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Alfred The Great, King of England
b. 849, d. 26 October 901        32nd great grand father   via Eastman and Morin lines
Pop-up Pedigree

Father   Æthelwulf King of Wessex b. circa 806, d. 13 January 858
Mother   Osburga b. circa 801, d. circa 853

Birth 849 Alfred was born in 849 at Wantage, Berkshire, Eng.1 

854 When he was four years old, according to a story which has been repeated so frequently that it is generally accepted as true, he was sent by his father to Rome, where he was anointed king by Pope Leo IV. This, however like many other legends which have crystallized about the name of Alfred, is without foundation. Two years later, in 855, Ethelwulf went on a pilgrimage to Rome, taking Alfred with him. This visit, recorded by Asser, is accepted as authentic by modern historians. He was the God Son of Pope Leo at any rate.2,3 


Nothing is known of his movements during the reigns of Ethelbald and Ethelbert, but Asser, speaking of him during the reign of Ethelred, gives him the title of Secundarius.2 





Statue of Alfred in Oxfordshire England
Marriage 868 Alfred The Great, King of England married Ælhswitha, daughter of Ethelred Eal(d)orman of the Gainas and Edburga of Mercia, 868. There was a great famine this year according to Asser. They had at least 5 children who reached adulthood and a number of children, that died as infants.2,5,6

In 868, Alfred married Ealhswith, daughter of Aethelred Mucill, who is called Ealdorman of the Gaini, the people 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 Aelfthryth (alias Elfrida) who married Baldwin II, Count of Flanders.

Every monarch of England and subsequently every monarch of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, with the exception of Canute, Harold Harefoot, Harthacanute, William the Conqueror (who married Alfred's great-granddaughter Matilda) and his adversary Harold II, down to and including Queen Elizabeth II (and her own descendants) is directly descended from Alfred.


871 He was king of Wessex from 871 until 899. There was no England per se, at that time but you will often find him listed as "King of England" which is not quite true. The West-Saxons and the Mercians were then engaged in a war against the invading Danes and Alfred took an active part in the struggle. He ascended the throne during the thickest of this conflict, but before the end of the year he succeeded in effecting a peace, probably by paying a sum of money to the invaders.2 
Acceded 871 At the death of his brother, Ethelred I,Alfred The Great, King of England acceded the throne of at Wessex / England on 871. As the fourth son, Alfred did not get a chance at the throne until 871. He ruled for 28 years, defeated the Danes and fortified London. The royal family of Wessex was a family of warriors, and Alfred, the last of four brothers to rule the kingdom in the 9th century, fought the Danish Viking invadors nine times in 871, the year he came to the throne. At this time, the Danes occupied one half of England and had their greedy eyes on the other half: the territory of Wessex. To stop them, Alfred built fortresses and formed a new navy, and he organised his army so that one half guarded the kingdom while the other farmed the land. Nevertheless, in 877, a Danish army managed to break in and attack Alfred`s palace at Chippenham. Alfred fled to the Athelney marshes (Somerset). Other Anglo-Saxon kings, in similar situations, had given up in despair or tried to bribe the Danes to go away, but not Alfred. In 878, he burst out of hiding and gave the Danes such a trashing that their leader, Guthrum, promised never to invade Wessex again. Alfred used the peace he had won to concentrate on his work of founding schools to improve education, and restoring monasteries to invigorate religious life. Famous scholars came to Alfred`s court at Winchester to help him to translate from latin the first books to be written in the English language. Alfred also had the chance now to frame laws and civilise his subjects. The most important law was, "Do not to others what you would not have them do you". This remarkable combination of warrior and scholar earned Alfred the title, `the Great`, a title not bestowed on any other king in England.

In this time period, Saxon nobles wore their hair shoulder length and moustaches were long and beards forked.7,8,5 


When his brother ÆTHELRED took the Wessex throne (865), Alfred aided him in battles against the Danes, who threatened to overrun England. Unable to establish a clear victory, Alfred rid Wessex of the Danes by paying the DANEGELD when he became king in 871. In 878, however, the Danes returned, and Alfred's flight to Somerset at that time is the basis for the legend about the king and a peasant woman's burned cakes. In May 878, Alfred triumphed over the Danes at Edington. This victory produced relative security, and Alfred began to institute reforms, including a code of laws combining Christian doctrine with a strong, centralized monarchy. His greatest achievements were the creation of a navy, the revival of learning among the clergy, the education of youths and nobles at court, the establishment of Old English literary prose, his own English translation of Latin works, and his influence on the extant form of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.9 

875 Wessex enjoyed a measure of peace for a few years, but about 875 the Danes renewed their attacks. They were repulsed then, and again in 876 and 877, on each occasion making solemn pledges of peace. In 878 came the great invasion under Guthrum. For a few months the Danes met with success, but about Easter Alfred established himself at Athelney and later marched to Brixton, gathering new forces on the way. In the battle of Ethandún (probably the present Edington, in Wiltshire) he defeated the Danes. Guthrum agreed to a peace and consented to be baptized. It is in connection with this struggle that many of the legends of Alfred have sprung up and been perpetuated — the story of the burnt cakes, the account of his visit to the Danish camp in the guise of a harper, and many others.

