MEM25099 - Battle of Cynwit, Countisbury (Monument)


The approximate location of a battle between the Saxons and Danes in 878 has been estimated from documentary evidence. This is suggested to be at Countisbury Castle.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that in 878: "And the same winter the brother of Ivar and Healfdene was in the kingdom of the West Saxons [in Devon] with 23 ships. And he was killed there and 840 men of his army with him. And there was captured the banner which they called `Raven'". Both Asser and Aethelweard provide further information. Aser says that he had come from Dyfed where he had slaughtered many Christians, and gives details of the defence and sortie of the english from a fort he calls Cynwit (Countisbury). Aethelweard also refers to the siege of a fort. He names Odda, ealdorman of Devon, as the English leader. strangely, he assigns victory to the Danes. [1] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [2] Countisbury Castle is suggested as the location of the battlefield - see MDE1236. [3-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Monograph: Whitelock, D. (Ed.). 1961. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. a Revised Translation. Eyre and Spottiswoode. p 49.
  • <2> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1431330, Added 7 December 2021.
  • <3>XY Article in serial: Alexander, J.J.. 1933. The Beginnings of Ilfracombe. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 65. p 211. [Mapped feature: #47748 ]
  • <4> Article in serial: Alexander, J.J.. 1930-1931. Arx Cynuit. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. pp 310-313, 351-352.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 10 December 2021.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Require info)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NE70
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1431330



Grid reference SS 7395 4936 (point)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Dec 10 2021 11:10AM


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