Date:

Prince Alfred won his victory on January 8, 871.

Armies & Commanders:

Saxons

 

Danes

 

  • King Bagsecg
  • King Halfdan Ragnarsson
  • approx. 800 men

Battle Summary:

In 870, the Danes embarked on an invasion of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Having conquered East Anglia in 865, they sailed up the Thames and came ashore at Maidenhead. Moving inland, they swiftly captured the Royal Villa at Reading and began fortifying the site as their base. As work progressed, the Danish commanders, Kings Bagsecg and Halfdan Ragnarsson, dispatched raiding parties towards Aldermaston. At Englefield, these raiders were met and defeated by Aethelwulf, the Ealdorman of Berkshire. Reinforced by King Ethelred and Prince Alfred, Aethelwulf and the Saxons were able to force the Danes back to Reading.

Seeking to follow up on Aethelwulf's victory, Ethelred planned an assault on the fortified camp at Reading. Attacking with his army, Ethelred was unable to break through the defenses and was driven from the field by the Danes. Falling back from Reading, the Saxon army escaped from their pursuers in the Whistley marshes and made camp across the Berkshire Downs. Seeing an opportunity to crush the Saxons, Bagsecg and Halfdan rode out from Reading with the bulk of their army and made for the downs. Spotting the Danish advance, 21-year old Prince Alfred, rushed to rally his brother's forces.

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.

Aftermath:

While the casualties for the Battle of Ashdown are not known, the chronicles of the day report them as being heavy on both sides. Though an enemy, the body of King Bagsecg was buried at Wayland's Smithy with full honors while the bodies of his earls were interred at Seven Barrows near Lambourn. While Ashdown was a triumph for Wessex, the victory proved pyrrhic as the Danes defeated Ethelred and Alfred two weeks later at Basing, then again at Merton. At the latter, Ethelred was mortally wounded and Alfred became king. In 872, after a string of defeats, Alfred made peace with the Danes.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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