Wulfgar's World

Wulfgar of Winchester (known to some as Litter-runt) is the fictional hero of The Bone Thief and its sequel The Traitors' Pit.

This part of the website will give you some background information about Wulfgar, explain a little about the fuzzy boundaries between fact and fiction, and point you towards some other resources for learning about the compelling world that is Britain at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries.

Wulfgar was born on his family's chief estate of Meon, in the modern county of Hampshire, in 876 AD. He was the only child of his father's second marriage. By the time The Bone Thief starts, at Easter in 900 AD, both his parents are dead. Wulfgar has three surviving siblings, all his elders: Wystan, heir to the Meon estates; Cwenhild, a nun; and Garmund, son of their father's liaison with a slave-woman.
 
I chose Meon as the home of Wulfgar's family because it lies in part of the world I know well, and with which I have my own family connections, and because it seems to have a particularly interesting history in the ninth and tenth centuries, moving in and out of aristocratic, royal and ecclesiastical control. In the early ninth century it was granted by King Ecgberht to a lord called Wulfheard. Some land at Meon seems to have remained in royal hands, however, because King Alfred left a Meon estate to his youngest son, Athelweard (c.880-922).
 
Wulfgar left Meon at the age of seven to become an oblate (a sort of ecclesiastical apprentice) to his uncle, one of the canons of Winchester Cathedral, and he grew up in the complex of church and royal buildings clustered to the south of Winchester's High Street, where he was educated together with the King's younger children and the sons of thanes, at the school King Alfred had founded.