DAS Chronicle

The DAS Chronicle is our history-within-history, recording the actions and intrigues of our members within the historical setting of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

The last digit of the current year provides the year we’re following in the 870s from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, so the story of 2016 will be set within the events of 876 (which actually spans 875 to 876 A.D.)

Note that the 21st century location of a DAS event doesn’t have to match the geographical setting of the 9th century story. Organisers are free to set their event anywhere that makes sense for the plot.

Historical Background

The Vikings raided the English kingdoms throughout the 9th century, but these were small raids and the Vikings always returned home over winter. Things changed in 866, the year when Aethelred became king of Wessex and the Great Heathen Army, led by the sons of the semi-legendary Ragnar Lodbrok (Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan, and Ubbe), attacked Britain and didn’t leave, overwintering here. They descended like locusts, stripping an area bare and then moving on.

In 867 the Great Army went to Northumbria, which was ravaged by civil war between the king Osbriht and the usurper Aelle. The Northumbrians united against the Vikings, but both ‘kings’ were killed in battle at York, and the Vikings make Ecgberht the new king of Northumbria. In 868 the Great Army moved on to Nottingham in Mercia, and King Burhred of Mercia got aid from his brothers-in-law Aethelred and Alfred of Wessex to support him in besieging the town- but the siege was a stalemate, and eventually peace was made. In 869 the Vikings again took Northumbria, then in 870 they came down through Mercia to take East Anglia. In East Anglia they killed King Edmund in battle at Thetford, ravaged the land, and sacked the abbey at Medhamsted (Peterborough) “burning and breaking, and slaying abbot and monks, and all that they there found”.

In 871 the Great Army moved into Wessex for the first time. They initially took Reading, but then King Aethelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred arrived and a bloody series of nine battles erupted. King Bagsecg was slain at the Battle of Ashdown, King Aethelred passed way of natural causes, Alfred become the new King of Wessex, the Great Army was reinforced by the Great Summer Host led by Guthrum, and finally the two sides made peace…

The DAS Chronicle

In 872 the Vikings fell on London, and forced the Mercians to make peace. Read about our Sack of London event here.

In 873 the Vikings went north against the Northumbrians again, and overwintered at Torksey in Lindsey, again with the Mercians making peace.

In 874 the Vikings fell on Mercia. King Burhred was exiled, and Thegn Ceolwulf took his place. Read an overview of our year (and what history says happened) here.
Our first event of 874/2014 was The Kingslayer, at which a small group of Vikings raided a monastery on the edge of Wessex, and stole the Kingslayer (the sword that killed the Viking King Bagsecg in one of the few battles where Englisc beat the Vikings), to weaken Mercian resolve and enable a prophecy. You can read about it here.
Our second event of 874/2014 was To Curse a King, at which the Vikings used the magic of the Kingslayer to erect a potent nithing-pole inside Burhred’s favourite hunting ground, giving him another blow to his morale and unleashing powerful spirits against him. You can read about it here.
Our third event of 874/2014 was Before the Battle, at which the Vikings and Englisc both prepared for the battle to seal the fate of Mercia, and an introspective Viking leader, Ivar the Boneless, asked the assembled forces exactly what they wanted. You can read about it here.
Our fourth event of 874/2014 was The Doom of Burhred, at which the Vikings and Englisc fought a terrible battle, King Burhred of Mercia fled, the Vikings declared Ceolwulf King of Mercia, and the Heathen Host fractured as King Ivar died and they were torn apart by arguments.
Our final event was set shortly after, as the world was still reeling from the death of Ivar and flight of Burhred. Our warbands turned against each other, in a vicious skirmish through the woods of Mercia.

In 875 the Viking forces split, with Halfdan marching north to fight the local Englisc, Picts, and even invaders from Norway; whilst Guthrum marched to East Anglia to subdue the Englisc there. Read about our initial plans for the year and what history says happened here.
Our first event of 875/2015 was The Hunt For Ivar’s Treasure, at which the leaderless Vikings attempted to recover gold that Ivar hid after looting Medhampstead Abbey 5 years ago (and the Englisc tried to stop them!) At the banquet, the Vikings received news from their (possible) kings, and faced some tough choices…
Our second fighting event of 875/2015 was Shipwrecked! To quote the A-S Chronicle: “This summer King Alfred went out to sea with an armed fleet, and fought with seven ship-rovers, one of whom he took, and dispersed the others.”
Our final event of 876/2016 was Looting the Looters, where the Englisc ambushed the shipwrecked Vikings as they attempted to get back to East Anglia, and much treasure changed hands.

In 876 the Vikings remained separated, with Halfdan putting down the troubles in Northumbria whilst Guthrum led a daring attack deep into the heart of Wessex. Read our plans for the year here.

Latest Chapter

  • Where’s my helmet? 879 (Butser Ancient Farm, 2019)

    Peace spread across the Saxon lands in the year following the conversion of Athelstan. Saxons emboldened by good harvests met for a market and feast in the hills of Hampshire. Herewulf Thegn sent representatives of the Cilternsaete included a trusted young Saxon to whom he lent his fine helmet.

    The market attracted many Viking traders for whom peace was also advantageous, but it also attracted the attentions of more nefarious folk. One of the Viking factions having returned from Denmark and setting themselves up near Fulham sought the rich pickings of the market. They arrived under the guise of merchants and traders, and on the first night drank well with their hosts.

    The dawn’s light brought fair weather and enjoyment, but to Herewulf’s young representative it brought nothing but fear; for his lord’s helmet was found to be missing. Panic swept through the man and he ran hither-and-thither offering out breakfast as he went and always asking if anyone knew of the helmet’s location; but none did.

    Despair took the man for he could never replace the helmet and could not pay the cost, his life would be forfeit. But with great happenstance there came to the market children of strange dress and speech; children who were excited and skilled enough to solve the message of the helmet. Each in turn they interrogated the attendees present, piecing together clues they identified the thief as none other than Hauk of Oestvikingae, the crafty and fleet of foot warrior. Despite his reputation Hauk could not outrun his fate, and through cunning distractions of their own the children did find within Hauk’s possessions the stolen helmet.

    Hauk pleaded innocence, but being unknown to the locals he found no man or woman to support his character, his end seemed near, however knowing the law, and his rank Hauk resolved to pay his wergild with vast quantities of silver armbands. His life bought, and the helmet returned that evening Hauk and all of the Oestvikingae joined in a hearty feast, before the next morning departing early; and again, the helmet was found to be missing…

    The young Saxon again sought help to identify the suspect, and again Hauk was implicated. Men were sent on swift horses returning again with the helmet, and silver to pay for Hauk’s life.

    Herewulf Thegn was pleased for the market not only returned his favourite helmet but also substantial additional silver; and all who had been present and had seen these strange proceedings wondered “What scheme would Hauk come up with next?”

    Continue reading →

DAS Chronicle Archive

You can read all entries in the DAS version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the archive: DAS Chronicle.