The invasion of England

The Viking invasion of England
The Scandinavian Vikings first invaded England in 793 at Lindisfarne, a monastery. They Raided the monastery, killed all the monks and ran off with anything they could grab. This event marked the start of the Viking invasion of England. They kept raiding sporadically all across England for the next 50 years, pillaging, killing and looting on a relatively small scale, however, it is believed that a lot of planning was done for these raids. They rarely met any real opposition, because there was no way to calculate where they would strike next. They were able to do this because of their Viking longboats, which were able to sail quickly. In 850 however, the Vikings wintered in England for the first time in Kent. In 854, they wintered a second time. In 865, a large Viking army arrived England, later known as «The Great Heathen Army». They crossed into England and captured York, and changed it's name to Jorvik. Some settled as farmers and craftsmen there, while others proceded to pillage and ravage the countryside. In 870 another Viking army arrived in England, and aided by the Great Heathen Army, managed to pillage and capture large parts of the eastern parts of England. They overreached however, and were defeated trying to capture Wessex. They retreated back to Jorvik. Eventually, the English managed to recapture York(Jorvik) and drove the remaining Viking raiders out. They stayed away for a few decades, but in 947, the Vikings came back under the leadership of Erik Bloodaxe. They captured York and settled in once more. The Viking presence was weakened later however, due to inheritance issues among the Viking chiefs. By 1012, Vikings were in service to England as «Thingmen», bodyguards to the English kings. The last remaining Vikings were driven out in 1066 by King Harold Godwinson. Harold was however defeated nineteen days later by the Norman King William(Ironically, the Normans were descendants of Vikings who settled in Normandy, after being given the land by King Charles the Simple of France, in exchange for driving off any further Viking raids). And thus ended the Viking conquests of England. 


Viking Village

The vikings stayed in Britain for quite a while, and during their stay they created villages and brought with them some Norse behaviour and traditions:

 


The Battle of Stamford Bridge

The Battle of Stamford Bridge
The battle of Stamford Bridge happened on the 25ft of September in the year 1066. It happened in Yorkshire by the Stamford Bridge. The men who fought were the Saxons under Harold, King of England VS Norwegian Vikings under Harald Hardrada and Earl Tostig.
    Following the death of King Edward the Confessor in 1066, succession to the English throne fell into dispute. Accepting the crown from the English nobles, Harold Godwinson became king on January 5, 1066. This was immediately challenged by William of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway. As both claimants began building invasion fleets, Harold assembled his army on the south coast with the hope that his northern nobles could repel Hardrada. In Normandy, William's fleet gathered, but was unable to depart St. Valéry sur Somme due to adverse winds.


The Battle
A desperate delaying action by the Norwegian outposts kept the Saxons from crossing the Derwent while the main army frantically donned their gear and took up position. One anonymous Norwegian held the bridge alone until he was stabbed from beneath the planks of the bridge with a long spear.
The Norse formed a shield wall in the shape of a triangle, to present a narrow front. The Saxons battered at the wall in a fierce hand to hand fight that lasted all day, before the legendary Harald Hardrada was felled by a Saxon missile. Earl Tostig tried vainly to rally the demoralized men, but the Norse resistance crumbled and the battle became a rout.
     The Vikings fled, to be pursued all the way back to their fleet at Riccall. Only 24 ships out of an initial 200 or more made the return to Norway. Before the battle Harold swore that the Norse leader would get "only seven feet of English soil" for his invasion, and he kept the vow, though Harald's remains were later taken back to Norway. As for Tostig, he was buried in York. 

 The Results
The Battle of Stamford Bridge ended the long Viking threat to England. Although Stamford Bridge was a great triumph for Harold and the Saxons, their strength was sadly depleted by the fight. And now they faced an even greater foe as news arrived that Duke William of Normandy had landed in Sussex. The weary Saxons turned south once more and marched back as quickly as they had come. They met the Normans at the fateful Battle of Hastings.


External links:

If you want to learn more about the vikings you can check out these links:
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/bayeux.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Age
http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/viking/campainpageview.asp?pageid=541
http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/knytlinga.htm