Not unsurprisingly with history there are key days, era's, blocks of time - the Hundred Years War, Wars of the Roses, World War One and Two, the Tudors, the Stuart's, Victorian England.  But English history - or the history of England starts with 1066 - 1066 and all that in fact.  The fall of King Harold and the establishment of William the Conquerer and Norman Conquest.  Before that was Saxon England and the dark ages.

This article revisits that narrative and challenges the orthodox view - and suggests that what we in fact have is the foundation of England dating back to 871AD and then a  200 year Rule of the House of Wessex.  A family that was both successful and dominant, strong and effective - and that united the individual fractious kingdoms that comprised England, that fought, repulsed and handled the largest ever invasion of Danes over the course of 100 years, and created a Kingdom so stable, so wealthy, so attractive it led to a second invading army - led by William of Normandy.  And even then, at the very point of his success he married his son, the future King Henry 1 to the niece of the Last surviving claimant to the Saxon Throne.

This is a story of strong women, great Kings, of war, survival, wealth, a story that crosses England, Wales and Scotland, that will take is from the Danish Court, to Rouen, to Rome, to the court of the Kings of Poland and Hungary.  And it is a story that takes us through the old English towns and cities of Crediton, Wells, Worcester, Warwick, Tamworth, Stamford, Gainsborough, Wednesfield and Tettenhall, Thetford, Bath, Eddisbury and more besides.

And yet this story has lain largely untold.

Let us start with the core facts:

  • From 871 - 1066, a period of 195 years
  • In those 195 years we can count 18 kings
  • For 167 of those 195 years there were just 7 kings

The untold story is that King Alfred the Great reigned for 28 years, King Edward the Martyr 24 years, Athelstan 15 years, Edgar 16 years, Athelred 41 years, Cnut 19 years and Edward the Confessor 24 years.  This is a level of stability and constancy that has been untold and ignored, overwritten by the Norman hegemony that ensued in 1066.

In this account I will try and unravel the inside story, who was married to whom, the claim and counter claims to the throne, the harsh steps that the Saxon nobles were prepared to take to ensure their survival, the extent to which they responded with flexibiility, determination, realism - and throughout all of this - the creation of England that we recognise and know.  The towns and cities of then survive today over 1100 years later.  This is story, that most will not know, but in towns, counties and regions that you recognise, visit and live in today.