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  • ID: I158491
  • Name: Alfred I England
  • Given Name: Alfred I
  • Surname: England
  • Suffix: King Of The West Saxons 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 12 May 849 in West Saxons, Wantage, Berkshire 1 11 7 12 13 14 15 20 21
  • Note:
    Sources for this Information:
    date: [Ref: ES II #78, Moriarty Plantagenet p16, Paget HRHCharles p5, Watney WALLOP #879, Weis AR7 #1, Weis MC #161], place: [Ref: Moriarty Plantagenet p16, Paget HRHCharles p5, Weis AR7 #1, Weis MC #161], parents: [Ref: CMH p382, ES II #78, Holloway WENTWORTH p18, Moriarty Plantagenet p16, Paget HRHCharles p5, Watney WALLOP #879, Weis AR7 #1], father: [Ref: Moriarty Plantagenet p252, Tapsell Dynasties p175, Weis MC #161]
  • Christening: 23 Apr 871 Kingston Upon Thanes, Surrey 23 11 12 13 14 15
  • Death: 26 Oct 899 in Winchester, Hampshire 1 11 5 12 7 13 14 15 20
  • Note:
    Sources for this Information:
    date: [Ref: ES II #78, Moriarty Plantagenet p16, Paget HRHCharles p6, Weis AR7 #1, Weis MC #161] 28 Oct 901 [Ref: Watney WALLOP #879] 899 [Ref: CMH p382] 901 [Ref: Moriarty Plantagenet p252]
  • Burial: Hyde Abbey, Winchester Cathedral, London 1 2 9 8
  • Note:
    Sources for this Information:
    place: [Ref: Paget HRHCharles p6]
    24
  • Event: Alt. Burial
  • Note: Winchester Cathedral, England
  • Event: Alt. Burial Alt. Burial
  • Note: Hyde Abbey, Winchester Cahtedral, Hampshire, London, England
  • Event: Reigned
  • Note: 871-899
  • Event: Alt. Birth Alt. Birth 847
  • Note: Wantage, Berkshire, England
  • Event: Reigned Bet 871 and 899 25 5
  • Event: Military Bet 885 and 886 25
  • Event: Alt. Death 26 Oct 899
  • Note: Winchester, England
  • Event: Alt. Death Alt. Death 26 Oct 899
  • Note: Winchester, Hampshire, England 26
  • Event: Ruled 871-899
  • _UID: C9A8AC563D1D4186B71260EAEE1E0128DCCD
  • Change Date: 17 Jan 2013 at 11:15
  • Note:
    The Great King of England

    [brucedjohnson.ged]

    pg 2, "Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists" by Frederick Lewis Weiss, 6th Edition

    Hull <http:www.dcs.hull/acukcgi=bin/gedlkup/n=royal?royal01964>

    Medieval Families, Family History Center, 50 E. North Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT, 84105

    also thanks to J. K. Loren[harry.ged]

    Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, ENG[3173266.ged]

    [Sargent.FTW]

    http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMassachusettsCL/KingAlfred/

    Born at Wantage, Berkshire, in 849, Alfred was the fifth son of Aethelwul f, king of the West Saxons. At their father's behest and by mutual agreeme nt, Alfred's elder brothers succeeded to the kingship in turn, rather th an endanger the kingdom by passing it to under-age children at a time wh en the country was threatened by worsening Viking raids from Denmark.

    Since the 790s, the Vikings had been using fast mobile armies, numbering t housands of men embarked in shallow-draught longships, to raid the coas ts and inland waters of England for plunder. Such raids were evolving in to permanent Danish settlements; in 867, the Vikings seized York and estab lished their own kingdom in the southern part of Northumbria. The Vikin gs overcame two other major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, East Anglia and Merci a, and their kings were either tortured to death or fled. Finally, in 8 70 the Danes attacked the only remaining independent Anglo-Saxon kingdo m, Wessex, whose forces were commanded by King Aethelred and his younger b rother Alfred. At the battle of Ashdown in 871, Alfred routed the Viking a rmy in a fiercely fought uphill assault. However, further defeats follow ed for Wessex and Alfred's brother died.

    As king of Wessex at the age of 21, Alfred (reigned 871-99) was a strongmi nded but highly strung battle veteran at the head of remaining resistan ce to the Vikings in southern England. In early 878, the Danes led by Ki ng Guthrum seized Chippenham in Wiltshire in a lightning strike and us ed it as a secure base from which to devastate Wessex. Local people eith er surrendered or escaped (Hampshire people fled to the Isle of Wight), a nd the West Saxons were reduced to hit and run attacks seizing provisio ns when they could. With only his royal bodyguard, a small army of theg ns (the king's followers) and Aethelnoth earldorman of Somerset as his all y, Alfred withdrew to the Somerset tidal marshes in which he had probab ly hunted as a youth. (It was during this time that Alfred, in his preoccu pation with the defence of his kingdom, allegedly burned some cakes whi ch he had been asked to look after; the incident was a legend dating fr om early twelfth century chroniclers.)

    A resourceful fighter, Alfred reassessed his strategy and adopted the Dane s' tactics by building a fortified base at Athelney in the Somerset marsh es and summoning a mobile army of men from Wiltshire, Somerset and pa rt of Hampshire to pursue guerrilla warfare against the Danes. In May 87 8, Alfred's army defeated the Danes at the battle of Edington. Accordi ng to his contemporary biographer Bishop Asser, 'Alfred attacked the who le pagan army fighting ferociously in dense order, and by divine will even tually won the victory, made great slaughter among them, and pursued th em to their fortress (Chippenham) ... After fourteen days the pagans we re brought to the extreme depths of despair by hunger, cold and fear, a nd they sought peace'. This unexpected victory proved to be the turning po int in Wessex's battle for survival.

    Realising that he could not drive the Danes out of the rest of England, Al fred concluded peace with them in the treaty of Wedmore. King Guthrum w as converted to Christianity with Alfred as godfather and many of the Dan es returned to East Anglia where they settled as farmers. In 886, Alfred n egotiated a partition treaty with the Danes, in which a frontier was demar cated along the Roman Watling Street and northern and eastern England ca me under the jurisdiction of the Danes - an area known as 'Danelaw'. Alfr ed therefore gained control of areas of West Mercia and Kent which had be en beyond the boundaries of Wessex. To consolidate alliances against the D anes, Alfred married one of his daughters, Aethelflaed, to the ealdorm an of Mercia -Alfred himself had married Eahlswith, a Mercian noblewom an - and another daughter, Aelfthryth, to the count of Flanders, a stro ng naval power at a time when the Vikings were settling in eastern England .

    The Danish threat remained, and Alfred reorganised the Wessex defenc es in recognition that efficient defence and economic prosperity were inte rdependent. First, he organised his army (the thegns, and the existing mil itia known as the fyrd) on a rota basis, so he could raise a 'rapid reacti on force' to deal with raiders whilst still enabling his thegns and peasan ts to tend their farms.

    Second, Alfred started a building programme of well-defended settlements a cross southern England. These were fortified market places ('borough' com es from the Old English burh, meaning fortress); by deliberate royal plann ing, settlers received plots and in return manned the defences in tim es of war. (Such plots in London under Alfred's rule in the 880s shaped t he streetplan which still exists today between Cheapside and the Thames .) This obligation required careful recording in what became known as 't he Burghal Hidage', which gave details of the building and manning of Wess ex and Mercian burhs according to their size, the length of their rampar ts and the number of men needed to garrison them. Centred round Alfred's r oyal palace in Winchester, this network of burhs with strongpoints on t he main river routes was such that no part of Wessex was more than 20 mil es from the refuge of one of these settlements. Together with a navy of n ew fast ships built on Alfred's orders, southern England now had a defen ce in depth against Danish raiders.

    Alfred's concept of kingship extended beyond the administration of the tri bal kingdom of Wessex into a broader context. A religiously devout and pra gmatic man who learnt Latin in his late thirties, he recognised that the g eneral deterioration in learning and religion caused by the Vikings' destr uction of monasteries (the centres of the rudimentary education network) h ad serious implications for rulership. For example, the poor standar ds in Latin had led to a decline in the use of the charter as an instrume nt of royal government to disseminate the king's instructions and legislat ion. In one of his prefaces, Alfred wrote 'so general was its [Latin] dec ay in England that there were very few on this side of the Humber who cou ld understand their rituals in English or translate a letter from Latin in to English ... so few that I cannot remember a single one south of the Tha mes when I came to the throne.'

    To improve literacy, Alfred arranged, and took part in, the translation ( by scholars from Mercia) from Latin into Anglo-Saxon of a handful of boo ks he thought it 'most needful for men to know, and to bring it to pass . .. if we have the peace, that all the youth now in England ... may be devo ted to learning'. These books covered history, philosophy and Gregory t he Great's 'Pastoral Care' (a handbook for bishops), and copies of these b ooks were sent to all the bishops of the kingdom. Alfred was patron of t he Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (which was copied and supplemented up to 1154 ), a patriotic history of the English from the Wessex viewpoint design ed to inspire its readers and celebrate Alfred and his monarchy.

    Like other West Saxon kings, Alfred established a legal code; he assembl ed the laws of Offa and other predecessors, and of the kingdoms of Merc ia and Kent, adding his own administrative regulations to form a definiti ve body of Anglo-Saxon law. 'I ... collected these together and order ed to be written many of them which our forefathers observed, those whi ch I liked; and many of those which I did not like I rejected with the adv ice of my councillors ... For I dared not presume to set in writing at a ll many of my own, because it was to me what would please those who sh ould come after us ... Then I ... showed those to all my councillors, a nd they then said that they were all pleased to observe them' (Laws of Alf red, c.885-99).

    By the 890s, Alfred's charters and coinage (which he had also reformed, ex tending its minting to the burhs he had founded) referred to him as 'ki ng of the English', and Welsh kings sought alliances with him. Alfred di ed in 899, aged 50, and was buried in Winchester, the burial place of t he West Saxon royal family.

