, the Viking who had ruled East Anglia as King Aethelred, died. His successor chose to honour the peace agreement made by Guthrum with King Alfred
Alfred established a permanent army setting up a system where only half the army was to be on service at any one time. Those not on service could be called on as reinforcements in times of need.
King Alfred began to surround himself with learned men. He was interested in learning and commissioned translations of many works into Old English.
A large number of Vikings
arrived and made their base at Appledore in Devon. At the same time another group of Vikings landed and made their base at Milton in northern Kent. Alfred stationed his forces midway between them.
Alfred agreed a peace with Haesten
the leader of the Milton Vikings. Alfred gave Haesten money and treasures while Haesten gave hostages and swore an oath of peace in return.
Haesten broke the peace agreed with Alfred. He took his army and laid waste to Benfleet in Essex.
Battle of Farnham
While Alfred was dealing with Haesten, his son, Edward
was dealing with the Appledore Vikings. They had raided towns in Hampshire and Berkshire and were returning to Appledore with their booty. Edward managed to intercept them, recover the stolen treasure and put them to flight. Edward then pursued them and managed to hold them under siege at Thorney.
King Alfred intended to help his son Edward but he received word that another group of Vikings had placed Exeter under siege. Alfred decided that Edward would have to hold the Vikings at Thorney as best he could on his own. He then marched his army to Exeter to relieve the siege. Meanwhile the Ealdormen of Mercia, Somerset and Wiltshire fought off more Vikings that were heading to Exeter. Alfred eventually succeeded in breaking the siege and the Vikings left Exeter.
Battle of Benfleet
A Saxon army commanded by Alfred’s son, Edward, marched to Benfleet to attack Haesten. Haesten left Benfleet to go raiding leaving his wife and children in the fort at Benfleet. Edward decided to attack and Haesten’s wife and children were captured. However, Alfred allowed them to return safely since they had been baptised.
The Vikings at Thorney were facing starvation and so surrendered. They left Thorney and marched north to Chester. Edward pursued them and placed Chester under siege.
The Vikings built a new fort about 20 miles north of London.
Alfred led an attack on the Viking fort north of London but was unsuccessful.
Alfred built two new forts close the the Viking fort north of London.
895 (late Autumn)
The Vikings left their fort to the north of London and marched to Bridgenorth on the River Severn where they began building a new fort. However, Alfred followed them and placed Bridgenorth under siege.
The Vikings left Wessex and returned to East Anglia and Northumbria. Wessex was a peace.
King Alfred’s eldest son, Edward, married Aelfflaed
, daughter of the ealdorman of Wiltshire. Edward’s son, Aethelstan by Ecgwynn, was placed into the care of his sister Aethelflaed and her husband Aethelred of Mercia.
899 (26th October)
First published 2016; Updated and re-published Jan 20 2021 @ 4:25 pm – Updated – [last-modified]