Most agree that Ethandune was Edington in Wiltshire. This photograph was taken from a slight rise in the claimed Roman road between Old Sarum and Bath that ran down a hollow in the escarpment of Salisbury Plain. Edington lies at the foot of the slope. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was here that the King ‘fought with all that raiding army’. But this little phrase begs too many questions. Was Guthrum with the Danes who were there, or was he, at the time, twelve miles to the north, at his command centre in Chippenham palace? And where might this ‘fight’ have taken place? The photo is taken looking south. Alfred, according to the Chronicle had come out of Selwood Forest, which lay immediately to the west, or from the high hills of the Plain, to the south. Is it at all likely that Guthrum would lead a frontal attack across the pasture in the foreground, across a marshy stream, and then climb the escarpment to meet Alfred’s mighty numbers at the top? Or was it the case that Alfred swept down upon an unsuspecting gang of Guthrum’s men occupying his erstwhile hunting lodge?
For this and many other questions I hope we can deduce some answers in this blog.