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The Battle of Edington


For hundreds of years, Viking warriors had sailed across the sea to raid and settle along the coastline of England. By the middle of the ninth century, they had gained control East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria, with only Wessex holding firm. However, this was about to change and early in 865, a huge army arrived intent on conquest.

In January AD 878, the Great Heathen Army, under the command of Guthrum, their Viking leader, attacked King Alfred the Great at his winter fortress at Chippenham. Unprepared for the attack, Alfred and his forces were quickly overwhelmed, and the king was lucky to escape with his life. Fleeing the fortress, he took refuge with a handful of followers in the depths of the Somerset marshes at Athelney.

Despite the devastating defeat, Alfred knew he had to respond and, over the next few months, carefully rebuilt his army to take the fight back to Guthrum. By May 878, he finally had enough men and rode out to challenge the Danes at Edington outside the now Danish-held fortress of Chippenham.

The Battle of Edington

The battle-hardened Vikings were formidable opponents and launched themselves into the fray with no thought of mercy. But Alfred’s men were fighting, not only for their own lives but for the future of their country. The fighting was brutal, with hundreds of men slaughtered on both sides. Gradually, Alfred and his men gained the advantage and forced the Vikings back to the fortress at Chippenham.

The victory was overwhelming, and Guthrum was forced to withdraw from Wessex and agree to the division of England. Wessex remained in Anglo-Saxon control, and the future of England was secured.

The Battle of Edington

As part of our commemorative coins and medals collection, you can now get this wonderful tribute to The Battle of Edington, layered in beautiful 24 Carat Gold from just £14.99. For more information, click the button below.

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