- 'The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles', written by monks between 871 and 899.and the same year came a large heathen army into England, and fixed their winter-quarters in East-Anglia, where they were soon horsed; and the inhabitants made peace with them.
In 840 AD, ‘The Great Heathen Army’ or Vikings landed on these lands before heading off further to settle in the rest of East Anglia, creating havoc in their path.
They attacked existing settlements along the River Yare before traversing the River Wensum to attack the local fortified areas.
After killing the East Anglian King Edmund and much, later on, burning what is now the city of Norwich, the violence and destruction ended and they quite simply settled down and became farmers... as you do.
After their initial arrival on the shores of Norfolk, the predominant focus was the usual Viking interest - gold, silver and slaves.
In the years 864-5, a Viking army wintered at Thetford in Norfolk. It was here that the Vikings began a campaign of conquest across Anglo-Saxon England.
Edmund was the King of East Anglia (consisting of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk).
Attempts to make peace with the Danish Vikings and their leader Ivar the Boneless, they were confronted in battle at Hoxne in Suffolk, in 869/70.
The Danish Vikings won the victory and the last East Anglian King was slaughtered.
The Vikings now had full control of the Kingdom of East Anglia.
King Edmund was later canonised and became a saint and is still honoured in Bury St Edmunds.
In years to follow monasteries were destroyed including St. Etheldreda’s monastery at Ely, Dummuc and Elmham, towns and villages.
This reign of destruction was to come to an end during the reign of Alfred the Great, the first King of the English.
King Alfred raised an army against the Danish Viking army and their Viking King Guthrum.
After years of fighting, at the Treaty of Wedmore in 886, Viking King Guthrum agreed to convert to Christianity. He was baptised Athelstan and a dividing boundary was established, separating his land from that of King Alfred's.
This dividing boundary ran from the River Lea in Essex up to Bedford, then adjacent to the Ouse Valley. This district was known as the Danelaw.
To this day the settlements of the Danish Vikings can be perceived throughout the county of Norfolk through location names.
The name Flegg is a remnant of an Old Norse word Flaeg, a marsh plant that grows here still and is believed to be the marsh, Iris.
Almost all of the settlements here were names using words of Old Scandinavian derivation.
Thwaite (means a clearing in Old Norse),
Toft Monks (dwelling),
Pockthorpes (fairy settlements),
The word staithe appears to be unique to Norfolk. It comes from the Old Norse word Stoth meaning “landing stage” for unloading boats.
These are all Viking settlement name examples.
As the story goes, the Vikings ultimately dropped their axes and battle shields and became peaceful farmers.
Integration appears to have been wholly successful. Eastern England became a melange of an Anglo-Scandinavian society.
Wessex eventually went on to conquer the Danelaw.
East Anglia went on to establish itself as a rich kingdom and Norwich become a very wealthy city.