13. Viking Congress 1997 – Nottingham and York


21st -30th August.


Vikings and the Danelaw.


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Organising Committee:

†Christine Fell, James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch.

Congress Secretaries: Sue Drury, Samantha Murray.

Student Assistants: Jayne Carroll, Betsy Springer, Philip Tallon.

National Representatives:

Denmark: Else Roesdahl, Niels Lund.

Faroe Islands: Arne Thorsteinsson

Iceland: Guðmundur Ólafsson



Sweden: Anne-Sofie Gräslund & Helmer Gustavson.


Delegates of the Congress:


Ole Bruhn, Tinna Damgård-Sørensen, Gillian Fellows-Jensen, Peder Gammeltoft, Steffen Stumman Hansen & Anne Christine Larsen, Bente Holmberg, Michael Lerche Nielsen, Niels Lund, Anne Pedersen, Else Roesdahl, Marie Stoklund.

England and Wales

Lesley Abrams, Michael Barnes, Martin Biddle, Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle, Alan Binns, Mark Blackburn, Nicholas Brooks, Paul Buckland, Christine Fell, James Graham-Campbell, Dawn Hadley, Richard Hall, Katherine Holman, Judith Jesch, Michael Jones, Kevin Leahy, John McKinnell, David Parsons, Mark Redknap, Julian Richards, David Stocker, Tania Styles, Thorlac Turville-Petre, Andrew Wawn.

Faroe Islands

Hans Jacob Debes, Arne Thorsteinsson, Hjørdis Trónd.


Michael Müller-Wille.


Jette Arneborg.


Þogerður Árnadóttir, Ásdís Egilsdóttir, Anton Holt, Guðmundur Ólafsson, Svavar Sigmundsson, Guðrún Sveinbjarnardóttir.


Donnchadh Ó Corráin, Raghnall Ó Floinn, John Sheehan, Patrick Wallace.


Per Sveaas Andersen, Signe Horn Fuglesang, Jan Ragnar Hagland, Knut Helle, Sigrid Kaland, Claus Krag, Irmelin Martens, Preben Meulengracht Sørensen, Gerd Stamsø Munch & Jens Storm Munch, Else Mundal, Ingvild Øye, Heid Gjøstein Resi, Berit Sellevold, Dagfinn Skre, Terje Spurkland, Anne Stalsberg.


Evgenij Nosov.


Colleen Batey, Barbara Crawford, Christopher Morris, Olwyn Owen, Caroline Paterson, Brian Smith, Doreen Waugh.


Marit Åhlén, Stefan Brink, Lennart Elmevik, Anne-Sofie Gräslund, Helmer Gustavson, Birgitta Hårdh, Anders Hultgård, Kenneth Jonsson, Thomas Lindkvist, Lars Lönnroth, Lena Peterson, Kenneth Svensson, Lena Thunmark-Nylén.


Benjamin Hudson.

Student Delegates: Haki Antonsson, Ross Dean, Jonathan Grove, Mary MacLeod, David McCuIlough, Alex Service.


Repton and Ingleby (stopping along the way at Derby Museum for lunch and Viking artefacts). Shelford church and its sculpture, Southwell and its lintel-stone, a tour of the church tower, Shelton, uphill Lincoln, a reception by the Mayor of Lincoln at Greyfriars, with exhibition of Viking Age finds from Lincoln.


The British Academy; The Royal Danish Embassy; The Embassy of Sweden; H.E. Mr Benedikt Ásgeirsson, the Ambassador of Iceland; The University of Nottingham; Danish Homestore, Nottingham; Norema Interiors Ltd, Nottingham; National Westminster Bank plc; Midland Bank. Hospitality at the Congress was generously provided by The University of Nottingham; The Royal Irish Academy; The Mayor and City of Lincoln.


Congress Diary:

A Foreword in the Congress Proceedings.


Viking Congress delegates arrived at the University of Nottingham on the afternoon of Thursday, the 21st of August, the same day as the official opening of the Nottingham branch of IKEA. It seemed appropriate, somehow. Proceedings began even more appropriately with a welcome by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Colin Campbell, whom we toasted in Viking Ale. However, the serious business started soon enough, with the very first paper after dinner that evening: Dawn Hadley 'In search of the vikings'.


