Downton and Cerdic 519 AD
Birthplace of King Arthur's Kingdom of Wessex and England

by Michael Alwyn Slade
Copyright 2010 ©

Chapter 3a.

The Battle of Cerdics Ford - end Day 1.

"When we left you at at dusk" said Cynric "We sent our foot soldiers ahead along the warpath and the spearhead reached the Hal point at the edge of the forest, we skirted their stronghold there before dawn. We had achieved complete surprise as it was with the immediate follow through with the cavalry and we crossed at the ford you had mentioned, Cerdic's Ford (Charford), and swept to encircle three encampments on the valley floor near Brem Moor. The marshland tracks were much the same as you described from your youth so we advanced with unexpected speed. We attacked them from both sides before they could raise an alarm. For Saxons they were old and tired and they suffered for it, we must have killed a thousand while a similar number fled towards Wigts Burgh (Whitsbury). They were Natans men, we later found Aelles Saxon force off to the North as expected.

As we regrouped and collected another 1000 over the Ford we circled round Waelton and Wick to Caerl Burgh. The rain was by then lashing down but we were advancing via the high ground and met Aelle's men encamped around the castle. We ignored their defended hillside position and took out their tail and surrounding encampments. They are well and truly trapped in there now. We will see them out they will not last in there, no more than a couple of days, they have not prepared well enough since arriving just a couple of days ago. We lost a few men there mostly Saxon foot perhaps one hundred all told though we are down twelve light cavalry Saxons, six at Brem Moor and six at Clear Burgh. We must have taken out five hundred of them and a similar number dispersed without much weaponry.

We met Aelwyn well before midday in a pincer movement that completed our encircling of Dunton. "Yes Cerdic" said Aelwyn. "We left Cynric at the Herre-Path (Warpath) and cut across Hampt Worth and encircled Wither Ring Ton before dawn. We met almost no resistance when we attacked - they could see we probably outnumbered them and we were in there within an hour. We split forces and have sent cover north to Brit Ford , Caerlton (Charlton) and Ald Burgh (Alderbury) they are under our control. We cannot be surprised by any of Aelle's reinforcements. The other force met with Cynric at Caerl Burgh from the East they must have thought the world was about to end I didn't fancy being in their position but it was hard won by us, although it was a steeper climb up there than you led us to believe. Your memories from your youth must have given you an abundance of strength Cerdic!"

Cerdic nodded with a smile, his plans so far had been executed to a tee. Cerdic had seen many a year of his youth cutting his teeth learning his military skills as a young boy right here in the Aluan (Avon) Valley amongst the dozen or more hill-forts that his father Llyr Merini controlled as part of Dumnonia and often based with his foster-father Ector at the palace by the river at Dun-Ton.

Cerdic looked to his right - "Kay how went it with you" - A warrior no less noble than our three nobles had been attentively listening - Seems I got the short straw today we saw but little action. We found that we encircled Franken Burgh from the South they were in no mood for being trounced. I had a thousand warriors in view for them so they couldn't be so incompetent to have mis-perceived our intentions. We have since covered the South as far as Aellings Ham (Ellingham) and also moved just short of Knole Ton (Knowlton) Cran Bourne and Rock Bourne.

We only need the follow up force to hold these positions as we anticipate moving on to Regni Wood (Ringwood) and Twyn Ham on the coast within days. I would anticipate we will have Pool and Ware Ham, Bad Burgh, Shaftes Burgh and Bland Ford at least on friendly relations well before the summer arrives." "Well done my noble-men, well it seems we had much the easiest job here at Dun-ton as befits us a the Court Guard Seniors" jested Cerdic.

"We spearheaded Downton although we came via Hampt Worth and the hidden Schnells Creep I remember it as a youngster instead of the obvious Leod (Traitors) Hill into Downton we crossed at the less well used ford to the North and well - here we are. Untouched, untroubled as we had hoped for. Natan is esconced in the Moot with the Palace and Villa filled with little but hangers-on. Natan must have a guard of five hundred at the most. We must expect but half of them are serious Saxons we must give the rest a chance to escape they will be the local militia many of whom will be men and their sons well known to me many moons ago, they will be loyal to us in the months ahead. We've surrounded them all along both banks of the river and by now they will have noticed our dominance up and down the valley."

"Tomorrow I intend to attack from the river and from the East offer a feint, we will offer them a defeatist retreat eastward with me in the fore in order to attract the misguided Natan that he is safer out of the Moot especially in chasing hot-foot after taking me out in the process. He would need most of his men in support of such an operation. The local militia I anticipate would disperse as soon as they reached the edge of the Forest when seeing our defence at Forest Gate. That will leave us to meet our biggest battle to force the Saxon Guard into a flank attack and force them back to as far as the marshes around my Cerdic's Ford, as you call it, where we can pick them off. Cynric will follow the agreed plan to cut off any retreat to the Moot and encircle the Palace and Villa complexes. The Moots defence will be local militia and I expect them to stand down with a little face saving diplomacy from us." "I have no wish to see Natan the traitor alive again, we will be well rid if him tomorrow so show no remorse, go for him."

"Sounds easy noble-men. You know it won't be. Yet you know we can do it, we have done it many times before over the last three or more decades. This must be our effort to bring peace for our people for many years to come. We have the men, we have the minds of all of our people, now is out time to account for our position as their trusted leaders. Finish now your rest, return and address your men. See that our Saxons are well fed and "watered" and assure them we expect them to match their usual expertise against all pitted against them. Lead from the front Gentlemen . Wigtburn old friend - more ale for everyone."


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