    By stopping the Viking advance and consolidating his territorial gains, Al fred had started the process by which his successors eventually extended t heir power over the other Anglo-Saxon kings; the ultimate unification of A nglo-Saxon England was to be led by Wessex. It is for his valiant defen ce of his kingdom against a stronger enemy, for securing peace with the Vi kings and for his farsighted reforms in the reconstruction of Wessex and b eyond, that Alfred - alone of all the English kings and queens - is kno wn as 'the Great'.
    http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page25.asp[garynlewis1144.ged]

    Alfred the Great is probably the most famous of all of the Anglo-Saxon kin gs. Much of his fame is based on legend, not historic fact. However, bas ed solely on the facts known to us today, he still ranks as one of the mo st important early kings of the British Isle. He is the only English Ki ng to be known as 'The Great'.
    The Vikings, or Danes, had invaded England in 793. They controlled East An glia, Northumbria and Mercia and they were moving to take control of Wesse x. Alfred defeated the invading Danes at the battle of Edlington in 878; h owever, allowed the Danes to keep the territories they had previously w on in Mercia and East Anglia provided that Guthrum, King of Denmark, conve rted to Christianity (Treaty of Wedmore). The dividing line between Engli sh and Danish territory was roughly a line running northwest from Lond on to Chester; Alfred ruled south of this line and was recognized as overl ord of the area to the north that became known as the Danelaw.
    King Alfred built a Navy to defend the coasts against further Danish invas ions; he protected Wessex by building a chain of fortified towns called 'b urghs'. These towns were located such that no one lived more than twenty m iles from one of them (there were 30 of these burghs manned by about 900 m ilitary men for a total defensive army of 27,000).
    In 886 he took control of London thus gaining control of all of England ex cept for that portion controlled by the Danes, yet was recognized as Ki ng of all England by both the Saxons and the Danes.
    Alfred reformed and codified Saxon law. Being well-educated himself, he pr omoted a revival in learning, and instigated the compilation of the famo us ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE, a 1,200-year history of the people of England fr om before Julius Caesar's invasion of the British Isles in 55 BC.
    -----------
    Youngest son of King Ęthelwulf, Alfred became King of Wessex during a ti me of constant Viking attack. He was driven into hiding by a Viking raid i nto Wessex, led by the Dane, Guthorm, and took refuge in the Athelney mars hes in Somerset. There, he recovered sufficient strength to be able to def eat the Danes decisively at the battle of Eddington. As a condition of t he peace treaty which followed, Guthorm received Christian baptism and wit hdrew his forces from Wessex, with Alfred recognizing the Danish control o ver East Anglia and parts of Mercia. This partition of England, called t he "Danelaw", was formalized by another treaty in 886.

    Alfred created a series of fortifications whose purpose was to surround h is kingdom and provide needed security from invasion. The Anglo-Saxon wo rd for these forts, "burhs", has come down to us in the common place-na me suffix, "bury." He also constructed a fleet of ships to augment his oth er defenses, and in the doing became known as the "Father of the English N avy." The reign of Alfred was known for more than military success. He w as a codifier of law, a promoter of education and a supporter of the art s. He, himself, was a scholar and translated Latin books into the Anglo-Sa xon tongue. The definitive contemporary work on Alfred's life is an unfini shed account in Latin by Asser, a Welshman, bishop of Sherbourne and Alfre d's counselor. After his death, he was buried in his capital city of Winch ester, and is the only English monarch in history to carry the title, "t he Great."
    Source:
    www.britannia.com[26264.ftw]

    Alfred,
    Alfred the Great
    Corbis-Bettmann

    also spelled AELFRED, byname ALFRED THE GREAT (b. 849--d. 899), king of W essex (871-899), a S axon kingdom in southwestern England. He prevented En gland from falling to the Danes and promoted learning and literacy. Compil ation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle began during his reign, c . 890.(see al so Index: Denmark)
    When he was born, it must have seemed unlikely that Alfred would become ki ng, since he had four older brothers; he said that he never desired roy al power. Perhaps a scholar's life would have contented him. His mother ea rly aroused his interest in English poetry, and from his boyhood he also h ankered after Latin learning, possibly stimulated by visits to Rome in 8 53 and 855 . It is possible also that he was aware of and admired the gre at Frankish king Charlemagne, who had at the beginning of the century revi ved learning in his realm. Alfred had no opportunity to acquire the educat ion he sought, however, until much later in life.

    He probably received the education in military arts normal for a young m an of rank. He first appeared on active service in 868, when he and his br other, King Aethelred (Ethelred) I, went to help Burgred of Mercia (the ki ngdom between the Thames and the Humber) against a great Danish army th at had landed in East Anglia in 865 and taken possession of Northumbria in 867. The Danes refused to give battle, and peace was made. In this ye ar Alfred married Ealhswith, descend ed through her mother from Mercian ki ngs. Late in 871, the Danes invaded Wessex, and Aethelred and Alfred foug ht several battles with them. Aethelred died in 871 and Alfred succeeded h im . After an unsuccessful battle at Wilton he made peace. It was probab ly the quality of the West Saxon resistance that discouraged Danish attac ks for five years.

    In 876 the Danes again advanced on Wessex: they retired in 877 having acco mplished little, but a surprise attack in January 878 came near to succes s. The Danes established themselves at Chippenham, and the West Saxons sub mitted "except King Alfred." He harassed the Danes from a fort in the Some rset marshes, and until seven weeks after Easter he secretly assembl ed an army, which defeated them at the Battle of Edington. They surrendere d, and their king, Guthrum, was baptized, Alfred standing as sponsor; t he following year they settled in East Anglia.

    Wessex was never again in such danger. Alfred had a respite from fighti ng until 885, when he repelled an invasion of Kent by a Danish army, suppo rted by the East Anglian Danes. In 886 he took the offensive and captur ed London, a success that brought all the English not under Danish ru le to accept him as king. The possession of London also made possible t he reconquest of the Danish territories in his son's reign, and Alfred m ay have been preparing for this, though he could make no further advance h imself. He had to meet a serious attack by a large Danish force from the E uropean continent in 892, and it was not until 896 that it gave up the str uggle.

    The failure of the Danes to make any more advances against Alfred was larg ely a result of the defensive measures he undertook during the war. Old fo rts were strengthened and new ones built at strategic sites, and arrangeme nts were made for their continual manning. Alfred reorganized his army a nd used ships against the invaders as early as 875. Later he had larger sh ips built to his own design for use against the coastal raids that continu ed even after 896. Wise diplomacy also helped Alfred's defense. He maintai ned friendly relations with Mercia and Wales; Welsh rulers sought his supp ort and supplied some troops for his army in 893.

    Alfred succeeded in government as well as at war. He was a wise administra tor, organizing his finances and the service due from his thanes (noble fo llowers). He scrutinized the administration of justice and took steps to e nsure the protection of the weak from oppression by ignorant or corrupt ju dges. He promulgated an important code of laws, after studying the princip les of lawgiving in the Book of Exodus and the codes of Aethelbert of Ken t, Ine of Wessex (688-694) , and Offa of Mercia(757-796), again with speci al attention to the protection of the weak and dependent. While avoiding u nnecessary changes in custom, he limited the practice of the blood feud a nd imposed heavy penalties for breach of oath or pledge.

    Alfred is most exceptional, however, not for his generalship or his admini stration but for his attitude toward learning. He shared the contempora ry view that Viking raids were a divine punishment for the people's sin s, and he attributed these to the decline of learning, for only through le arning could men acquire wisdom and live in accordance with God's will. He nce, in the lull from attack between 878 and 885, he invited scholars to h is court from Mercia, Wales, and the European continent. He learned Lat in himself and began to translate Latin books into English in 887. He dire cted that all young freemen of adequate means must learn to read Englis h, and, by his own translations and those of his helpers, he made availab le English versions of "those books most necessary for all men to know," b ooks that would lead them to wisdom and virtue. The Ecclesiastical Histo ry of the English People, by the English historian Bede, and the Seven Boo ks of Histories Against the Pagans, by Paulus Orosius, a 5th-century theol ogian--neither of which was translated by Alfred himself, though they ha ve been credited to him--revealed the divine purpose in history. Alfred 's translation of the Pastoral Care of St. Gregory I, the great 6th-centu ry pope, provided a manual for priests in the instruction of their flock s, and a translation by Bishop Werferthof Gregory's Dialogues supplied edi fying reading on holy men. Alfred's rendering of the Soliloquies of the 5t h-century theologian St. Augustine of Hippo, to which he added material fr om other works of the Fathers of the Church, discussed problems concerni ng faith and reason and the nature of eternal life. This translation deser ves to be studied in its own right, as does his rendering of Boethius' Con solation of Philosophy. In considering what is true happiness and the rela tion of providence to faith and of predestination to free will, Alfred do es not fully accept Boethius' position but depends more on the early Fathe rs. In both works, additions include parallels from contemporary condition s, sometimes revealing his views on the social order and the duties of kin gship. Alfred wrote for the benefit of his people, but he was also deep ly interested in theological problems for their own sake and commission ed the first of the translations, Gregory's Dialogues, "that in the mid st of earthly troubles he might sometimes think of heavenly things." He m ay also have done a translation of the first 50 psalms. Though not Alfred 's work, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, one of the greatest sources of informa tion about Saxon England, which began to be circulated about 890, may ha ve its origin in the intellectual interests awakened by the revival of lea rning under him. Hi s reign also saw activity in building and in art, a nd foreign craftsmen were attracted to his court. (see also Index:"Pastor al Care," )

    In one of his endeavors, however, Alfred had little success; he tried to r evive monasticism, founding a monastery and a nunnery, but there was litt le enthusiasm in England for the monastic life until after the reviva ls on the European continent in the next century.

    Alfred, alone of Anglo-Saxon kings, inspired a full-length biography, writ ten in 893, by the Welsh scholar Asser. This work contains much valuable i nformation, and it reveals that Alfred l aboured throughout under the burd en of recurrent, painful illness; and beneath Asser's rhetoric can be se en a man of attractive character, full of compassion,able to inspire affec tion, and intensely conscious of the responsibilities of kingly office. Th is picture is confirmed by Alfred's laws and writings.

    Alfred was never forgotten: his memory lived on through the Middle Ages a nd in legend as that of a king who won victory in apparently hopeless circ umstances and as a wise lawgiver. Some of his works were copied as la te as the 12th century. Modern studies have increased knowledge of him b ut have not altered in its essentials the medieval conception of a great k ing. ( D.W. )

    BIBLIOGRAPHY.
    Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (trans. and eds.), Alfred the Great:Asser 's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (1983),provides mu ch information about the reign and the personality of the king. Eleanor Sh ipley Duckett, Alfred the Great (1956, reissued 1970;also published as Alf red the Great and His England, 1957), is an accessible biography. All en J. Frantzen, King Alfred (1986), studies Alfred's literary work and inc ludes a brief biography. Other sources on the period include F.M. Stento n, Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd ed. (1971,reprinted 199 0); G.N. Garmonsway (t rans. and ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, new ed. (1972, reissued 199 4) ; and Dorothy Whitelock (ed.), English Historical Documents, c. 500-104 2, 2nd ed. (1979).

    Copyright 1994-1999 Encyclopędia Britannica

    ----------------------------
    (r. 871-899)

    Born at Wantage, Berkshire, in 849, Alfred was the fifth son of Aethelwulf, king of the West Saxons. At their father's behest and by mutual agreement, Alfred's elder brothers succeeded to the kingship in turn, rather than endanger the kingdom by passing it to under-age children at a time when the country was threatened by worsening Viking raids from Denmark.

