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Part IV




Guthrum I dies - Enter Guthrum II

uthrum died in 891 and the pact between him and Alfred was considered null and void. In 882, the starving Norse men turned their attention to England again. Another massed invasion up the Thames estuary by the disenchanted European invaders culminated in another defeat for them. This time, the preparations made by Alfred, with his fortified towns and large ships which he had built combined with his reorganization of the fyrd were too much for them. He had taken a leaf out of the Vikings book and played them at their own game. This was the last battle Alfred was to be involved in. It was now the turn of his son, Edward to take control. The battles continued off and on until about 896. Alfred died in 899.


The Battle of Tettenhall

n 904 Guthrum was replaced by his official successor Guthrum II. He reinstated the treaty signed by his predecessor. The old Vikings settled down and resumed farming and inbreeding with the existing population. In 910 dissatisfaction with their lot provided a vehicle to break the treaty. Mercia was the location. Edward defeated the Vikings and pushed them back at the battle of Tettenhall. Edward had a sister named Athefleda who married the ealdorman of Mercia. On his death, she became overlord, which was unheard of at that time. She, known as Lady of the Mercians, joined with her brother to force the Vikings out of Mercia and back to East Anglia and Northumbria by using well thought out tactics. Wessex and Mercia now fought as one. Working as a team they pushed into East Anglia, fortifying any towns that they captured along the way. Guthrum II died in Bedfordshire in a battle at Tempsford in 917. Aethelfleda advanced as far as York to accept their surrender. Unfortunately she died very soon afterwards. Edward therefore, was claimed the king of the whole of England below the river Humber. He was now considered all powerful. He continued into Northumbria, creating fortified towns as he went. The end of the Viking age should have been nigh. He reigned until his death in 924.


The Battle of Brunanburgh

ethelstan, son of Edward, and grandson of Alfred followed on where his elders left off. In 926, due to internal strife in Northumbria and his fear of an uprising he invaded them. He had already been declared king of all England and was paid homage by the Welsh. Over the years, the inexorable expansion of the Saxon king led to an alliance being formed between the disaffected and defeated. These were Constantine II of the Scots, Olaf the Dublin Viking and possibly others. It culminated in the battle of Brunanburgh in 937. The alliance was resoundingly beaten. The exact location is unknown but it is thought to have been near Rotherham in northern England. Aethelstan died in 939. Following on from Aethelstan was Edmund I. Half brother of Aethelstan, he reigned in the same vein for the next six years. He invaded and defeated Strathclyde. When he died in 946 the kingship passed to his brother Edred. Edred was responsible for expelling Eric Bloodaxe, the new Viking king from Northumbria, thus uniting the whole of England. The struggle was near to completion. England had been reclaimed. By 955 and the death of Edred, Edwy or Edwig followed Edred but did not have popular support of the whole country, being only in favour in the south, especially Kent. On his death in 959, Edgar, who followed, had the luxury of a country at peace again. Much of the administration and laws of England were developed during Edgar's reign.


The Battle of Maldon

dgar died in 975 without having to fight any major battle. He was replaced by Edward, later known as the Martyr. In 978 he was assassinated on behalf of his younger half brother, Aethelred II who became better known as the Aethelred the Unready. It was unfortunate for him to be king at this time, because in 980 the Viking raids started up again. Within ten years of Aethelred II becoming king the whole country lost almost everything it had gained since Alfred's days. .


The location of Maldon in Essex.


Idiot or Hero ?

he Vikings ran amok. Even so there was one battle that has survived if not slightly corrupted in the telling. It concerns a battle that took place in August 991 in Essex at a place known as Maldon. The ealdorman by the name of Byrhtnoth, when hearing of an imminent attack of the Norse men, rallied his militia and moved to meet them. As usual, the Vikings tended to like islands wherever they may be as they were defensible. In this case they had settled on a small island in the Blackwater Estuary. When the Vikings saw the Approach of Byrhtnoth and his men, they prepared for battle, only to be stopped by Byrhtnoth blocking the causeway bridge. Many words were exchanged. The Vikings begged to be allowed to fight on a level playing field. Byrhtnoth must have had a sense of fair play because that is exactly what he did. Unfortunately his men saw it differently and ran away leaving himself and some trusty thanes to fight to the death, which is exactly what they did.


Vikings Part 1

Vikings Part 2

Vikings Part 3

Vikings Part 5

Viking Photographs


© copyright Glen Ray Crack - Battle - East Sussex - United Kingdom .
Submitted 10th January 1998 .
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