King Alfred ruled Wessex from 871 until his death in 899. At the time of his enthronement the Vikings had taken control and were threatening Wessex. After initial setbacks, Alfred's armies won a great battle at Edington in 878, resulting in the conversion of the Viking King Guthrum to Christianity.
Alfred developed a sophisticated military strategy involving the establishment of fortified centres. His capital at Winchester was the largest. He gradually won back some of the lands taken by the Vikings and his diplomacy led eventually to the formation of the English nation.
The fifth son of the King of Wessex, Alfred was not expected to rule and so developed a love of learning in his early years. Despite ever-pressing military duties, he found time to translate Latin text into English to encourage wider literacy; developed a philosophy of kingship; reformed Saxon law; and was a patron of the Church.
This remarkable combination of soldier, statesman and scholar earned him the title 'the Great' - an honour bestowed on no other English king.
Wintonians are very proud of their founding father and marked the 900th anniversary of his death by forming the group 'Hyde 900', who organised a re-enactment of his burial procession and now cares for the area around his resting place at Hyde Abbey.
Learn more about the King they call 'The Great One' on the City Walk trail.