On a day in August, one thousand years ago, a fleet of some ninety viking ships sailed into the estuary of the Blackwater river in Essex. Fresh from the ravage of Ipswich, under the command (almost certainly) of the king of Denmark, they were intent no doubt on the rich spoils to be had from the royal Mint at Maldon. Facing them on the shore was Byrhtnoth, the second nobleman of the realm, with an army drawn from the households of the region. The ensuing fight was terrible in its ferocity. Byrhtnoth and many of his companions were slain, and eventually the vikings triumphed. Their victory marked the collapse of effective armed resistance to the Danes, and presaged the end of Anglo-Saxon England.