Alfred had set a mark with the recapturing of London. The English no longer simply defended themselves but began to retake the conquered land from the Vikings. This does not mean that the Vikings were no longer a threat, however. Borders were very insecure and frequently shifted in the following century.

Alfred's daughter Æthelflead, for example, allowed a group of Norsemen to settle in Mercia after being expelled from Dublin in 902. This generous gesture turned out to be a bad move. In 905, the Norsemen revolted and attempted to take the city of Chester. They did not succeed, however, and Chester was re-fortified in

907.Click for footnote But even though trouble remained, a period of English success began.

King Alfred died in 899 and was succeeded by his son, Edward the Elder, who 'made everyone who lived south of the Humber and east of the Welsh recognize him as king.'Click for footnote King Edward did have a somewhat slow start, though. One of his cousins, who had been passed over for the succession of the throne, formed a coalition with the Vikings which gave the new king quite some trouble within the first years. In 910, however, 'he gained a decisive victory over an army of Northumbrian Tettenhal in Staffordshire. This deprived the Vikings settled in eastern England of allies.'Click for footnote His victorious run had begun. In 915, 'Edward built a new burh at Buckingham, and this led within months to the submission of the Vikings of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.'Click for footnote A year later, Essex followed and a permanent garrison was established at Maldon. In January 918, only four Danish armies were left south of the Humber, based at Leicester, Stamford, Nottingham and Lincoln. And Edward was not their sole problem: 'The Anglo-Danes of Northumbria, under threat from Norse invaders from their Irish base (it was by no means the case that all Scandinavians loved one another), offered to make common cause with Æthelflæd of the Mercians, whose death in June ruined the project.'Click for footnote At this time, Nottingham and Lincoln were the only bases left of the English Vikings. '...and they had both submitted before Edward's death in 924.'Click for footnote But as I said before: borders were fickle things in those days. In 919, York was once more reconquered, this time by Norse Vikings from Dublin, who once more established a northern kingdom there. '...the Dublin - York axis was again in being; the Vikings held Northumbria and Mercians must have feared that they would again be reduced to misery.'Click for footnote Edward made good use of this crisis and secured direct rule over Mercia for himself by taking it from his niece Ælfwynn, who had just succeeded her mother as Lady of Mercia.

When Edward died, his eldest son succeeded him. Due to some opposition, though, he was crowned a year after Edward's death. In 926, Æthelstan gave his sister in marriage to the Norse king of York, Sihtric. When Sihtric died the following year, his son by first marriage, Olaf, was supported by Guthfrith, the king of Norse Dublin, who was the heir's uncle. Æthelstan, however, had other plans. 'He utterly defeated the two Vikings in a short but effective campaign. He seized York and razed its fortifications, an indication that he still regarded it as a possible centre of trouble.'Click for footnote A short period of peace followed, but in 934 'war broke out between what we must now call the English and the Scots. There was no pitched battle, but Æthelstan humiliated the Scottish king by harrying his kingdom both by land and sea. In 937, realizing that Æthelstan was too powerful for any other single island ruler to tackle, the Dublin Norse allied with Strathclyde and Scotland and invaded England. The campaign reached its climax in the great battle of Brunanburh which the English won.'Click for footnote

Æthelstan died in 939 and was succeeded by his brother Edmund. And Viking terror did not wait long. Olaf Guthrithson, king of Dublin, attacked England and 'reconstituted the united kingdom of Dublin and York without difficulty' in the same year. 'In 940 Olaf invaded Mercia and East Anglia, the archbishops of York and Canterbury mediated, and Edmund surrendered much of the south-east Midlands and Lincolnshire. Olaf died soon after in 942, and Edmund recovered the territories south of the Humber and eventually drove the Norsemen out of the city of York himself.'Click for footnote

Edmund was murdered in 946, and since his two sons were too young, his brother Eadred ascended the throne. His northern problems took the form of Eric Bloodaxe, 'a former king in Norway noted for his bloodthirsty ways', who 'descended on Northumbria and maintained himself in power there intermittently until 954, when he was expelled and then fell in battle. Eadred was able to extort recognition as king of all England from the Northumbrians.'Click for footnote

Eadwig, Edgar and Edward
A period without much Viking harassment followed. King Eadwig reigned from 955-59, followed by Edgar the Peaceable from 959-75. When Edgar died, there was considerable strife over the succession. Two parties competed against each other, one for Edgar's son Edward, the other on behalf of Edward's half-brother Æthelred who was still too young to take a position himself. Edward finally won the crown, but this did him no good. In 978, Edward the Martyr was murdered, probably by a follower of the Æthelred-party. Æthelred became king a year later.

King Alfred and the Vikings II
Viking Tour
King Æthelred
The Early Raids Danish Armies King Alfred and the Vikings I
King Alfred and the Vikings II English Re-Conquest King Æthelred
  A Danish king on the
throne of England