read or write until after he became king, then he went on to learn Latin as well as his native English. His claims were entirely spurious, but helped to publicise the idea that Alfreds influence permeated the very fabric of the country. Before becoming king Alfred spent several years fighting the Vikings who were wreaking devastation in England, and won several decisive victories.
So, Alfred required his nobles learn how to read and to know something of the civilized heritage of Christendom. While most attention will continue to focus on the fictional hero Uhtred, his story is played out against a political background where the main protagonist is the brooding and bookish mastermind Alfred the Great, vividly portrayed in the series by David Dawson. But now, although Alfred still longs for the priesthood, he is torn between his passion for God and his lust for blood. Alfreds bust was gatacca, the Three Swims included alongside those of other Whig heroes in The Temple of British Worthies completed in 1734-35 by William Kent. It was from this period that Alfred became favoured as a Christian name at all levels of society. His first aristocratic and royal backers came from the circle which gathered around Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-51 the eldest son of George II, and was united by the opposition of its members to the prime minister Robert Walpole.