    Since the 790s, the Vikings had been using fast mobile armies, numbering thousands of men embarked in shallow-draught longships, to raid the coasts and inland waters of England for plunder. Such raids were evolving into permanent Danish settlements; in 867, the Vikings seized York and established their own kingdom in the southern part of Northumbria. The Vikings overcame two other major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, East Anglia and Mercia, and their kings were either tortured to death or fled. Finally, in 870 the Danes attacked the only remaining independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Wessex, whose forces were commanded by King Aethelred and his younger brother Alfred. At the battle of Ashdown in 871, Alfred routed the Viking army in a fiercely fought uphill assault. However, further defeats followed for Wessex and Alfred's brother died.
    As king of Wessex at the age of 21, Alfred (reigned 871-99) was a strongminded but highly strung battle veteran at the head of remaining resistance to the Vikings in southern England. In early 878, the Danes led by King Guthrum seized Chippenham in Wiltshire in a lightning strike and used it as a secure base from which to devastate Wessex. Local people either surrendered or escaped (Hampshire people fled to the Isle of Wight), and the West Saxons were reduced to hit and run attacks seizing provisions when they could. With only his royal bodyguard, a small army of thegns (the king's followers) and Aethelnoth earldorman of Somerset as his ally, Alfred withdrew to the Somerset tidal marshes in which he had probably hunted as a youth. (It was during this time that Alfred, in his preoccupation with the defence of his kingdom, allegedly burned some cakes which he had been asked to look after; the incident was a legend dating from early twelfth century chroniclers.) A resourceful fighter, Alfred reassessed his strategy and adopted the Danes' tactics by building a fortified base at Athelney in the Somerset marshes and summoning a mobile army of men from Wiltshire, Somerset and part of Hampshire to pursue guerrilla warfare against the Danes. In May 878, Alfred's army defeated the Danes at the battle of Edington. According to his contemporary biographer Bishop Asser, 'Alfred attacked the whole pagan army fighting ferociously in dense order, and by divine will eventually won the victory, made great slaughter among them, and pursued them to their fortress (Chippenham) ... After fourteen days the pagans were brought to the extreme depths of despair by hunger, cold and fear, and they sought peace'. This unexpected victory proved to be the turning point in Wessex's battle for survival.

    Realising that he could not drive the Danes out of the rest of England, Alfred concluded peace with them in the treaty of Wedmore. King Guthrum was converted to Christianity with Alfred as godfather and many of the Danes returned to East Anglia where they settled as farmers. In 886, Alfred negotiated a partition treaty with the Danes, in which a frontier was demarcated along the Roman Watling Street and northern and eastern England came under the jurisdiction of the Danes - an area known as 'Danelaw'. Alfred therefore gained control of areas of West Mercia and Kent which had been beyond the boundaries of Wessex. To consolidate alliances against the Danes, Alfred married one of his daughters, Aethelflaed, to the ealdorman of Mercia -Alfred himself had married Eahlswith, a Mercian noblewoman - and another daughter, Aelfthryth, to the count of Flanders, a strong naval power at a time when the Vikings were settling in eastern England.

    The Danish threat remained, and Alfred reorganised the Wessex defences in recognition that efficient defence and economic prosperity were interdependent. First, he organised his army (the thegns, and the existing militia known as the fyrd) on a rota basis, so he could raise a 'rapid reaction force' to deal with raiders whilst still enabling his thegns and peasants to tend their farms.

    Second, Alfred started a building programme of well-defended settlements across southern England. These were fortified market places ('borough' comes from the Old English burh, meaning fortress); by deliberate royal planning, settlers received plots and in return manned the defences in times of war. (Such plots in London under Alfred's rule in the 880s shaped the streetplan which still exists today between Cheapside and the Thames.) This obligation required careful recording in what became known as 'the Burghal Hidage', which gave details of the building and manning of Wessex and Mercian burhs according to their size, the length of their ramparts and the number of men needed to garrison them. Centred round Alfred's royal palace in Winchester, this network of burhs with strongpoints on the main river routes was such that no part of Wessex was more than 20 miles from the refuge of one of these settlements. Together with a navy of new fast ships built on Alfred's orders, southern England now had a defence in depth against Danish raiders.

    Alfred's concept of kingship extended beyond the administration of the tribal kingdom of Wessex into a broader context. A religiously devout and pragmatic man who learnt Latin in his late thirties, he recognised that the general deterioration in learning and religion caused by the Vikings' destruction of monasteries (the centres of the rudimentary education network) had serious implications for rulership. For example, the poor standards in Latin had led to a decline in the use of the charter as an instrument of royal government to disseminate the king's instructions and legislation. In one of his prefaces, Alfred wrote 'so general was its [Latin] decay in England that there were very few on this side of the Humber who could understand their rituals in English or translate a letter from Latin into English ... so few that I cannot remember a single one south of the Thames when I came to the throne.'

    To improve literacy, Alfred arranged, and took part in, the translation (by scholars from Mercia) from Latin into Anglo-Saxon of a handful of books he thought it 'most needful for men to know, and to bring it to pass ... if we have the peace, that all the youth now in England ... may be devoted to learning'. These books covered history, philosophy and Gregory the Great's 'Pastoral Care' (a handbook for bishops), and copies of these books were sent to all the bishops of the kingdom. Alfred was patron of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (which was copied and supplemented up to 1154), a patriotic history of the English from the Wessex viewpoint designed to inspire its readers and celebrate Alfred and his monarchy.

    Like other West Saxon kings, Alfred established a legal code; he assembled the laws of Offa and other predecessors, and of the kingdoms of Mercia and Kent, adding his own administrative regulations to form a definitive body of Anglo-Saxon law. 'I ... collected these together and ordered to be written many of them which our forefathers observed, those which I liked; and many of those which I did not like I rejected with the advice of my councillors ... For I dared not presume to set in writing at all many of my own, because it was unknown to me what would please those who should come after us ... Then I ... showed those to all my councillors, and they then said that they were all pleased to observe them' (Laws of Alfred, c.885-99).

    By the 890s, Alfred's charters and coinage (which he had also reformed, extending its minting to the burhs he had founded) referred to him as 'king of the English', and Welsh kings sought alliances with him. Alfred died in 899, aged 50, and was buried in Winchester, the burial place of the West Saxon royal family.

    By stopping the Viking advance and consolidating his territorial gains, Alfred had started the process by which his successors eventually extended their power over the other Anglo-Saxon kings; the ultimate unification of Anglo-Saxon England was to be led by Wessex. It is for his valiant defence of his kingdom against a stronger enemy, for securing peace with the Vikings and for his farsighted reforms in the reconstruction of Wessex and beyond, that Alfred - alone of all the English kings and queens - is known as 'the Great'. _____________________________

    Youngest son of King Ęthelwulf, Alfred became King of Wessex during a time of constant Viking attack. He was driven into hiding by a Viking raid into Wessex, led by the Dane, Guthorm, and took refuge in the Athelney marshes in Somerset. There, he recovered sufficient strength to be able to defeat the Danes decisively at the Battle of Eddington. As a condition of the peace treaty which followed, Guthorm received Christian baptism and withdrew his forces from Wessex, with Alfred recognizing the Danish control over East Anglia and parts of Mercia. This partition of England, called the "Danelaw", was formalized by another treaty in 886.

    Alfred created a series of fortifications to surround his kingdom and provide needed security from invasion. The Anglo-Saxon word for these forts, "burh", has come down to us in the common place-name suffix, "bury." He also constructed a fleet of ships to augment his other defenses, and in so doing became known as the "Father of the English Navy." The reign of Alfred was known for more than military success. He was a codifier of law, a promoter of education and a suppor|er of the arts. He, himself, was a scholar and translated Latin books into the Anglo-Saxon tongue. The definitive contemporary work on Alfred's life is an unfinished account in Latin by Asser, a Welshman, bishop of Sherbourne and Alfred's counsellor. After his death, he was buried in his capital city of Winchester, and is the only English monarch in history to carry the title, "the Great." _____________________________

    Bishop Asser:
    Life of King Alfred

    Although similar to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in its annalistic approach, Asser personalized his "Life of King Alfred" so that the man, and not just the Christian king who vanquished the paganistic heathen, was presented. Asser's "Life" differs also in its use of Latin, not the vernacular in which most sources from Alfred's reign are written.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and seventy-eighth, and the thirtieth from King Alfred's birth, the oft-mentioned army left Exeter and came to Chippenham, a royal vill located in the north of Wiltshire on the eastern bank of the river called Avon in Welsh, and there wintered. And through force of arms and want, as well as through fear, they drove many of the people there to go beyond sea, and brough most of the inhabitants of the district under their rule.

    At the same time the said King Alfred, with a few of his nobles and some knights and men of his household, was in great distress leading an unquiet life in the woods and marshes of Somerset. For he had no means of support except what he took in frequent raids by stealth or openly from the pagans, or indeed from Christians who had submitted to pagan rule.

    In the same year the brother of Inwar and Halfdene with twenty-three boats sailed forthe from the country of Dyfed [the extreme south of Wales], where he had wintered and where he had slain many Christians, to Devon; and there, before the stronghold of Cynwit, he with twelve hundred others was miserably cut off in his wrong-doing by the king's followers, for many of the latter had shut themselves up there for safety. But when the pagans saw the stronghold unprepared and unguarded except for defenses built after our manner, they did not venture to storm it because from the nature of the ground the place was very secure on every side except on the eas, as I myself have seen; instead they began to besiege it, thinking that those men would quickly be forced to surrender because of hunger and thirst, for there was no water near. But it did not turn out as they expected. For the Christians, before they suffered any such straits, prompted by God to believe it much better to win either death or victory, at dawn made an unexpected sortie upon the pagans, and shortly slew most of them, together with their king, only a few escaping to the boats.

    In the same year after Easter, King Alfred, with a few to help him, made a stronghold in a place called Athelney, and thence kept tirelessly making attacks upon the pagans with his Somersetshire retainers. And again in the seventh week after Easter he rode to Egbert's Stone, which is in the eastern part of the forest called Selwood--in Latin "Sylva Magna," in Welsh "Coit Maur"--and there met him there all the dwellers about the districts of Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, who had not through fear of the pagans gone beyond sea; and when they saw the king, after such great sufferings, almost as one risen from the dead, they were filled with unbounded joy, as it was right they should be; and they pitched camp there for one night. At dawn the next morning the king moved his camp thence and came to a place called Aeglea, and there encamped one night.

    Moving his standards thence the next morning, he came to a place called Edington, and with a close shield-wall fought fiercely against the whole army of the pagans; his attack was long and spirited, and finally by divine aid he triumphed and overthrew the pagans with a very great slaughter. He pursued them, killing them as they fled up to the stronghold, where he seized all that he found outside--men, horses, and cattle--slaying the men at once; and before the gates of the pagan fortress he boldly encamped with his whole army. And when he had stayed there fourteen days and the pagans had known the horrors of famine, cold, fear, and at last of despair, they sought a peace by which the king was to take from them as many named hostages as he wished while he gave none to them--a kind of peace that they had never before concluded with any one. When the king heard their message he was moved to pity, and of his own accord received from them such designated hostages as he wished. In addition to this, after the hostages were taken, the pagans took oath that they would most speedily leave his kingdom, and also Guthrum, their king, promised to accept Christianity and to receive baptism at the hands of King Alfred. All these things he and his men fulfilled as they had promised. For after three weeks Guthrum, king of the pagans, with thirty selected men of his army, came to King Alfred at a place called Aller near Athelney. And Alfred received him as son by adoption, raising him from the sacred font of baptism; and his chrism-loosing on the eighth day was in the royal vill called Wedmore. After he was baptized he stayed with the king twelve nights, and to him and all the men with him the king generously gave many valuable gifts.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and seventy-ninth, and the thirty-first from King Alfred's birth, the said army of pagans left Chippenham according to promise and went to Cirencester (in Welsh "Cairceri"), located in the southern part of the district of the Hwicce, and there spent a year.

    In the same year a great army of pagans from foreign parts sailed up the Thames River and joined the larger army, but wintered at a place called Fulham by the Thames.

