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Timothy Wilson Smith describes how, in the year 878, Alfred witnessed the conversion to Christianity of the Danish warlord Guthrum, and helped to found the English nation.

Exhuming historical characters makes for dramatic headlines and can seem a great way to get easy answers, but we should think twice before disturbing the remains of dead monarchs, says Justin Pollard.

In these extracts Arthur Bryant describes the glorious reign of King Alfred, 871-99

Russ Foster asks whether the legend of the heroic king is simply too good to be true.

Anna Chapman considers what lies behind the cult of an East Anglian king killed by the Vikings in 869.

Barbara Yorke considers the reputation of King Alfred the Great, and the enduring cult around his life and legend.