903/904 – Battle of Holme

Holme is thought to be the site of a battle, said to have taken place in 903 or 904, during a civil war between two claimants to the throne of Wessex after Alfred the Great died.  His son Edward the elder took the throne of Wessex but Æthelwold, son of Alfred’s older brother disputed his claim.

In 902 Æthelwold came with a fleet to Essex and the following year he persuaded the East Anglian Danes to attack the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and north Wessex. Edward retaliated by ravaging East Anglia and the Danish army was forced to return to defend its own territory. Edward then retreated along the Great North Road, but the men of Kent straggled.  Æthelwold and the Danes caught up with them and it is thought chased them down Glatton Lane to the Fen edge at Holme.  They were unable to escape and in the ensuing battle both Æthelwold and the Kentish leader were killed.  Although the Danes won the battle it did end the brutal civil war in the south.

Dr Hart, a former Yaxley GP and local historian,  was the first to suggest that the Battle of Holme took place here.  It is not one hundred per cent certain this was either the site nor the exact date but many historians seem to accept that from the description by Henry of Huntingdon, a medieval historian, that Holme is likely to be the site.