    In the same year an eclipse of the sun occurred between nones and vespers, but nearer to nones.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eightieth, and of King Alfred's life the thirty-second, the oft-mentioned army of pagans left Cirencester and went to the East Angles; and, dividing the district, they began to settle there.

    In the same year the army of pagans which had wintered at Fulham left the island of Britain, crossed the sea, and came to East Francia. It remained for a year at a place called Ghent.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eighty-first, and the thirty-third from King Alfred's birth, the said army penetrated farther into Francia. Against it the Franks fought, and when the battle was over the pagans had gotten horses and became a mounted force.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eight-second, and the thirty-fourth from King Alfred's birth, the said army pushed its boats up the river Meuse much farther into Francia and spent a year there.

    And in the same year Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, fought a battle at sea against pagan boats; and he took two of them, having killed all who were in them. And the commanders of two other boats, with all their fellows, were so thoroughly beaten and so badly wounded that they laid down their arms and on bended knees and with humble prayers surrendered.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eighty-third, and the thirty-fifth from King Alfred's birth, the said army pushed its boats up-stream along the river Scheldt to a convent of nuns known as Conde, and there remained one year.

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eighty-fourth, [Asser inserted the events of 885 into the slot for 884] and the thirty-sixth from King Alfred's birth, the said army divided into two troops. One went to East Francia, and the other came to Kent in Britain and besieged the city which is called Rochester in Saxon, and which is located on the east bank of the Medway. Before its gate the pagans quickly built themselves a strong tower; but they were not able to take the city, because the citizens defended themselves vigorously until King Alfred came to its aid with a large army. And then the pagans, on the unexpected arrival of the king, left their tower and all the horses which they had brought with them from Francia, and also most of their captives, and fled in haste to their boats, while the Saxons seized the captives and the horses. And so the pagans were forced by extreme necessity to sail again into Francia that same summer.

    In the same year Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, transferred his fleet, filled with warriors, from Kent to the East Angles for the sake of plunder. And when they had come to the mouth of the river Stour, suddenly thirteen boats of the pagans, ready for battle, met them; and a naval battle was begun which was bitterly contested on both sides, but which resulted in the killing of all the pagans and the seizure of all their boats and goods. However, while the victorious royal fleet was resting, the pagans who lived in the land of the East Angles gathered boats together from any place in which they could find them and met the king's fleet at the mouth of the same river, and in the battle which followed gained the victory.

    In the same year also Carloman, king of the East Franks, while on a boar-hunt was so horribly bitten by a boar that he died. His brother was Lewis, who had died the year before and who was also king of the Franks; they were both sons of Lewis, king of the Franks. This was the Lewis who had died in the above-mentioned year in which the eclipse took place, and who was son of Charles, king of the Franks, whose daughter Judith was, with her father's consent, taken as queen by Ethelwulf, king of the West Saxons.

    Moreover, in the same year a great army of pagans came from Germany to the land of the Old Saxons, in Saxon called "Eald Seaxum." Against them these same Saxons and the Frisians joined forces and fought bravely twice in that year. By divine mercy the Christians won both these battles.

    Also in this year Charles, king of the Germans, acquired, with the voluntary consent of all, the kingdom of the East Franks and all the kingdoms which are between the Tyrrhenian Sea and that ocean gulf which lies between the Old Saxons and the Gauls, excepting the kingdom of Amorica. [Brittany] This Charles was the son of King Lewis, and Lewis was the brother of that Charles, king of the Franks, who was father of Judith, the above-mentioned queen; and these two brothers were sons of Lewis, who was the son of Charles, the son of Pippin.

    In the same year Pope Marinus of blessed memory went the way of all flesh. He it was who for love and at the petition of Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, graciously released the colony of the Saxons residing in Rome from all tribute and toll. Indeed, he took the occasion to send many gifts to the said king; among which was no small portion of that most holy and revered cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ hung for the salvation of all men.

    And also in this year the army of pagans which was living among the East Angles disgracefully broke the peace which it had entered into with King Alfred....

    In the year of our Lord's incarnation the eight hundred and eighty-sixth, and the thirty-eighth of Alfred's life, the oft-mentioned army fleeing from this region went again into the land of the West Franks; they entered by the river called Seine and pushed far up-stream in their boats even to the city of Paris, and there wintered. And they laid out their camp on both sdes of the river nar to the bridge in order to keep the citizens from crossing--for this city is located on a small island in the middle of the river. And they besieged the city that whole year, but through God's favor and the vigorous defense of the citizens they could not break the fortifications.

    In the same year Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, after the burning of cities and the slaughter of peoples, honorably restored the city of London and made it habitable; and he intrusted its defense to Ethelred, ealdorman of the Mercians. And all the Angles and Saxons who had before been widely scattered or who were [not] in captivity with the pagans voluntarily turned to the king and placed themselves under his rule.
    KNOWN AS ALFRED "THE GREAT"; KING OF WESSEX (THEN ALL ENGLAND) 4/871-899; DEFEATED DANES; FORTIFIED LONDON
    Alfred the Great - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Alfred (sometimes spelled Aelfred) was king of England 871-899, though at no time did he rule over the whole of the country. Alfred is famous for his defence of the kingdom against the Danes (Vikings), and gained the epithet, "the Great", as a result. Details of his life are known as a result of a work by the Welsh scholar, Asser. A learned man, Alfred encouraged education and improvesd the kingdom's legal system.

    Alfred was born some time between 847 and 849 AD at Wantage in Berkshire (Alterations to county borders in 1974 mean that Wantage is now part of Oxfordshire) , the fourth son of King Ethelwulf of Wessex (or Aethelwulf), probably by his first wife, Osburh. He succeeded his brother, Ethelred I as King of Wessex and Mercia in 871.

    He seems to have been a child of singular attractiveness and promise, and stories of his boyhood were remembered. At the age of five, in 853, he is said to have been sent to Rome, where he was confirmed by Pope Leo IV, who is also stated to have "anointed him as king." Later writers interpreted this as an anticipatory crowning in preparation for his ultimate succession to the throne of Wessex. That, however, could not have been foreseen in 853, as Alfred had three elder brothers living. It is probably to be understood either of investiture with the consular insignia, or possibly with some titular royalty such as that of the under-kingdom of Kent.

    This story is probably apocryphal, though in 854-855 Alfred almost certainly did accompany his father on a pilgrimage to Rome, spending some time at the court of Charles the Bald, King of the Franks. In 858, Ethelwulf died.

    During the short reigns of his two eldest brothers, Ethelbald and Ethelbert, nothing is heard of Alfred. But with the accession of the third brother, Ethelred, in 866 the public life of Alfred begins, and he enters on his great work of delivering England from the Danes. It is in this reign that Asser applies to Alfred the unique title of secundarius, which seems to indicate a position analogous to that of the Celtic tanist, a recognized successor, closely associated with the reigning prince. It is probable that this arrangement was definitely sanctioned by the Witenagemot, to guard against the danger of a disputed succession should Aethelred fall in battle. The arrangement of crowning a successor as co-king, however, is well-known among continental Germanic peoples, including the Franks, with whom the Anglo-Saxons had close ties.

    In 868 Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of Aethelred Mucill, who is called ealdorman of the Gaini, an unidentified district. She was the granddaughter of a former King of Mercia, and they had five or six children, including a daughter, Ethelfleda, who would become ruler of Mercia in her own right.

    The same year Alfred, fighting beside his brother Ethelred, made an unsuccessful attempt to relieve Mercia from the pressure of the Danes. For nearly two years Wessex had a respite. But at the end of 870 the storm burst; and the year which followed has been rightly called "Alfred's year of battles."

    Nine general engagements were fought with varying fortunes, though the place and date of two of them have not been recorded. A successful skirmish at Englefield, Berkshire (December 31, 870), was followed by a severe defeat at Reading (January 4, 871), and this, four days later, by the brilliant victory of Ashdown, near Compton Beauchamp in Shrivenham Hundred.

    On January 22 the English were again defeated at Basing, and on March 22 at Marton, Wiltshire, the two unidentified battles having perhaps occurred in the interval.

    In April Ethelred died, and Alfred succeeded to the whole burden of the contest. While he was busied with a funeral and associated ceremonies for his brother, the Danes defeated the English in his absence at an unnamed spot, and once more in his presence at Wilton in May. After this peace was made, and for the next five years the Danes were occupied in other parts of England, Alfred merely keeping a force of observation on the frontier. But in 876, the Danes, under a new leader, Guthrum, managed to slip past him and attacked Wareham. From there, early in 877 and under the pretext of negotiations, they made a dash westwards and seized Exeter, England. Here Alfred blockaded them, and a relieving fleet having been scattered by a storm, the Danes had to submit and withdrew to Mercia. But in January 878 they made a sudden swoop on Chippenham, a royal stronghold in which Alfred had been keeping his Christmas, "and most of the people they reduced, except the King Alfred, and he with a little band made his way ... by wood and swamp, and after Easter he ... made a fort at Athelney, and from that fort kept fighting against the foe" (Chronicle).

    A legend tells how, while a fugitive in the marshes of Athelney in Somerset, after the initial Danish invasion, he was given shelter by a peasant woman who, ignorant of his identity, left him to watch some cakes she had left cooking on the fire. Preoccupied with the problems of the realm, Alfred allowed the cakes to burn, and was taken to task by the woman on her return. The idea that Alfred, during his retreat at Athelney, was a helpless fugitive rests upon the legend of the cakes. In reality he was organizing victory. At around the same time, he is supposed to have disguised himself as a harpist in order to gain entry to Guthrum's camp and discover his plans.

    By the middle of May, his preparations were complete and he moved out of Athelney, being joined on the way by the levies of Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The Danes on their side moved out of Chippenham, and the two armies met at Edington in Wiltshire. The result was a decisive victory for Alfred. The Danes submitted. Guthrum, the Danish king, and twenty-nine of his chief men accepted baptism. As a result, England became divided into two territories, the south-western half retained by the Saxons and the north-eastern half becoming known as the Danelaw. By the next year (879) not only Wessex, but Mercia, west of Watling Street, was cleared of the invader. This is the arrangement known to historians as the peace of Wedmore (878), though no document embodying its provisions is in existence.

    Though for the present the north-eastern half of England, including London, remained in the hands of the Danes, in reality the tide had turned. For the next few years there was peace, the Danes being kept busy on the continent. A landing in Kent in 884 or 885, though successfully repelled, encouraged the East Anglian Danes to revolt. The measures taken by Alfred to repress this revolt culminated in the capture of London in 885 or 886, and the treaty known as Alfred and Guthrum's peace, whereby the boundaries of the treaty of Wedmore (with which this is often confused) were materially modified in Alfred's favour.

    Once more for a time there was a lull; but in the autumn of 892 or 893 the final storm burst. The Danes, finding their position on the continent becoming more and more precarious, crossed to England in two divisions, amounting in the aggregate to 330 sail, and entrenched themselves, the larger body at Appledore, England and the lesser under Haesten at Milton in Kent. The fact that the new invaders brought their wives and children with them shows that this was no mere raid, but a deliberate attempt, in concert with the Northumbrian and East Anglian Danes, to conquer England. Alfred, in 893 or 894, took up a position whence he could observe both forces. While he was negotiating with Haesten the Danes at Appledore broke out and struck north-westwards, but were overtaken by Alfred's eldest son, Edward, and defeated in a general engagement at Farnham, and driven to take refuge in Thorney Island in the Hertfordshire Colne, where they were blockaded and ultimately compelled to submit. They then fell back on Essex, and after suffering another defeat at Benfleet coalesced with Haesten's force at Shoebury.

