The battle of Appledore
The year was 878. King Alfred the great was the ruler of Wessex, and not a lot else. He was pinned down to the Isle of Athelney in Somerset, battling the hairy and brutal Viking armies on a daily basis.
Another Viking army had made a base in South-west Wales, under the leadership of a fearsome Chieftain named Ubba, son of the infamous Ragnar Lothbrok.
They formed a plan to trap King Alfred and attack from another side. They sailed across to North Devon with 1200 men on 23 ships.
Upon arrival in Devon, in a field now known as ‘the bloody corner’ a large battle took place against a defending party, under the leadership of Odda, Ealdorman of Devon.
The Vikings had pinned Odda and his men into a fortress, known as Cynuit. All seemed lost for the Saxons, so they made one final charge at Ubba and his men.
The Danes managed victory over Odda, but after losing 840 men, including their leader, Ubba, the Danes could not continue with the campaign to defeat Alfred the great.
Ubba’s men retreated to Lundy island before burying him in a place near the river, at Appledore, now known as Hubbastone, under a cairn made from Lundy granite. No longer visible, either washed away or built over, a memorial has been installed by the river in his honour.
King Alfred went on to successfully defend Wessex, and his descendants eventually ruled over England, for a time. And Odda, for his efforts, got a street named after him in Appledore, now called ‘Odun road’