VIKING - Let Me Take You Through The Pages, Themes & Aspects

Warfare and Bloodlust... What we associate with the Viking Age

Eirik Haraldsson, 'Blood-axe'. His reign in Norway was cut short after the murder of his half-brothers. He came to Jorvik late in the 10th Century to rule briefly. His reign was broken but he came back for a year, to be waylaid on Stainmore Common
Eirik Haraldsson, 'Blood-axe'. His reign in Norway was cut short after the murder of his half-brothers. He came to Jorvik late in the 10th Century to rule briefly. His reign was broken but he came back for a year, to be waylaid on Stainmore Common
The Vendel helmet found in a grave mound near Uppsala, Sweden. probably a king's or a nobleman's to judge by the intricate workmanship still evident after more than a thousand years
The Vendel helmet found in a grave mound near Uppsala, Sweden. probably a king's or a nobleman's to judge by the intricate workmanship still evident after more than a thousand years
Found near the Vendel helmet, the Valsgaerde helmet seems more 'recent' in appearance. Again a king's or nobleman's, the helmet shows the workmanship and style of the main Viking Age (around AD 800-1100)
Found near the Vendel helmet, the Valsgaerde helmet seems more 'recent' in appearance. Again a king's or nobleman's, the helmet shows the workmanship and style of the main Viking Age (around AD 800-1100)
Norse weaponry found with hoards showed deft craftsmanship by weaponsmiths, who were regarded as 'godlike'
Norse weaponry found with hoards showed deft craftsmanship by weaponsmiths, who were regarded as 'godlike'
A range of axes and spearheads shows the variety of styles from early to late Viking Age
A range of axes and spearheads shows the variety of styles from early to late Viking Age

Politics, politics...

Of the kings of England in the Viking Age, Aethelred II, 'Unraed' (dubbed 'Unready' in recent times) is amongst the most reviled and misunderstood. His indecision cost the kingdom more than gold and silver
Of the kings of England in the Viking Age, Aethelred II, 'Unraed' (dubbed 'Unready' in recent times) is amongst the most reviled and misunderstood. His indecision cost the kingdom more than gold and silver
Dane Svein 'Forkbeard', son of  Harald 'Bluetooth', seized power from his father and screwed thousands of pounds of gold from Aethelred. He brought younger son Knut in AD 1013 to wrest the crown from Aethelred but died at Gainsborough a year later
Dane Svein 'Forkbeard', son of Harald 'Bluetooth', seized power from his father and screwed thousands of pounds of gold from Aethelred. He brought younger son Knut in AD 1013 to wrest the crown from Aethelred but died at Gainsborough a year later
After campaigning in the Midlands and South, Knut came to an agreement to share the kingdom with Aethelred's son Eadmund. Unluckily for Eadmund he died of wounds in AD 1016. Knut ruled overall, an able statesman
After campaigning in the Midlands and South, Knut came to an agreement to share the kingdom with Aethelred's son Eadmund. Unluckily for Eadmund he died of wounds in AD 1016. Knut ruled overall, an able statesman
Daughter of Duke Richard 'the Fearless' of Normandy, Emma (or Ymme) had been queen to Aethelred II. Shortly after his accession to the throne of England Knut wedded her. They had one son...
Daughter of Duke Richard 'the Fearless' of Normandy, Emma (or Ymme) had been queen to Aethelred II. Shortly after his accession to the throne of England Knut wedded her. They had one son...
Harthaknut was kept busy in Denmark when his father died in AD 1035, by his neighbour Magnus Olafsson the King of Norway who fancied adding Denmark to his lands
Harthaknut was kept busy in Denmark when his father died in AD 1035, by his neighbour Magnus Olafsson the King of Norway who fancied adding Denmark to his lands

The Norsemen were also about crafts and trade, across Europe from Ireland to Constantinople and beyond

