Today I was back in the City of Stoke-on-Trent doing some of the legacy work from my five weeks work there co-ordinating the recent by-election campaign for the Liberal Democrats.

In the hour after doing some work and meeting an old friend I popped to the Potteries Museum - it was something that I have done many times before. But every time I go I realise that I should go more often. There in the museum, almost casual, very Stoke-on-Trent, is the product of this City over the last four hundred years. I say four hundred because it is now clear that the emergence of the Industrial Revolution was preceded by years of tradition, experiment and development in the ways and wares of porcelain and pottery.

By wining the Battle of Hastings, William, Duke of Normandy, acceded to the English throne he felt promised to him by his cousin Edward III the Confessor, and so began an era of Norman hegemony. But it was not the start of England.  That story rolled back to 871AD and King Alfred the Great.

But the date of 1066 has become one of the 'must learn' pit stops of English history. Rather tragically it obliterated any real understanding of the creation of England.  It ignores the amazing and dogged work of 200 years of Saxon Kings in establishing the country we live in today. I believe it should be '871AD and all that' - the creation of England by King Alfred the Great.

Not unsurprisingly with history there are key days, era's, blocks of time - the Hundred Years War, Wars of the Roses, World War One and Two, the Tudors, the Stuart's, Victorian England.  But English history - or the history of England starts with 1066 - 1066 and all that in fact.  The fall of King Harold and the establishment of William the Conquerer and Norman Conquest.  Before that was Saxon England and the dark ages.

This article revisits that narrative and challenges the orthodox view - and suggests that what we in fact have is the foundation of England dating back to 871AD and then a  200 year Rule of the House of Wessex.  A family that was both successful and dominant, strong and effective - and that united the individual fractious kingdoms that comprised England, that fought, repulsed and handled the largest ever invasion of Danes over the course of 100 years, and created a Kingdom so stable, so wealthy, so attractive it led to a second invading army - led by William of Normandy.  And even then, at the very point of his success he married his son, the future King Henry 1 to the niece of the Last surviving claimant to the Saxon Throne.