|Who is it?||King of Wessex|
|Birth Place||Wantage, British|
|Died On||26 October 899 (around 50) Winchester|
|Reign||23 April 871 – 26 October 899|
|Successor||Edward the Elder|
|Burial||c. 1100 Hyde Abbey, Winchester, Hampshire, now lost|
|Issue||Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians Edward, King of Wessex Æthelgifu, abbess of Shaftesbury Æthelweard of Wessex Ælfthryth, Countess of Flanders|
|Full name||Full name Ælfred of Wessex Ælfred of Wessex|
|Father||Æthelwulf, King of Wessex|
The unbinding of the chrisom on the eighth day took place at a royal estate called Wedmore.
The Alfred jewel, discovered in Somerset in 1693, has long been associated with King Alfred because of its Old English inscription AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN (Alfred ordered me to be made). The jewel is about 2 ⁄2 inches (6.4 centimetres) long, made of filigreed gold, enclosing a highly polished piece of quartz crystal beneath which is set in a cloisonné enamel plaque with an enamelled image of a man holding floriate sceptres, perhaps personifying Sight or the Wisdom of God.
The royal graves and many others were probably rediscovered by chance in 1788 when a prison was being constructed by convicts on the site. Prisoners dug across the width of the altar area in order to dispose of rubble left at the dissolution. Coffins were stripped of lead, and bones were scattered and lost. The prison was demolished between 1846 and 1850. Further excavations in 1866 and 1897 were inconclusive. In 1866 amateur antiquarian John Mellor claimed to have recovered a number of bones from the site which he said were those of Alfred. These later came into the possession of the vicar of nearby St Bartholomew's Church who reburied them in an unmarked grave in the church graveyard.
A statue of Alfred the Great, situated in the Wantage market place, was sculpted by Count Gleichen, a relative of Queen Victoria, and unveiled on 14 July 1877 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The statue was vandalised on New Year's Eve 2007, losing part of its right arm and axe. After the arm and axe were replaced the statue was again vandalised on Christmas Eve 2008, losing its axe.
A bronze statue of Alfred the Great stands at the eastern end of The Broadway, close to the site of Winchester's medieval East Gate. The statue was designed by Hamo Thornycroft, and erected in 1899 to mark one thousand years since Alfred's death. The statue is placed on a pedestal consisting of two immense blocks of grey Cornish granite.
A marble statue of Alfred the Great stands on the North side of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It was sculpted by Isidore Konti in 1910.
A prominent statue of King Alfred the Great stands in the middle of Pewsey. It was unveiled in June 1913 to commemorate the coronation of King George V.
One of the first items visible when entering the campus of Alfred University is a bronze statue of the king, created in 1990 by william Underhill. It features the king as a young man, holding a shield in his left hand and an open book in his right.
Excavations conducted by the Winchester Museums Service of the Hyde Abbey site in 1999 located a second pit dug in front of where the high altar would have been located, which was identified as probably dating to Mellor's 1886 excavation. The 1999 archeological excavation uncovered the foundations of the abbey buildings and some bones. Bones suggested at the time to be those of Alfred proved instead to belong to an elderly woman.
The Royal Navy has named one ship and two shore establishments HMS King Alfred, and one of the first ships of the US Navy was named USS Alfred in his honour. In 2002, Alfred was ranked number 14 in the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.
They had five or six children together including: Edward the Elder who succeeded his father as king; Æthelflæd who became Lady (ruler) of the Mercians in her own right; and Ælfthryth who married Baldwin II the Count of Flanders. His mother was Osburga, daughter of Oslac of the Isle of Wight, Chief Butler of England. Asser, in his Vita Ælfredi asserts that this shows his lineage from the Jutes of the Isle of Wight. This is unlikely as Bede tells us that they were all slaughtered by the Saxons under Cædwalla. In 2008 the skeleton of Queen Eadgyth, granddaughter of Alfred the Great was found in Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany. It was confirmed in 2010 that these remains belong to her—one of the earliest members of the English royal family.
The preface of Alfred's translation of Pope Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care explained why he thought it necessary to translate works such as this from Latin into English. Although he described his method as translating "sometimes word for word, sometimes sense for sense", the translation actually keeps very close to the original although, through his choice of language, he blurred throughout the distinction between spiritual and secular authority. Alfred meant the translation to be used, and circulated it to all his bishops. Interest in Alfred's translation of Pastoral Care was so enduring that copies were still being made in the 11th century.
A legend, originating from 12th century chronicles, tells how when he first fled to the Somerset Levels, Alfred was given shelter by a peasant woman who, unaware of his identity, left him to watch some wheaten cakes she had left cooking on the fire. Preoccupied with the problems of his kingdom Alfred accidentally let the cakes burn and was roundly scolded by the woman upon her return.
In March 2013 the Diocese of Winchester exhumed the bones from the unmarked grave at St Bartholomew's and placed them in secure storage. The diocese made no claim they were the bones of Alfred, but intended to secure them for later analysis, and from the attentions of people whose interest may have been sparked by the recent identification of the remains of King Richard III. The bones were radiocarbon-dated but the results showed that they were from the 1300s and therefore unrelated to Alfred. In January 2014, a fragment of pelvis unearthed in the 1999 excavation of the Hyde site, which had subsequently lain in a Winchester museum store room, was radiocarbon-dated to the correct period. It has been suggested that this bone may belong to either Alfred or his son Edward, but this remains unproven.
It was at one time attached to a thin rod or stick based on the hollow socket at its base. The jewel certainly dates from Alfred's reign. Although its function is unknown it has been often suggested that the jewel was one of the "æstels"—pointers for reading—that Alfred ordered sent to every bishopric accompanying a copy of his translation of the Pastoral Care. Each "æstel" was worth the princely sum of 50 mancuses which fits in well with the quality workmanship and expensive materials of the Alfred jewel".
Boethius'Consolation of Philosophy was the most popular philosophical handbook of the Middle Ages. Unlike the translation of the Pastoral Care the Alfredian text deals very freely with the original and, though the late Dr. G. Schepss showed that many of the additions to the text are to be traced not to the translator himself but to the glosses and commentaries which he used, still there is much in the work which is distinctive to the translation and has been taken to reflect philosophies of kingship in Alfred's milieu. It is in the Boethius that the oft-quoted sentence occurs: "To speak briefly: I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and after my life to leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works." The book has come down to us in two manuscripts only. In one of these the writing is prose, in the other a combination of prose and alliterating verse. The latter manuscript was severely damaged in the 18th and 19th centuries.
An excellent hunter in every branch of the sport, Alfred is remembered as an enthusiastic huntsman against whom nobody’s skills could compare.