The Danish kingdom of Jorvik was seen by Wessex as a potential threat, although it was also the centre of flourishing crafts and trade, with links that stretched far to the east, north and west
The Danish kingdom of Jorvik was seen by Wessex as a potential threat, although it was also the centre of flourishing crafts and trade, with links that stretched far to the east, north and west
Jorvik, the thriving city and centre of a commercial empire where you could buy luxury items such as furs, fine combs of walrus ivory, amber... thralls
Jorvik, the thriving city and centre of a commercial empire where you could buy luxury items such as furs, fine combs of walrus ivory, amber... thralls
Artistry was appreciated by the high-born, to decorate their homes and clothing. Jorvik was also a craft centre, its wares travelled far and wide, as also weaponry made by its many smiths for jarls and kings alike
Artistry was appreciated by the high-born, to decorate their homes and clothing. Jorvik was also a craft centre, its wares travelled far and wide, as also weaponry made by its many smiths for jarls and kings alike
Thor''s hammer, Mjollnir was mass-produced at all Norse centres before conversion to Christianity. Even so, many still wore the amulet to ward off evil spirits '
Thor''s hammer, Mjollnir was mass-produced at all Norse centres before conversion to Christianity. Even so, many still wore the amulet to ward off evil spirits '

Allow me to introduce VIKING, the series to take you from when they first raided the Northumbrian coast at Lindisfarne

From when they first showed as raiders off the Northumbrian coast at Lindisfarne, and sacked St Cuthbert's monastery there the Norsemen were variously identified as 'heathen', 'Danes' and 'Vikings'. Yet that raid in AD 793 was not the first instance. That was identified years earlier as being the killing of the shire reeve Beaduheard in AD 789 on the coast of Wessex (now Dorset) at Portland. Three ships entered the haven and, believing them to be traders, Beaduheard approached the crew of one about due taxes. From Hordaland in Norway, they were wrongly identified by a chronicler as being Danes... and so it goes on. Misunderstandings and legends grew. Iona was sacked next, AD 795. They returned in AD 802, AD 806 and again AD 807. In AD 814 the abbot decided enough was enough and moved the community to Kells in Ireland. A foolhardy group of monks stayed, to be attacked again in AD 825 when the prior Blathmacc was killed. Little did they realise that their precious gold-decorated books, candlesticks and other altar ornaments were the draw and in their isolated location they were 'ripe for picking'. These may have been Norsemen based in the Northern isles or Ireland, and probably knew from passing traders. One man's ornament is another man's currency,after all.

There was another purpose in the raids, a political agenda. The Franks under Charles 'the Great' (Charlemagne) were pressing on the Danes, ostensibly to convert them as they had done with the luckless Saxons near the Rhine delta. Being grossly outnumbered, King Godred sought to engage the help of his northern neighbours, to demonstrate to the Franks that their reach was equal. As it was Charles died and the Franks were riven by civil war.

This was another opportunity not to be missed either by the Danes or their Norse neighbours, and the Frankish kingdoms, as they had become, were beset by raiders. Meanwhile eyes were on the British Isles. Norse and Dane vied for Irish havens. The north of Scotland was occupied by Norsemen from Orkney, with Caithness and Sutherland 'colonised'. Lewis in the northern Outer Hebrides was another Norse outpost settled from Orkney, as well as the Isle of Man. Raids were then mounted against Anglian settlements in western Deira (now Lancashire) that overlooked the Irish Sea. Others raided, then settled on the coastal plain of the Lake District, then part of the Kingdom of the Strathclyde Britons, related to the Welsh.

Some settlement was made in the south-west of Wales in the area of Milford Haven, and north on Anglesey. The big push came from Scandinavia in the latter half of the 9th Century when the sons of the Danish king Ragnar Lothbrok ('Leather-breeks') came to avenge the death of their father. Initially they closed on East Anglia before taking the 'Micel Here' (the Anglo-Saxpn Chronicle's reference for the great heathen army as they also described the invasion) north to Deira and took on the weakened kings Aelle and Osberht. Aelle was the culprit who had imprisoned their father in a pit of vipers, and he was dealt with - according to legend - punished by the 'Blood Eagle' rite.