On the Friday morning, we were again welcomed by Professor Nick Hewitt, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, followed by Martin Biddle and Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle's lecture on their excavations at Repton. The afternoon was devoted to an excursion, in glorious weather, to Repton and Ingleby (stopping along the way at Derby Museum for lunch and Viking artefacts). Foremark Hall, between Repton and Ingleby, provided an appropriate venue for the conference photograph. A full day was crowned with a reception and private view of the exhibition Vikings and Gods in European Art at the Djanogly Art Gallery, opened by Kate Adie.


Saturday and Sunday were hard-working days, with many papers delivered, not only on the main theme of the Congress, but also short research reports on other themes. A selection of the papers on the main theme of the Congress is reproduced in this volume. Evening relaxation on Saturday came in the form of an after-dinner performance by the Nottingham Choral Trust, including Icelandic and Swedish songs, before Andrew Wawn also gave a splendid performance in his public lecture on 'The Danelaw and the Victorian Viking novel', reproduced below. Sunday's less serious entertainment was a showing of the Kirk Douglas/Tony Curtis film The Vikings, along with an insider's commentary on its filming, provided by Alan Binns.


Monday was entirely devoted to an excursion heading eastwards from Nottingham. Our first stop was Shelford church and its sculpture, followed by Southwell and its lintel-stone, discussed extensively by Philip Dixon, Olwyn Owen and David Stocker, on site and in their paper. Delegates were also treated to a tour of the church tower. The next stop was Shelton, where two small pieces of sculpture provided a perfect excuse to stop for lunch, magnificently prepared by the ladies of the village, and eaten in the pews of this tiny church. Evgenij Nosov proposed a vote of thanks from the pulpit. In the afternoon we were expertly guided around uphill Lincoln by Mick Jones and Alan Vince. Alan also gave a paper outlining the development of the city in the Viking Age, after delegates had been received by the Mayor of Lincoln at Greyfriars, where we also saw a small exhibition of Viking Age finds from Lincoln. The conference banquet was held at the Lawn, and Mr Dunn's comfortable coaches, which brought us home to Nottingham, gave many delegates a chance to catch up on their sleep at last.


The last clutch of papers was delivered on the morning of Tuesday the 26th of August, after which some delegates went home and the rest departed on the post-Congress tour to York, calling en route at the church of St Peter at Barton-on-Humber, courtesy of English Heritage. Wednesday was spent partly as a walking tour of York's Viking Age streets, churches and possible 'saga-sites' such as King's Court, where Egil Skallagrimsson's 'Head Ramsom' may have been premiered. Other attractions included the Jorvik Viking Centre, and the Yorkshire Museum's Viking Age galleries, where we were welcomed by the Keeper of Antiquities, Mrs Elizabeth Hartley. On Thursday we ventured forth in the hoof-marks of Erik Bloodaxe across Stainmoor to see the Scandinavian influence on tenth-century Cumbrian sculpture at Penrith, Gosforth, Lowther and Dearham. Investigations of similar influences on Yorkshire Dales dialect led us, inevitably, to sample the Riggwelter brew at the Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, on our way back. The final day's excursion started at the home of the hogback tombstone, Brompton Church, before going on to St Gregorys Minster, Kirkdale, where Professor Philip Rahtz summarized the results of his recent excavations. At Middleton church Alan Binns re-visited the warrior-cross and its companion pieces forty or more years on from his initial discussion of them; Sinnington church and Wharram Percy deserted medieval villages were also viewed. The tour culminated beside the River Derwent at Stamford Bridge, with respects to the monument commemorating Harald Hardrada's defeat, followed by a companionable dinner above the river's waters, like a previous Norse champion, in the Cornmill Restaurant.


We acknowledge with gratitude the fínancial support given to the organisation of the Congress by the following bodies: The British Academy; The Royal Danish Embassy; The Embassy of Sweden; H.E. Mr Benedikt Ásgeirsson, the Ambassador of Iceland; The University of Nottingham; Danish Homestore, Nottingham; Norema Interiors Ltd, Nottingham; National Westminster Bank plc; Midland Bank. Hospitality at the Congress was generously provided by The University of Nottingham; The Royal Irish Academy; The Mayor and City of Lincoln.