    Alfred had been on his way to relieve his son at Thorney when he heard that the Northumbrian and East Anglian Danes were besieging Exeter and an unnamed fort on the coast of North Devon. Alfred at once hurried westwards and raised the siege of Exeter; the fate of the other place is not recorded. Meanwhile the force under Haesten set out to march up the Thames valley, possibly with the idea of assisting their friends in the west. But they were met by a large force under the three great ealdormen of Mercia, Wiltshire and Somerset, and forced to head off to the north-west, being finally overtaken and blockaded at Buttington, which some identify with Buttington Tump at the mouth of the Wye River, others with Buttington near Welshpool. An attempt to break through the English lines was defeated with loss; those who escaped retreated to Shoebury. Then after collecting reinforcements they made a sudden dash across England and occupied the ruined Roman walls of Chester. The English did not attempt a winter blockade, but contented themselves with destroying all the supplies in the neighbourhood. And early in 894 (or 895) want of food obliged the Danes to retire once more to Essex. At the end of this year and early in 895 (or 896) the Danes drew their ships up the Thames and Lea and fortified themselves twenty miles above London. A direct attack on the Danish lines failed, but later in the year Alfred saw a means of obstructing the river so as to prevent the egress of the Danish ships. The Danes realized that they were out-maneuvred. They struck off north-westwards and wintered at Bridgenorth. The next year, 896 (or 897), they abandoned the struggle. Some retired to Northumbria, some to East Anglia; those who had no connections in England withdrew to the continent. The long campaign was over.

    The result testifies to the confidence inspired by Alfred's character and generalship, and to the efficacy of the military reforms initiated by him. These were (1) the division of the fyrd or national militia into two parts, relieving each other at fixed intervals, so as to ensure continuity in military operations; (2) the establishment of fortified posts (burgs) and garrisons at certain points; (3) the enforcement of the obligations of thanehood on all owners of five hides of land, thus giving the king a nucleus of highly equipped troops.

    After the final dispersal of the Danish invaders Alfred turned his attention to the increase of the Royal Navy, and ships were built according to the king's own designs, partly to repress the ravages of the Northumbrian and East Anglian Danes on the coasts of Wessex, partly to prevent the landing of fresh hordes. This is not, as often asserted, the beginning of the English navy. There had been earlier naval operations under Alfred. One naval engagement was certainly fought under Aethelwulf (in 851), and earlier ones, possibly in 833 and 840. Nor were the new ships a great success, as we hear of them grounding in action and foundering in a storm. Much, too, was needed in the way of civil re-organization, especially in the districts ravaged by the Danes. In the parts of Mercia acquired by Alfred, the shire system seems now to have been introduced for the first time. This is the one grain of truth in the legend that Alfred was the inventor of shires, hundreds and tithings. The finances also needed attention; but the subject is obscure, and we cannot accept Asser's description of Alfred's appropriation of his revenue as more than an ideal sketch. Alfred's care for the administration of justice is testified both by history and legend; and the title "protector of the poor" was his by unquestioned right. Of the action of the Witangemot we do not hear very much under Alfred. That he was anxious to respect its rights is conclusively proved, but both the circumstances of the time and the character of the king would tend to throw more power into his hands. The legislation of Alfred probably belongs to the later part of the reign, after the pressure of the Danes had relaxed.

    Asser speaks grandiosely of Alfred's relations with foreign powers, but little definite information is available. He certainly corresponded with Elias III, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and probably sent a mission to India. Embassies to Rome conveying the English alms to the Pope were fairly frequent; while Alfred's interest in foreign countries is shown by the insertions which he made in his translation of Orosius.

    Around 890 Wulfstan of Haithabu undertook a journey from Haithabu on Jutland along the Baltic Sea to the Prussian trading town Truso. Wulfstan reported details of his trip to Alfred the Great.

    His relations to the Celtic princes in the southern half of the island are clearer. Comparatively early in his reign the Welsh princes, owing to the pressure on them of North Wales and Mercia, commended themselves to Alfred. Later in the reign the North Welsh followed their example, and the latter co-operated with the English in the campaign of 893 (or 894). That Alfred sent alms to Irish as well as to continental monasteries may be accepted on Asser's authority; the visit of the three pilgrim "Scots" (i.e., Irish) to Alfred in 891 is undoubtedly authentic; the story that he himself in his childhood was sent to Ireland to be healed by St. Modwenna, though mythical, may point to Alfred's interest in that island.

    The history of the church under Alfred is most obscure. The Danish inroads had told heavily upon it; the monasteries had been special points of attack, and though Alfred founded two or three monasteries and imported foreign monks, there was no general revival of monasticism under him. To the ruin of learning and education wrought by the Danes, and the practical extinction of the knowledge of Latin even among the clergy, the preface to Alfred's translation into Old English of Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care bears eloquent testimony. It was to remedy these evils that he established a court school, after the example of Charlemagne; for this he imported scholars like Grimbald and John the Saxon from the continent and Asser from South Wales; for this, above all, he put himself to school, and made the series of translations for the instruction of his clergy and people, most of which still survive. These belong unquestionably to the later part of his reign, not improbably to the last four years of it, during which the chronicles are almost silent. Apart from the lost Handboc or Encheiridion, which seems to have been merely a commonplace-book kept by the king, the earliest work to be translated was the Dialogues of Gregory, a book enormously popular in the Middle Ages. In this case the translation was made by Alfred's great friend Werferth, Bishop of Worcester, the king merely furnishing a preface. The next work to be undertaken was Gregory's Pastoral Care, especially for the benefit of the parish clergy. In this Alfred keeps very close to his original; but the introduction which he prefixed to it is one of the most interesting documents of the reign, or indeed of English history. The next two works taken in hand were historical, the Universal History of Orosius and Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The priority should probably be assigned to the Orosius, but the point has been much debated. In the Orosius, by omissions and additions, Alfred so remodels his original as to produce an almost new work; in the Bede the author's text is closely adhered to, no additions being made, though most of the documents and some other less interesting matters are omitted. Of late years doubts have been raised as to Alfred's authorship of the Bede translation. But the sceptics cannot be regarded as having proved their point.

    We come now to what is in many ways the most interesting of Alfred's works, his translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, the most popular philosophical manual of the middle ages. Here again Alfred deals very freely with his original and though the late Dr. G. Schepss showed that many of the additions to the text are to be traced not to Alfred himself, but to the glosses and commentaries which he used, still there is much in the work which is solely Alfred's and highly characteristic of his genius. It is in the Boethius that the oft-quoted sentence occurs: "My will was to live worthily as long as I lived, and after my life to leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works." The book has come down to us in two manuscripts only. In one of these the poems with which the original is interspersed are rendered into prose, in the other into alliterating verse. The authorship of the latter has been much disputed; but probably they also are by Alfred. Of the authenticity of the work as a whole there has never been any doubt. The last of Alfred's works is one to which he gave the title Blostman, i.e., "Blooms" or Anthology. The first half is based mainly on the Soliloquies of St Augustine of Hippo, the remainder is drawn from various sources, and contains much that is Alfred's own and highly characteristic of him. The last words of it may be quoted; they form a fitting epitaph for the noblest of English kings. "Therefore he seems to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear."

    Besides these works of Alfred's, the Saxon Chronicle almost certainly, and a Saxon Martyrology, of which fragments only exist, probably owe their inspiration to him. A prose version of the first fifty Psalms has been attributed to him; and the attribution, though not proved, is perfectly possible.

    How Alfred died is unknown. Even the year is uncertain. The day was the 26th of October, and the year is now generally thought to have been 899, not 900 as was previously accepted.

    The Alfred jewel is an object about 2-1/2" long, made of filigreed gold, cloisonne-enameled and with a rock crystal covering; it is thought to have been the handle for a pointer that would have fit into the hole at its base and been used while reading a book. It is inscribed, "AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN," ("Alfred had me made"). It may be one of the "aestels" Alfred had sent to each bishopric with a copy of his translation of Pope Gregory the Great's book Pastoral Care.

    The jewel was found about four miles from Athelney, where Alfred founded a monastery that lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, under King Henry VIII of England."

    Alfred ruled after his 3 older brothers died in battle. He is the only English king to bear the title "The Great". He fought the Danes, with whom he divided up England, eventually taking Mercia and Northumberland from them, along with Wessex, Kent, and London. He had almost all of England at the end. He encouraged the production of copies of "The Anglo Saxon Chronicles". Alfred was one of the greatest men in history. He was crowned king at Winchester 871; founded the British Navy, organized the militia, compiled a code of laws, built schools and monasteries, and invited scholars to live at his court. He was a good scholar and translated many books.

    Alfred, called The Great (849-99), king of the West Saxons (871-99), and one of the outstanding figures of English history. Born in Wantage in southern England, Alfred was the youngest of five sons of King Ethelwulf. On the death of his brother, Ethelred Alfred became king, coming to the throne during a Danish invasion. Although he succeeded in making peace with the Danes, they resumed their marauding expeditions five years later, and by early 878, they were successful almost everywhere. About Easter of 878, however, Alfred established himself at Athelney and began assembling an army. In the middle of that year, he defeated the Danes and captured their stronghold, probably at present-day Edington. During the following 14 years, Alfred was able to devote himself to the internal affairs of his kingdom. By 886, he had captured the city of London, and soon afterward he was recognized as the king of all England. In 893, the Danes invaded England again, and the following four years were marked by warfare; eventually, the Danes were forced to withdraw from Alfred's domain. The only ruler to resist Danish invasions successfully, Alfred made his kingdom the rallying point for all Saxons, thus laying the foundation for the unification of England. Alfred was a patron of learning and did much for the education of his people. He began a court school and invited British and foreign scholars, notably the Welsh monk Asser and the Irish-born philosopher and theologian John Scotus Erigena, to come there. Alfred translated such works as "The Consolation of Philosophy" by the Roman statesman and philosopher Boethius, "The History of the World" by the Spanish priest Paulus Orosius, and "Pastoral Care" by Pope Gregory I. Alfred's laws, the first promulgated in more than a century, were the first that made no distinction between the English and the Welsh peoples.

