Three Men Who Influenced England

by blackspanielgallery

Three men had a great influence on early England, and their influence can be considered vital to the very existance of england as it is today.

It can be argued that many men forged the nation, England, and I am certain many of you can make a case for others. I invite you to add your choices, and the reasons why, in the comments section below. I feel these three are all significant, and shall confine the article to but these three men whom I have selected.

For several years I have been working on my ancestry, and I have multiple lines back to England. This has inspired me to delve into some history of England so I can better understand my own roots.

It is difficult to give an order to the prominence of each man, so I will present them chronologically.

King Alfred the Great

King Alfred the Great lived in the late ninth century.  He was King of Wessex, and as such defended his realm against Viking invasions, sometimes successfully, and sometimes not so successfully.  Eventually, he won out and the Vikings made peace.


Alfred the Great is credited with being a champion of education, and started many schools.  He brought the literacy level up, and thus added to the English culture.  He is also credited with forming a navy, a necessity in the time of Viking invasions. 


King Alfred collected the laws from various cultures and wrote a code of law for his realm.  Only with laws can a country stabilize.


King Alfred was religious, and has been named a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.


As a religious man who protected his country, brought about a code of law, and personally championed education, he is one of my choices as a man who significantly influenced England.


King Cnut the Great

King Cnut, also spelled Canute, is historically characterized as a wise man.  He was a Danish prince, and conquered much of England.  During his reign he was able to bring about peace from further Viking raids, since he also held the throne of Denmark and that of part of Norway. 


The Vikings did not just attack and destroy, they also settled and mixed with the population and culture.  Many were seeking land to farm, and others were merchants.   His control of these other areas brought a period of prosperity for those who sailed to trade.


Cnut influenced England in the first half of the eleventh century.


William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror became William I of England after a conquest against Harold.  I will not go into details, but William, Duke of Normandy, had a claim to the throne, as did Harold. 


William was a Normand, meaning he was a Norse man.  The Viking leader Rollo had worked out a deal with the French king for the land known as Normandy, so William was from Viking roots.


William came to the throne of England in 1066, and was instrumental in setting up a government system that long endured.  

The Title “Great”

Many monarchs in history have become known as great, and have the words the great affixed after their name.  In England there were only two men who were deemed worthy of this title, King Alfred and King Cnut.


Flag of England Mug

Why These Three?

My family has multiple branches back to England, but it is from my French roots that I actually get back to all three of these.  So, this choice is rather personal.


This article contains links to affiliate programs from some or all of Amazon, Zazzle, Viglink, and Ebay through Viglink, and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting.


The introduction image is of one of our products on Zazzle, and the image used to make the product is in public domain.  The flag image is from WPClipart.

Updated: 06/09/2017, blackspanielgallery
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Veronica on 06/14/2017

Indeed the royals are never present when these places are open and many parts are private so yes ..why bother ? but people do.

frankbeswick on 06/14/2017

The Conservative Party produces more than its fair share of mindless people. Some years ago certain of its members of parliament were objecting that students learned social and economic history. One of these politicians declared that history is about kings and battles. Ridiculous! But you can see why these characters objected to social and economic history, it was because they did not want the students to know how the ruling class was exploiting the people and just how bad things were and could still become.

I was impressed by the archaeologist Francis Pryor, who declared "What the aristocrats had for breakfast I leave to Starkey. I am concerned with the common people." Starkey is a very pro-royal historian. At school I studied social and economic history and loved it. Thanks to my late, great history teacher, Mr Weaver.

blackspanielgallery on 06/14/2017

But then you would only get to the arts that are unuse, not where a curious person might want to go. I am certain you could not sit across the table from the queen, nor watch her television. So, is it really what people want who do pay?

Veronica on 06/14/2017

On a personal level , I don't see why I should pay the wealthiest woman in the world even as little as a pound to repair her house because she hadn't got it insured.

The consequence was that the all Royal palaces and castles were opened to the paying public in order to pay for the repairs to Windsor which amounted to £65 million by today's standards. So we do pay for the repairs to Windsor if we choose to visit royal households.

blackspanielgallery on 06/14/2017

Our history that we learn here is quite different, as history often is slanted by region. Perhaps a better word is incomplete. In fact, it concentrates little on what was going on other than who won which battle and what was the result. I learn much from you two.
I recall the fire, but had heard nothing of the request for funds.
I was afraid that Wizzley was gone and I would have lost a valuable source of information. For two days I could not log in, even to view comments.

frankbeswick on 06/14/2017

The queen raised a paltry four thousand pounds for the repairs.

Monarchs became less murderous and fratricidal with the Hanoverians, simply because they had no opportunity for it, but drunkeness and fornication still carried on. The modern royals have ditched the drunkeness,well, most of them, most of the time!

Veronica on 06/14/2017

I can see that to many overseas onlookers, the recent monarchy with the pageantry and pomp , crowns and golden carriages, attending ceremonies and living in palaces is a magnificent thing. The realities of past Monarchy were totally different .

British monarchs were a murdering, thieving, perverted ,fornicating, evil, fratricidal bunch who ruled by fear.

Of course it is different now although when Windsor Castle caught fire , because the Queen had not paid any fire insurance on the castle , she proposed that every person in Britain pay £1 a head to have it restored. She was shocked when everyone refused this request from the richest woman on earth who hadn't paid her insurance but expected us to foot the bill.
Our glorious monarchy. ! NOT

frankbeswick on 06/12/2017

You mention the English flag, which I respect, but it is not the original flag of England, but was a crusader symbol. The original flag of England was the Golden Dragon, which was derived from the White Dragon of Wessex. It was last flown at the battle of Crecy by Edward the First, [Longshanks] then disappears from history. This was a truly Saxon flag.

We are supposed to be proud of the victory at Crecy, but I am not. Edward was committing a massive armed robbery in France and slaughtered the French who opposed him at the battle. I don't celebrate armed robbers.

From Shakespeare's Henry V I take the quote, "There are few that die well who die in battle." Kings have many bad deaths to their discredit.

blackspanielgallery on 06/11/2017

Frank, I am no authority on living with a monarchy, but I believe current monarchies have outlived their usefulness, except as philanthropic arms of a government. If one likes ceremony, I see no real harm. But,, hundreds of years ago a strong monarch was needed, and I am not sure we can place older monarchs in today's context. Freedom was an idea not yet ready to flourish, and voting was not a concept people embraced. So we cannot hold them fully accountable. Some monarchs achieved sainthood, Alfred, Edward the Confessor and Edgar the Peaceful, which indicates at least they had some virtue. Is this thinking off, for I am far removed from kings and queens? I am eager to learn, not challenge English thought.
I like Bede. without Bede we would know mush less than we do. His name as a source keeps coming up.
One line not often mentioned line of my genealogy gets into the English line with Edward Longshanks, and comes from France and the Holy Roman Empire, via the Viking marriage into the French line with Charles. I skip John, but Empress Matilda gets me right back to the line. I am quite happy to not have a connection to the current monarchy.
You may have noticed the cup used as an intro image is the English flag, not the Union Jack. If I had opened up to all of the current U. K. I might have included Margaret, Queen of Scots, her son David, and of course Prince Charlie, no friend of the crown.
English history is so rich.

frankbeswick on 06/11/2017

Why omit Shakespeare? Easy. There are so many worthy people to include and so little space to mention them all. Shakespeare was unique, but should we forget St Bede,Chaucer and Dickens?

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