So travel back with me to a time when Christianity would eventually creep across Scandinavia from the south. Join me as I take you through Guthrum's campaign to capture the struggling Aelfred at Chippenham in the depths of winter, and chase him into the marshlands of northern Somerset at the Aethelney.

Travel across the Atlantic with Eirik 'the Red' and his son Leif via Iceland to Greenland and the New World, 'Vinland' on the mouth of the St Lawrence River. Follow me from Iceland with the warrior poets Kormak and Egil Skallagrimsson, skirt the Channel coast and raid as far as Paris with 'Ganger' Hrolf (or Rollo).

On the subject of travel there are two pages that take you into the design and building of the vessels that enabled the Viking Age, that eased an age of discovery... up rivers, across oceans, to different cultures and brought about an outlook on the world that shaped their beliefs, their tolerance of other cultures that the incoming Christianity virtually destroyed. Ship architecture in the Viking Age employed many sciences. The shock of their sudden appearance on the world stage influenced Aelfred 'the Great' in the building of his own navy.

Look into the world of the gods, the beginnings of Odin, Asgard and the Aesir. Watch as the sly Loki lies, cheats and plots his way to Ragnaroek or the World's End. Follow the kings, Olaf Tryggvason, Olaf Haraldsson and his half-brother Harald Sigurdsson through battles with their own underlings to a sticky end.

The Varangian Guard is covered, with their origins in Sweden, and the changes rung down the centuries by events beyond their control or perception. In the same region, follow the course of Rus control over the eastern Slavs in what became Russia. See how the slave trade grew, the circumstances that allowed it to flourish even after Christianity took hold in the Northlands.

The 'Orkneyinga Saga' takes you from early days of raiding around Scotland, skirmishes and pitched battles with Scots' kings Macbeth and Malcolm 'Canmore', battles with Norman lords on Anglesey and Irish kings in Leinster and elsewhere around the Emerald Isle. The Orkney earls were in at the death of the Viking Age in the 12th-13th Century when the power of the kings of Scotland brought about a civil war.

This, then, and more, is the offer of the VIKING series, to enthrall you and transport you to Inwhen the Norsemen, the Swedes and their Danish neighbours spread their tentacles from the Atlantic to the Black Sea.

Hoards

Numerous hoards of coins from as far away as Baghdad, gold, silver artefacts, hand-crafted ornaments and drinking vessels have been found around the British Isles, their owners scattered to the winds or fate
Numerous hoards of coins from as far away as Baghdad, gold, silver artefacts, hand-crafted ornaments and drinking vessels have been found around the British Isles, their owners scattered to the winds or fate

Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age

If you only buy one book about Norse history and culture, it should be the Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age. John Haywood has compiled a guide to a misunderstood age. Follow the Vikings from early times in warfare, the development of their ships, trade, culture, poetry and beliefs.

The preface gives you an overview of the Viking Age from the raids on Lindisfarne and iona to the Norse settlement of Greenland and Vinland on the east coast of the New World. Trade with the Arabs did not only take place beyond the Caspian Sea but at Birka (Sweden), Hedeby (Denmark, now North Germany) and Kaupang (southern Norway). Kings and Jarls achieved fame through sagas passed down orally and laid down by Icelandic clerics such as Snorri Sturlusson, the conquests they made recorded in Irish, Scots, Angle and Saxon chronicles. The Russian Primary Chronicle tells of the arrival of Rurik and his fellow Svear warriors, the Rus or Vaeranger, of Jaroslav 'the Wise' entering into an agreement with the Byzantine Emperor Basil 'the Bulgar-slayer' and the establishment of the Varangian Guard.

It's all there to give you direction - where to look for knowledge on whom you might want to look for in an age of violence, of trade and craftsmanship

Keeping mobile, the Viking way...

