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MONUMENT NO. 1580438


Representative record for some 80 ships commissioned by Æthelred ('the Unready') in 1008 which were wrecked by stranding in 1009 on the southern coasts of England, and subsequently burnt. They were stationed off Sandwich, suggesting a likely departure point. Brihtric, brother of Ealdorman Eadric, accused Wulfnoth of the South Saxons to Æthelred and took 80 ships out of that fleet at Sandwich against Wulfnoth's 20. A storm arose and 'it beat and dashed to pieces all the ships, and cast them ashore, and at once Wulfnoth came and burnt up the ships.' This suggests that the loss took place on South Saxon territory and in a location in which it was easy to access the stranded vessels and fire them, suggesting a beach location. The remainder of the fleet at Sandwich was taken back to London. Rye Bay has been suggested as the location of loss fulfilling all these conditions, but this is for representative purposes only and is not intended to be definitive.

The loss of these ships in an internal feud was a serious setback to Æthelred's plans for protecting the coasts against Danish raids. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle noted that the effort invested in building those ships in the previous year had come to nothing. Constructed of wood, these vessels would have been powered by sail and oar.

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