The work of Alfred, Edward the Elder, and Athelstan in driving back the Danes advanced the supremacy of Wessex, but also forged a kingdom of England, even if the component parts, particularly in the north, retained considerable autonomy. Indeed, Edgar in 973 seems to have made claims towards sovereignty over Britain, even if they were shadowy and unsubstantiated. When a fresh Danish onslaught began under Sweyn and Cnut in the early eleventh century, they took over the whole land. Edward ‘the Confessor’ ruled over a kingdom recognizable as the later England, and this was the country taken over by William ‘the Conqueror’, also by descent a ‘Northman’, in 1066.
Subjects: British History.