Craft moored in a haven. Ships were kept out of the water in winter for maintenance, to make ready for the next season - raiding or trading
Craft moored in a haven. Ships were kept out of the water in winter for maintenance, to make ready for the next season - raiding or trading
At sea ships were light, easily manoeuvred. They had to be taken out of the water in the east, however...
At sea ships were light, easily manoeuvred. They had to be taken out of the water in the east, however...
Between rivers across the vastness of the Rus lands on the way to Miklagard the way to gain access to the next riverhead or around rapids was by portage, where logs were used to roll the ships
Between rivers across the vastness of the Rus lands on the way to Miklagard the way to gain access to the next riverhead or around rapids was by portage, where logs were used to roll the ships

The first score-and one... Twenty-one pages on the Vikings to get you started

Twenty-one pages of straight-talking Viking history, from when the sails suddenly showed against the horizon... to the 'Orkneyinga Saga'. Delve away and watch for the sudden flash of steel!

1. THREAT FROM THE SEA, The Onset of the Viking Age;

2. NORSEMEN AT LARGE, Making Inroads... ;

3. IRELAND, The Hiberno-Norse Connection;

4. IN THE HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS - Takeover Bid...?;

5. WALES, Vikings Along The South-west Coast...;

6. IN THE PAY OF EASTERN EMPERORS, Varangian Guard;

7. FORMATION FIGHTING, Shape & Wiles Of Battle;

8. NORTHLAND CLASHES, Fall Of Kings;

9. MISSIONARY RAIDER, Olaf Tryggvason;

10 HARALD THE HARD-RULER, Defeat To Glory...;

11. SEAFARERS, Marine Technology (1);

12. SEAFARERS, Marine Technology (2);

13. STRENGTHENING WALLS, Defences, Call To Arms...;

14. PARING NJORD'S SALTY FURROWS, Mobility...;

15. LEADERSHIP SKILLS, Ganger Hrolf & Egil Skallagrimsson;

16. DARK BEFORE THE DAWN, Misreading his Underlings...;

17. TO THE LAND OF FIRE - Escape The Taxman's Purse;

18. "GO WEST YOUNG MAN!" Norse Exploration...;

19. ORKNEY, A Saga To Rival Dallas;

20. ORKNEY, Jarl Brusi & His Troublesome Brothers;

21. ORKNEY, Olaf's Verdict...

That's got you started on the way to Valhol... or Seventh Heaven. See below for the next score...

Have you ventured to the Jorvik Viking Centre yet?

Situated close to the Castle Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre on Coppergate transports you back in time to when the Danes came in AD 866. Eavesdrop on the conversations - if you understand Old Norse - and take in old Jorvik on your way around.
Situated close to the Castle Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre on Coppergate transports you back in time to when the Danes came in AD 866. Eavesdrop on the conversations - if you understand Old Norse - and take in old Jorvik on your way around.

Uheldigvis (Unluckily)...

Due to flooding late in 2015 that also affected the lower level of the Jorvik Viking Centre at Coppergate, the centre was closed for refurbishment, many items being rescued from water damage. Funds are currently being raised to re-open the premises in 2017, although a large sum still needs to be found. Click on the link above to see what progress has been made so far.

'The Chronicles of the Vikings' is the Norsemen's view of themselves. The historian by an large resorts to the views of 'third parties', using documents written by those who saw themselves as the 'victims' of Norse attention.

Chapter One is titled 'Getting to know the Vikings'. Here we see into their world through their own sources, not in books but in rune carvings or notches cut into wood or iron. As far away as Constantinople we can see records of Norse presence. In the case of Constantinople or Istanbul it is a name scratched in runes into the balustrade of the Hagia Sofia - until AD 1453 Santa Sofia Cathedral. It is a 'marker' if you like, to the effect 'Halvdan was here'.

