Book 2, Chapter 5, 878 AD to 901 AD – Alfred’s Fortifications

Alfred’s next care was to have a complete survey made to his kingdom, and particularly of the coast line, in order that suitable forts and castles might be erected for the protection of the weak and exposed quarters, and by the end of his reign had the satisfaction of completing more than fifty of these defences. Before his time, the walls of cities had been slight and almost useless in resisting an attack, but he took care that the line of defence should be such as brave men might safely maintain.

 The number of these forts would have been much larger, but for the disgraceful spinelessness of many of his people, including some of the leading nobles, who neglected alike the exhortations and the example of the king, until, in after years, the attacks of the Danes compelled them, in self defence, to carry out his instructions. In not a few instances this was done too late. “When they had lost,” says Asser, “their fathers, their wives, their children, their servants, and all their property, they mourned bitterly for their folly, since they could neither restore their slain relations, nor redeem their friends from captivity, nor even provide themselves, who had escaped, with common subsistence. Sorely harassed, they repent, though too late, they grieve that they had carelessly despised the advice of the king, and praising the royal wisdom and foresight with all their voices, promise to fulfil at once what formerly they refused that is, to erect fortifications, and to carry out other arrangements necessary for the common good of the state.”

Chapter 5, Alfred’s Fortifications

Effects of the Danish Ravages

Alfred’s Measures for the Defence of the Country



New Attacks under Hasting

Chapter 5, Revolt in the Danelagh

Revolt in the Danelagh

Four years of conflict

Chapter 5, Alfred’s Educational Efforts

Ultimate Success

Hume’s Estimate of Alfred

His care for Internal Prosperity of the Country

State of Learning

Educational Efforts

Asser’s Friendship

His Computation and Division of Time

Chapter 5, Alfred’s Industry and Zeal

Alfred’s Industry and zeal

Application of his Revenue

Chapter 5, Saxon Laws

The Domboc

Saxon Laws

Alfred’s Watchfulness over the Executive

Origin of Jury

Divisions of the Country

Chapter 5, Summary of Alfred’s Character

The king’s Illness and Death

His Will

Summary of Character


Categories: Book 2

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