Drawings of Anglo-Saxons


Drawings of objects

Meet the Vikings

The Danelaw

Creating the Danelaw

The first evidence of Vikings settling in England comes from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles which state that in AD876 part of the Great Army became "harrowers and plowers". In other words, they settled and became farmers.

Then in AD885 the Danish army launched another invasion in Wessex, which is defeated by King Alfred, who then starts to attack Danish lands to the east.

Finally in AD886 King Alfred re-takes London and a new treaty is made with the Danish leader, Guthrum. This treaty created the Danelaw.

Map of Danelaw

What was the Danelaw?

The Danelaw roughly occupied the area north of a line drawn from London to Chester (see map). It included five fortified towns, or burhs, including Leicester, Lincoln, Notthingham, Stamford and Derby.

This division of land meant that the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings could live and trade peacefully. Most of the modern place-names which have Viking elements are in what would have been the Danelaw. (Find out more about Viking and Anglo-Saxon place-names)

The Danelaw slowly became smaller over time. By AD918 the southern Danelaw was back under Anglo-Saxon control. In the north, Viking power collapsed after the Battle of Brunanburh in AD937.

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