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Hingston Down is a hill spur approximately one mile east of Moretonhampsteadmarker and 10 miles west of Exetermarker in Devonmarker. Some historians now claim that this was the site of the 838 battle between a Cornish/Danishmarker alliance against the West Saxons rather than at the site at Hingston Downmarker near Callingtonmarker, Cornwallmarker.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to a Hengestesdun, ("Stallion Hill") and saysthat in 838 "There came a great ship army to the West Wealas where they were joined by the people who commenced war against Ecgberht, the West Saxon king. When he heard this, he proceeded with his army against them and fought with them at Hengestesdun where he put to flight both the Wealas and the Danes."

It has been claimed that the Hingston Down, Devon site is the more probable site as Ecgberht's army would have been based east of Exetermarker and the Danish fleet is believed to have landed at Plymouth Soundmarker. An ancient trackway (now largely followed by the B3212 road) runs from Plymouthmarker across Dartmoormarker in a virtual straight line towards Exeter. The trackway begins to descend from the moor close to Moretonhampstead and it is claimed that Ecgberht's West Saxon army lay in wait with his army concealed in the thickly wooded Teign Valley. This position would have provided a quick retreat of 10 miles to Exeter if the attack had not gone to plan. The Wealas and the Danes were "put to flight" back across the wilds of Dartmoor. In 838 the whole of Dartmoor and the South Hamsmarker was still exclusively Cornish territory and the Exe-Tawmarker line was the border between Cornish and West Saxon lands. It was nearly a full century later in 936 when King Athelstan fixed the east bank of the River Tamar as the boundary between Anglo-Saxon Wessex and Celtic Cornwallmarker, as up until 927 the two peoples had lived together in Exeter "aequo jure" - as equals..

See also


  1. Cornish World Magazine - Oct 2007 - Craig Weatherhill
  2. Philip Payton. (1996). Cornwall. Fowey: Alexander Associates
  3. William of Malmesbury - Gesta regum Anglorum about 1120
  4. Professor Philip Payton 2004 - Cornwall - A History

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