ATHELNEY, a slight eminence of small extent in the low level tract about the junction of the rivers Tone and Parrett in Somersetshire, England. It was formerly isolated by marshes and accessible only by boat or artificial causeway, and under these conditions it gained its historical fame as the retreat of King Alfred in 878-879 when he was unable to withstand the incursions of the Danes. After regaining his throne he founded a monastery here in gratitude for the retreat afforded him by the island; no traces of it exist above ground, but remains have been excavated. There was also found here, in 1693, the celebrated Alfred jewel, bearing his name, and preserved in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. An inscribed pillar commemorating the king was set up in 1801. The name of Athelney signifies the Isle of Princes (A.S. Æthelingaea). Athelney is a railway station on a branch of the Great Western line.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)