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Meeting Report - April 2018

There were about 60 members present at the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday, 24th April. The speaker was Max Keen and his subject was, "Alfred the Great, The Most Fortunate King." As usual Max entered into the spirit of his talk and the Church Hall was invaded by an awesome looking warrior complete with helmet, spear, sword and shield. As Max said, he could have been an Anglo Saxon or a Viking, but we were instantly transported back to the 800s AD.

King Alfred was born in 849, the 4th son of Aethelwulf, King of the Anglo Saxons. During his childhood he went to Rome and this experience influenced the rest of his life. Much of his time was spent defending his country against the marauding Vikings. Good fortune seemed to be with him throughout his life, with the help of storms, depleted Viking armies and the death of three of his brothers, against the odds he became King Alfred in 871.

His rule reflected his courage, his love of learning and culture, his sense of justice and his negotiating skills. He realised that the best defence was to fortify vulnerable towns and to build up the navy. In this way, he managed to save most parts of Anglo Saxon England from the Vikings. He became known as "Alfred the Great."

Max illustrated his talk with photographs and a fearsome arsenal of authentic weapons. When we were allowed to handle them we wondered how on earth the soldiers managed to fight, carrying all that weight! This all added colour to his fascinating talk. Perhaps Alfred's only bit of bad luck was when he burnt the cakes, which is what everyone remembers, but Max helped us to realise that Alfred's rule was one of the greatest of the early Kings of England.

The meeting on Tuesday 22nd of May will be the Annual General Meeting, followed by a talk by Bob Greathead about the work on the latest water pipeline now being installed in the surrounding area. There will be a meeting of the Court Rolls Group on Wednesday 13th June 2.30pm in the Church Hall. On Tuesday June 26th, Julian Hunt will give a talk on, "Mills in the Belbroughton Valley." The Annual Dinner will take place on 8th June and there will be an outing to Soho House on 5th July. On Tuesday24th July, at 7.30pm, in the Church Hall, we look forward to another visit by Max Keen who will give a talk on, "Dudley Castle. 1017 to 1933. Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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