Professor Stephen Harding’s
Wirral & West Lancashire Viking Anniversary Page
14th St Olav's
Wirral-Chester Viking Heritage walks ***
1. Thursday 29th: Viking Chester. Walk
across Chester via St. Johns to St. Olave's (meet Chester Railway station at
Karmøy Viking Festival :
:Wirral's fully trained Viking Navy - reinforced by volunteers from West Lancs & "The Five Boroughs" Danelaw - row the Draken Harald Hårfagre
Maps from Ingimund’s Saga: Viking Wirral and Viking Mersey
The Wirral & West Lancashire Viking anniversary Web page was set up in August 2002 with weekly updates to mark the 1100th anniversary of Norse Vikings settling in Wirral. The year AD902 – as recorded in authenticated Irish Chronicles - marked the expulsion of Vikings from Ireland and their subsequent arrival and settlement of Wirral, a small peninsula between Wales and Liverpool, by largely Norsemen (originating from Norway). The Wirral Vikings, initially led by the Norwegian Viking INGIMUND, would have landed in their boats along the north Wirral coastline probably between what is now the lighthouse at Lingham (Old Norse lang-holmr), Hoylake/Meols (Melr), West Kirby (Kirkjubýr) and Thurstaston (Thorsteinn’s tún). They spread throughout the peninsula as far as south Chester and across the Mersey to populate South West and West Lancashire. And at their “Things” at Thingwall in Wirral and at another Thingwall in South West Lancashire they would have met regularly to discuss law and policy. We’ve put together here a collection of links to books, publications, newspaper articles and radio/TV links. Because of copyright restrictions etc. we have not been able to include all that we would have hoped for, but let's explore!
Youtube – collections of videos on Viking Wirral & West Lancs
“Viking” Tranmere promoted by winning Wembley play-offs again!
In May 2019 Tranmere, the only team in the English Football League with a Norse Viking name won at Wembley again: successive back-to-back promotions
1. Connor Jennings goal, 119th minute – Wembley May 2019 (from Clayo & SkySports) includes Mike Dean celebration
2. James Norwood's goal, 79th minute - Wembley May 2018 (from BT Sports)
3. We’re on our way! – jubilation leaving Wembley (even the Stewards join in with us)
For details of all our fixtures click here (including links to watching our games live on TV): heia Tranmelr!
Meols Boat & The Battle of Brunanburh site – Watch this space!
1. Meols Boat BBC2, Friday 7th February 2020. Our Coast, Series 1, programme 1: Merseyside. The Meols Boat under car park sequence runs from 21min25sec to 29min25sec). Watch on BBC iplayer; see this short clip for viewers from Norway . Following our initial successful GPR scans in 2007 we have been recently working with local community amateur group Wirral Archaeology. A team of Scientists and Archaeologists have been assembled and a bid to the English Heritage Lottery Fund is about to be submitted. Permissions have been obtained from the Brewery. Our plan is to:
· expose the vessel for a short period
· assess the vessel and get it scanned
· take samples and get them analysed
· give the chance for everyone (including Schools) to see it
· and then put all the waterlogged blue clay back (an ideal preservative which stops bugs growing and preserves the wood fibre based on cellulose and lignin)
· create a replica from the scans
If after analysis the vessel is deemed worthy of full excavation, advantage will be taken of advances in the consolidation of Archaeological wood through the Saving Oseberg project.
2. Battle of Brunanburh. Famous battle which occurred AD937, nearly 130 years before Hastings. Its location had been lost until the realisation that 1. Brunanburh is the old name of Bromborough and 2. Our identification in 2004 of the mystery name "Dingesmere" in the Anglo Saxon report of the battle as the "Thing's mere" - the waterway or wetland controlled or overlooked by the Viking "Thing" Assembly at Thingwall - a few miles from Brunanburh. The vast majority of Academics accept Wirral as a location with Bebington Heath identified in 2004 as the likely main fighting area and the coastline from Heswall point around to Meols as the likely "Dingesmere". The local amateur group Wirral Archaeology (including a group of former Police detectives) have since found a large number of artefacts in the area which are now being analysed by elemental and stable isotope analysis to see if they can be connected to the battle: a meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry has been organized to help reinforce the databases required for sample provenancing. See this collection of 26 videos on Youtube, the University of Nottingham Battle of Brunanburh site. The Battle itself was to decide once and for all whether Britian would become one single Imperial Power or remain as separate identities a split in perceptions which BBC's Neil Oliver described in his BBC Scotland broadcast remains with us today. King Athelstan of Wessex had declared himself "Rex Britannicus" king of all Britain and a combined northern alliance of Scots led by Constantine, Stratchclyde Welsh led by King Owain and a new wave of Vikings from Ireland led by Olaf "Anlaf" Guthfrithsson combined together to stop him. Later reports (Egils Saga) report Vikings - Icelandid Vikings - fighting also on the English side. Both sides suffered heavy losses "never yet on this island has there been a greater slaughter of people killed by the edges of the sword" before returning to their their home territories. Although Athelstan was victorious the resistance of the Northern alliance proved decisive in what was to follow. A recent presentation for Wirral Libraries "Viking Wirral after the Battle of Brunanburh" considers the consequences for the local Viking community and calls on a range of evidence from place names, personal names, archaeology (e.g. the West Kirby hogback stone), language (including the influence of the Stanley family and a famous 14th century poem full of Norse dialect) and DNA - the Wirral & West Lancashire Viking DNA project.
