It was on the 4th of January that Ethelred took on the enemy at the Battle of Reading. This battle ended with a defeat for Ethelred's army enabling the Vikings to take the town which they used as their base.
Within days they continued their advance into Wessex and by the 8th of January, the two forces battled on the Berkshire Downs just the south-west of Ashbury village. Ethelred's scattered army had reformed, and he had placed his forces in two units, one under his command the other under his brother Alfred on either side of a ridge. A delay on Ethelred's part to order a charge forced Alfred to make his attack, Ethelred followed, eventually, the Viking army was defeated.
Taking up Ethelred's sword against the Vikings would be Alfred named the Great, who according to English historian Edward Freeman was "the most perfect character in history.’