Viking Raids

A few years ago, a story came out about 51 headless Vikings unearthed at a site in Weymouth, England.  http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/science/03/12/viking.olympics/index.html “On Friday, officials revealed that analysis of the men’s teeth shows they were Vikings, executed with sharp blows to the head around a thousand years ago. They were killed during the Dark Ages, when Vikings frequently invaded the region.” Researchers have dated the remaines to the period between 890 and 1030 AD, postulating that it was a raiding party that was executed once it was caught too far from its boats. During this period, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were well established in England.  Weymouth would have been in Wessex, one of the primary and most powerful kingdoms at the time.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1257333/Decapitated-Viking-skeletons-Weymouth-ditch.html Kings of the period include Alfred the Great (871-899), Edward (899-924), and Aethelstan, credited with being the first King of England. Read more…

The Normans in Wales

William the Bastard (William the Conquerer, William the Norman) won his first battle for the conquest of England at Hastings in October of 1066.  He defeated the army of King Harold Godwinson, who’d force-marched his men from Stamford Bridge after defeating an invasion by King Hardrada of Norway.  Harold’s forces almost held, but in the end, his discipline did not and he himself died on the battlefield.  http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/william-the-conqueror.htm That was only the beginning, however, and it would be another six years before England was truly conquered.  http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon22.html Wales, however, took a bit longer.  The Welsh fought what amounted to a guerilla war for over 150 years against the Norman/French aggressors.  Although the documentation of this war is mostly on the English side, it is interesting reading from the perspective of the Welsh. In the Chroncile of the Princes (from the Red Read more…