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WERHAM

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Anglo Saxon burh of Wareham, defences rebuilt during the 10th and 11th centuries. Fortified from the beginning of Alfred's reign, it was a minor mint from the reign of Athelstan onwards. It is the only burh for which the defences still survive largely intact. The defences of Wareham are first mentioned in 876 in the account of the war between King Alfred and the Danes. Wareham is included in the list of fortresses defending the frontiers of Wessex known as the Burghal Hidage. This list, which was drawn up under Edward the Elder and probably between 910 and 919, represents the full development of the system established by King Alfred and his successor; there is good reason to believe that its outline was laid down by King Alfred in the years preceeding the Danish invasion of 892. In the Burghal Hidage 1600 hides are allocated to the maintenance and defence of Wareham, sufficient according to the annexed document to support ramparts measuring 2200 yards, a figure which approximates very closely to the length of the banks enclosing the town on the West, North and east sides. The town covers a roughly square area of about 91 acres and the earthwork defences surrounding it on the Niorth, East and West sides are known as the 'Walls'; the South side is bounded by the River Frome. The West Walls were scarped against attack by tanks in 1940.

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