The Lees are descended from Alfred the Great

The Lees of Virginia are descendants of Alfred the Great, considered one of the greatest kings in England's history (the only one with the moniker of "the Great"). The Lees joined this lineage when Humphrey Lee(1506-1588) married Catherine Blount(1516-1591). Catherine Blount was in the 22nd generation directly descended from Alfred the Great. Humphrey Lee is the Great-grandfather of Colonel Richard Lee (the Immigrant), who was the founder of the Lee family in Virginia.

Alfred the Great statue in London

Alfred the Great

Born around 849 A.D., Alfred was the youngest son of King Athelwolf of Wessex. Alfred's mother was named Osburh, also spelled Osburga or Osberga. She died when Alfred was young. After the death of the last surviving brother, Athelred, in 871, the Witan chose Alfred to be king (skipping over Athelred's sons, who were too young to rule). Despite a supposedly poor early education and health problems that persisted throughout his life, Alfred had become a great scholar and warrior. As king he repeatedly defeated invading Vikings, promoted religion and education, reformed the law, and paved the way for his descendants to become the first kings of a united England.

He is perhaps best remembered today for his legendary encounter with a peasant woman who, not recognizing the king, asked him to keep an eye on some cakes she was cooking and then scolded him for absent-mindedly letting them burn. Like many of the stories about Alfred, this may be the invention of later writers.

Alfred died on October 26, 899 and was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder. Alfred's daughter Elfreda was an ancestor of William the Conqueror's wife, Matilda of Flanders.

ALFRED'S LEGACY: Alfred defended Anglo-Saxon England from Viking raids, formulated a code of laws, founded the British Navy, organized the militia, compiled a code of laws, built schools and monasteries, invited scholars to live at his court and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activity. His reign exhibited military skill and innovation, sound governance and the ability to inspire men and plan for the future, piety and a practical commitment to the support of religion, personal scholarship and the promotion of education.

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