    Father of Aethelflaeda - King of Wessex. He was the great grandson of Offa. He is seen as the king which saved the English from the Danes. He established the burh as a fortified settlement from which the Danish incursions could be defended. In 868 he and his brother Aethelred lead a Wessex army to help Burghred against the Danes at Nottingham. His most decisive battle was Edington in May 878 where he defeated the Danes and lead to the signing of the Treaty of Wedmore. This divided England into English and Danish spheres and lead to the establishment of the Danelaw. He died in 899
  • Note:
    (Research):[Presidents041231.FTW]

    Reigned 871-899. Prevented the Danish conquest of England, defeating them at Edington (878). Founded the British Navy, organized the militia, compiled a code of laws, built schools and monasteries, invited scholars to live in his court, translated many books. Upon his death, the throne went to his son Edward The Elder. Captured the city of London[2739884.FTW]

    [2739884a.ged]

    Alias:<ALIA> The /Great/

    Alfred ruled after his 3 older brothers died in battle. Alfred is the only English king to bear the title "The Great." He fought the Danes, with whom he divided up England, eventually taking Mercia and Northumberland from them, along with Wessex, Kent, and London, he had almost all of England at the end. He encouraged the production of copi of "The Anglo Saxon Chronicles." Alfred was one of the greatest men in history. He was crowned king at Winchester 871; founded the British Navy, organized the militia, compil a code of laws, built schools and monasteries, and invited scholars to live at his court. He was a good scholar and translated many books.[kings .FTW]

    REFN: stastj63816


    K7179wt

    Name Prefix:<NPFX> King REFN: stastj111840


    K7179wt

    1 NAME Alfred the Great /England/ 2 SOUR S033320 3 DATA 4 TEXT Date of Import: Jan 17, 2001 1 BIRT 2 DATE 849 2 PLAC Wantage, Berkshire, England 2 SOUR S033320 3 DATA 4 TEXT Date of Import: Jan 17, 2001 1 DEAT 2 DATE 26 OCT 899 2 PLAC ,Winchester, Hampshire, England 2 SOUR S033320 3 DATA 4 TEXT Date of Import: Jan 17, 2001


    [De La Pole.FTW]

    Sources: RC 141, 233, 235, 238; Coe; A. Roots 1-15, 44; Warrior Kings; AF; Pfafman; Kraentzler 1470; The Earliest English Kings by D.P. Kirby; Young; Hilliam.
    King of England, 871-899; and Wessex. Had his royal seat at Chippingham.
    K: Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and Kent.
    Young: Alfred, died 899, King of Wessex, protector of the English Danelaw, overlord of the Welsh princes.
    Roots: Alfred the Great, King of England, King of England 871-899, born Wantage, Berkshire, 849; died 26 Oct. 899; married 868, Ealhswith (Alswitha), died about 905. Alfred was one of the greatest men in history. He was crowned king at Winchester, 871; founded the British Navy, organized the militia, compiled a code of laws, built schools and monasteries, and invited scholars to live at his court. He was a good scholar and translated many books.
    Hilliam: Alfred the Great, King of Wessex. Reigned 871-899. See page 815.
    All descendants of Roots lines 162 to 169 belong to the posterity of King Alfred the Great.[kings 2.FTW]

    [wallstr1.ged]

    Date of Import: 28 Mar 1999 Date of Import: 28 Mar 1999 Acceded 871-899.

    Alfred From the late 8th century, attacks by Vikings from Scandinaviaincreased. After a major invasion in 865, the kingdoms of Northumbriaand Mercia were rapidly overrun, and in 871 the Danish army attackedWessex. The Wessex forces under the command of Alfred (reigned871-99), then aged 21, defeated the Danes at the Battle of Edington in878. The Danes withdrew to an area north of a frontier running fromLondon to Chester and known as 'Danelaw'.

    This victory did not finish the Danish threat, and Alfred reorganisedthe Wessex defences by organising his army on a rota basis, so hecould raise a 'rapid reaction force' to deal with raiders whilst stillenabling his thegns and peasants to tend their farms. Second, Alfredstarted a building programme of well-defended settlements acrosssouthern England as a defence in depth against Danish raiders. Alfredalso ordered the building of a navy of new fast ships to patrol thecoasts and meet invaders before they penetrated inland.

    Other reforms included establishing a legal code (assembled from thelaws of his predecessors and of the kingdoms of Mercia and Kent), andreforming the coinage. Illiterate in Latin until the age of 38, Alfredpromoted literacy, religion and education, and directed thetranslation of works of religious instruction, philosophy and historyinto the vernacular; this was partly so that people could read hisorders and legislation. The energetic royal authority demonstrated inAlfred's policies presaged the Wessex kings' rule of all Englandduring the next century. [large-G675.FTW]

    Reigned 871-899. Prevented the Danish conquest of England, defeatingthem at Eddington (878) after a campaign of guerilla warfare. Afterthe victory he allowed the Danes to keep their conquests in EastAnglia & Mercia provided that Guthrum, their king, was converted toChristianity. Alfred built a navy of warships to defend the southcoast aginst further Danish invasions (885-886, 892-896) & protectedWessex with a chain of fortifications. He took London (886) thusgaining control of all England except the Danish areas. Quote fromWinston Churchill: ("Alfred the Great", chapter 7 of volume 1 of his"History of the English-Speaking Peoples". An appreciation of "thegreatest Englishman that ever lived"). Quote from Maurice Ashley in"Great Britain to 1688" about Alfred: "He was the greatest Englishmanin early history" (p. 41). Banner was a golden dragon (the goldendragon was the banner of the kingdom of Wessex, Alfred's personalbanner was the White Horse). Since Alfred was the fifth son, it wasnever thought he would be King, and thus unlike his older brothers whohave the royal mark of the ruling house of Wessex "AEthel" (or"Ethel") as a part of their names, Alfred was instead named after hismother's folk).

    REF: The Newsletter of Anglo-Saxon Studies at The University ofGeorgia Vol I, Number 3 (Spring, 1994): "ALFRED'S MILITARYACHIEVEMENTS", Alex Bruce

    Alfred the Great is remembered for his two great victories--hissuccess in re-establishing learning in his kingdom of Wessex (see Matheliende1.2), and his success in defeating the seemingly unstoppable forces of theinvading Danes. No matter how much we venerate the revival ofeducation under Alfred, the latter of these successes is, however, thegreater; there would have been no possibility of restoring the centersof learning had Alfred not brought peace to his land. When Alfredbecame king of the West Saxons in 871, he was already an experiencedmilitary leader, as he had participated in several campaigns againstthe invading Danes. The Danes had been present in the British Islessince at least 789, but until the time of Alfred they had concentratedtheir efforts on subjugating the eastern lands of Britain. However, in865 a great army of Danes hungry for land and wealth moved quicklythrough the kingdoms of East Anglia and Northumbria. After these twokingdoms capitulated and paid tribute to the invaders, the Danesturned to Mercia. There, in 868, they met both Mercians and WestSaxons; the two nations had formed an alliance that had beenstrengthened that very year by the marriage of Alfred and Ealhswith,daughter of a Mercian ealdorman (see Asser ch. 29). Alfred and his elder brother King Aethelred personallyled the Wessex contingent, yet not even the combined forces of theMercians and the West Saxons could keep the Danes at bay. The Mercians, like theEast Anglians and Northumbrians, had to "make peace"--that is, pay tribute.
    In 871 Alfred's brother Aethelred died, making Alfred, last sonof King Aethelwulf, the new king of the West Saxons. In that year as well theDanes turned their attention to Alfred's kingdom, and for the next fouryears, until 875, Alfred bought peace for his people by paying tribute to the Danes. At first the invaders seemed satisfied, but in 875 they began altering the terms of the peace.
    That year, after collecting their tribute, the Danes did notleave Wessex as they had before, but lived there, peacefully but at the expense ofthe West Saxons, until 878. Then, in their desire to subjugate completelythe people of Wessex, the Danes went on the offensive. Alfred fought back,yet in March of that year he and his followers were forced into hiding,and the hope of the West Saxons was fading. But that May Alfred met the Danish force at Edington; "there he fought against the entire host, and putit to flight, and pursued it up to the fortification [probably Chippenham]and laid siege there a fortnight; and then the host gave him preliminary hostages and solemn oaths that they would leave his kingdom, andpromised him in addition that their king would receive baptism; and theyfulfilled this promise" (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, year 878). Alfred had defeatedthe invading Danes, forcing them to submit to his terms. They subsequentlyleft Alfred and Wessex, turning to the continent for new lands to plunder.Yet though this particular force left, Danes still inhabited Britain;Northumbria, East Anglia, and parts of Mercia were all still under theDanelaw. Alfred felt constantly threatened, and had to fightskirmishes with the Danes for many years. To help preserve hishard-earned peace Alfred developed stronger defenses for his land ofWessex. In the southern part of Britain he established several newfortified cities, better than the smaller forts, where great groups ofpeople could gather for protection. He reorganized his army so that atany one time half of it was prepared for war. Finally, in 886, Alfredtook the initiative himself and attacked the Danish-held city ofLondon in an attempt to diminish the lands ruled under the Danelaw. Hesucceeded, and for his efforts all the "Angles and Saxons--those whohad formerly been scattered everywhere and were not in captivity withthe Danes--turned willingly to King Alfred and submitted themselves tohis lordship" (Asser ch. 83). At this point Alfred seems to have comeclosest to rightly earning the title "King of England," though in reality he governed perhaps a quarter of the land now known asEngland. Once he had brought peace to his land Alfred began toimplement his reforms. He encouraged learning and the keeping of theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle; he also established a code of law, based on theBible, which "shows how the king sought to maintain social order"(Introduction to "Extracts from the laws of King Alfred," Alfred theGreat 163). Law codes were certainly not new to the people of Wessex;what was different about Alfred's code was that by basing his laws soclearly on Biblical law, "Alfred places his own activity as alaw-giver in what he regards as its proper context, effectivelyimplying that the legislation which follows stands in the sametradition and represents that of the new chosen people" (Introductionto Alfred the Great 39). In 892-3 Alfred's peace was disturbed by theviolent return of the Danes. These invaders, driven off the continent,seemed intent upon "the final conquest and settlement of England"(McElwee 32). During these campaigns Alfred won praise from the writerof the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (perhaps not very surprising, consideringwho the sponsor was!) for his forethought and stratagems. His standingarmy was able to fight off the invaders while the people remained safein his fortified cities. Alfred also employed new tactics; he scoutedout the enemy and destroyed them at sea using larger war-ships of hisown design. The Danes were thwarted at every turn, and were forced toretreat, unfulfilled, from the island of Britain. The last years ofAlfred's life were more peaceful and devoted to scholarly pursuits.When Alfred died on October 26, 899, he left a culture which hadperhaps already seen its best days, but, thanks to Alfred's care and courage, would be remembered for centuries to come.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and other Contemporary Sources. Trans. with an introduction and notes by Simon Keynes andMichael Lapidge. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Trans., ed., and introduced by G. N.Garmonsway. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1972.

    Asser. Life of King Alfred. In Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and other Contemporary Sources. Trans. with an introduction and notes by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge. New York: Penguin Books,1983.

    McElwee, William. A Short History of England, from the Time of KingAlfred to the Present Day. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968.

    The Oxford History of Britain. Revised edition. Ed. Kenneth O. Morgan. Oxford: The Oxford University Press, 1988.

    Plummer, Charles. The Life and Times of Alfred the Great. New York:Haskel House Productions Ltd., 1902.


