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BATTLE OF THE RIVER LEA 895

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BATTLE OF THE RIVER LEA
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The Battle of the River Lea took place in 895 AD between the English and Danes. The Danes had rowed up the Thames and the Lea in 894 and 'made a fortress' on the Lea '20 miles above London'. A local force marched on the Danish encampment and routed the Danes presumably in the spring or summer of 895; in the autumn royal reinforcements under King Alfred blockaded the river so that the Danes could not take to their ships or harass the local inhabitants in gathering their harvest. The Danes then abandoned the Lea, and the 'men from London fetched the ships and broke up all which they could not bring away, and brought to London those which were serviceable'. For the ships broken up in this location, please see 1580444. A Viking sword believed to be of late 9th century date was recovered from the excavations for the Lockwood Reservoir in the old courses of the River Lea (1586681) and may be associated with this battle.

This battle was preceded by that at Benfleet in Essex in 893 (1580225) and followed by an encounter between Alfred's new ships and the Danish ships on the south coast (1578969).

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