Ashdon fights for 1000 year celebration

The battle of Assandun - 1,000 year anniversary re-enactment at Waltons Park in Ashdon. Saxons and Vikings prepare for battle. ANL-161009-201902009

The battle of Assandun - 1,000 year anniversary re-enactment at Waltons Park in Ashdon. Saxons and Vikings prepare for battle. ANL-161009-201902009

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Vikings and Anglo-Saxons took up arms once more on Waltons Park in Ashdon to bring to life the 1000 year anniversary of the battle of Assandun.

The re-enactment took place on September 10, involved over 80 warriors.

A Blacksmith explains his trade. ANL-161009-202032009

A Blacksmith explains his trade. ANL-161009-202032009

The original battle itself was on September 18, 1016, which involved Canute the Great and his Vikings achieving victory against Edmund Ironside’s Saxons, this battle went on to give Canute the throne of all England.

Jane Gray, who was part of the organising team behind the event was very pleased with the action and how well it was received.

She said; There was hand to hand combat, warriors on horse back fighting, it was a fantastic community event and very atmospheric.

“I have always been so very interested in Assandun and when I realised the 1000 year anniversary was coming up we wanted to organise a proper battle to celebrate it and I’m glad so many people came and enjoyed it.”

The battle of Assandun - warrior preparing for battle. ANL-161009-201850009

The battle of Assandun - warrior preparing for battle. ANL-161009-201850009

Over 1000 people attended the free show, which gave them the chance to not only watch the battle unfold but also try a spot of archery and meet Saxons and Vikings in Living History Encampments that were based around the park’s grounds.

Ms Gray explained just how violent the historical battle actually was and how she felt it was a hugely important part of British History by comparing it to another famous fight that was 50 years later.

She explained: “Both sides fought from 9am till it got dark and nobody was spared,

“The implications of what happened here at the Battle of Assandun could be argued as more important than that of Hastings in 1066.”

The battle is also known for a touch of treachery, Eadric Streona, Earl of Mercia, took his forces from the battle field telling them that Edmund had already been killed, just as the Saxons were actually winning, this put confusion into the Saxon troops and it turned the tide of the entire battle.

With the re-enactment showing the guts and glory of the Assandun battle, Ms Gray hopes that it might lead on to something bigger.

She finally said: “I hope it sparks interest in the battle, as there are so many things still to be found out, you never know a Time Team could come here and find more, all things are possible.”