We see them through their sagas, sometimes victorious, sometimes at a loss, often cheerful in the face of insurmountable odds. Phlegmatic. In poetry they portray themselves as heroic, their enemies no less. After all, it is better to beat or be beaten by a worthy foe than have to see off an unworthy.one, a coward or sneakthief. It makes us look better, does it not, if our enemies are fearsome, with terrifying reputations and then we beat them?

If they were devil-may-care, the gods that they looked up to had to be plucky too. It follows that Thor undertook many improbable ventures, such as being taken in by a giant king and drinking the sea dry. Or single-handedly fighting the Frost Giants. Odin the Allfather went out into Midgard and through the Nine Worlds in search of wisdom or to belittle the unworthy and help young heroes to their just rewards. With his ravens, Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory) bringing him news from around the worlds the Allfather was well-informed, the Old World city businessman who followed the markets on his app.

See the world the way the Norsemen saw it. See them as they saw themselves, courtesy of Professor Page, through their chronicles.

Gods and lore

Odin, the Allfather rides Sleipnir the eight-legged horse given to him by the mischievous Loki to atone for a wrongdoing.
Odin, the Allfather rides Sleipnir the eight-legged horse given to him by the mischievous Loki to atone for a wrongdoing.
Thor brandishes the hammer Mjollnir that he can throw at the heads of the Frost Giants and escape their clutches
Thor brandishes the hammer Mjollnir that he can throw at the heads of the Frost Giants and escape their clutches

Another score to round off the treat...

Got this far? There's staying power for you! Let's carry on then with the second half, the next twenty pages :

22. THE GODS, From Unlikely Beginnings;

23. YE GODS AND OTHER BIG FISH In The Norse Sea Of...;

24. GIANTS, DWARVES And Assorted Monsters;

25. MIDGARD & MANKIND, Fanfare For The Common...;

26. RAIDS ON FRANKIA, Before Normandy's Rise...;

27. SILVERDALE HOARD, Another Chance Discovery;

28. CUMWHITTON NEAR CARLISLE, Norse Graves;

29. SAGA OF MAN, Manx Crosses & Kings of Man;

30. SLAVERY, THRALLDOM, Trade Origins & Routes;

31. SLAVS AT THE FRINGES, Russians, Wends, Croats;

32. WHO WERE THE VIKINGS, What Brought Them...?;

33. KORMAK, Ill-fated Wordsmith;

34. FREYJA CRAVES THE BRISINGAMEN, Loki's Tricks;

35. BINDING FENRIR, Tyr Loses A Hand;

36. LODDFAFNIR LOOKS IN ON ODIN... A Man From Midgard;

37. WHO STOLE IDUN'S APPLES? Loki Up To His Tricks Again;

38. BALDUR'S DREAM, Dawn Of Ragnaroek (World's End);

39. SON OF RIG (RIGSTHULA), Heimdall Visits Midgard;

40. RURIK AND THE RUS, Russia, A Norseman Founds A State;

41. GRIMNIR FORESEES A KING'S DOWNFALL, Gotar Gain A New King

That should keep you busy for a while. Savour the read! (Next go on to the Poll)


England's Drama: The Final Viking Age Act

the giant Harald Sigurdsson came at Tostig Godwinson's behest to claim the crown from Harold Godwinson
the giant Harald Sigurdsson came at Tostig Godwinson's behest to claim the crown from Harold Godwinson

Some say the Viking Age died with Harald Sigurdsson

Nicknamed 'Hardradi' or 'Hard-Ruler' Harald first came to light fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his half-brother Olaf Haraldsson at Stiklestad in Norway against a citizen army backed by Knut Sveinsson, king of the Danes. Badly wounded, he was spirited away through Sweden with the help of King Anund Jakob to Novgorod. Passing on to Kiev he met and fell for Jaroslav's daughter Ellisif. However he felt he had to prove himself and enlisted with the Varangian Guard, winning renown against the emperor's many enemies in and around the Byzantine Empire. He fell foul of and was imprisoned by the Empress Zoe. A vision of half-brother Olaf helped him escape with treasure earned over the years of service as a captain of the guard. Returning to Kiev he wedded Ellisif and took her with him back to Norway.