Alfred is said to have disguised himself as a harper, entered the Danish camp, and gained a knowledge of the state of the enemy. Quitting his retreat he besieged the Danes at Ethandune (Edington) in 878, and completely defeated them. Yet the terms of peace included the cession to them of a large part of the kingdom, and prepared the way for the enterprise of Canute. The king Guthrun and his followers professed themselves Christians, and were baptized. Alfred now put his kingdom into a state of defence, increased his navy, and brought London into a flourishing state; but after a rest of some years, an immense number of Northmen, under the leadership of Hasting, landed in Kent, and fortified themselves at Appledore and Milton; they were, however, defeated by Alfred at Farnham, Bemfleet, and Buttington. Thus he secured the peace of his dominions, and struck terror into his enemies, after 56 battles by sea and land, in all of which he was personally engaged.10,11 

893 For fifteen years Alfred's kingdom was at peace, but in 903 (the date is more likely 893, as that is fifteen years after the last Danish invasion) the Danes who had been driven out made another onslaught. This war lasted for four years and resulted in the final establishment of Saxon supremacy. These struggles had another result, hardly less important than the freedom from Danish oppression. The successive invasions had crushed out of existence most of the individual kingdoms. Alfred made Wessex a rallying point for all the Saxons and by freeing the country of the invaders unwittingly unified England and prepared the way for the eventual supremacy of his successors.

Popular fancy has been busy with other phases of Alfred's career than that which is concerned with his military achievements. He is generally credited with establishing trial by jury, the law of "frank-pledge", and many other institutions which were rather the development of national customs of long standing. He is represented as the founder of Oxford, a claim which recent research has disproved. But even the elimination of the legendary from Alfred's history does not in any way diminish his greatness, so much is there of actual, recorded achievement to his credit. His own estimate of what he did for the regeneration of England is modest beside the authentic history of his deeds.

He endeavoured, he tells us, to gather all that seemed good in the old English laws, and adds: "I durst not venture much of mine own to set down, for I knew not what should be approved by those who came after us." Not only did he codify and promulgate laws, but he looked, too, to their enforcement, and insisted that justice should be dispensed without fear or favour. He devoted his energies to restoring what had been destroyed by the long wars with the invaders. Monasteries were rebuilt and founded, and learned men brought from other lands. He brought Archbishop Plegmund and Bishop Wetfrith from Mercia; Grimbold and John the Old-Saxon from other Teutonic lands.12 

894 But the warlike exploits of Alfred formed, perhaps, the least of the services he rendered his country. He was so exact in his government, that robbery was unheard of. His great council, consisting of bishops, earls, aldermen, and thanes, was called together twice a year in London, Oxford, or Gloucester, for the better government of the realm. The state of learning in his time was so low, that, from the Thames to the Humber, scarcely a man could be found who understood the service of the Church, or could translate a sentence of Latin into English. To remedy this evil, he invited men of learning from all quarters, and placed them at the head of schools in various parts of his kingdom. The laws published by Alfred were chiefly selections from those previously existing, those of Ethelbert, Ina, and Offa.

He divided the twenty-four hours into three equal parts, one devoted to the service of God, another to public affairs, and the third to rest and refreshment; his revenue, also, was divided into two equal moieties, one dedicated to sacred, the other to civil uses. To Alfred, England is indebted for the foundation of her fleet. To crown his great public character, Alfred is described as one of the most amiable men in private life; of a temper serene and cheerful, affable, kind, and not averse to society, or to innocent recreation ; he was also personally well-favoured, possessing a handsome and vigorous form, and a dignified and engaging aspect. He was considered by contempory sources as being a very religious man.11 


Death

26 October 899

He not only encouraged men of learning, but he laboured himself and gave proof of his own learning. He translated into Anglo-Saxon: "The Consolation of Philosophy" of Boëthius; "The History of the World" of Orosius; the "Ecclesiastical History" of Bede, and the "Pastoral Rule" and the "Dialogues" of St. Gregory the Great. The "Consolation of Philosophy" he not only translated but adapted, adding much of his own. The "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle", the record of the English race from the earliest time, was inspired by him.13,12 


Death

26 October 901

OR
Alfred died on 26 October 901. Tho' other years are given in several sources this is the preferred date by many authorities, using several calendars and explainations, Florence of Worchester's works and the Saxon Chronicles.1 

Family Ælhswitha  b. circa 852, d. 5 December 905
Children  1. Aethelflaed Lady of Mercia+ b. c 869, d. 12 Jun 91815
  2. Edmund b. c 870, d. c 87016
  3. Edward The Elder+ b. c 871, d. 17 Jul 92517
  4. Ethelgiva b. c 87216
  5. Aelfthryth of Wessex, Princess of England+ b. 873, d. Jun 92915
  6. AEthelweard b. c 875, d. Oct 92218

Citations
  1. [S9927] Compiled by Patrick Navin. Descendants of Woden.
  2. Download, http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/01309d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia from Life of Alfred by ASSER .
  3. Download, http://saints.catholic.org/saints/alfredthegreat.html.
  4. Download, C:\book\linkedpix\alfred.
  5. Download, http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/KingAlfred/introduction.html
    The Life of King Alfred by Asser..
  6. [S9890] Your Family Tree.
  7. [S10084Rulers of England and Great Britian. The World Almanac and book of Facts 1995.
  8. Download, http://www.in-tec.de/ronald.schmiers/KingsG/KingsP1I.htm.   This is no longer a valid address
  9. [S9923] "Chronology".
  10. Download, http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/01309d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia from Life of Alfred by ASSER and The Anglo-
    Saxon Chronicle.
  11. Download, http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/royalty/kinga.html.
  12. Download, http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/01309d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia from Life of Alfred by ASSER and The Anglo-
    Saxon Chronicle, John Scotus Erigena and many others. .
  13. [S9721] Unknown subject, Encarta.
  14. Download, http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/01309d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia .
  15. Wessex kings, online UK government.
  16. Alfred the Great, online 
  17. [S9598] Harry E. Fobes, Fobes Family in America.
  18. Download, http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/4889/g0000712.html#I09233 Gives date as 877..

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