1. North-West Mercia AD871-924. Article by F.T. Wainwright, originally published in the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire in 1942 and edited version reprinted in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 19-42.
2. Ingimund’s Invasion. Article by F.T. Wainwright, originally published in the English Historical Review in 1948 and edited version reprinted in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 43-59.
3. The Background of Brunanburh. Article by John McNeal Dodgson, originally published in the Saga Book of the Viking Society in 1957 and reprinted in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 60-69.
4. Early monuments of West Kirby. Article by W.G. Collingwood. Originally published in John Brownbill ed., West Kirby and Hilbre. A Parochial History, 1928 and reprinted in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 84-97.
5. Wirral Field Names. Article by F.T. Wainwright, originally published in Antiquity in 1943 and edited version reprinted in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 98-99.
6. Pre-Norman crosses of West Cheshire and the Norse settlements around the Irish Sea. Article by J.D. Bu’Lock, originally published in Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society in 1958 and in Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 70-83.
7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Stanley family of Stanley, Storeton and Hooton. Review of English Studies, volume 30, pages 308-316 (1979). Article by Edward Wilson. The 14th century poem is interesting from a Wirral perspective in that some of the (fictitious) action takes place in Wirral, the poem contains a significant proportion of Norse dialect words and a number of scholars such as Edward Wilson, Gervase Mathew and Andrew Breeze have associated the unknown poet with Sir John Stanley of Storeton Hall, Knight of the Garter.
8. Scandinavian Wirral. Article by Judith Jesch. From Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 1-10.
9. From Scandinavia to the Wirral. Article by Judith Jesch, with appendix by Simon Bean a silver ingot discovered in 1995 at Ness. From Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 11-18.
10. The Vikings and Victorian Merseyside. Article by Andrew Wawn. From Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 108-124.
11. Locations and Legends. Article by Steve Harding on the location of names and features in Wirral, mapping the distribution of some Norse-derived names, and looks at some tenacious Victorian legends. From Wirral and its Viking Heritage, ed. P. Cavill, S. Harding & J. Jesch, 2000, pages 108-124.
12. Battle of Brunanburh: extract from book by Paul Cavill – Vikings: Fear and Faith in Anglo-Saxon England, Harper Collins Publishers, London & Glasgow, 2001, pages 97-111. See also The Context of Brunanburh. Chapter by N.J. Higham in Names, Places, People. An Onomastic Miscellany in Memory of John McNeal Dodgson (ed. A.R. Rumble and A.D. Mills), Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1997, pages 144-156.
13. Viking Settlement in the Wirral. Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society, new series vol 78, 2003, pages 107-117. Article by Stephen Matthews suggesting Ingimund's arrival was part of a deal with Queen Aethelflaed.
14. Scandinavian Settlement in West Cheshire - Stretching the Boundaries. Cheshire History, no. 43, pages 28-40 (2003/4). Article by Dan Robinson of the Grosvenor Museum, Chester: it includes a description of the Shocklach "Sleipnir" Horse.
15. Revisiting Dingesmere. Journal of the English Place Name Society, October 2004, volume 36, pages 25-38. Article by Paul Cavill, Stephen Harding and Judith Jesch suggesting a solution to a mystery concerning the Battle of Brunanburh: Dingesmere = Thing’s mere or marr.
16. The Wirral Carrs and Holms. Journal of the English Place Name Society, December 2007 volume 39, pages 45-57. Article by Steve Harding on the distribution of the carrs (ON kjarr) and holms (ON holmr) in Wirral - old Norse names associated with marshland - and their significance in terms of dialect (and in relation to the total absence of corresponding English names for the same features) - and possible relevance to the Battle of Brunanburh.
17. The Neston cross: an exercise in community engagement. Abstract by Roger White, Steve Harding and Martin Cooper in Vikings in the 21st century (J. Jesch, C. Lee, J. Carroll and C. Callow, eds). University of Birmingham 17-18 December, 2007. Use of the latest scanning laser technologies to help construct a replica of a remarkable piece.
