Keeping up to date with your teaching of Alfred the Great

The outstanding lesson on Alfred addresses the key question as to his greatness. Has it been exaggerated? You might like to know what the most recent scholarship is saying. Marc Morris has recently published The Anglo-Saxons; Beginnings of England ( Hutchinson 2021) in which he puts forward arguments on both sides which you could feed into discussions with pupils as they carry out their own investigation using the material on the site.

Not great?

When questioning Alfred’s greatness, Morris assert that although Alfred ruled Wessex and took over part of Mercia, those areas which lay above Watling Street ( i.e. parts of Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria- were controlled by the Vikings. Alfred was not really able to fight off the Viking threat until 878. And even after that date, he was not able to push home the advantage of the battle of Edington in the form of a decisive victory.

He also points out that praise for Alfred is based on flattery and partisan statements from one of his very own courtiers-Bishop Asser.


On a positive side, his victory at the Battle of Edington was crucial in stopping the Vikings’ advance. He was then able to dictate terms

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