This national chronicle was the first attempt to give a systematic year-by-year account of English history. It was originally compiled around AD 890 during the reign of King Alfred the Great. In the Chronicles Alfred portrays himself as the only saviour of the Saxons and Ceolwulf as ‘a puppet king’ of the Vikings.

Michael Swanton’s translation of the extract
877 [876]. Here the raiding-army came from Wareham into Exeter, and the raiding ship-army sailed around the wesst, and then they met a great storm at sea, and 120 ships were lost there at Swanage. And Alfred the king rode after the mounted raiding-army with the army as far as Exeter, and could not overtake them before they were in the fortress where they could not be got at. And there they granted him prime hostages, as many as he wanted to have, and swore great oaths and then held to a good peace. And then in the harvest time [877] the raiding-army went into the land of Mercia, and some of it they divided up and some they granted to Ceolwulf.

Eahta seofon seofon  
Her cuom se here into Escanceastre from Werham, 7 se sciphere sigelede west ymbutan, 7 þa mette hie micel yst on sæ – 7 þær forwearþ hundtwelftig scipa æt Swanawic. 7 se cyning ælfred æfter þam gehorsudan here mid fierde rad oþ Exanceaster, 7 hie hindan ofridan ne meahte, ær hie on þam fæstene wæron, þær him mon to ne meahte. 7 hie him þær foregislas saldon, swa fela swa he habban wolde, 7 micle aþas sworon, 7 þa godne friþ heoldon. 7 þa on hærfæste gefor se here on Miercna lond, 7 hit gedældon sum, 7 sum Ceolwulfe saldon.


Heritage Lottery Fund