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The Vikings in England - A Brief Summary

Updated on October 7, 2015
How else can you get people interested in Vikings!?
How else can you get people interested in Vikings!?

The Start

Often called "Danes" by the English, the Vikings were fighters, traders, and farmers from Scandinavia. The Vikings are best known for sporadically raiding England. The Vikings started with raiding the smaller isles of England's territory:

  • The first raid on England occurred in 787 CE on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, with "with three ships landing here in 789"- Dr Britt Baillie, University of Cambridge.
  • Next in 793 CE, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne's monastery, Northumbria. There, the Vikings killed many defenceless monks.
  • 794 CE, first raids on Scotland and Ireland.
  • 795 CE, the Vikings attacked the monasteries of the island Iona (now part of Scotland).
  • 802 CE, the Vikings struck Iona again.
  • 806 CE, 68 monks were slain by the Vikings at Martyr's Bay, Iona
  • 820 CE, Viking raids continue around the English coast.
  • 821 CE, Wessex becomes the Supreme Kingdom

It is important to note that although called the 'Danes', the Vikings were also Swedish and Norwegian, not just Danish. The vikings were/are also known as "norsemen".

Thor - Viking God of Thunder
Thor - Viking God of Thunder

The Middle

  • 849 CE, Alfred the Great is born (future king of England).
  • 865 CE, Great Viking Army from Denmark Invades England
  • 866 CE, Danes capture York (which the Vikings called Jorvik) and make it their kingdom.
  • 871 CE, the West Saxon king, King Ethelred, and his brother Alfred, defeat the Viking army at the Battle of Ashdown, Berkshire.
  • 876 CE, Vikings settle permanently in England, coming from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
  • 886 CE, King Alfred and the Viking King Guthrum signed a treaty defining the areas of "Danelaw" where peaceful Vikings were allowed to stay.
  • 899 CE, King Alfred dies

Viking Longboat
Viking Longboat

The End

  • 901-937 CE, Danelaw is conquered by the English
  • 950 CE, Vikings from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Hebrides raid Wales, focussing on coastal monasteries.
  • 954 CE, the last Viking King of Jorvik, Eric Bloodaxe, is thrown out of York.
  • 980 CE, Viking reinforcements arrive in England
  • 994 CE, Olaf of Norway and Sven 'Forkbeard', fail to successfully launch a siege on London
  • 1014 CE, King Cnut (Canute) of Denmark captures the English Crown
  • 1042 CE, Edward the Confessor (a saxon) becomes King
  • 1066 CE 25th September, Harold Godwinson defeats Harald Hardraada, who dies in the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
  • 1066 CE 14th October - Battle of Hastings - William the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy, defeats Saxon king Harold
  • 1085 CE - Danish Vikings make an attempt to conquer England from William the Conquerer but fail.

Viking Sword and Shield
Viking Sword and Shield


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