22 March

The Battle of Marton or Meretum took place on this day in 871 at a place recorded as Marton, perhaps in Wiltshire or Dorset. Æthelred of Wessex had been forced (along with his brother Alfred) into flight following their costly victory against an army of Danish invaders at the Battle of Ashdown. He had retreated to Basing (in Hampshire), where he was again defeated by the forces of Ivar the Boneless.

It was the last of eight battles known to be fought by Æthelred against the Danes that year, and the defeated King is reported to have died on 15 April 871. Whether he died in battle, or as a result of wounds suffered in battle is unclear. The site of the battle is unknown, with more westerly locations tending to be favoured because King Ethelred was buried in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, shortly afterwards. This makes a location such as Merriton more likely, as it is on the banks of the River Stour, a few miles downstream of Wimborne, thus providing a simple journey by barge with the body of King Æthelred. The medieval manor of Merriton was situated on what is now the southern perimeter of Bournemouth (Hurn) Airport.