Alfred the Great King of Wessex, King of England 1 2 3
- Born: Between 847 and 849, Wantage, Berkshire, England
- Marriage (1): Ealhswith of the Gaini, Queen of the Anglo-Saxons in 869
- Died: 26 Oct 899
- Buried: Old Minster [New Minster], Wessex, [Winchester, ] England
Other names for Alfred were ∆lfred King of the Anglo-Saxons and ∆lfred se Greata King of the Anglo-Saxons.
King of England 871-899.
From http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:3174654&id=I593871980:(b. abt 846, d. 26 Oct 899) :
Alfred the Great, King of England 871-899. The only English King to be known as "the Great", Alfred acceded to the throne of Wessex upon the death of his brother Aethelred in 871. Over the next few years he spent much time fighting off Viking invasions. After routing the Great Army of the Vikings in 878, Alfred signed the Treaty of Wedmore with its leader Guthrum, dividing England along a line running roughly north-west from London to Chester. Alfred ruled to the south of this line and was recognised overlord of the area to the north, known as Danelaw. Further Viking incursions followed until, in 886, Alfred captured London and was finally accepted by Saxon and Dane alike as King of all England. Alfred reformed and codified Saxon law, promoted a revival in learning and instigated the compilation of the famous 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', a 1,200 year history of England from before Julius Caesar's invasion in 55 B.C. As a boy, Alfred was taken twice to visit the Pope in Rome. He learned to read and write in his teens and he developed a profound interest in learning and a reverence of religion. Alfred devoted much of his energy to reviving the schools and monasteries, and translating important Latin works into Anglo-Saxon himself, notably Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation' and St. Augustine's 'Sililoquies.'
! 'The Kings and Queens of England and Scotland' pgs.
Father: Aethelwulf UNKNOWN b: Bef 0797 in ,France
Mother: Osburga UNKNOWN b: Abt 0805 in ,Hampshire,England
Marriage 1 Aethelwitha UNKNOWN b: Abt 0849 in Gaines,Lincolnshire,England
Aelfreda UNKNOWN b: Abt 0869 in ,England
Aethelflaeda UNKNOWN b: Abt 0877 in ,England
Edward UNKNOWN b: Abt 0871/0872
From Wikipedia - Alfred the Great :
Alfred the Great (also ∆lfred from the Old English ∆lfr pronounced [ (c. 849 - 26 October 899 ) was king of the southern Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred is noted for his defence of the kingdom against the Danish Vikings , becoming the only English King to be awarded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons ". Details of his life are discussed in a work by the Welsh scholar Asser . Alfred was a learned man, and encouraged education and improved his kingdom's law system as well as its military structure.
Further information: House of Wessex family tree
Alfred was born sometime between 847 and 849 at Wantage in the present-day ceremonial county of Oxfordshire (then in the historic county of Berkshire ). He was the fifth and youngest son of King ∆thelwulf of Wessex , by his first wife, Osburga . In 868 Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of Ethelred Mucill, who is called ealdorman of the Gaini, an unidentified district.
At five years old, Alfred is said to have been sent to Rome where, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , he was confirmed by Pope Leo IV who "anointed him as king." Victorian writers interpreted this as an anticipatory coronation in preparation for his ultimate succession to the throne of Wessex. However, this coronation could not have been foreseen at the time, since Alfred had three living elder brothers. A letter of Leo IV shows that Alfred was made a "consul " and a misinterpretation of this investiture, deliberate or accidental, could explain later confusion. It may also be based on Alfred later having accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Rome and spending some time at the court of Charles the Bald , King of the Franks , around 854-855. On their return from Rome in 856, ∆thelwulf was deposed by his son ∆thelbald. ∆thelwulf died in 858 , and Wessex was ruled by three of Alfred's brothers in succession.
Asser tells the story about how as a child Alfred won a prize of a volume of poetry in English, offered by his mother to the first of her children able to memorize it. This story may be true, or it may be a myth designed to illustrate the young Alfred's love of learning.
During the short reigns of his two eldest brothers, ∆thelbald and Ethelbert , Alfred is not mentioned. However with the accession of the third brother, Ethelred I , in 866, the public life of Alfred began. It is during this period that Asser applies to him the unique title of "secundarius", which may indicate a position akin to that of the Celtic tanist, a recognized successor closely associated with the reigning monarch. It is possible that this arrangement was sanctioned by the Witenagemot , to guard against the danger of a disputed succession should Ethelred fall in battle. The arrangement of crowning a successor as Royal prince and military commander is well-known among Germanic tribes , such as the Swedes and Franks , with whom the Anglo-Saxons had close ties.
In 868, Alfred is recorded fighting beside his brother Ethelred, in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the invading Danes out of the adjoining Kingdom of Mercia . For nearly two years, Wessex was spared attacks because Alfred paid the Vikings to leave him alone. However, at the end of 870, the Danes arrived in his homeland. The year that followed has been called "Alfred's year of battles". Nine martial engagements were fought with varying fortunes, though the place and date of two of the battles have not been recorded. In Berkshire, a successful skirmish at the Battle of Englefield , on 31 December 870 , was followed by a severe defeat at the Siege and Battle of Reading , on 5 January 871 , and then, four days later, a brilliant victory at the Battle of Ashdown on the Berkshire Downs , possibly near Compton or Aldworth . Alfred is particularly credited with the success of this latter conflict. However, later that month, on 22 January , the English were again defeated at Basing and, on the following 22 March at the Battle of Merton (perhaps Marden in Wiltshire or Martin in Dorset ) in which Ethelred was killed. The two unidentified battles may also have occurred in between.
In 868, Alfred married Ealhswith , daughter of Ealdorman of the Gaini (who is also known as Aethelred Mucill), who was from the Gainsborough region of Lincolnshire . She appears to have been the maternal granddaughter of a King of Mercia . They had five or six children together, including Edward the Elder , who succeeded his father as King of Wessex , Ethelfleda , who would become Queen of Mercia in her own right, and ∆lfthryth who married Baldwin II the Count of Flanders .
Death, burial and Legacy
Alfred died on 26 October . The actual year is not certain, but it was not necessarily 901 as stated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. How he died is unknown. He was originally buried temporarily in the Old Minster in Winchester , then moved to the New Minster (perhaps built especially to receive his body). When the New Minster moved to Hyde, a little north of the city, in 1110, the monks transferred to Hyde Abbey along with Alfred's body. His grave was apparently excavated during the building of a new prison in 1788 and the bones scattered. However, bones found on a similar site in the 1860s were also declared to be Alfred's and later buried in Hyde churchyard. Extensive excavations in 1999 revealed what is believed to be his grave-cut, that of his wife Eahlswith, and that of their son Edward the Elder but barely any human remains.
Noted events in his life were:
ē King of England, 871-899.
Alfred married Ealhswith of the Gaini, Queen of the Anglo-Saxons, daughter of ∆thelred Mucill Ealdorman of the Gaini and Edburga, in 869. (Ealhswith of the Gaini, Queen of the Anglo-Saxons was born about 852 in Mercia <Gaines, Lincolnshire, England>, died 5 Dec 904 or 905 and was buried in St. Mary's Abbey, Winchester, Hampshire, England.)