    REF: The Newsletter of Anglo-Saxon Studies at The University ofGeorgia Vol I, Number 2 (Winter, 1994) "ALFRED THE EDUCATOR" KirkAppletoft: Alfred the Great, considered the first king of England, isknown for saving his land from decimation by the invading Danes andthereby giving his countrymen a sense of nationalism. Yet Alfredachieved more than military and political successes during his reignfrom 871-901; his dedication to the teaching of the liberal artshelped preserve the literary tradition of the Anglo-Saxons.Alfred's appreciation for education began very early in his life. In853, at the age of four, Alfred was sent by his father, KingAethelwulf, to Pope Leo IV in Rome for instruction. This instruction,no doubt, focused on religion rather than on the liberal arts. Butthis trip to Rome, as well as the one Alfred made two years later,certainly helped Alfred recognize the role of the Church in education.Alfred would fully acknowledge this role when he became king. Alfred'sinterest in the liberal arts was encouraged by his stepmother Judith,who was the first to pique his interest in reading. Alfred'scontemporary biographer, Asser, a bishop from Wales, records thatJudith offered a book of Saxon poems to the first of Aethelwulf's foursons who could recite the book to her. To win the book, Alfred, whocould not read, had an instructor read the book to him until he hadmemorized every word. According to Asser, this "desire for wisdom,more than anything else, together with the nobility of his birth, . .. characterized the nature of his noble mind" (Asser 75). Not untilafter he became king in 871 did Alfred learn to read and write. Asser,whom Alfred had called to serve in his court, seems to have beenresponsible for this feat. Asser would copy passages from the Biblefor Alfred to study; Alfred would then eagerly translate them intoEnglish. The duties of being the king, however, constantly interruptedAlfred's education. His entire reign was spent in a religious war withthe Danes. He believed that the invaders represented punishment fromGod for the decay of education, and the corresponding lack ofunderstanding of Latin manuscripts and psalms. So, for Alfred, his warbecame not a matter of the English fighting the Danes; it was theChristians fighting the heathens. This belief was one of the primary reasons for the large number ofreligious translations and the increasing interest in education during Alfred'sreign. As well, Alfred supported education because he recognized that"a king's raw material and instruments of rule are a well peopledland, and he must have men of prayer, men of war, and men of work . .. [for] without these tools he cannot perform any of the tasksentrusted to him" (Plummer 153). In order to have these tools at hisdisposal he brought many Latin scholars from the continent to teach athis institutions. He also, even when his war with the Danes was at itsheight, took time to translate several Latin works on his own,including Pope Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, Boethius'sConsolation of Philosophy and St. Augustine's Soliloquies. Soimportant to Alfred was the ability to read that he began to demandthat other nobles of the land be able to read. Asser recounts Alfred'sadmonishments to a group of judges who were poorly educated; they weretold "either to relinquish immediately [their] offices of worldlypower . . . or else to apply [them]selves much more attentively to thepursuit of wisdom." (Asser 110) Needless to say they chose the latteroption. The effect of all of Alfred's educational reforms was that we, morethan 1000 years later, have a wealth of Anglo- Saxon prose and poetryto read and study. Without his dedication to learning we would allhave been poorer.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Asser. Life of King Alfred. In Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and other Contemporary Sources. Trans. with an introduction and notes by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge. New York: Penguin Books,1983.

    Bosworth, George F. Alfred the Great: His Life and Times. London:Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1914.

    Loyn, H. R. Alfred the Great. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

    Plummer, Charles. The Life and Times of Alfred the Great. New York:Haskel House Productions Ltd., 1902.

    REF: *The Chronicle of Fabius Ethelwerd, From the Beginning of theWorld to the Year of Our Lord 975*, translated by J A Giles in *Six OldEnglish Chronicles*, London (Bohn), 1848, p 28, 37.: "Lastly, in the sameyear, king Alfred departed out of this world, that immoveable pillarof the Western Saxons, that man full of justice, bold in arms, learnedin speech, and, above all other things, imbued with the divineinstructions. For he had translated into his own language, out ofLatin, unnumbered volumes, of so varied a nature, and so excellently,that the sorrowful book of Boethius seemed, not only to the learned,but even to those who heard it read, as it were, brought to lifeagain. The monarch died on the seventh day before the solemnity ofAll Saints, and his body rests in peace in the city of Winston. Pray,O reader, to Christ our Redeemer, that he will save his soul!"

    REF: Weis & Sheppard, *Ancestral Roots ... *, 7th Edition, 1992, p 2 :Alfred the Great, King of England, 871-899, b. Wantage, Berkshire,849; d. 26 Oct. 899; m. 868, Ealhsith (Alswitha), d. ca. 905, dau. ofEarl Aethelred of Mercia and Eadburgh. Alfred was one of the greatestmen in history. He was crowned king at Winchester, 871; founded theBritish Navy, organized the militia, compiled a code of laws, builtschools and monasteries, and invited scholars to live at his court.He was a good scholar and translated many books."

    SRCE: Asser of Saint David, *Annals of the Reign of Alfred theGreat, from A.D. 849 to A.D. 887* (or *Life of Alfred*), translated by J A Giles,1848, p 43-44. Giles says in the preface, p vi: In the year of ourLord's incarnation 849, was born Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, atthe royal village of Wanating [Wantage], in Berkshire, which countryhas its name from the wood of Berrod, where the box-tree grows mostabundantly. His genealogy is traced in the following order. KingAlfred was the son of King Ethelwild, who was the son of Egbert, whowas the son, of Elmund, who was son of Eafa, who was the son of Eoppa,who was the son of Ingild. Ingild, and Ina, the famous king of theWest-Saxons, were two brothers. Ina went to Rome, and there endingthis life honourably, entered the heavenly kingdom, to reign there forever with Christ. Ingild and Ina were the sons of Coenred, who was theson of Ceolwald, who was the son of Cudam, who was the son of Cuthwin,who was the son of Ceawlin, who was the son of Cynric, who was the sonof Creoda, who was the son of Cerdic, who was the son of Elesa, whowas the son of Gewis, from whom the Britons name all that nation Gewis[FOOTNOTE: The Gewissae, generally understood to be the West-Saxons.],who was the son of Brond, who was the son of Beldeg, who was the sonof Woden, who was the son of Frithowald, who was the son of Frealaf,who was the son of Frithuwulf, who was the son of Finn of Godwulf, whowas the son of Geat, which Geat the pagans long worshipped as a god.Sedulius makes mention of him in his metrical Paschal poem, asfollows:--
    When gentile poets with their fictions vain,
    In tragic language and bombastic strain,
    To their god Geat, comic deity,
    Loud praises sing, &c. "Geat was the son of Taetwa, who was the son of Beaw, who was the sonof Sceldi [= SCELDWA in trans. by Keynes & Lapidge], who was the son ofHeremod, who was the son of Itermon, who was the son of Hathra, whowas the son of Gula [= HWALA in trans. by K & L], who was the son ofBedwig, who was the son of Shem [= SETH in trans. by K & L, but thisis probably an error], who was the son of Noah, who was the son ofLamech, who was the son of Methusalem [=METHUSALAH], who was the sonof Enoch, who was the son of Malaleel [= MAHALALEEL], who was the sonof Cainian [= CAINAN in trans. by K & L], who was the son of Enos, whowas the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam."

    REF: William of Malmesbury, *Chronicle of the Kings of England*, c1135, tr John Allen Giles, London (Henry G Bohn) 1847, p 113-122 passim: Hewas married to Ealhswith of the Gani in 868."Received the royal unctionand crown from pope Leo the fourth at Rome, acceded to the sovereigntyand retained it with the greatest difficulty, but with equal valour,twenty-eight years and a half. ..... For nine successive yearsbattling with his enemies, sometimes deceived by false treaties, andsometimes wreaking his vengeance on the deceivers, he was at lastreduced to such extreme distress, that scarcely three counties, thatis to say, Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Somersetshire, stood fast bytheir allegiance, as he was compelled to retreat to a certain islandcalled Athelney, which from its marshy situation was hardlyaccessible. ..... [However, later] Alfred had reduced the wholeisland to his power, with the exception of what the Danes possessed...... After England had rejoiced for 13 years in the tranquility ofpeace and in the fertility of her soil, the northern pest ofbarbarians again returned. With them returned war and slaughter .....The king himself was, with his usual activity, present in everyaction, ever daunting the invaders, and at the same time inspiritinghis subjects, with the signal display of his courage. He would opposehimself singly to the enemy; and by his own personal exertions rallyhis declining forces. The very places are yet pointed out by theinhabitants where he felt the vicissitudes of good and evil fortune...... His children by Elswitha, the daughter of earl Athelred, wereEthelswitha, Edward who reigned after him; Ethel fled who was marriedto Ethered earl of the Mercians; Ethelwerd, whom they celebrate asbeing extremely learned; Elfred and Ethelgiva, virgins. His[Alfred's] health was so bad that he was constantly disquited eitherby the piles or some disorder of the intestines. It is said, however,that he entreated this from God, in his supplications, in order that,by the admonition of pain, he might be less anxious after earthlydelights.
    "Yet amid these circumstances the private life of the king is tobe admired and celebrated with the highest praise. For although, assome one has said, "Laws must give way amid the strife of arms," yethe, amid the sound of trumpets and the din of war, enacted statures bywhich his people might equally familiarise themselves to religiousworship and to military discipline. And since, from the example ofthe barbarians, the natives themselves began to lust after rapine,insomuch that there was no safe intercourse without a military guard,he appointed centuries, which they call "hundreds," and decennaries,that is to say, "tythings," so that every Englishman, living accordingto law, must be a member of both. If any one was accused of a crime,he was obliged immediately to produce persons from the hundred andtything to become his surety; and whosoever was unable to find suchsurety, must dread the severity of the laws. If any who was impleadedmade his escape either before or after he had found surety, allpersons of the hundred and tything paid a fine to the king. By thisregulation he diffused such peace throughout the country that heordered golden bracelets, which might mock the eager desires of thepassengers while no one durst take them away, to be hung up on thepublic causeways, where the roads crossed each other. ..... Heerected monasteries wherever he deemed it fitting ..... [Alfred sentfor Grimmald] that by his activity he might awaken the study ofliterature in England, which was now slumbering and almost expiring...... Confiding in these auxiliaries [Grimmald, Asser, Werefrith,Johannes Scotus], the king gave his whole soul to the cultivation ofthe liberal arts, insomuch that no Englishman was quicker incomprehending, or more elegant in translating. ..... He translatedinto English the greater part of the Roman authors ..... Moreover heinfused a great regard for literature into his countrymen, stimulatingthem both with rewards and punishments, allowing no ignorant person toaspire to any dignity in the court. He died just as he had begun atranslation of the Psalms. ..... He had one unusual and unheard ofcustom, which was, that he always carried in his bosom a book in whichthe daily order of the Psalms was contained, for the purpose ofcarefully perusing it, if at any time he had leisure. In this way hepassed his life, much respected by neighboring princes, and gave hisdaughter Ethelswitha in marriage to Baldwin earl of Flanders, by whomhe had Arnulf and Ethelwulf; the former received from his father thecounty of Boulogne, from the other at this day are descended the earlsof Flanders. [Footnote by Giles: "Matilda, queen of William theFirst, was daughter of Baldwin earl of Flanders, the fifth in descentfrom Ethelswitha."]
    "Alfred, paying the debt of nature, was buried at Winchester, inthe monastery which he had founded ..... They report that Alfred wasfirst was first buried in the cathedral, because the monaster was unfinished,but that afterwards, on account of the folly of the canons, who asserted thatthe royal spirit, resuming its carcass, wandered nightly through thebuildings, Edward, his son and successor, removed the remains of his father, andgave them a quiet resting-place in the new minster. [Footnote by Giles:"On its removal called Hyde Abbey."] These and similar superstitions, such asthat the dead body of a wicked man runs about, after death, by the agencyof the devil, the English hold with almost inbred credulity, borrowing themfrom the heathens, according to the expression of Virgil, "Forms such asflit, they say, when life is gone." [Virg. Aeneid, x. 641.]

