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a canal round the foot of the bridge ; and though Canute, who was well supported by Thorkel the Tall, and by Erik Jarl, the Norwegian, is said to have resumed the siege several times, yet it was by negociation alone that he seems to have obtained possession of London.
Even amid the varied impressions created by the metropolis of the world, I could not forget and what Dane could ?—that it was chiefly here that for a long period the Northmen found, as it were, another home, from which they returned to their native land enriched by fresh knowledge, and on the whole with a higher degree of civilization, which they afterwards turned to account in the north ; that it was here that not a few of the most zealous promoters and defenders of Christianity in Scandinavia, and amongst them particularly the Norwegian king, Olaf Trygvesön, had dwelt before they began the work of conversion; that it was here, lastly, that several Danish chieftains, and especially Canute the Great, had played the sovereign, and held their court, surrounded by the Thingmen and the bards, who in those times usually accompanied the northern kings. On surveying London, its proud river, and beautiful uplands, one cannot help doubly admiring the power of that king, who, at a distance from his native land, was not only able to command all this, as well as the whole of England, but Norway and Denmark in addition. One feels the truth of the words of the Saga about Canute : “Of all kings that have spoken the Danish tongue, he was the mightiest, and the one that reigned over the greatest kingdoms."
Although London was at that time one of the most considerable towns in Europe, it was of course but very small compared with what it is at present. The walls inclosed only that proportionally small part of modern London called the “City,” and which forms the centre of its busy commerce. Close by lay a castle (whence the Northmen's name for London, “ Lundunaborg "), and undoubtedly on the same spot where, not long after Canute's time, William
the Conqueror built the Tower. Somewhat higher up the Thames, on an island which, from the many thorns growing there, obtained the name of Thorney (Anglo-Saxon, Thornege), or the Thorn Island, stood another castle, said to have been inhabited at different times by Canute. This island, in whose name we find both the Anglo-Saxon ege, and afterwards the northern ey (island), and which is therefore sometimes very incorrectly called Thorney Island, has now lost both its ancient name and appearance. Under the name of Westminster, it forms at present a continuous part of London.
The Dane who wanders through this immense city, will not only be reminded by such names as “ Denmark Court," “ Denmark Street,” and “ Copenhagen Street,” and by monuments in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, of the sanguinary battles which have taken place in modern times between England and Denmark, as well as of the older ties of friendship, which for a long time found increased support by means of the relationship and reciprocal marriages which occurred in the reigning families of the two countries ; but he will also find traces even to this day, of the power and influence which his forefathers, both before and after King Canute's time, possessed in the most important commercial city of wealthy England.
Approaching the city from the west end, through the great street called “the Strand,” we see, close outside the old gate of Temple Bar, a church called St. Clement's Danes, from which the surrounding parish derives its name. In the early part of the middle ages this church was called in Latin, “Ecclesia Sancti Clementis Danorum," or, “ the Danes' Church of St. Clement.” It was here that the Danes in London formerly had their own burial place ; in which reposed the remains of Canute the Great's son and next successor, Harald Harefoot. When, in 1040, Hardicanute ascended the throne after his brother Harald, he caused Harald's corpse to be disinterred from its tomb in Westminster Abbey, and thrown into the Thames ; where it was found by a fisherman, and afterwards buried, it is said, “ in the Danes' churchyard in London.” From the churchyard it was subsequently removed into a round tower, which ornamented the church before it was rebuilt at the close of the seventeenth century.
It has, indeed, been supposed by some that this church was called after the Danes only because so many Danes have been buried in it; but as it is situated close by the Thames, and must have originally lain outside the city walls, in the western suburbs, and consequently outside of London proper, it is certainly put beyond all doubt, that the Danish merchants and mariners who, for the sake of trade, were at that time established in or near London, had here a place of their own, in which they dwelt together as fellow-countrymen. Here it should also be remarked, that this church, like others in commercial towns, as, for instance, at Aarhuus in Jutland, at Trondhjem in Norway, and even in the city of London (in East Cheap), was consecrated to St. Clement, who was especially the seaman's patron saint. The Danes naturally preferred to bury their dead in this church, which was their proper parish church.
