221 – Alfred and Guthrum: The Price of Peace

When we left off, Guthrum had marched into the heart of Wessex without being noticed, lead his forces right past Alfred’s hold in Winchester, and seized the Royal tun of Wareham. In response to this, Alfred raised the Fyrd, marched upon the southern port town, and besieged it. Now all of our surviving sources are silent on how long this siege lasted. Alfred may have tried to end it quickly, but it’s just as likely that he and his army camped on the edge of Wareham for a very long time and that Guthrum’s army was running low on supplies. Looking at the record, our best guess is that the siege lasted until winter and only came to a conclusion in either in the end of 876 or early 877, but this is one of those details we will never know for sure.

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