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The King who smashed the Vikings!
He died at Winchester in AD 899.
There are famous statues of King Alfred at Winchester and Wantage.
Alfred was the youngest son of King Ethelwulf of Wessex. Wessex was an
area covering most of Southern England.
He was born at the Royal
Palace in Wantage in
North Berkshire in AD 849.
When he was a boy, his mother offered a book with beautiful pictures
to the first of her sons who could learn to read it. Although Alfred
was the youngest, he won the prize!
Alfred's brothers all became Kings of Wessex one after the other. In
AD 871, Alfred became King too.
The Vikings invaded England shortly before he came to the throne.
Alfred spent many years fighting them in many bloody
battles. At one
point it looked like he might loose his country.
King Alfred always said that the "pen is mightier than the
sword". So, when he finally defeated the Vikings in battle, he
signed a peace treaty with them.
They divided England in two. Alfred was able to keep the southern
portion. He was then called 'King of the English'.
- He set up lots of forts or 'burghs' in England
to help stop the Vikings from invading again. There was one at Wallingford and another
at Cookham, near Maidenhead.
- The Welsh Kings asked Alfred to protect them too and he signed more peace treaties.
- King Alfred was a very wise and religious ruler.