Various people contributed their expertise and enthusiasm to make the Congress an intellectual and social success. In particular, thanks are due to Sir David Wilson and Else Roesdahl for curating the splendid exhibition Vikings and Gods in European Art which complemented our deliberations so well. Thanks are also due to: Richard Langley and staff at Derby Museum and Art Gallery; David Parsons and Tania Styles for place-name guidance on the Monday excursion; Mick Jones and Alan Vince for introducing us to the splendours of Lincoln, and staff of Lincoln Archaeology for helping to organise other events there; Philip Dixon for guiding us in Shelford and Southwell. Congress members played their part in interpreting sites for us during the excursions: Martin Biddle and Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle at Repton, Julian Richards at Ingleby, Olwyn Owen and David Stocker in Southwell. We are grateful to the Reverend Canon Frank Worwood (Shelford), the Dean and Chapter of Southwell Minster, and the Reverend Graham Firth (Shelton) for allowing us the access we needed to the treasures in their churches. Graham Firth and the ladies of Shelton showed particular charity in caring so splendidly for the delegates' hunger and thirst. Geoffrey Bond helped to make the exhibition opening a success beyond the confines of the Congress.


Three key figures in the success of the main Congress were the staff of the Humanities Research Centre, University of Nottingham: its Director, Peter Preston, and two successive secretaries, Sue Drury and Sam Murray. Without them the Congress would simply not have happened. The student assistants listed above ensured the smooth day-to-day running of events, while staff at the University of Nottingham Conference Office, Florence Boot Hall and Cavendish Hall did sterling and unobtrusive work in the areas of food and accommodation, much of it on a Bank Holiday weekend, allowing the Local Organiser to concentrate on other matters. The post-Congress tour owed much to the organisational skills of Heather Dawson, of York Archaeological Trust, who co-ordinated arrangements, and to the kindness of vicars and churchwardens who opened their churches. Final thanks are to Shannon Lewis for her last-minute editorial assistance, and for electronically soothing the brow of the coordinating editor in the race to get the volume out in time for the Fourteenth Viking Congress in the Faroes.


The presiding genius of the Thirteenth Viking Congress, the person who brought it to Nottingham and York, and who did most of the preliminary organisation, is sadly no longer with us to be thanked in person. Chris Fell died in July 1998. She had been a regular member of the Viking Congress since she attended the Fourth Congress, at York in 1961, as a student. Her life and work have been remembered in full elsewhere, but this volume is affectionately dedicated to her memory and is a fitting monument to her particular expertise in Viking Studies.


The Organising Committee

Congress Proceedings:

Vikings and the Danelaw.  Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Thirteenth Viking Congress, Nottingham and York, 1997. Edited by James Graham-Campbell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons.


.. The Thirteenth Viking Congress vii
Foreword xi
1 Defining the Danelaw (Katherine Holman) 1



In search of the vikings: the problems and the possibilities of

interdisciplinary approaches (D.M. Hadley)



3 The conversion of the Danelaw (Lesley Abrams) 31

Repton and the 'great heathen army', 873-4 (Martin Biddle and

Birthe Kjølbye-Biddle)




Boundaries and cult centres: Viking burial in Derbyshire (Julian D.






Pagan Scandinavian burial in the central and Southern Danelaw

(James Graham-Campbell)





Expansion and control: aspects of Anglo-Scandinavian minting

south of the Humber (Mark Blackburn)




Anglo-Scandinavian urban development in the East Midlands

(Richard Hall)




Lincoln in the Viking Age (Alan Vince)




New light on the Viking presence in Lincolnshire: the artefactual

evidence (Kevin Leahy and Caroline Paterson)



11 The strange beast that is the English Urnes style (Olwyn Owen) 203



Five towns funerals: decoding diversity in Danelaw stone sculpture

(David Stocker and Paul Everson) 





The Southwell lintel, its style and significance (Philip Dixon,

Olwyn Owen and David Stocker)




Finding the Vikings: the search for Anglo-Scandinavian rural

settlement in the northern Danelaw (Julian D. Richards)



15 In the steps of the Vikings (Gillian Fellows-Jensen) 279



Scandinavian elements in English place-names: some semantic

problems (Tania Styles)





How long did the Scandinavian language survive in England?

Again (David N. Parsons)



18 Skaldic verse in Scandinavian England (Judith Jesch) 313
19 Eddic poetry in Anglo-Scandinavian northern England (John McKinnell) 327

Representations of the Danelaw  in Middle English literature

(Thorlac Turville-Petre)



21 Hereward, the Danelaw and the Victorians (Andrew Wawn) 357