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bitants from the mother countries, Denmark and Norway. Many Norwegians came over; nay, even the King Erik just mentioned may possibly have, been the renowned Norwegian King Erik Blodoxe, a son of Harald Haarfager, the first absolute sovereign of Norway. After the death of Harald, Erik became chief sovereign in Norway; but he and his queen, the notorious Gunhilde, ruled here with so much cruelty, that the Norwegians gave Erik the surname of Blodoxe (Blood-axe). Driven from his kingdom, he at length repaired to Northumberland, where King Athelstane is said to have made him a tributary king, and where, after many vicissitudes of fortune, he met his death.
Between the Northumbrian Jarledomme—whence the dignity of the Northern "Jarls" began to extend itself to the rest of England, which has still preserved it in the title of "Earl" — as well as between the Danish part of England and the proper kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons in general, disputes must naturally have prevailed of a more or less sanguinary kind. As a necessary consequence of this, the Danish kings, in their later expeditions against the Anglo-Saxons for the purpose of conquest, resorted to, and sought support in, the Danish part of the north of Englaud, in the districts near the Humber. In the year 1013, King Svend Tveskjseg anchored in this river with a powerful fleet, when he came over to conquer England. In conjunction with his son Canute, who afterwards completed the conquest, he had previously lain at anchor at Sandvik (Sandwich), in Kent. From the Humber he anchored in the river Trent, at Gegnesburgh (or Gainsborough), in Lincolnshire; whence he harried the whole of eastern, and part of southern England. The Old Danish land to the north of Watlinga-Street was the first to pay him homage; the rest of England soon yielded to him, and King Ethelred was obliged to fly to Normandy. But just as Svend, in the midst of his victorious career, had returned to Gainsborough—just as he was fleecing and levying con
tributions both on laity and clergy—he suddenly fell from his horse at an assize, or Thing, in a fit of illness, and died the following night, the 3rd of February, 1014. Monkish chronicles relate that it was St. Edmund who killed him. Ethelred, who now returned to England, in vain ordered a strict search to be made for the body of Svend, with the view of wreaking a cowardly vengeance on the impotent corpse of the man who, when alive, bad been so terrible an antagonist to him. But the body had been secretly conveyod to York, where it was kept concealed during the winter (but scarcely in the cathedral, although that church had been founded long before, and was, perhaps, even con sidorably enlarged by the Norwegian princes who resided at York). Towards the spring it was brought over to Denmark by some Englishwomen, who were probably of Scandinavian extraction, and placed in the cathedral of Kooskildc, in one of the pillars in the grand choir.
Under the Danish rule, the Danish-Norwegian population in the north of England increased considerably, both in strength and numbers; although Christianity, by the wise arrangements of Canute, and particularly by his severe laws against heathenism, was almost completely disseminated there. Even after the Danish dominion had come to an end by the death of Hardicanute in 1012, and the Anglo-Saxon kings had again taken the helm, the old warlike spirit of the north continued, in spite of Christianity, to stir in the Northumbrian people. The successors of the Vikings still preferred, to a natural death, a glorious one on the field of battle; but Christian tenets no longer permitted them to be marked, when on the bed of sickness, with the point of a spear, in order to consecrate themselves to Odin, according to the heathen custom. The mighty Danish jarl Sivard (Sigeward or Siwerd) reigned over them at that time, who had fought in many battles both in England and Scotland, whereby his name became immortalized in Shakspeare's " Macbeth." When the news was brought to him that his son had fallen in battle, he inquired whether he had received his death wound in front or behind. Being answered, "Before ; "— "In that case," he exclaimed, I have reason to rejoice, for no other death was befitting my son, or me." When Siward himself afterwards lay on his death-bed, and felt the approach of dissolution, an old chronicler (Henry of Huntingdon) represents him as breaking out into sorrowful complaints, and exclaiming, "How shameful it is for me, that I have never been able to meet death in my numerous battles, but have been reserved to die with disgrace like an old cow. Clothe me at least in my impenetrable armour, gird me with my sword, cover my head with my helmet, place my shield in my left, and my gilded axe in my right hand, that I, the bold warrior, may also die like one." Attired in full armour, he passed gladly to his fathers in the year 1055, and doubtless with the secret hope of enjoying in Valhalla a continuation of that proud martial life for which there would soon have been no longer room either in Northumberland or in the parent lands of Scandinavia.
