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.
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.
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 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.