King Athelstan and The Abbey Church

Athelstan was the first King of all England, and Alfred the Great's grandson. He reigned between 925 and 939 AD. A distinguished and courageous soldier, he pushed the boundaries of the kingdom to the furthest extent they had ever reached.

In 927 he took York from the Danes and forced the submission of Constantine, King of Scotland, and of the Northern Kings. All five of the Welsh Kings agreed to pay a huge annual tribute. He also eliminated opposition in Cornwall. In 937, at the Battle of Brunanburh, Athelstan led a force drawn from Britain and defeated an invasion made by the King of Scotland in alliance with the Welsh and Danes from Dublin. It is said that at Milton, on his way to Brunanburh, Athelstan had his vision of success.

Physically not a striking man, he was only of medium height and slender build, with 'flaxen hair mingled with gold threads', yet by the end of his reign he had brought to his country a measure of peace and stability unknown since the time of his grandfather. His piety was renowned and his acquisition of religious books and relics a remarkable feature of his reign. He encouraged the growth of religious institutions and personally founded a number of them, including Milton Abbey, together with 14,000 acres of land as part of the settlement.