as the complex politics of the Irish Sea region and Edward’s expansionism in north Wales may also have played a part in the Chester rebellion. Nonethe-less, Edward’s coup of 918 may provide some context70.Although Æthelstan was, as far as we know, the eldest surviving son of Edward the Elder, it seems that by 924 he was not Edward’s designated heir; rather a younger half-brother, Ælfweard was71. It is possible – the source is an unattested story in William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum– that Æth-elstan spent his youth in Mercia, at the court of his aunt and uncle72. There are problems with this story; a distinct lack of corroborating evidence for one (Æthelstan does not appear to have attested any of his aunt and uncle’s char-ters) and William of Malmesbury’s well known tendency to embroider his his-tories have made some historians very suspicious of this story73. Nonetheless, it is possible that William’s assertion should be given some credence, and it is striking that the personnel Æthelstan’s court, at least until the early 930s, had a strongly Mercian flavour, while there seems to have been a distinct distance between Æthelstan and the clerical communities in Winchester, the place of burial of Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder, but significantly not Æthel-stan after his death in 93974. 69ASCA, 918.70Griffiths, North-West Frontier, pp. 179-184; in 921 Edward had built a burh(fortified settle-ment) at «Cledemuthan» (probably Rhuddlan) in north-east Wales (ASCC, Mercian Register, 921).71Foot, Æthelstan, pp. 17-18.72William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, Bk. II, ch. 133, pp. 210-211.73Lapidge, Some Latin Poems, pp. 62-71; Dumville, Æthelstan, pp. 142-145; Dumville (p. 142) refers to the «dangerous pages» of William’s work.74Bishop Cenwald of Worcester seems to have been closely associated with Æthelstan; it was Cenwald who seems to have led the embassy associated with the marriage between Æthelstan’s half-sister Edith and the son of the East Frankish king Henry I, the future Otto I. See Walker, A Context for Brunanburh, pp. 27-31; Keynes, King Æthelstan’s Books, pp. 156-159, 198-201. For Æthelstan’s problems with Winchester, see Keynes, Liber Vitae, pp.19-22.