On the trail of king Alfred


Update:  I am still writing, but I shall try my best to complete this book by the end of 2019. Please check out the blog for updates or send me an email at the address on the contact page.

This website is all about a new book about King Alfred by myself, Dr Paul Kelly PhD. The book will follow a philosophy of direct engagement with historic locations and will aim to make such locations that are associated with King Alfred more accessible. Although I believe that it is important that the book is  well researched, this book will be aimed at a general readership, although it is expected that it may draw academic interest. The author invites the reader to follow him on a journey from the birth, life and battles, to the death of King Alfred, exploring the ideas behind alternative locations.


I start at where Alfred was born, which, according to Asser, King Alfred's companion and "biographer", was in Wantage, Oxfordshire. I continue to trace him across his military engagements with the Vikings, including at the famous battles at Ashdown and Edington, but also at less famous engagements such as at Reading, Wilton, Basing and Wareham. I cover the "truce" with Guthrum, the Viking leader, and also the later engagements in Kent when the Vikings landed on the north and south coasts of that county. I trace him up the River Lea into Hertfordshire where he stopped the Vikings escaping by obstructing the river. Finally, I cover his burial locations and I examine what there is to know about the current location of his remains.


I worked out as best I could the locations in England where Alfred would or could have been. We know that as a young child he went to Rome at least once. Although I have visited Rome on a couple of occasions, I did not visit again for the purpose of this book. As some sites have not been located with certainty (e.g. the Battle of Ashdown, or Egbert's Stone)  I have tried to visit the options that have been put forward by various writers.


The locations were derived from various sources, but the following were central


The Anglo-Saxon chronichles

The Life of KIng Alfred by Asser

The Æthelweard chronicle


A large range of additional sources was consulted (further references will be in the book).


Evidence from charters was also used, and I would  like to give credit to the amazing Electronic Sawyer online resource.







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