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.
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
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 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.