The Danes and Norwegians also possessed an important place of trade on the southern shore of the Thames, opposite the city-in Southwark, as it is called, which was first incorporated with London, as part of the city, in the middle ages. The very name of Southwark, which is unmistakably of Danish or Norwegian origin, is evidence of this. The Sagas relate that, in the time of King Svend Tveskjæg, the Danes fortified this trading place; which, evidently on account of its situation to the south of the Thames and London, was called “Sydvirke” (Sudrvirki), or the southern fortification. From Sudrvirki, which in AngloSaxon was called Suð-geweorc, but which in the middle ages obtained the name of Suthwerk or Suwerk, arose the present form, Southwark, through small and gradual changes in the pronunciation. The Northmen had a church in Sydvirke dedicated to the Norwegian king, Olaf the saint. Olaf, who fell in the battle of Stiklestad, in 1030, was so celebrated a saint that churches were built in his honour, not only in Norway, where he became the patron saint of the kingdom, and in the rest of Scandinavia, but also in almost every place where the Northmen established themselves ; nay, even in distant Constantinople the Varangians had a church called after him. There is still a street in Southwark, close by London Bridge and the Thames, which bears the significant name of Tooley Street, a corruption of St. Olave's Street. On the northern side stands a church, called St. Olave's Church, and which is found mentioned by that name as early as the close of the thirteenth century.
Within the city, in what may be strictly called ancient London, where the Sagas already mention a St. Olaf's Church, there are to be found at this day no fewer than three churches consecrated to St. Olave : namely, in Silver Street; at the north-west corner of Seething Lane, Tower Street; and in the Old Jewry (St. Olave's Upwell). The two last named stand in the eastern extremities of the city, yet within its ancient boundaries. In the same neighbourhood, near London Bridge, there is also a church dedicated to St. Magnus the Martyr, which likewise undoubtedly owes its origin to the Northmen, either the Norwegians or Danes. St. Magnus was a Norwegian jarl, who was killed in the twelfth century in Orkney, where the cathedral in Kirkwall is also consecrated to him.
That so many churches in London should be named after these Norwegian saints, Olaf and Magnus, who, moreover, were not canonized till after the death of Canute the Great, and the overthrow of the Danish dominion in England, furnishes no mean evidence of the influence of the Northmen in London. It confirms in a remarkable manner the truth of the old statements, that the Danes of Canute the Great. An English chronicler, speaking of the power of the Danes at that period, adds, that the citizens of London had, by reason of their frequent intercourse with “ the barbarians” (the Danes), almost adopted their manners and customs. And it was, indeed, natural that the long voyages of the Northmen, and the important commerce carried on between the countries of Scandinavia and England, should have long secured to the northern merchants an influential position in a city like London, which was in the highest degree a commercial city, and particularly when these merchants had once been established there in great numbers.
welt in London could at times even turn the scales at the election of a king: as, for instance, after the death
But the most striking and remarkable memorial of the early power of the Danes and other Northmen in London is this—that the highest tribunal in the city has retained to our days its pure old northern name “ Husting.” The word Thing, whereby, as is well known, both deliberative and judicial assemblies were designated in the north from the earliest times, does not seem to have been employed by the Anglo-Saxons in that signification, or at all events not before the Danish expeditions and Danish immigrations into England. The Anglo-Saxons used in that sense the term gemót, as in “ Witena-gemót,” which was the name of their parliament. Husthings are also especially mentioned in the Sagas as having been held in the north, particularly by kings, jarls, and other powerful individuals. The Husthing in London was originally established in order to protect and guard the laws and liberties of the city and the customs of the courts of judicature ; and the principal magistrates were judges. In the Latin of the middle ages it is said of a person who attended there
-“Comparuit in Hustingo.” A similar Husting was also formerly found in the Isle of Sheppey, at the mouth of the Thames.
London, beneath whose walls and gates the Danes have fought numerous battles with various success, contains within it memorials both of their greatest power and