- Alfred of North Bessex, King of England (955-August 29, 1003) would become the first King of England, upon unifying the Bessex clans together in 980. He spent his life protecting the kingdom against Viking attacks and improving the welfare of the people. He was also an avid reader, owning a library and encouraging education. He is credited for starting the Bessex dynasty.
Birth & Early LifeEdit
Alfred was believed to have been year in the year 955 in the village of Bickham as the only child of Eafred of North Bessex and his Celtic wife, Audoc. He accompanied his father throughout many of his military conquests starting at the age of ten. Upon his father's death in 975, Alfred was an accomplished man of twenty who was able to forge swift alliances with other kingdoms and efficiently translate scribes.
Vikings Invasions, Royal Alliances, Signed TreatiesEdit
Viking Invasions, which were common throughout the region influenced Alfred to make pacts with King Alswith of West Bessex and King Asvalt of South Bessex. The Danes had alredy managed to conquer the territories of Lepton, Careburn, Elmford and Rasing. When the Danes arrived in Bessex in October of 977, the three gathered up their forces to launch a defense assault. The assault was not successful however, and more than 20,000 casualties were lost. The Danes returned in September of 978 with the intent of conquering the four kingdoms of Bessex, in what became known as the Battle of Dansbeard. The Danes had also rallied up support this time, with the Swedes joining in. They were planning to decieve the Bessexians by attacking at Chester instead of Gallyhearn. Unfortunately, they were unable to slip past Alfred's army, who took them by surprise. They were able to withdraw but when trying to escape through the Port of Wiltshire, were blockaded by Alfred's army once again. The Danes and Swedes attempted to strike the armies of Alfred, Alswith and Asvalt at once but due to their lack of efficient numbers, were forced to surrender. In November of 978, a truce, in what became known as "Regnorum Pax" was signed between the Bessexian Kingdoms and King Harald of Denmark and King Sven of Sweden. It was the first victory ever gained for the Bessexian Kingdoms and ensured the unity of England.
King of EnglandEdit
Alfred, Alswith and Asvalt were all renowed for protecting the Bessexian Kingdoms but there were often disputes regarding the unification of a complete Bessex Kingdom. In June of 979, King Asvalt died without any male issue. There were rumors claiming that Alswith was responsible for his death and had poisoned him. Alfred and Alswith remained on good terms about who would occupy Asvalt's kingdoms and it was decided it would be given to Alfred due to the negativity surrounding Alswith at the time. Alswith died in December of 979 as a result of the measles. His two sons, Eadfin and Elguin had both died in August of 979 after drowning in the English Channel. This left Alswith no heirs as well. As a result, in Spring of 980, Alfred was the popular candidate to rule over the Bessexian Kingdoms. He was able to officially unite the kingdoms in the summer and was proclaimed the first "King of England". Although he did not have a coronation, documents represented Alfred as the legal king of England.
Alfred's court was based in Winchester. He focused much of his reign on improving the basic welfare of the people. He reached out to people through personal letters, which he felt obligated to write. He also stressed the importance of education, making it vital that scholars were brought to court. In 986, he translated a copy of Pristor's "Fabled Historium" into English. Alfred also owned a library, which he made assessible to future generations. Instead of burning Danish manuscripts, he kept them for future referances. He made learning available to all his children, supplying them with tutors, such as the famed Elbert de Alwes, which was considered rare for a man of his time.
Marriage and IssueEdit
Alfred married Agatha of South Bessex , the younger sister of Asvalt in April of 979. The couple had the following children:
- Alfred (?980-September 24, 996)
- Goda, Duchess of Thuringia (?982-December 2, 1031)
- Iwra, Abbess of Kent (?985-October 18, 1053)
- Edgard, King of England (?986-July 6, 1045)
Alfred died on August 29, 1003 presumably after a long-suffered illness. He was buried in his birthplace of Bickham and was interred there until his remains were transferred to Westminister Abbey in the late 12th century. His son, Edgard succeded him as King.
Alfred left a strong legacy on the English people and many kings afterwards regarded him in a significant way. His son, Edgard futher popularized his father's accomplishments throughout Europe and contributed his many educational reforms in his father's name.