Sunday, 19 July 2009

Andover / Anderfera: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series


Andover is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is situated on the River Anton some 18.5 miles (30 km) west of the town of Basingstoke, 18.5 miles (30 km) north-west of the city of Winchester and 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Southampton. Andover is twinned with the towns of Redon in France, and Goch in GermanyHistory

Early history
Andover's first mention in history is in 950 when King Edred is recorded as having built a royal hunting lodge there. In 962 King Edgar called a meeting of the Saxon 'parliament' (the Witenagemot) at his hunting lodge near Andover.
Of more importance was the baptism, in 994 of a Viking king named Olaf (allied with Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard). The identity of that man was either Olav Trygvason or Olof Skötkonung. The baptism was part of a deal with King Ethelred II of England (“The Unready”) whereby he stopped ravaging England and returned home. Olav Tryggvason became king of Norway in 995 and tried to convert his country to Christianity before his death in battle in 1000. Olof Skötkonung was already king of Sweden and became its first Christian king and began c. 995 to mint Sweden's first coins with the help of English expertise.
At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) Andover had 107 male inhabitants and probably had a total population of about 500. It was quite a large settlement by the standards of the time. (Most villages had only 100 to 150 people). Andover also had 6 watermills which ground grain to flour.
In 1175 King Richard I sold Andover a charter granting the townspeople certain rights, forming a merchant guild which took over the government of the town. The members elected two officials called bailiffs who ran the town. In 1201 King John gave the merchants the right to collect royal taxes in Andover themselves. In 1256 Henry III gave the townspeople the right to hold a court and try criminals for offences committed in Andover. Andover also sent MPs to the parliaments of 1295 and 1302-1307. The town was ravaged by two serious fires, one in 1141 and another in 1435.
Andover remained a small market town. Processing wool appears to have been the main industry and street names in the area of the town known as “Sheep Fair” commemorate this. A weekly market, and an annual fair were held.

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