King Alfred and the cakes. Blog 8-2017

Songs of Praise was filmed in Winchester the other Sunday and concluded with a prayer by Alfred the Great. We were shown his statue which was unveiled on the occasion of his Millenary and mention of him was made during the episode.  Now this caught my attention because all I knew about King Alfred was that he burned the cakes. So, I decided to take a look and find out some more about him.

For those who like me knew of nothing except the cakes here are a few things I discovered. Oh no! One of the first things I learned was that the story of Alfred and the cakes is documented as only appearing three hundred years after he died (around 1200AD) and probably a myth. So that means the only thing I knew about him was a myth. However, his real story is much more interesting than burned cakes anyway.

Alfred the Great, King of Wessex ruled from 871 to 899.  When he died he was just fifty years old which means that he became king at the age of twenty two. He was the forth son of the Saxon King Ethelwulf. Because his three elder brothers had all died Alfred had Kingship thrust upon him and it seems he had a sense that he had been especially destined for this high office.

Not only did he manage to keep the Vikings out of Wessex but achieved the liberation of neighbouring areas from Viking control. He paved the way for the future unity of England which was brought to fruition by his son and Grandsons. By the mid tenth century the England we are familiar with was ruled as one country for the first time.

Alfred promoted himself as the defender of the Christian Anglo-Saxon faith and held the view that all in authority in church or state could not act justly or effectively without the knowledge or wisdom acquired through study. He set up schools to ensure just that. Alfred translated Latin works into Old English and encouraged the nobles in his court to read and study.  He wrote an in depth Law-code and revolutionized the country’s legal system. Known as Common-Law it was basically the same law we have today, one law for everyone rich and poor alike.

Alfred is quoted as saying “He seems to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world.” Well, we would agree with that I’m sure. Why would you not want to make the most of your time here on earth to improve yourself, learn as much as you can and let it influence your everyday life.

At the end of one of King Alfred’s translations he wrote a prayer, this is the latter part of the prayer used on Songs of Praise. “For thou art my Maker and my Redeemer, my life, my comfort, my trust and my hope. Praise and glory be to Thee now and forever and unto endless ages. Amen.” Some King eh?

king Alfred




About Veronica Nowell Author

Veronica Nowell has published four books since 2008. 'a farthing cone', 'a fourpenny wafer' and 'six chocolate coated ice creams'. These have now been produced as a trilogy under the name 'ice creams'. the fourth book is titled 'rainbow icecream'.
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2 Responses to King Alfred and the cakes. Blog 8-2017

  1. Jacqui Conlon says:

    fascinating stuff. we sure could do with a ruler like him again, although we do have one in our Queen don’t we. It would be nice if politicians would follow suit.

    • Thank you for your response Jacqui, yes I agree and with you am grateful that our Queen loves our God. Did you see the book put out by the Bible Society for her majesty’s 90th birthday? Titled ‘The servant Queen and the King she serves.’

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