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Alfred KING OF ENGLAND

Alfred KING OF ENGLAND

Male Abt 848 - 901  (~ 53 years)

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  • Name Alfred KING OF ENGLAND 
    Nickname The Great 
    Born Abt 848  Wantage, Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    _AMTID 110112921847:1030:113090087 
    _COLOR
    _UID 8652FBAEB7566B438C4B3C780DF96D3F79F2 
    Died 26 Oct 901  Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3058  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2009 

    Father Ethelwulf KING OF WESSEX,   b. Abt 806, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jan 857, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 51 years) 
    Mother Osburh QUEEN OF WESSEX,   b. Abt 810, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 856  (Age ~ 46 years) 
    Married Abt 830 
    Family ID F1010  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ealhswith QUEEN OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 852, Mercia, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Dec 905  (Age ~ 53 years) 
    Married Abt 868 
    Children 
     1. Ethelflade PRINCESS OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 869, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jun 918, St. Peters, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 49 years)
    +2. Edward I KING OF ENGLAND,   b. 871, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 924, Farrington, Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
    +3. Elfthryth PRINCESS OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 871, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jun 929  (Age ~ 58 years)
     4. Edmund PRINCE OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 873, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. Ethelgiva PRINCESS OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 875, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Ethelwerd PRINCE OF ENGLAND,   b. Abt 879, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Oct 922  (Age ~ 43 years)
    Last Modified 25 Sep 2020 
    Family ID F1008  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 848 - Wantage, Berkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 26 Oct 901 - Winchester, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Alfred 'The Great' King of England
    Alfred "The Great" King of England

  • Notes 
    • Alfred 'The Great', King Of England was king of the West Saxons in England. He saved his country, Wessex, from Danish conquest, laid the basis for the unification of England under the West Saxon monarchy, and led a revival of learning and literature. He was such an outstanding leader in both war and peace that he was called 'the great.'
      As a boy, he was curious and eager to learn. There is a story his mother offered a prize to the first of her five sons who learned to read. Alfred, the youngest, won the prize, a book of Anglo-Saxon poems. Before he was 7, he had traveled to Rome twice, and was confirmed by Pope Leo IV. These travels impressed upon young Alfred the contrast between the civilized parts of Europe and his more backward England.
      Alfred became king in 871, after the death of his fourth brother. The West Saxons had been at war with the Danes for many years. After several losing battles, Alfred made peace with the invaders. But the Danes renewed their attacks four years later, and defeated Alfred at the Battle of Chippenham. Alfred finally defeated the Danes at the Battle of Edington in 878. The Danish leader, Guthrum, agreed to be baptized a Christian. After the Danes broke the peace once more, Alfred won his greatest military victory, the conquest of London in 886. The Danes withdrew to the eastern third of England, called the Danelaw. All the English people, both in and out of Wessex, who were not subject to the Danes recognized Alfred as their king, and paid him homage.
      A legend tells how Alfred took shelter in the house of a peasant woman while he was fleeing in disguise from the Danes. The woman ordered him to watch some cakes cooking on the hearth. When he allowed them to burn, she scolded him severely.
      Alfred built forts at strategic points and stationed a fleet of ships along the coast to protect his kingdom and guard against invasion. He also issued a great code of laws to improve government.
      Education declined because the Danes had looted monasteries and churches, the only centers of learning. Few even among the clergy could read or write. Alfred brought teachers and learned men to Wessex from Wales, norther England, and Europe. He himself helped translate books from Latin into Anglo-Saxon. He also kept a record of current events. Called the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,' it was continued after his death until 1154. It is the best source for Anglo-Saxon history.


      King Alfred the Great (849, ruled 871-899) was one of the best kings ever to rule mankind. He defended Anglo-Saxon England from Viking raids, formulated a code of laws, and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activity. His reign exhibits military skill and innovation, sound governance and the ability to inspire men and plan for the future, piety and a practical commitment to the support of religion, personal scholarship and the promotion of education.
      "Desire for and possession of earthly power never pleased me overmuch, and I did not unduly desire this earthly rule, but that nevertheless I wished for tools and resources for the task that I was commanded to accomplish, which was that I should virtuously and worthily guide and direct the authority which was entrusted to me. You know of course that no one can make known any skill, nor direct and guide any authority, without tools and resources; a man cannot work on any enterprise without resources. In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned: he must have praying men, fighting men and working men. You also know that without these tools no king may make his ability known. Another aspect of his resources is that he must have the means of support for his tools, the three classes of men. These, then are their means of support: land to live on, gifts, weapons, food, ale, clothing, and whatever else is necessary for each of the three classes of men. Without these things he cannot maintain the tools, nor without the tools can he accomplish any of the things he was commanded to do. Accordingly, I sought the resources with which to exercise the authority, in order that my skills and power would not be forgotten and concealed: because every skill and every authority is soon obsolete and passed over, if it is without wisdom; because no man may bring to bear any skill without wisdom. For whatever is done unthinkingly, cannot be reckoned a skill. To speak briefly: I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works."
      -- from Alfred's translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, chapter XVII. [Keynes & Lapidge, pp 132-33.] This is an interpolation by Alfred, not in Boethius. As Alfred says in his preface, he has sometimes translated word for word, and sometimes sense for sense. In a footnote (p. 298), Keynes & Lapidge caution that this paragraph should not be taken as King Alfred's personal credo. However, it rings true for me, and I acknowledge the man behind the words.
      "The just man builds on a modest foundation and gradually proceeds to greater things."
      -- Asser cites this saying when he is describing King Alfred's method of learning (chapter 88). Keynes and Lapidge say that the source of this quotation is unknown. I can imagine that this saying originated with Alfred himself. It perfectly expresses his practical approach to development of his kingdom. In this saying "the just man" is to be understood, in more modern language, as meaning "the man of sound judgement".