    REF: British Monarchy Official Website: From the late 8th century,there were attacks by Vikings from Scandinavia. The kingdoms ofNorthumbria and Mercia were rapidly over-run and in 871 the Danisharmy attacked Wessex. After initial setbacks, Alfred, King of Wessex(reigned 871-99) defeated the Danes at the Battle of Edington in 878.The Danes withdrew to an area north of a frontier running from Londonto Chester, which became known as the 'Danelaw'. Alfred then began aprogramme of reforms, including establishing a legal code, improvingeducation and learning, and reforming the coinage. He also started a building programme of well-defended towns ('borough' comes from theOld English burgh, a fortress) and a new navy.

    [large-G675.FTW]

    Reigned 871-899. Prevented the Danish conquest of England, defeatingthem at Eddington (878) after a campaign of guerilla warfare. Afterthe victory he allowed the Danes to keep their conquests in EastAnglia & Mercia provided that Guthrum, their king, was converted toChristianity. Alfred built a navy of warships to defend the southcoast aginst further Danish invasions (885-886, 892-896) & protectedWessex with a chain of fortifications. He took London (886) thusgaining control of all England except the Danish areas. Quote fromWinston Churchill: ("Alfred the Great", chapter 7 of volume 1 of his"History of the English-Speaking Peoples". An appreciation of "thegreatest Englishman that ever lived"). Quote from Maurice Ashley in"Great Britain to 1688" about Alfred: "He was the greatest Englishmanin early history" (p. 41). Banner was a golden dragon (the goldendragon was the banner of the kingdom of Wessex, Alfred's personalbanner was the White Horse). Since Alfred was the fifth son, it wasnever thought he would be King, and thus unlike his older brothers whohave the royal mark of the ruling house of Wessex "AEthel" (or"Ethel") as a part of their names, Alfred was instead named after hismother's folk).

    REF: The Newsletter of Anglo-Saxon Studies at The University ofGeorgia Vol I, Number 3 (Spring, 1994): "ALFRED'S MILITARYACHIEVEMENTS", Alex Bruce

    Alfred the Great is remembered for his two great victories--hissuccess in re-establishing learning in his kingdom of Wessex (see Matheliende1.2), and his success in defeating the seemingly unstoppable forces of theinvading Danes. No matter how much we venerate the revival ofeducation under Alfred, the latter of these successes is, however, thegreater; there would have been no possibility of restoring the centersof learning had Alfred not brought peace to his land. When Alfredbecame king of the West Saxons in 871, he was already an experiencedmilitary leader, as he had participated in several campaigns againstthe invading Danes. The Danes had been present in the British Islessince at least 789, but until the time of Alfred they had concentratedtheir efforts on subjugating the eastern lands of Britain. However, in865 a great army of Danes hungry for land and wealth moved quicklythrough the kingdoms of East Anglia and Northumbria. After these twokingdoms capitulated and paid tribute to the invaders, the Danesturned to Mercia. There, in 868, they met both Mercians and WestSaxons; the two nations had formed an alliance that had beenstrengthened that very year by the marriage of Alfred and Ealhswith,daughter of a Mercian ealdorman (see Asser ch. 29). Alfred and his elder brother King Aethelred personallyled the Wessex contingent, yet not even the combined forces of theMercians and the West Saxons could keep the Danes at bay. The Mercians, like theEast Anglians and Northumbrians, had to "make peace"--that is, pay tribute.
    In 871 Alfred




    Father: Ethelwulf (Aethelwulf) De Wessex b: 806 in Aachen
    Mother: Osburga Of Jutie b: 810 in Isle Of Wight, Hampshire, England

    Marriage 1 Elfleda Of Ethelhelm b: Abt 858 in Wessex, England
    • Married:
    • Change Date: 10 Dec 2012

    Marriage 2 Ealhswyth (Aethelswitha) Of Mercia b: Abt 852 in Northumbria, England
    • Married: Abt 868 in Winchester, England 2 8
    • Note:
      Sources for this Information:
      date: [Ref: ES II #78, Paget HRHCharles p5] 868 [Ref: Weis AR7 #1, Weis MC #161], names: King Alfred & Elswith [Ref: Holloway WENTWORTH p18], child: [Ref: CMH p382, ES II #78, Holloway WENTWORTH p18, Moriarty Plantagenet p16, Paget HRHCharles p5, Paget HRHCharles p6, Watney WALLOP #879, Weir RoyalFam p10, Weir RoyalFam p9, Weis AR7 #1, Weis AR7 #44, Weis MC #161]
      Sources with Inaccurate Information:
      child: Ethelred I King of England (#11825) [Ref: Wurts MCBarons p164]
    • Event: Alt. Marriage Alt. Marriage 868
    • Event: Alt. Marriage Alt. Marriage 868
    • Note: England
    • Event: Alt. Marriage Alt. Marriage 868
    • Note: Winchester, Dorsetshire, England; Quality: 0
    • Event: Alt. Marriage Alt. Marriage 868
    • Note: Winchester, England 1
    • Change Date: 31 Dec 2012
    Children
    1. Has Children Aethelweard (Edward) De Wessex b: 870 in Wessex, England c: Abt 871 in Wessex England
    2. Has Children Ęfthryth (Elfrida) (Elstrude) Ethelswida De Wessex b: 872 in Wessex, England
    3. Has No Children Ethelgiva De Wessex b: 873 in Wessex, England
    4. Has Children Ethelfleda Aetheflaed De Wessex b: 869 in Wessex, Wessex, England
    5. Has No Children Aethelgeofu of Shaftesbury b: Abt 875 in Wessex, England
    6. Has No Children Edmund Of England De Wessex b: Abt 873 in Wessex, England
    7. Has No Children Aethelstan De Wessex b: 875 in Winchester, Wessex

    Sources:
    1. Abbrev: Directory of Royal Genealogical Data
      Title: Directory of Royal Genealogical Data
      Author: Brian Tompsett, Dept of Computer Science, University of Hull, Hull UK HU6 7RX
      Publication: http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/public/genealogy/royal/
    2. Abbrev: garynlewis1144.ged
      Title: garynlewis1144.ged
      Note:
      garynlewis1144.ged, Source Medium: Other
      .
    3. Abbrev: Royalty for Commoners
      Title: Royalty for Commoners
      Author: Stuart, Roderick W.
      Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co.
      Note:
      ABBR Royalty for Commoners
      NS386753

      Source Media Type: Book
    4. Abbrev: brucedjohnson.ged
      Title: brucedjohnson.ged
      Note:
      brucedjohnson.ged, Source Medium: Other
      .
    5. Abbrev: The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarcy
      Title: The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarcy
      Author: John Cannon & Ralph Griffiths
      Publication: Oxford University Press, 1998, 2000 ISBN 0-19-289328-9
    6. Abbrev: harry.ged
      Title: harry.ged
      Note:
      harry.ged, Source Medium: Other
      .
    7. Abbrev: Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England between 1623 and 1650
      Title: Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England between 1623 and 1650
      Author: Frederick Lewis Weis
      Publication: Sixth Edition Genealogical Publishing, Inc. 1988 ISBN 0-8063-1207-6
    8. Abbrev: finn.GED
      Title: finn.GED
      Note:
      finn.GED, Source Medium: Other
      .
    9. Abbrev: Who's Buried Where in England
      Title: Who's Buried Where in England
      Author: Douglas Greenwood
      Publication: (London, Constable, 1999), 3rd edition
    10. Abbrev: Official Web Site of the British Monarchy
      Title: Official Web Site of the British Monarchy
      Publication: Name: Name: Name: http://www.royal.gov.uk/;;;
      Note:
      Official Web Site of the British Monarchy (Name: Name: http://www.royal.gov.uk/;;), ABBR British MonarchyDATE 23 Nov 2004.
    11. Abbrev: Direct Linage1.FTW
      Title: Direct Linage1.FTW
      Note:
      Direct Linage1.FTW, ABBR Direct Linage1.FTW.
    12. Abbrev: Sergent.ged
      Title: Sergent.ged
      Note:
      Sergent.ged, ABBR Sergent.ged.
    13. Abbrev: Sergent2.ged
      Title: Sergent2.ged
      Note:
      Sergent2.ged, ABBR Sergent2.ged.
    14. Abbrev: Sargent.FTW
      Title: Sargent.FTW
      Note:
      Sargent.FTW, Source Medium: Other
      .
    15. Abbrev: 3173266.ged
      Title: 3173266.ged
      Note:
      3173266.ged, Source Medium: Other
      .
    16. Abbrev: Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England
      Title: Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England
      Note:
      Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, Source Medium: Book
      .
    17. Abbrev: British History, Life & Travel
      Title: British History, Life & Travel
      Publication: Name: Name: Name: http://www.britannia.com/;;;
      Note:
      British History, Life & Travel (Name: Name: http://www.britannia.com/;;), ABBR Britannia.comDATE 23 Nov 2004.
      Page: Anglo-Saxon England
      Quality: 3
      Text: QUAY 4
    18. Abbrev: BBC News
      Title: BBC News
      Publication: Name: Name: Name: http://news.bbc.co.uk/;;;
      Note:
      BBC News (Name: Name: http://news.bbc.co.uk/;;), ABBR BBCDATE 23 Nov 2004.
      Page: Historic Figures: Charles II (1630-1685)
      Quality: 3
      Text: QUAY 4
    19. Abbrev: kkgedcom.ged
      Title: kkgedcom.ged
      Note:
      kkgedcom.ged, ABBR kkgedcom.ged.
    20. Abbrev: sergent1.FTW
      Title: sergent1.FTW
      Note:
      sergent1.FTW, ABBR sergent1.FTW.
    21. Abbrev: JamesTree.FTW
      Title: JamesTree.FTW
      Note:
      JamesTree.FTW, ABBR JamesTree.FTW.
    22. Abbrev: Notable
      Title: Notable
      Note:
      Notable.
    23. Abbrev: feonadorf.ged
      Title: feonadorf.ged
      Note:
      feonadorf.ged, ABBR feonadorf.ged.
    24. Abbrev: Dent, Michelle
      Title: "My Childrens Tree," supplied by Dent, 22-2-2009.
      Author: compiled by Michelle Dent [(E-ADDRESS) FOR PRIVATE USE\,]
      Text: CAUTION: Not all facts within have been documented!
      Please, do not take all of them, as so!
      Documentation is being added continously!!
      Please contact me with any questions!
      chipmunk@bright.net
      Comments, corrections, and additions welcome!
      Repository:
        Name: n/a
    25. Abbrev: Universal Standard Encyclopedia
      Title: Universal Standard Encyclopedia
      Author: Joseph laffan Morse, Editor in Cheif
      Publication: Standard Reference Works Publishing Company, Inc., New York; Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1956; "An abridgement of The New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia"
    26. Abbrev: The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215
      Title: The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215
      Author: Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr
      Publication: 5th Edition, 1999
      Repository:
        Name: n/a
        USA

      Page: 161-1
      Quality: 3
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