18. The site of the battle of Brunanburh: manuscripts and maps, grammar and geography. Article by Paul Cavill in A Commodity of Good Names. Essays in Honour of Margaret Gelling (edited by O.J. Padek and D.N. Parsons), Shaun Tyas, Donington UK, pages 303-319, 2008.
19. . Molecular Biology and Evolution, February 2008 volume 25, pages 301-309. Article by Georgina Bowden, Patricia Balaresque, Turi King, Ziff Hansen, Giles Pergl-Wilson, Emma Hurley, Stephen Roberts, Patrick Waite, Judith Jesch, Abigail Jones, Mark Thomas, Stephen Harding and Mark Jobling.
20. Wirral: folklore and locations: Chapter by Steve Harding in The Battle of Brunanburh (ed. Michael Livingston), Exeter University Press, UK, pages 351-364, 2011.
21. Vikings in the Wirral. From Tranmere Rovers to the Royal Palace. The Pembrokian, July 2012 volume 36 page 7.
Popular Magazine and Journal Articles
1. The Great Stone of Thor (Notes and Queries, 5th Series 8, Nov 1877, pages 364-365) and 6th Series 3, Jan 1881 pages 30-31). Two articles by Sir James Picton pondering the origins of a large outcrop of red sandstone at Thurstaston. Picton argues the name Thurstaston derives from Thors stone whereas later research shows it derives from Thorsteinn’s farmstead – Old Norse, but nothing to do with what we now call Thor’s stone.
2. Meols (article by David Griffiths) British Archaeology, Issue 62, December 2001, p8.
3. Bookshelf: Viking Mersey. (Charles Nelson reviews the latest releases with a Lancashire flavour), Lancashire Life, April 2003, p270
4. The Norsemen Re-Take Thingwall. Wirral Champion, July 2003, p61 (Report on the 1st Icelandic tour)
6. The Brunanburgh Viking. Poulton Hall Gardens Magazine, April 2004, page 11. Article by June Lancelyn-Green on the unveiling of Sue Sharples Sculpture "The Brunanburgh Viking", 4th April 2004.
7. On the Net: The Vikings. BBC History Magazine, May, 2004, page 71. Chris Moss and Steve Harding review Viking web sites.
8. June Lancelyn Green's Dowagers Diary. Wirral Champion, August, 2004, pages 36,37. Article includes Sue Sharples' Brunanburgh Viking.
9. Viking Wirral and the Battle of Brunanburh. Battlefield, August, 2004, pages 22, 23.
10. Its all in a name. BBC History Magazine, January 2005, volume 6, no.1., page 61. Article by Robin Attar in the Journals section, reviewing the recent publication in the Journal of the English Place Name Society about Dingesmere and the Battle of Brunanburh.
11. If you are looking for the Vikings - looking no further! Teaching and Learning Magazine, January/February 2006, page 64. Feature article by Juliet Smith on the forthcoming launch this year of the Web Resource 'Vikings in Wirral'.
12. Vikings nice blokes really, Times Education Supplement Magazine, 19 January 2007 pages 54-55. Launch of the highly acclaimed Web Resource ‘Vikings in Wirral’ by the Wirral Learning Grid, Steve Harding & Mike McCartney.
13. Scandinavian Invasion, Tranmere Rovers Official Programme (Tranmere v Chesterfield, 2nd March 2007), p21 &36. Article by Tony Coombes about Tranmere’s growing band of Scandinavian supporters.
14. Honour for Norwegian king. Oxford Today, Hilary Issue, 2007. page 4. Article about award of Degree of Doctor of Civil Law to King Harald V. Harald tells about the long line of Norwegian kings educated in England since Harald Haarfagre’s son Hakon the Good. You can download the King’s speech here.
15. Viking Time Travellers. Historic cross at Neston to be restored. Wirral Champion, October 2007. Article on the stone fragments belonging to 10th Century Viking crosses at Neston.
16. Anglo-Norse Review, Winter 2007, pages 27-30. Report on the rediscovery using Ground Penetrating Radar of an old buried clinker boat at Meols – and speculation as to what it might be.
17. A Viking ship at Meols? Current Archaeology, December 2007, volume 213, pages 4-5. Article by Lisa Westcott about an intriguing vessel buried under the Railway Inn car park, Meols.
18. The Viking Roots of North-west England. Current Archaeology, April 2008, volume 217, page 7. News item about the publication of the paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution.
19. Norways “colony” of Wirral, Liverpool. Appendix article in Torgrim Titlestad’s book Viking Norway, Saga Bok, Stavanger, 2008, pages 371-379.
22. St. Olav’s Viking Walk. The Norseman, January 2009, pages 46-53. Article by Steve Harding and Dan Robinson on the Wirral-Chester “Olsok” Viking walk.
23. Viking Wirral and Viking Genes. Heswall Magazine, February 2010, pages 24-25.
24. Ny “Liverpool-bok” I salg: Vikingblod. November 2011. Artikkel i "Kopite" - for de 30 000 medlemmene av den skandinaviske støtter klubben av Liverpool FC - om ny bok av Steve og Stig om det skandinaviske påvirkninger fortid og nåtid i området rundt Liverpool - Wirral og West Lancashire - i Nordvest-England. [Article in the "Kopite" – for the 30000 members of the Scandinavian supporters club of Liverpool FC - about the new book by Steve and Stig about the Scandinavian influences past and present in the area around Liverpool - Wirral and West Lancashire - in north west England].
25. Wirral Sets Sail. Cheshire Life, June 2012 pages 217-220. Article by Emma Mayoh. NB “King Alfred” should read “Queen Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred”.
26. Vikings in the Wirral. From Tranmere Rovers to the Royal Palace. The Pembrokian, July 2012 volume 36 page 7.
27. In Search of Vikings. University experts in arts and sciences publish new book. University of Nottingham Web, January 29, 2015. Article by Emma Rayner.
28. Marking the spot of an Old Viking parliament. The News Room, University of Nottingham, March 6, 2015. Article by Emma Rayner.
29. Did the Vikings use crystal ‘sunstone’ to discover America? The Conversation, January 29 2016. Article by Steve Harding.
31. Stephen Harding’s Vikings Part 1. Waiting Magazine Issue 9 (2016) pages pages 32-35 (pull out)
33. Viking seafarers may have navigated with legendary crystals. Science Magazine, April 3, 2018. Sid Perkins talks to Steve
34. The crystals that may have helped Vikings navigate northern seas. New York Times, April 6, 2018. Steph Yin talks to Steve
35. Why can't we figure out how the Vikings crossed the Atlantic? Atlas Obscura, April 27, 2018. Jessica Leigh Hester talks to Steve
1. The Vikings are back - in peace (Article by Alan Weston), Daily Post, 24/2/01, page 14
2. De fant Tors Hammer (They found Thor's Hammer - article by Hermann Hansen) Adresseavisen (Norway) 24/2/01, page 5. Translation
3. Vikinger fram fra glemselen (Vikings rescued from oblivion- article by Trine Andersen) Dagsavisen (Norway), 27/02/01, page 21
4. Wirral's Viking legacy (Article by Louise Powney), Wirral News Group, 7/3/01
5. Bætt við breska víkingaafarinn (a rediscovered British Viking Place - article by Sigrun Davidsdottir) *Morgunblaðið (Iceland) - lesbók section, 10/3/01, p17
6. New book reveals Wirral's Viking past, (Article by Stuart Hughes), Wirral Globe, 14/3/01
7. Pupils keen to pass Viking DNA tests (Article by Louise Powney), Wirral News Group, 17/07/02
8. Youngsters get back in touch with Viking roots, (article by David Harding), Wirral Chronicle, 5/07/02 p21
9. Modern Vikings!: swab tests, Wirral Globe, 24/07/02, p21
10. City to Celebrate its long Viking history , Chester Chronicle, 9/08/02, p19
11. Vikings return in force to Chester ... one thousand years on, Daily Post, 13/08/02, p7
12. Viking Invasion wins over Town, Chester Chronicle, 16/08/02 p13
13. Church's Viking Past, The Mail (Chester), 21/08/02, p2
14. Peaceful invaders from across the sea, (Article by Clifford Birchall), Ormskirk Advertiser, 21/11/02, p25
15. Viking's New Home. Wirral News, 21st April 2004. Article by Louise Powney on Sue Sharples' Brunanburh Viking sculpture at Poulton Hall.
16. Discovery is rewriting our peninsula's history. Wirral Globe, 23rd June 2004, page 11. Article by Eric Munn on amazing discovery of Viking stonework at Bidston.
17. VIKINGS ARE RETURNING: Heritage of Norse invaders to be marked. Wirral News, 21st July 2004, Page 1 and Page 2. Article by Louise Powney on the Wirral Viking Heritage Project.
18. BATTLE COULD SPARK BOOM: Heath site of historic conflict. Wirral News, 13th October, 2004, pages 1-2. Article by Kevin Core on the solution of a mystery concerning the Battle of Brunanburh: “Dingesmere” as the “Thing’s mere or marr”. See also this video clip of marshland/wetland on the Dee estuary.
19. For the Cradle of English Civilisation, go to the Wirral. The Independent, 8th December 2004, page 15. Article by Louise Jury on the Battle of Brunanburh.
