As Valentines Day sees all thoughts turn to romance, consider the romantic gestures of days gone by… after some of these, that supermarket bunch of flowers may never seem quite the same!
Wantage: Wantage in Berkshire may not be the first place which summons romance to mind, but this place was the last gift of Alfred the Great to his wife, as it was one of the estates left to her in his will. It was a significant and highly personal gesture, as Wantage was his birthplace. He also left her Edington, the site of his famous battle. Somehow that doesn’t seem quite so romantic, but perhaps to an old warrior like Alfred, it was!
Rheims: France is ever romantic, but Rheims is where the Frank king Clovis finally gave his wife Clotilde what she had wanted since their marriage three or four years before: He converted to Catholicism.
Magdeburg: This beautiful German city was in AD930 a wedding gift from the German Crown Prince Otto to his wife Edith, a woman he is alleged to have fallen in love with at first sight. More than a thousand years later they still lie there side by side.
Bruges: With its canals, intimate restaurants and medieval streets Bruges in Flanders is ever a popular choice with romantics. But few realise the touching love story behind the creation of the County of Flanders. Baudouin Bras de Fer, the first Margrave of Flanders rescued a tragic princess from imprisonment at the hands of her domineering father in a story which has all the best fairytale elements of romance and surely makes Bruges the ultimate Dark Age romantic destination!
For more Dark Ages romance check out the Women of the Dark Ages series: