The Vikings in East Anglia
Image: Wikimedia Commons
865 when the Great Army came to England
This year Ethered, brother of Ethelbert, took to the West-Saxon government; 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.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle anno 866 (actually 865)
And in the winter King Edmund fought with them; but the Danes gained the victory, and slew the king; whereupon they overran all that land, and destroyed all the monasteries to which they came.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle anno 870 (actually 869)
874 when the remainder of the Great Army settled in Cambridge for a year
This year went the army from Repton; and Healfden advanced with some of the army against the Northumbrians, and fixed his winter-quarters by the river Tyne. The army then subdued that land, and oft invaded the Picts and the Strathclydwallians. Meanwhile the three kings, Guthrum, Oskytel, and Anwind, went from Repton to Cambridge with a vast army, and sat there one year. This summer King Alfred went out to sea with an armed fleet, and fought with seven ship-rovers, one of whom he took, and dispersed the others.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle anno 875 (actually 874)
Following Alfred’s victory over the Guthrum at Edington in 878, East Anglia became part of The Danelaw.
From 1002 Svein Forkbeard’s attempts to seize the English throne led to attacks on England.
Here in this year the king and his councillors sent to the raiding army and begged peace, and promised them tax and provisions on condition that they left off their raiding.
They had then overrun East Anglia and Essex and Middlesex and Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire and half Huntingdonshire and to the south of the Thames all the Kentish and South Saxons and the Hastings district and Surrey and Berkshire and Hampshire and much in Wiltshire.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle anno 1011
Few Viking Age burials are known from East Anglia, possibly due to fairly rapid acceptance of Christianity within the Danelaw. There are three accredited burials from Norfolk – one at Middle Harling one at Santon Downham and one at Thetford.
In recent years, finds registered under the Portable Antiquities Scheme have included numbers of Viking artefacts and the Hingham Hoard was discovered by a metal detectorist in 2012. It contained four silver brooches and 23 silver pennies from St Edmund’s reign.