20. Is this the battle site that shaped England's destiny? The Times, 20th December 2004, page 18. Article by Ben Hoyle on the Battle of Brunanburh.
21. History Hot Topic! Wirral News, 10th August, 2005. Article by Louise Powney/ photo Val Curtis about the annual Viking boat burning at Thurstaston.
22. Rovers Fan on Rich-List. Wirral News, 16th November, 2005. Article by Louise Powney on rumours from Norway that Shipping Magnate John Fredriksen is a Tranmere Rovers supporter.
23. Stone 'most vital' find in 20 years Wirral News, 30th November, 2005. Article by Louise Powney about a lecture given by Professor Richard Bailey on the discovery of the 'mini-hogback' tombstone at Bidston.
24. New bar mixes area's past with the present. Wirral News, 20th September, 2006, page 7. Article by Katy West on The Wro in West Kirby and an ancient Charter.
25. Viking Scholar asked the right questions. Wirral News, 10th January, 2007. Wirral News’ tribute to Magnus Magnusson, who died on Sunday 7th January 2007.
26. Viking Support. Wirral Globe, 6th March, 2007. Article about the large numbers of Norwegians coming to Tranmere home games – and the historical connection with the Vikings.
27. Viking invaders are flocking to Tranmere. Wirral News, 7th March, 2007, page 6. Article about over 100 Norwegian supporters now regularly coming to Tranmere’s Friday home games – and the historical connection with the Vikings.
28. Festival Celebrates our Viking Heritage. Wirral News, 27th June, 2007, page 11. Article by Katy West on visit by Wirral Cultural delegation Mike McCartney and Steve Harding to Iceland as guests of ICE2007 Festival organiser Ingi-Thor Jonsson and Icelandic Booker Prize winner Andri Snaer Magnason.
29. Heritage Walk. Wirral News, 25th July 2007. Article by Katy West on Wirral Viking Churches Heritage between St. Bridget’s West Kirby and St. Mary and St. Helen’s in Neston.
30. Town’s historic Viking cross to be restored. Ellesmere Port Standard, 22nd August, 2007.
31. Historic Find to be Rebuilt. Neston News, 22nd August, 2007, pages 1&2. Article by Matt Hurst on the stone fragments belonging to 10th Century Viking crosses at Neston.
33. Builder found Vikings washed up at Pub. The Times, 10th September 2007, p. 29. Article by Jack Malvern on the rediscovery using Radar methods of an old clinkerboat which may date from the Viking settlements on Wirral.
34. Radar scans reveal Viking boat underneath a Pub. Independent, 10th September 2007, p9. Article by Ciar Byrne on the rediscovery using Radar methods of an old clinkerboat which may date from the Viking settlements on Wirral.
35. Natives are of Viking Stock, Ormskirk Champion, 3rd October 2007, pages 1 and 5. Article by Natasha Robson on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
36. Ligge det et vikingskip under denne puben? (Transl. Does there lie a Vikingship under this pub?). Dagbladet (Norway) 20th October 2007 pages 14 and 15. Ole Bjørner Loe Welde considers the evidence for a Nordic clinker boat under the Railway Inn Pub at Meols, on the Wirral peninsular near Liverpool. Direct web link from Dagbladet. See also: The Meols Boat Project.
37. Vikingefunn ved pub? (Transl. Viking find at a pub?) Aftenposten (Norway) 30th October 2007 page 13. Article by Cato Guhnfeldt considering the evidence for a Nordic clinker boat.
38. Forensics tracking a Viking ancestry. Volunteers take a DNA voyage into the past. Wirral News, 31st October 2007 page 5. Article by Clifford Birchall on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
39. Viking links to be disclosed. Ormskirk Advertiser, 1st November 2007, page 29. Article by Clifford Birchall on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
40. Findings of Viking study expected soon. Midweek Advertiser, 7th November 2007, page 8. Article by Clifford Birchall on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
41. Forensics find Viking clues, Midweek Visitor, 7th November 2007, page 12. Article by Clifford Birchall on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
42. DNA’s the hi-tech way of digging up history of Vikings. Years of research about to be unveiled. Formby Times, 1st November 2007, page 36. Article by Clifford Birchall on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007, 7pm.
43. Norse by north west. Liverpool Echo, 24th November 2007. Article by Martin Rigby on the forthcoming publication and presentation of results at the David Lloyd Centre, Knowsley, 27 November 2007.
44. Modern day Vikings. How experts are tracing descendants. Liverpool Echo, 1st December 2007. Article by Martin Rigby (follow up of #56) about the publication of the paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution and the presentation at Knowsley.
45. Proof of Liverpool’s Viking past. Guardian, 3rd December 2007, p4. Article by James Randerson (Science correspondent) about the forthcoming publication of the paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Web link and blog.
