Feast of King Alfred the Great

He burned the cakes. Fact. And did a few other things.


File:A Chronicle of England - Page 050 - Alfred in the Neatherd's Cottage.jpg

He was, as well as being a king, statesman, administrator, educator, military leader, strategist, saint and burner of cakes, a learned scholar. In the preface to his  translation of Gregory the Great‘s Pastoral Care , he wrote:

“Very often it has come to my mind what men of learning there were formerly throughout England, both in religious and secular orders; and how there were happy times then throughout England; and how the kings, who had authority over this people, obeyed God and his messengers; and how they not only maintained their peace, morality and authority at home but also extended their territory outside; and how they succeeded both in warfare and in wisdom; and also how eager were the religious orders both in teaching and in learning as well as in all the holy services which it was their duty to perform for God; and how people from abroad sought wisdom and instruction in this country; and how nowadays, if we wished to acquire these things, we would have to seek them outside.”

He seems to have inspired many over the centuries.  Edward A. Freeman wrote of him:

“No other man on record has ever so thoroughly united all the virtues both of the ruler and of the private man. In no other man on record were so many virtues disfigured by so little alloy. A saint without superstition, a scholar without ostentation, a warrior all whose wars were fought in the defence of his country, a conqueror whose laurels were never stained by cruelty, a prince never cast down by adversity, never lifted up to insolence in the day of triumph – there is no other name in history to compare with his.” 

And Winston Churchill said:

” We discern across the centuries a commanding and versatile intelligence, wielding with equal force the sword of war  and of justice; using in defence arms and policy; cherishing religion, learning, and art in the midst of adversity and danger; welding together a nation, and seeking always across the feuds and hatreds of the age a peace which would smile upon the land.”


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