance, holding a real sword!
I checked out Mercia Marina in Willington, and explored some of the 74 acres of countryside. I had a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk, a boat trip, and a fancy dinner. Where should I go next?
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