46. Focus on Link with the Vikings, 30th January 2008. Article by Sue McCann on the forthcoming St. Bridget’s Centre Appeal Lecture on 5th February.
47. Morgunbladid, 24th February 2008, pages 20-21. Innlent - greinar UPPRUNI Með víkingablóð í æðum Helmingur karla í Wirral og í Vestur-Lancashire afkomendur víkinganna. Article by Orri Pál Ormarsson about the publication of the paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution.
48. Morgunbladid, 6th June 2008, pages 1, 26 and 27. Víkingaborgin Liverpool. Sðgur, gen og tunumálið. Article by Arnthor Helgason about the Viking links of old Liverpool, Wirral and West Lancashire.
49. Nordmenn skal testes for vikingblod, 28th September 2008. Article by Geir Lillesund (NTB) in Norways most popular paper about the search for volunteers from old families in specific areas of Norway.
50. Bergens Tidende, 28th September 2008. Sjekkes for vikingblod. Article by Geir Lillesund (NTB) (in Norwegian) on the search for volunteers from old families in the Bergen area of Norway.
51. Aftenposten (Norway), 29th September 2008: Article by Geir Lillesund (NTB) about the search for volunteers from old families in specific areas of Norway.
52. Adresseavisen (Norway), 29th September 2008: Søker vikingblod hos nordmenn. Article by Geir Lillesund (NTB) about the search for volunteers from old families in Trondelag.
53. Jyllands Posten (Denmark), 29th September 2008: Article by Geir Lillesund (NTB) about the search for volunteers from old families in the Jutland and Sjaelland areas of Denmark.
54. Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen, 2nd October 2008. Har du vikingblod I årene? De er på jakt etter frivillige i Gudbrandsdalene. Article by Ingunn Aagedal Schinstad on the search for volunteers from old families in the Gudbrandsdalen area of Norway.
55. Yorkshire Post, 30th January 2009. 'Time team' to seek out genetic secrets of Yorkshire's Viking past. Feature by Mark Branagan on the follow up of the Wirral & West Lancashire survey to the rest of northern England.
56. Wirral News, 25th March 2009, page 5. Unlocking secrets of our Norse code. Feature by Lorna Hughes on the link-up between Thingwall in Wirral and Tingvoll in Norway, focusing on the schools and a visit of a 12-strong delegation from Tingvoll. Read also this report (in Norwegian) by Gunnlaug Ribe from Tingvoll Kommune.
57. Wirral News, 8th April 2009, page 24. Short Sighted. Letter by David Griffiths, Steve Harding and Rob Philpott protesting about the threatened closure of Wirral Libraries.
58. Wirral News, 22nd April, 2009. Tranmere must mark Viking name. Letter by Steve Harding about the 125th anniversary of Tranmere Rovers.
59. Wirral News, 3rd June 2009. Cruel Vikings. Letter by Harry Smith (West Kirby).
61. Liverpool Echo, 5th May 2010. King of Norway visits Wirral. Feature by Liam Murphy on visit of the King to the Royal Liverpool Yacht Club.
62. Wirral News, 19th May 2010. On the trail of Viking history. Article by Lorna Hughes on the unveiling of an Information board at Meols Park by MP Esther McVey.
63. Haugesunds Avis & Karmøy Lokal, 10th June 2010. Jakter på viking-gen. Article by Carsten Kickstat on genetic survey of old Norway, and visit of Mark,Turi and Steve. Pdf of visit - starting off with Marilyn Monroe and finishing with a tricolor picture with Per Anders and Stig.
64. Day the Vikings made a comeback and Heritage walk starts from Neston church; Wirral News, 21st July 2010. Double page spread of articles by Lorna Hughes covering the Nation Archaeolical Day event at Bidston and looking forward to thb St. Olav Viking Pilgrimage.
65. Pilgrimage is marking historical links and Vikings show how to live off the land: Wirral News, 4th August 2010. Articles by Lorna Hughes following the 2010 Wirral-Chester St. Olav Viking Pilgrimage.
66. Britain steeped in Viking blood: The Weekly News, Thursday 30th September 2010. A light hearted look by Craig Campbell about the legacy of the Vikings.
67. Viking Links Uncovered. Wirral News, 24th November 2010. Article by Lorna Hughes on the publication of the new Viking DNA book.
68. Viking coin is a forgery. Wirral News, 2nd March 2011, page 3. Article by Lorna Hughes on the discovery that a coin discovered in Neston in 2005 and attributed to the Viking King Olaf Guthfrithsson – is an elaborate fake.
69. Return of the Vikings: Rebuilt longboat to head for Wirral. Wirral News, 25th May 2011, page 3. Article by Lorna Hughes on the Drakken Harald Fairhair longship project..
