House of Wessex Period in Hampshire’s History
The House of Wessex Period in the history of Hampshire tied this ancient county to the centre of power when Alfred the Great made Winchester in Hampshire his capital city. This period from the beginning of the 9th century to the Norman invasion (with the slight hiccup of the Danish kings) put Wessex and Hampshire right at the heart of power and politics in England.
Egbert was King of Wessex from 802 – 839. When the King of Northumbria submitted to him in 829 he was given the title Bretwalda, ruler of Britain and so it was that the dynasty set to rule Wessex, including the area of Hampshire was to become the most powerful of the early Kingdoms.
This dynasty gave us King Alfred, son of Ethelwulf and his history is synonymous with Hampshire, in particular Winchester. Under the Wessex Kings, Winchester grew as an ecclesiastical and royal centre.
The trading area of Hamwic developed and in this period, Hampshire was given it’s name.