Snorri Sturlusson tells us of Harald's feats, his guile and his fearsome stature - said to be over seven feet tall - in his 'King Harald's Saga'. The end comes unexpectedly although perhaps not unforeseen at Stamford Bridge near York on 25th September, 1066. Standing at least a head taller than those around him in the depleted Norse shield wall, an English arrow found his throat and he died an agonisingly slow death amid his suddenly demoralised men. Snorri mistakenly wrote of the English on horseback in the battle, perhaps confused by accounts of men who were offered quarter and fought beside King Harold and his brothers near Hastings. Harald Sigurdsson was succeeded by son Magnus, his son by concubine Thora.

The Vikings, an eye opener... or closer?

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16 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

Being of Viking (or at least Danish decent), how could I pass up reading this wonderful article, Alan. It was interesting and captivating and I will be back to read more in the series.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Hello John, or maybe I should say 'Hej drengs' (Hello lad). With 41 pages to choose from it'll be a labour of love to get through.

I shall start on an intro to a couple of associated themes before long. The first is DANELAW YEARS that takes your from when Ragnar 'Lothbrok' ('Leather-breeks') was imprisoned by King Aella at Bamburgh in a pit of vipers, to when his sons came to avenge his death and ended up taking over the eastern side of Mercia, southern half of Northumbria, all East Anglia and much of Essex. Not as many as this series, but it concludes with Knut (Cnut/Knud) who was made king of England in November, 1,000 years ago (en tusind aar her).

Harold Godwinson, his brothers and sisters were half-Danish through their mother, Gytha, sister of Jarl Ulf Thorgilsson, (sister-in-law of Knut, so effectively Harold continued Knut's reign to October, 1066)

Skaal!

The other series is 'CONQUEST'


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

Fascinating culture and history. I admit to knowing next to nothing about the Vikings....they killed a lot of people...there, that's the sum total of my knowledge. So I count on you to educate me, and you do it well. Thank you my friend.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 2 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Surprisingly they killed fewer than were killed in internecine wars between rival Gaelic, Pictish, English, Saxon or other 'powers'. The Franks (another Germanic people) killed many more beyond their own borders in converting heathens to Christianity. More Norsemen were killed fighting amongst themelves (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) than by them outside Scandinavia. Relatively few were killed in raids to find riches.

Read on Bill (ever thought of looking into the origins of the 'Holland' clan?), lots of discovering to make from Vinland and L'Anse aux Meadows (Gulf of the St Lawrence River) to the Caspian Sea shores and Baghdad.

Closely related to this series is the 'DANELAW YEARS' series that charts the coming of the sons of Ragnar 'Lothbrok' and subsequent 'colonisation' of eastern England from the Tees to the Thames.

'Holland' was an area of South Lincolnshire reclaimed from the sea and marsh with the help of the Dutch.


annart profile image

annart 2 months ago from SW England

Such a fascinating history and you've left me wanting to read more of course. They had such an influence on us of course.

So much to catch up on but I'm going to get through it slowly!

Great idea to introduce us with little delicious 'entrées' of history.

Ann


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 2 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

It's what it's for, to draw you in to all the facets of Norse life. There's the politics, shipbuilding, beliefs, warfaring and "o'ervaulting ambition" (the 'Macbeth' story starts with him dealing with a Norse incursion from the Northern Isles). Exploration, expansion and trade brings the activities along. There's coverage of the Varangian Guard and the Rus under Rurik arriving in (what is now) Russia.

Savour the read, Ann.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Alan

Fascinating article, family tradition has it our name is originally Saxon in origin, brought over to protect the East coast from 'Danish' raiders, who knows, maybe my ancestors fought the Vikings?

Lawrence


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

What's your surname Lawrence? Might give me a clue.

