Book 2, Chapter 5, 878 AD to 901 AD – Alfred’s Fortifications
Alfred also gave great attention to the improvement and increase of his navy, employing the most skilful shipwrights whom he could procure, and manning the vessels at first with Friedlander’s, who were good and brave sailors and who, possibly, had some feeling of clanship towards the Anglo Saxons, one tribe of which had originally come from their own laud. Throughout his reign, Alfred devoted much time, pains, and money to his fleet, and had the proud satisfaction of making it a valuable means of defence against the sudden attacks of the northern rovers. Nor did his ships only stand on the defensive, they often assumed the aggressive, and drove away the wandering galleys of freebooters from the Channel and the narrow seas, boldly attacking, boarding, and sinking them. At the end of his reign the fleet exceeded one hundred ships in number. These were divided into squadrons, some being stationed in the ports and harbours, and others cruising along the coast and by these means numerous attacks were averted, for the invaders were themselves attacked before they had time to land.
In order to complete the recital of Alfred’s struggles with his persistent foes struggles which were ultimately crowned with complete success, in the establishment of national liberty and peace and in order not to interrupt the narrative of his wise and beneficial home administration, the course of events may be anticipated. It had become the policy of the northern pirates to make their descents upon rich coasts and cities which appeared defenceless, but, if a stubborn resistance was offered, they returned to their ships and sailed elsewhere. In this way they ravaged France, even laying siege to Paris for nearly two years, and then attacked, Flanders, but as a famine broke out there, these wolves resolved on making another descent upon England, concluding that after a peaceful interval of nearly fifteen years, under the careful rule of Alfred, a rich booty might be gathered.
Chapter 5, Alfred’s Fortifications
Chapter 5, Revolt in the Danelagh
Chapter 5, Alfred’s Educational Efforts
Chapter 5, Alfred’s Industry and Zeal
Chapter 5, Saxon Laws
Chapter 5, Summary of Alfred’s Character
Categories: Book 2