Ine legislates "with the counsel and with the teaching of Cenred my father and of Hedde my bishop, and of Eorcenwald my bishop, with all my ealdormen and the most distinguished witan of my people" (Stubbs, Select Charters), and Alfred issues his code of laws "with the counsel and consent of his witan."
With their consent the king promulgated laws, made grants of land, appointed bishops and ealdormen, and discharged the other duties of government.
It consisted, in addition to the king, his sons and other relatives, of the bishops and later some abbots, of some under-kings and the ealdormen of the shires or provinces, and of a number of ministri, or king's thegns.
931 were the two archbishops, two Welsh princes, seventeen bishops, fif teen ealdormen, five abbots and fifty-nine ministri.
934, were present the two archbishops, four Welsh kings, seventeen bishops, four abbots, twelve ealdormen and fiftytwo ministri.
966 contained the king's mother, two archbishops, seven bishops, five ealdormen and fifteen ministri; and this is a fair specimen of the usual proportion" (Stubbs, Const.
But besides the king, the ealdormen, bishops and king's thegns themselves had their thegns, and to these it is more than probable that the name of cniht was applied.
His reign was marked by two serious attacks on the part of the Danes, who destroyed Winchester in 860, in spite of the resistance of the ealdormen Osric and Ã†thelwulf with the levies of Hampshire and Berkshire, while in 865 they treacherously ravaged Kent.
But they were met by a large force under the three great ealdormen of Mercia, Wilts and Somerset, and forced to head off to the north-west, being finally overtaken and blockaded at Buttington, which some identify with Buttington Tump at the mouth of the Wye, others with Buttington near Welshpool.
During each of the following eleven years, the Danes, materially assisted by the universal and shameless disloyalty of the Saxon ealdormen, systematically ravaged England, and from 991 to 1014 the wretched land is said to have paid its invaders in ransoms alone L158,000.
For the two ealdormen whom he delighted to honor and placed at the head of his armies, ~lfric and Eadric Streona, are accused, the one of persistent cowardice, the other of underhand intrigue with the Danes.