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Scary Soldiers run riot across
Berkshire & Southern England
In AD 865, a big Viking army
After 5 years of raids across the country, the fierce Viking soldiers
left their boats at Maidenhead and
marched to Reading where they set up their
The Ealdorman of Berkshire beat them in a Battle at Englefield, but
they would not leave the area. They burnt the town of Abingdon
to the ground.
King Ethelred of Wessex
and his brother, Alfred, tried to push the
Vikings out of Reading, but they were chased into the marshes at
Whistley. The Saxons escaped over the twin ford at Twyford, while the
Vikings got lost in the fog.
Alfred was a great warrior. He led the Wessex army in a
great victory over the Vikings. Lots of Vikings were killed.
This was at the Battle of Ashdown, which probably took place near Aldworth on the Berkshire Downs.
Ethelred died soon afterwards and Alfred became King of Wessex.
The Vikings made a surprise attack on Alfred's palace at Chippenham in
Wiltshire. He was forced to flee into the marshes of Somerset.
Alfred hid in a hut belonging to a pig-keeper. The pig-keeper's wife
didn't know who he was.
She asked him to watch her cakes baking on the fire. Alfred was busy
thinking about how to beat the Vikings and the cakes got burnt. The
pig-keeper's wife hit King Alfred with her broom! Some people say this
happened in Faringdon.
Alfred gathered his friends around him and they built a small fort at
Athelney in Somerset.
Alfred disguised himself as a minstrel and was invited into the Viking
camp to sing songs. He was able to listen to all their plans.
Alfred used his knowledge to beat the Vikings at the Battle of
Edington, near Westbury, in Wiltshire.
Alfred and the Viking King, Guthrum, made a peace treaty at Wedmore in
Somerset. They set up a border called the 'Danelaw'. The Vikings ruled
to the North of this and Alfred to the South.
- Alfred then set up lots of forts or 'burghs' to help stop the
Vikings from invading again. One was built at Wallingford and another
at Cookham, near Maidenhead.