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Battle of Reading (871) facts for kids

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The Battle of Reading was fought in 871 at Reading. It was one of a series of battles between invading vikings and the Anglo-Saxons of Wessex. The viking (also called Danish) army was led by Bagsecg and Halfdan Ragnarsson. This was a large combined army. The viking army was attempting to conquer Wessex. The Wessex army was led by king Athelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred. Both the battle and the campaign it was a part of are described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. This account provides the earliest known written record of the existence of the town of Reading. The Vikings had established a camp at Reading. The camp had several natural defenses. It was protected by the Thames and Kennet rivers on two sides, and by a rampart on the western side. Three days after their arrival, a party of Danes rode out towards nearby Englefield. There they met a West Saxon force under the command of Ealdorman Athelwulf. In the Battle of Englefield many of the Danes were killed, and the rest driven back to Reading. Four days later, Athelwulf was joined by the main West Saxon army, led by King Athelred and his brother, Alfred. The entire Saxon force marched on Reading. In the battle that followed the Vikings defeated the Wessex army and it was driven back. Aethelwulf, the ealdorman, was killed in the fighting.

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