5 facts about… Alfred the Great

The recent discovery of a piece of pelvic bone thought to belong to King Alfred, or to his eldest son, Edward, has sparked new interest in the King of Wessex


The archaeological find has even been compared to the discovery of Richard III’s remains, with archaeologist Neil Oliver claiming it, “overshadowed” it.


Here, we bring you five fun facts about the King Alfred:

1) Alfred the Great is best remembered for his victories against the Vikings. Without him there would probably be no England, and no English language!

2) Legend has it that, while hiding from the Vikings in a cowherd’s hut on a marshy island in Somerset, Alfred was scolded by the man’s wife for letting her loaves (or ‘cakes’) burn.

3) Alfred is the only English monarch to be known as ‘the Great’.

4) The story goes that Alfred once disguised himself as a minstrel (or singer) to sneak into a Viking camp to spy on them. Armed with his harp, he dazzled the Danes with tunes he had learnt as boy, and stayed at the camp for several days.


5) It’s believed that Alfred suffered from what we now know as Crohn’s disease – a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue.