With some houses along the river bank, there is little now to suggest that Athelney has a great significance to Britains history. But it was on this small raised up piece of land amongst the marshy ground that Alfred took refuge during the Viking invasion. Posing as a commoner to avoid interest and living with a pesant woman, it was here that he was so preoccupied with planning his assault against Guthram that he burnt the cakes on the griddle.
Separating fact from myth is hard but what is certain is that the land has a natural causeway from Lyng and the area around it is usually flooded in winter. As such it was believed to be a place out of sight and a good hiding place.
Alfred was supposed to have organized the fabrication of weapons and armour on the site and archaeological evidence does support this. He then went on to score a decisive victory in wiltshire against Guthrum and then as part of his surrender terms baptised him and his men at Aller before then celebrating at Wedmore. Alfred then built a monastery on the hill and ground scans have revealed its layout.
Images relating to Athelney.