70. Call to mark Viking Link to Thingwall. Wirral News, 5th October 2011, page 13. Article by Lorna Hughes on the proposal to replace the missing Thingwall sign at the bottom of Cross Hill with one similar to the Tingwall sign in Shetlands.
71. Ny bok om Viking-spor I England. Aftenposten, 4th December 2011. Article by Trine Andersen on the new book Vikingblod.
14th St Olav's Wirral-Chester Viking Heritage walks - Thursday eveining 29th July (St. Olav's Day) & Saturday July 31st 2021
Royal Society of Chemistry meeting (joint with the Society of Antiquaries) - Monday, 13th June 2022.
For details of all these events: Steve.Harding@nottingham.ac.uk
o Connor Jennings goal, 119th minute – Wembley May 2019 (from SkySports & Clayo)
o James Norwood's goal, 79th minute - Wembley May 2018 (from BT Sports)
o We’re on our way! – fantastic scenes leaving Wembley
o Celebratory cake Heia Tranmael!
The survey supported by the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council under the prestigious Watson-Crick 50th Anniversary programme was commenced in 2002 by researchers from the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham and completed in 2007. The survey focused on the male Y-chromosome. This is a small (2%) part of a man’s DNA that is past along the male line with little or no change unlike the rest (88%) of our chromosomal DNA which is mixed up at each generation. The male Y-chromosome can be linked with men’s surnames, and this enables us to get behind the large population changes that have occurred in urban areas such as Wirral and West Lancashire after the Industrial Revolution and the growth of Liverpool as a port since 1700. The Wirral & West Lancashire project analysed the Y chromosomes of men from these regions who also have surnames known to have been present their in mediaeval times, and thus to bypass the recent major population movements in the region that may disturb the relationships between old genes and modern geography. The results from the project were published in 2008 in the leading scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). It can be downloaded from here as an open access article. A more general publication “Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project” was subsequently published by CRC Press in 2010. For more details about the background behind the project click here. Although the survey has now finished individuals wishing to get their own DNA tested for ancestry can do so with one of the many commercial companies who can test now not just the Y-chromosome but also the rest (88%) of the chromosomal or “autosomal” DNA for a man and all (100%) of the chromosomal DNA for a woman.
Old Clinker Vessel under the Railway Inn, Meols
In 2007 ground penetrating radar experiments appear to have confirmed the existence of an old clinker built boat deep under a pub car park at Meols. The boat had been discovered by workers digging foundations in the 1930’s and, after one of the workers had made a sketch of the end of the boat that was exposed, was covered over again. An unpublished study made in 2007 using Ground Penetrating Radar seem to suggest the vessel is still there. A hypothesis or suggestion has been made that it may possibly date back to the Viking age: the boat is of clinker design (overlapping planks) although it appears to have a rounded end. Until the boat is dated, all we can say for sure is that it is very old! Download a transcript of a seminar given at the North Sea Conference at Gothenburg Museum, October 14th 2011. Working in conjunction with Peter Jenkins, Tim Baldock, Howard Mortimer, Graham Burgess and other colleagues at Wirral Archaeology we will be resuming plans to expose, assess and date the vessel, postponed due to Covid.
Karmøy, Norway, June 2013: “Taming the Draken”. 50 men and
women from Wirral & the East Midlands – trained principally by Liverpool
Victoria Rowing Club – were given the opportunity to row the Draken Harald
at the Karmoy Viking Festival, thanks to he generous support of Norwegian
Businessman and Viking Enthusiast, Sigurd Aase. The vessel sailed to
Wirral July 2014, arriving in Wallasey Pool – an awesome
finally returning – after having a new mast - August 3rd: It is
hoped the 35 metre vessel will return in 2018, with 100 willing and trained
rowing volunteers ready for action.
Videos of Lectures:
1. Viking Wirral (~45 mins)
3. Science and the Vikings - Watch video (University of Nottingham, KTOG Christmas Lecture, 2015)
4. Science and the Vikings – (youtube) Hakon Hakonsson Lecture (Largs Viking Festival, 2016)
Magnus Magnusson (1929-2007)
Magnus was one of the country’s leading television presenters, a well-known Viking Scholar and a good friend of the region. We said goodbye with this tribute to Magnus on BBC Radio Merseyside, 11.40am, 8th January 2007. Watch also this tribute to Magnus, 7.30pm, 5th February 2007.
