|Black Fives 44871 and 45407 at London Victoria|
|The Parade, Sherborne|
|Tombs of Aethelbald and Ethelbert, Sherborne Abbey|
|Ladybird Books' title Alfred the Great, |
first published in 1956
Reading about Alfred the Great with Ladybird Books, I also learned about the burh (later called boroughs) system Alfred developed to help defend his kingdom from possible future attacks. Alfred's burh system help to connect towns via fortified roads and bridges (in some cases reusing existing Roman roads), which as well as for defence purposes, also enabled a network of commerce. It is possible that without Alfred's translation programme and development of the burh system, subsequent events that I also learned about through Ladybird Books like the Industrial Revolution and with that, the coming of the railways, both of great importance to shaping the present day society we live in, might not have happened. In Alfred's time, most people rarely travelled much further than the village or settlement the lived in. Often it would take days to travel distances by horse or on foot that, in contemporary times, can be done in a few hours by train, bus or plane. The idea of inter-connection through the burh system would later enable future generations to travel beyond where, at one time, their 'world' would have stopped in a much more accessible, affordable and quicker way when the appropriate technology, railways and later motor vehicles, to make this possible arrived.
Wishing all readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
*In Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Sherborne is named 'Sherton Abbas'
Special thanks to the Railway Touring Company for a fantastic day out.