Saxons and Vikings: Siege of Wareham

Saxons and Vikings clash in Purbeck, Dorset © National Trust/Neil Davidson

Saxons and Vikings clash in Purbeck, Dorset

The year is 876 and terror once again stalks the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Five years ago the Vikings rampaged through the land until Saxon King Alfred was forced to sue for peace. Now the uneasy truce is over.

A new Viking leader, Guthrum, has launched a surprise attack and the Norsemen have captured the important 'burh' of Wareham in Purbeck. Alfred has gathered his army and marched south to expel them. But Wareham is defended by stout earthworks and a frontal assault would be too costly, so Alfred is forced to lay siege to his own town. Now watch as the drama unfolds ...

History brought to life

Visit King Alfred’s Court as part of Saxons and Vikings: Siege of Wareham on 3-5 May at Corfe Castle. You'll get to witness authentic battle re-enactments, join the ranks as a young warrior on either side, visit the Saxon village and talk to the craftspeople. There are even more opportunities to get hands on with history in the Saxons and Vikings Academy (weekends throughout May).

Turbulent times

Alfred would later be known as Alfred the Great, after defeating the Vikings and laying the foundations of a united England. The siege of Wareham came at a low point for the Anglo-Saxons when most of England was under Viking domination and only Wessex resisted. Alfred himself would be pushed to the brink of defeat before snatching ultimate victory from its jaws.