Shortly after the death of Siward, the country near York also became the theatre where one of the last celebrated Vikings of the north fell. Harald Haardraade was indeed a Christian, and a king in Norway; but with him, as with many of his cotemporaries, Christianity dwelt only on his lips. In his heart he was still the bold Viking, who valued Hildur's bloody game more than holy psalms, and who preferred conquest on foreign shores to the peaceful government of an hereditary kingdom. Whilst still young he had distinguished himself in expeditions in the East, and in the Greek Empire. It seemed to him disgraceful that those lands, particularly in the north of England, which had once belonged to his forefathers, should for ever be wrested from Norway. He therefore agreed to assist Toste Godvinson against his brother, the English King Harald Godvinson; but on the condition that he himself, if he succeeded in conquering Harald, should have the dominion of England, whilst Toste was to have the half of it as jarl, or earl. They landed in the Humber; but in the battle which shortly afterwards took place (in 1006) at Stamford Bridge, a little to the east of York, both Toste and Harald fell. Thus the latter gained no more of England's soil than the English King Harald had offered him before the battle, namely, "seven feet of earth, or as much as he was taller than other men."
This was one of the last serious attempts on the part of Denmark or Norway to re-conquer England; and in the same year the Normans, after the battle of Hastings, in which King Harald fell, seized the kingdom which their Danish kinsmen had formerly possessed. William the Conqueror went in person against the Northumbrians; but before ho disembarked he is said to have broken up the tumulus on the coast (by the Humber ?) in which, according to the legend, Regner Lodbrog's son, Ivar Beenlbse, had ordered himself to bo buried, in order to avert the attacks of foreigners. William had to combat long before he could roduco Northumberland; but, as we shall afterwards see, he novor succeeded in subduing that spirit of freedom and independence which the Danes and Norwegians had planted thoro.
Danish-Norwegian Memorials in the North of England.—Coins.—
Ik even the old Saxon south England is distinguished by
Here also the Norwegian saint, "St. Olave," has been zealously worshipped, both in the country and in the towns. In Norfolk (East Anglia) there is a bridge called "St. Olave's Bridge." In itself it "is a remarkable monu
Sect. VI.] SAINT OLAVE. 39
ment of a time when bridges over rivers were regarded as such considerable and important structures that, like churches, they were named after, or dedicated to saints; in ancient Scandinavia they even built bridges, as several runic stones testify, "for their souls' salvation." In the city of Chester, on the northern frontier of Wales, there is to be found in the southern outskirts, opposite the old castle and close to the river Dee, a church and parish which still bear the name of St. Olave. By the church runs a street called "St. Olave's Lane." In the northwest part of York there is likewise a St. Olave's church, said to be the remains of a monastery founded by the powerful Danish Jarl Siward, who was himself buried there in the year 1055. There can be no doubt that similar churches dedicated to St. Olave were scattered about in other towns of north England, where further researches might possibly yet discover at least some of them.
These traces of the importance formerly conferred on St. Olave in the towns of north England lead one to conjecture that, even after the Danish ascendancy in England was annihilated, a great number of Northmen must have continued to reside there, as was the case in London. This is so much the more natural, as, long before the Norman Conquest, the Northmen preponderated in many, perhaps in most, mercantile towns of the north of England, and particularly in the fortified towns occupied by the Danes. At the time of the Conquest, the population in some of the largest and most important cities towards the east coast, such as Lincoln and York, is said to have been almost exclusively of Scandinavian extraction; hence it was that Lincoln and York, at least, preserved their original Scandinavian "husting" throughout the middle ages, and even later.
In and about the last-named city, which was the chief place in Danish north England, are numerous Scandinavian memorials. The names of several streets in York end in gate. In London, where the same termination of