Saxon Lundenwic became subject to increasingly frequent and savage raids by the Vikings in the ninth century. On the wings of dragons they came in 839, axes agleam, and according to the Old English “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, went only after “great slaughter”. And back they came in 851 “and stormed … London”, and again in 872 “and there chose their winter-quarters”.
Then in 878, Alfred the Great emerged from the fastnesses of Athelney to defeat the Vikings at the Battle of Edington in Wiltshire, and subsequently to force them to withdraw into what became known as the Danelaw in the north and east of the country (east of the River Lea in London). Eight years later, in 886, according to the “Chronicle”, he “fortified the [Roman] city of London [Londinium]”, and moved the Saxon settlement to within its perimeter and river walls, and renamed it Lundenburg (*). In the process, he also set out the street plan that still in essence survives to this day. He then “committed the city [and command of its burgwara or militia] to the care of [his son-in-law] Alderman Ethered [also the Earl of Mercia], to hold it under him”.
(*) Asser, a monk and later Bishop of Sherborne, in his “Life of King Alfred”, written in 893, added that he “restored the city … splendidly – after so many towns had been burned and so many people slaughtered – and made it habitable again”