Wednesday May 18, 2022

The other King of Wessex

Following the BBC/Netflix programme The Last Kingdom most of us know about King Alfred the Great, who, despite preserving Anglo-Saxon Britain from the Danes, burnt the cakes. There were some other Kings from that period that deserve a mention. One of them is Alfred’s grandson Athelstan. He was born somewhere in Wessex and was able to continue keeping the Kingdoms all together, especially the troublesome Mercia. Britain was a deeply divided nation with Danes and Vikings firmly established in their own Kingdoms plus the remains of the Romano-Britons in Strathclyde, Wales and Cornwall and the Scots/Picts in Scotland.

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He was not crowned in Wessex which set up some tension and he was not fully accepted there. It took him some years to subdue Wessex and the doubting Mercians. When he was fully in power he began to flex his muscle even more. His first big achievement was to drive the Danes out of York and become the first proper King of all England which his Grandfather had failed to do. He also invaded Scotland to make them claim homage to him.

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Outside of battle he was also able to bring his government to a central control point. He summoned leaders from all over the country to come to his court thus reinforcing his authority. He built churches and brought in more laws and fair taxes. He was very concerned about law and order. He died unmarried and childless and is buried in Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire in Wessex. Just one of the many historical attractions that Wiltshire Park Homes owners can see. Why not check out to see for yourself.

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