Magnus on Brunanburh (1980); Magnus as King Canute; Magnus plays the Viking pan-pipes
Battle of Brunanburh AD937
The Battle of Brunanburh was one of the most defining battles in the history of the British Isles and, as described by BBC Broadcaster Neil Oliver in History of Scotland it determined whether Britain would become one imperial power or stay as separate identities. Although the Northern Alliance of Scots, Strathclyde British and Norsemen from Ireland lost the battle against a combined Anglo-Saxon army from Mercia and Wessex - with heavy losses on both sides - the strong resistance proved decisive in what was to follow. The Battle of Brunanburh is recorded as a contemporary (or near contemporary) poem in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, and almost certainly took place on Wirral. Compelling arguments had earlier been made for other locations, notably in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northants and SW Scotland. However the weight of scholarly opinion seems to be heavily in favour of Wirral… and internationally respected author Bernard Cornwell agrees and has recently come out strongly in favour of Wirral in his latest novel: The Empty Throne.
The Wirral peninsula and Chester had not long earlier witnessed another major battle between “the armies of the Norsemen and the Danes” and the Mercian English – AD907. Chester was also the place where the Anglo Saxons had one of their earlier crushing and most significant victories against the British - AD613. Brunanburh was the old name until about 1732 for Bromborough. The poem also gives the location of the coastal point of escape as Dingesmere – which has now been satisfactorily explained as the “Things – mere or – marr”, the wetland or marshland associated with the Thing – the Viking parliament, at Thingwall on Wirral.
You can read more about Wirral’s link with the Battle of Brunanburh by following this link here …..
Pushing Back The Tide?
Many people in North Wirral used to believe that the famous event where King Canute is alleged to have attempted to push back the tide took place between Meols and Moreton shore. This tradition – which went back generations - may have been inspired by the constant flooding of the area before the sea defences were built coupled with romanticism of the Victorians. Indeed, and apparently as a bit of fun a special “Canute Chair” was constructed by the Cust family of Leasowe Castle with the inscription “sea not come hither and wet the soles of my feet” but was sadly broken up in the 1950’s. Maybe there is a chance of another construction, but in the meantime, see my attempt to push the tide back in this clip (Vikings didn’t have horns on helmets by the way!). Magnus Magnusson also has a go on the banks of the Thames (I think) in this clip.
Wirral’s Tranmere Rovers (Trani-melr = "Cranebird/heron sandbank”) is the only team in the English Football League with a Norwegian Viking name. Many Scandinavian supporters come over for a weekend and watch the big clubs like Man Utd., Liverpool and Everton on the Saturday/Sunday and watch Tranmere if they are playing on Friday night, but not many realise the connection. See links below for directions etc. and tickets. SEASON TICKETS. LONG DISTANCE SEASON TICKETS (for fans who live more than 75 miles away)
· TRANMERE ROVERS: Official Tranmael Rovers site, Directions to the Tranmael Stadium - Wirral, Tranmere supporters club forum, BBC match reports, news and fixtures, Tranmæl - Tronderlag Norway, Panoramic view of the ground, Tranmael jingle (17 seconds), Tranmere Rovers Viking Page; Viking Tranmere book
The West Lancashire Heritage Association. The WHLA were a tremendous help for the Wirral and West Lancashire Viking DNA Project. Special thanks to Bob Ireland, Stuart Elliot and the late and dearly missed Patrick Waite. NW Heritage Page – includes the latest on West Lancashire finds; Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, based at the University of Nottingham; Vikings in Wirral (Key Stage 2/3) for Schools (currently being updated for release in September 2020)
The 12 string Harding Fiddle (Hardingfele or Hardanger Fiddle) : the National Instrument of Norway; Norsk Tre (Norwegian Wood): courtesy of the Hardingkvartetten (The Harding Quartet); Visit Kinsarvik, Hordaland, home of the Hardings
I would like to thank friends and colleagues at the Wirhalh Skip-Felag, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC North West Tonight (particularly Jim Clarke), BBC Inside Out series (Laurence Inwood, producer), Trinity Mirror Copyright, the Wirral News Group, the Wirral Globe, the Wirral Champion, the Wirral Journal, Cheshire Life, Morgunblaðið, Nytt fra Norge, British Archaeology, Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society, Cheshire History, Wirral Life/ Chester Chronicle, Trine Andersen (NTB), Phil Hirst (Planet X TV), Chris Bartley and Sigrun Davidsdottir and Chris Collingwood for allowing me to reproduce or link to their material.
This is an educational non-profit making web site. The site is maintained, and updated weekly by Steve Harding, and is in conjunction with the Wirral Learning Grid. The West Lancashire part of this page is still under construction and is being developed in conjunction with the West Lancashire Heritage Association. Lancastrians please visit the Hesketh Bank web site
Site created August 1st 2002 – to mark the 1100th anniversary of the Vikings colonising Wirral - and maintained by, Professor Steve Harding .
Hilsener fra Steve, Tranny the Heron, Ingimund…and Wirral's Viking Navy!
Last updated 11/7/2021