The treaty of Wedmore brought little peace, though. Already in 885 a 'Viking force had assembled at Bentfleet, on the north bank of the Thames estuary, threatening a strike further upriver and then inland. In fact this never materialized, but none the less Alfred was quick to react.'Click for footnote He occupied London and 'moved the community from Aldwich to within the safety of the city walls.'Click for footnote London, which had formerly belonged to Mercian territory, was handed over to Lord Aethelred II, who had accepted Wessex overlordship for a self-ruled Mercia one or two years

before. Aethelred II also married King Alfred's daughter Aethelflead about this time. A new treaty was supposed to strengthen the peace with Guthrum. The terms of this treaty not only concerned the safety of Wessex, but brought benefits for all English people. '...the terms of the treaty seem to have involved Danish recognition that Englishmen under their rule would have the same wergeld as Danes of their own class, and as Englishmen in Wessex.'Click for footnote This secured the position of the English under Danish law as more or less equals instead of a second-class people in a conquered land. Alfred acted as 'leader and spokesman of "all the councillors of the English race"'.Click for footnote This re-conquest of London has often been seen as the beginning of a united England. This idea is strengthened by a remark in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for this occasion: '...all the English people submitted to him, except those who were in captivity of the Danes.'Click for footnote It also marks the beginning of a period of re-conquests of now Danish territory by the emerging nation of the English.

Meanwhile the 'Great Army' which had turned away from England to the continent in 878 had decided to return. In 871, they landed in Kent, where they were joined by a second army coming from Haesten. These new combined forces resembled in size the armies of the 850s to 870s. 'Both the Frankish annals and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle number the great army of the 890s at 200 ships, and that of Haesten, which reinforced it after 20 years of raiding on the Loire, at between 50 and 100.'Click for footnote These Vikings roamed the English lands until 896, but even though they were extremely mobile and received much support from the Vikings of Northumbria and East Anglia, they were not able to penetrate deeper into Wessex after they had been effectively fought off in the opening invasion of 893. And 'the main damage to Wessex came from coastal raids by Danes settled in Northumbria and East Anglia'.Click for footnote The new Viking army was never decisively defeated, but finally gave up. In 896, the army dispersed from Bridgnorth. Some settled in the Danelaw while another part set sail once more for the continent.

Something had clearly changed since the armies of 865 and 871. Theses changes were largely due to the immense reforms that Alfred had undertaken since his victory at Chippenham in 878. His achievements in military, political, educational and religious questions interlocked and therefore became even more efficient. English defensive and offensive forces were well prepared. And furthermore, a religious motivation caused former enemies to fight together. '...the description of the events at Buttington in 893 shows that the West Saxons, Mercians and Welsh did collaborate with one another against the Vikings, while the description of the naval engagement in 896 reveals the presence of Frisians among the English forces: it is significant that on both occasions the chronicler refers to the 'Christians' collectively, suggesting that their common religious identity was seen as the basis of such combined operations.'Click for footnote

King Alfred and the Vikings I
Viking Tour
The Early Raids Danish Armies King Alfred and the Vikings I
King Alfred and the Vikings II English Re-Conquest King Æthelred
  A Danish king on the
throne of England