Manuscripts and Special Collections

Danelaw Saga





Danelaw Saga:

Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands

Dates: Friday 15 December 2017 - Sunday 8 April 2018

Admission free

Invade…immigrate…integrate… inspire. Danelaw Saga tells the tale of how the Vikings shaped the East Midlands.

In the 860s the Great Heathen Army invaded the East Midlands, agreeing peace with the Anglo-Saxon King, Alfred the Great, in the 870s. The agreement established the Danelaw where Viking laws and government reigned, giving the Vikings half of England to rule. They settled in the five boroughs of the Danelaw (Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford) and integrated with the existing population.

Danelaw Saga poster


Viking Email Signature Final

Danelaw Saga tells a local story of Viking culture with artefacts, maps and medieval documents from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham and from regional museums. Visitors can map the routes of Viking expeditions, view coins brought from the Middle East to the East Midlands, learn about places whose names evoke our Viking past and explore their heritage further with artefacts and jewellery worn by the Viking women that settled here. 

Uncover the legacy of the Vikings on our doorstep.

Danelaw Saga has been jointly curated by Professor Judith Jesch and Dr Roderick Dale of the Centre for Study of the Viking Age, together with Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham Museum. The Bringing Vikings back to the East Midlands project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

A series of talks and events will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office on 0115 8467777. See the exhibition page at Lakeside Arts Centre for further details.

Location and Opening Times

Weston Gallery 
DH Lawrence Pavilion 
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park 

Box Office : 0115 8467777  

Opening times:

Tuesday to Friday 11am-4pm

Saturday and Sunday 12 noon-4pm

Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, 2 January and Easter Sunday 

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Lunchtime talks  

Djanogly Theatre

All talks are 1 - 2 pm

10 January

Vikings in your Vocabulary

Before the Vikings settled in the East Midlands the locals spoke their own dialects of Old English that marked them out from the other inhabitants of England. These dialects changed with the adoption of Old Norse words into the language. Dr Richard Dance of the University of Cambridge will explore and explain how Midlands’ dialects were influenced by the arrival of the Vikings.

Dr Richard Dance is Director of Studies in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the College and a Reader in the Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic Department.

24 January

Pagans and Christians 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that Guðrum, one of the leaders of the Great Viking Army, was baptised in 878 with thirty of his men after their defeat by Alfred the Great. The conversion to Christianity was part of the process of the formation of the Danelaw. Professor Lesley Abrams of the University of Oxford will discuss the religious identity of Viking armies and Scandinavian settlers in this period.

Professor Lesley Abrams is Professor of Early Medieval History at Balliol College, Oxford.

 7 February

Distinctiveness and Assimilation: Rediscovering Viking Age Stone Sculpture in the East Midlands

Stone sculpture provides evidence for the assimilation of the Vikings into Anglo-Saxon society, where Anglo-Saxon motifs are combined with Norse motifs to produce hybrid forms. In this talk, Paul Everson of the University of Keele will explore Viking Age stone sculpture in the East Midlands showing its characteristic elements and how hybrid forms emerged.

Paul Everson is an Honorary Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Keele, following a career as a field archaeologist with the former Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and English Heritage.

21 February

From Poetry to Reality: The Gold-Trimmed Sword Hilt in the Bedale Hoard

The Bedale Hoard is a late ninth or early tenth-century hoard that was found in 2012. It includes necklaces, arm rings, hacksilver, ingots, and fittings from a sword hilt. The hilt included gold bands, gold rivets and a pommel inlaid with gold foil. Dr Sue Brunning of the British Museum will discuss the gold-trimmed sword hilt, and explain what ownership of such an item might have meant in Viking Age England.

Dr Sue Brunning is Curator in Early Medieval European Insular Collections at the British Museum and completed her PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, on the subject of Anglo-Saxon English and Scandinavian sword cultures.

Further talks will be held at venues around the University. Visit to view the full programme and to book tickets.



Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651