William Sterling

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England’s Earliest Kings: 3 Alfred the Great and the Vikings

February 13, 2022 @ 11:00 am - February 20, 2022 @ 1:30 pm


After the Mercian supremacy Wessex became the dominant kingdom in the C9th.  One reason was the kings managed to have capable sons to follow them thus avoiding the succession struggles of the Mercians.  Another was the remoteness from the Viking attacks which concentrated on the North Sea coast targeting Northumbria and East Anglia and pushing on through Mercia.

Alfred’s grandfather, Egbert, had been forced into exile when Offa dominated the country but returned in triumph to make Wessex the most successful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Egbert claimed Kent as his birth right, managed to defeat Mercia and made alliances with the other kings to give him a claim to be the first King of England.  The work was continued by his son Ethelwulf who also had to face up to the Vikings who had started to attack Kent.  He made a marriage alliance with Mercia through his daughter Ethelswith and each of his sons proved himself capable of leading armies against the Norsemen.  All died young except his youngest Alfred.  At one time even he was on the verge of complete defeat but rallied the English and fought back the Danes.  He was able to pass on a more secure kingdom of Wessex to his son Edward and Mercia to his daughter Aethelflaed.


February 13, 2022 @ 11:00 am
February 20, 2022 @ 1:30 pm
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