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By Peter Marren

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Britain was once a spot of clash at midnight a while, among the departure of the Romans and the Norman Conquest. Clashes of allegiance, festival for territory and assets, and severe rivalries one of the warlords and kings gave upward thrust to common outbreaks of combating. This used to be the time of mythical army leaders, like Arthur, Alfred and Canute, and of actually hundreds of thousands of battles. during this attention-grabbing e-book, Peter Marren investigates this harassed period of war, appears to be like for the truth in the back of the myths, and makes use of the recommendations of contemporary scholarship to teach how battles have been fought in that brutal age, the place they have been fought, and why.

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Unfortunately the bones are not available for inspection by modern forensic techniques which could certainly establish their approximate date and confirm the cause of death. What was almost certainly another battlefield cemetery, this time from King Alfred's reign in the ninth century was uncovered at Buttington, a village by the River Severn in Gloucestershire, in 1838. Building work on the south-western perimeter of the churchyard revealed pits containing up to 400 skulls among other bones which had evidently been buried all at the same time.

Against Aethelbert, Ceawlin was more successful. The two Saxon armies met at a place called Wibbandun in 568. From the similarity of their names, Wibbandum has been equated with Wimbledon in south London. Opinion today is that the battle was more likely fought near the River Wey which divides Surrey from the then kingdom of Kent. Whitmoor Common between Worplesdon and Guildford is a possible battle site. The result was that Aethelbert was driven back with the loss of two Kentish 'princes', Oslaf and Cnebba.

In this version it was fought at 'the ford called Episford in their language, Rhyd yr afael in ours, and there fell Horsa and also Vortigern's son Cateyrn (Catigern)'. The agreement of two separate sources makes it probable that this was a real event. Agaelesthrep has been plausibly identified with Aylesford, just north of Maidstone, one of the few fordable points on the Medway. Horsa, according to Bede, was buried 'in east Kent where his monument still stands' - though unfortunately we don't know where.

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