A Viking Chieftain named Bagsecg led the Great Summer Army to England in 870 or 871 CE. His forces joined with the great Danish Army; he and Halfdan Ragnarsson (son of Ragnar Lodbrok) became the joint leaders of an invasion of the Kingdom of Wessex. Bagsecg won a great victory at the Battle of Reading, inflicting great losses on Alfred’s forces.
On January 8th 871 the Viking Forces, led by Bagsecg, Halfdan Ragnarsson and five other Danish Earls met AEthered and his younger brother, Alfred, whose forces greatly outnumbered the Vikings. One account has it that Alfred fought against Bagsecg and Halfdan, and AEthelred fought against the five Danish Earls, perhaps Sidrac the Old, Sidrac the Young, Osbern, Fraena and Harold. Bagsecg and the five earls were slain and Halfdan escaped with his life, fleeing back to Reading.
According to a local legend Bagsecg was buried at Wayland’s Smithy and the Danish Earls at the Seven Barrows. On the downs above the village of Harwell there are a succession of trees called ‘Bag’s Trees’ or ‘Bagg’s Trees’ which may, or may not, be connected to Bagsecg. Although the idea that these were built for such burials is now proven, during the eighteenth and nineteenth century there were those who thought so, And that the Uffington White Horse marked the area of the battle. However, if there is any truth in that these Vikings were buried at Wayland’s Smithy and the Seven Barrows this would only have been done if these men recognised that these had roots with their forefathers. One of the leading Viking Earls in England and Ireland at the time was named Ingware and it is certain that he would have recognised his ancestral roots with the Ingweones, of which the English were part of.
The Danes, Swedes and Norwegians who came to be later called ‘Vikings’ were as much part of English History as the Anglo-Saxons. They were blood-kin, and it is a shame that those who do not recognise this do not also recognise the presence of Teutonic Folk here in England before the Romans came to these islands, of which there is growing proof. The last ‘English’ king, some would have it, was King Harold Godwinsson, whose name, Harold, is Danish because he had Danish and English ancestry. As did the famous Hereward the Wake, both of these being Anglo-Danes. Many parts of the Midlands and North of England bear Danish names, as do many of the people of England.