Year 5

The Anglo-Saxon fightback

I can describe how the kingdom of Wessex fought back against the Vikings.

Year 5

The Anglo-Saxon fightback

I can describe how the kingdom of Wessex fought back against the Vikings.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. By 875 Guthrum began to attack Wessex once again, almost capturing Alfred at Chippenham in January 878.
  2. Alfred raised as many soldiers as possible from across Wessex and defeated Guthrum at the Battle of Edington in May 878.
  3. After the battle Alfred allowed Guthrum to rule the Viking dominated area known as the Danelaw.
  4. The Danelaw was north of a line between the Thames to and Mersey, including East Anglia, Northumbria and some of Mercia.
  5. As part of the peace agreement Guthrum agreed to convert to Christianity, with Alfred as his godfather.

Common misconception

Pupils may not understand that dividing England was a clever move for Alfred to make.

Alfred divided England and allowed the Vikings to control some areas. Alfred knew he could not get the Vikings to leave Britain as too many had already settled.


  • Chippenham - Chippenham is a town in southwestern England where the Vikings almost captured Alfred

  • Edington - Edington is a town in southwestern England where Alfred defeated Guthrum

  • Danelaw - the area that Alfred allowed the Vikings to rule was called the Danelaw

  • Converted - when someone changes to a new religion or belief they have converted

Talk to the pupils about a peace agreement and ask them what terms they would have set if they were Alfred.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.


Adult supervision suggested.


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).


6 Questions

Complete the sentence. To something is to resist an attack being made against it.
Correct Answer: defend, Defend
Who was the ruler of Wessex in 870 CE?
King Alfred
Correct answer: King Aethelred
Chief Guthrum
Order the battles, starting from the earliest, that happened between Aethelred and the Vikings.
1 - the Battle of Reading
2 - the Battle of Ashdown
3 - th Battle of Basing
Who became king of Wessex after Aethelred died in 871 CE?
Correct Answer: Alfred, alfred
Why did King Alfred bribe the Vikings?
To increase the wealth of the Vikings.
Correct answer: To defend Wessex from the Vikings.
To improve trad links with the Vikings.
Which statements correctly describe the direct impact of King Alfred's bribery of the Vikings?
King Alfred formed a connection with Mercia.
Correct answer: Wessex was left in peace for a few years.
Correct answer: King Alfred formed a connection with Danish chief Guthrum.
Wessex became richer and had improved trade links.

6 Questions

Which statement accurately describes the outcome of the battles at Essex between King Alfred and King Guthrum?
Only the Vikings were victorious.
Correct answer: Neither the Vikings or Anglo-Saxons were victorious.
Only the Anglo Saxons were victorious.
Where did Guthrum launch a surprise attack on King Alfred?
Correct answer: Chippenham
Order the events, starting with the earliest.
1 - Viking King Guthrum began to attack Wessex.
2 - Guthrum launched a surprise attack on Chippenham.
3 - Alfred took refuge in the marshes and prepared an attack.
4 - Alfred rode out to challenge Guthrum and the Vikings at Edington.
5 - Alfred was victorious and this forced Guthrum to withdraw from Wessex.
What city did Alfred drive the Vikings out of in 886 CE?
Correct Answer: London, london
Which statements accurately explain what happened to Britain after the battle at Edington?
Correct answer: Alfred divided Britain and allowed the Vikings to rule some areas.
The Vikings left Britain and travelled across the sea to return to Danelaw.
Correct answer: Vikings controlled areas of Britain which were called the Danelaw.
Alfred was forced to become part of the Viking empire.
Complete the sentence. As part of the peace agreement, Guthrum converted to and King Alfred served as his godfather.
Correct Answer: Christianity, christianity, Christians, christians

Additional material

Download additional material
We're sorry, but preview is not currently available. Download to see additional material.