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Alfred the Great

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 Alfred the Great 849-99

  King Alfred, sometimes called Alfred the great was born in the year 849 and his connection with Basingstoke is that in the year 871 he fought the Alfred the Great Danes  at Basing. Alfred was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf, he was a deeply religious man and his life was marked by ill health. When Æthelred, Alfred's brother, became King of Wessex in 865 Alfred became his viceroy and fought for his brother against the Danes. The Danes were at this timeKnight with spear threatening to overrun the whole of England and in the year 870 the Danes began their assault on Wessex. Æthelred and his brother Alfred had several battles with the Danes, including the battle at Basing where Alfred was defeated by the Danes.

   When Æthelred died in 871, Alfred became king of the West Saxons and overlord of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex. Alfred realised that the Danes were too strong to defeat and so he cleared them from Wessex by payment of tribute. He used the next five years to build up his armed forces and when in 876 the Danes returned Alfred's army was big enough to defeat them, the Danes left swearing never to return. But in the Knight poking spear year 878 the Danes broke their word and launched a surprise invasion on Wessex and defeated Alfred's army and Alfred fled to Athelney in the fens of Somerset. From here he launched raids against the Danes and the famous legend arose of him burning an old woman's cakes and being told off by her as she didn't recognise who he was. 

   In 878 Alfred once more took his troops into battle and finally defeated the Danes at the battle of Edington. He then dictated the Peace ofKnight Chippenham where Guthrum, the Danish leader, accepted Christian
baptism. In 886 Alfred captured London from Guthrum  which made Alfred ruler of the south and west of England. Between 892 and 896 the Danes renewed there attempts at invasion but were finally defeated by Alfred and peace came to Wessex.

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