Generally the Saxons came in through the Thames on the eastern side, and Itchen on the southern coast (past the Isle of Wight, then inhabited by the earlier Jutes, who came originally with Hengist and Horsa). The West Saxons under Cerdic did some land-grabbing of their own and eventually took over the Jutish kingdoms in the south and south-east before Aelfred's time. The Angles who came in through East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria warred amongst themselves and with the Saxons, and there's still an amount of misunderstanding between north and south today.

The Angles and Jutes were related to the Danes, but the Danes who came in the 9th Century were mainly from the Danish isles, and there's some leg-pulling between them and the Jutes even today.

The Saxons who came here were from the area south and west of Hamburg, (Frieslanders or Frisians if you like - not the cows - in modern terms) originally raiding before settling after the Romans left. We were all after the same thing, land. Land equals power even now, whoever owns it is king of the castle. I've got mine - you got yours?

There's a separate series, DANELAW YEARS, about the Danes in England. Knut was crowned in England a thousand years ago, two years before older brother Harald died unexpectedly and he became king of two kingdoms for nineteen years before he died ahead of his time in 1035.

Scotland Yard would've had a field day if they'd been around then.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Alan

Our surname is Hebb. Thought to be related to the German 'Hesse or Hess'. History has it that a 'king' of East Anglia back in the late fifth century sent to the region of 'Hesse' in lower Saxony for warriors to come and protect the region from 'Danish' raiders who'd been raiding the region periodically since the late second century.

Previously the Romans had a small navy that along with coastal fortresses helped contain the threat, but all that collapsed when the Romans left Britain in 409AD.

That's the story I know.

Lawrence


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

The 'Saxon Shore' as was. The Angles didn't turn up before the late 5th Century, and it might have been Frisian/Saxon, Anglian or Jutish pirates who'd raided earlier.

Hesse is further inland near Frankfurt (remember the first four Georges and Hesse-Darmstadt?) The Saxons near the coast were pushed westwards by the rampaging Huns who were only stopped by the sea. Much of the land was covered by high tide, with little islands between as in the Rhine and Scheldt estuaries.

There's a film titled THE WARLORD with Charlton Heston as a Norman noble given land in a god-forsaken corner of the duchy who gets tangled up with local Celts and raiding Frisians. Worth watching. The Frisian pirates were still active even in Harold's time,

"Hey-ho it's off on raids we go".


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Alan

There's a few hints about the origins of our name. The only certain thing is it appears in the Heraldic lists in the 14th century and was regarded as 'old' then.

There's another story that we came over with William the conqueror as one of his chief knights had a very similar name, but who knows?

I'm researching the history but only got back as far as the 1700s with a full compliment of heroes and skelliwags!

Great stuff

Lawrence


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Lawrence, at Battle Abbey today I met a man who maintains he traced one line back to Duke/King William (as did Alexander Armstrong and Matthew Pinsent). He said he also traced some back to the Huguenots who came in the 17th/18th C to escape religious persecution in Cardinal Richelieu's time. Another line he maintains goes back to pre-Viking Age Sweden. His name is Martin Page and he's got an e-mail address I can't put in this box. His card gives him as Doddenhene Dark Ages. When I get time i'll post the photographs I took over the weekend in a new page under the 'HERITAGE' title, including one of him seated outside his tent.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 7 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Alan

Great stuff. There's hope for us then!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 7 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

LO again Lawrence, the page has been started in the HERITAGE series. Just got to add some 'blurb' and then I'll publish. I'll post the information on the RAVENFEAST page as well and cross-reference them.


Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

Kailua-KonaGirl 8 days ago from New York

Fascinating! I have always wanted to know more about the Viking people. With their invasions into the UK , some of my heritage may go back to these people when many intermarried with the Irish, English, Welsh and Scots. I shall return for more.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 7 days ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

Aloha Kailua-KonaGirl, there's plentiful information in this series about the Norse influx around the British Isles. See also the DANELAW YEARS series that specialises on the Danes in England (with Dublin connections).

Drink deeply of the Norse saga .

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