Vikings Raid Northumbria Coast for 1st time
Northumberland The 8th of June 793 AD
The Norse raid on the holy island of Lindisfarne on June 8th 793 shocked a people, and gave warning of future clashes with the warrior-bandits from across the North Sea.
The portents were there for some time before June 8th: terrible storms, immense sheets of lightning, fiery dragons even according to the Anglo- Saxon Chronicles. In more practical terms, it is highly probable that real preparations had been made before this epoch making event.
It is likely that the Vikings had island hopped – from their homeland to the Shetlands , on to the Orkneys , and then to mainland Scotland or even another island base off the Scottish coast. And it is unthinkable that the raiders just happened to begin their predations on one of the richest and most vulnerable targets they could have happened upon. The Viking method through much of their history is firstly trading with areas new to them – furs, jewels, amber – then armed with local knowledge raiding them.
At Lindisfarne the Viking fleet had rich and easy pickings: silver plate, gold crosses, jewelled chests holding relics of the saints, and some of the monks themselves, taken into slavery by the Norsemen. Those opposing them were largely cut to pieces. Others it is said were dragged into the sea and drowned. Some were left to tell the tale.
And it was a terrible tale, all the more shocking because of the holy nature of the victims. These were violent times, but in much of Europe the religious orders were havens, the churches and monasteries not fortified because they had no need of defence. After Lindisfarne, though, this was no longer the case.
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