07 January 2012

Anniversary: Battle of Ashdown

Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Ashdown in 871.

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A brief synopsis of the Battle of Ashdown from about.com

Riding to the top of Blowingstone Hill (Kingstone Lisle), Alfred made use of an ancient perforated sarsen stone. Known as the "Blowing Stone," it was capable of producing a loud, booming sound when blown into correctly. With the signal sent out across the downs, he rode to a hill-fort near Ashdown House to gather his men, while Ethelred's men rallied at nearby Hardwell Camp. Uniting their forces, Ethelred and Alfred learned that the Danes had encamped at nearby Uffington Castle. On the morning of January 8, 871, both forces marched out and formed for battle on the plain of Ashdown.

Though both armies were in place, neither appeared eager to open the battle. It was during this lull that Ethelred, against Alfred's wishes, departed the field to attend church services at nearby Aston. Unwilling to return until the service was finished, he left Alfred in command. Assessing the situation, Alfred realized that the Danes had occupied a superior position on higher ground. Seeing that they would have to attack first or be defeated, Alfred ordered the Saxons forward. Charging, the Saxon shield wall collided with the Danes and battle commenced.

Clashing near a lone, gnarled thorn tree, the two sides inflicted heavy casualties in the melee that ensued. Among those struck down was Bagsecg as well as five of his earls. With their losses mounting and one of their kings dead, the Danes fled the field and returned to Reading.

By: Brant

1 comment:

besilarius said...

How certain are the archeologists that this is the true spot?
Not trying to be too critical, but my ElDorado is Mons Badonis, where Arthur seems to have stopped the Saxons.
With all the satellite mapping, and all, one would think this would become easier.