Guthorm's Invasion of Wessex:
A Great Misfortune for the Vikings
Finally, in the days before Easter, which in the year 878 was March 21st,
Ragnarsson's twenty-three ships took sail and advanced on the north Devon coast
for the attack on Wessex. The ealdorman of Devon, named Odda, retreated with his
people to a strong hillfort on Countisbury Hill. There, the fort looked out over
the coast and the road eastward. There they waited, watching the ships and
looking for Vikings on the road. The ships waited also, hoping to starve the
people out. The Saxons knew they had to do something before all their food and
water ran out.
One early morning, they attacked and slew most of the Danes. It is said that
even Ragnarsson was killed in the battle that day. The threat of a pincher
attack was over. Now Guthorm and his army would have to fight for Wessex on
their own or forget Wessex and settle in land already won somewhere else.