800 ~ 1066

Viking Boat
793 - Isolated Viking raids began on the North East coast of England. Lindisfarne, [Holy Island], was plundered and other monasteries presented easy targets.

850 - The Danes and Norwegians had probably been trading with Britain for a long time as they had much in common with the Angles.

Now their boats came for conquest and settlement.

865 - The Danish "Great Army" army under Ivar the Boneless invaded East Anglia.
After spending the winter there, it invaded Northumbria.

York was captured and much of the land south of the Tees.

What happened to Anglo-villages like Skelton during these violent changes of power is a guessing game.

867 - The Northumbrian King Aelle was murdered by Danes.

To what extent the Angles were replaced is not clear. It is likely that, as happened after the Norman Conquest,

land ownership and power changed hands and the peasants continued tilling the land for new masters.

Some villages like Skelton retained their Anglo Saxon names, but the high incidence of Viking place names [ending in -by and -thorp] and the many words we still use of Danish origin indicate a great Norse influence in this area.

For the next 200 years North and East England was under Viking control and at times a sub-state of Denmark.

871 - Alfred the Great of Wessex halted the Danish conquest and defeated them at Ashdown.

875 - Ivar the Boneless died and was succeeded by his brother Halfdene, who defeated the Mercians and became king of Yorkshire, which was divided into the three ridings and ruled from York.

900 - The history of this period is guesswork. Norwegians invaded Ireland and NW Britain and no doubt this coast too. There were it seems constant invasions and tribal inter-fighting.

937 - The King of Wessex was now Athelstan, who achieved a decisive victory at Brunanburgh, when a coalition of Irish, Norse, Scots and Northumbrians were defeated.

954 - Wessex under Eadred defeated Eric Bloodaxe who was driven out of York and killed at Stainmoor.

959 - Edgar who came to the throne of Wessex and spent the next 17 years of his reign trying to weld the states of Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia and Wessex into a single body.

991 - England was threatened by attack from Olaf, King of Norway and Svein, King of Denmark. Aethelred II of Wessex paid the first Danegeld - protection money to buy them off.

1013 - King Svein of Denmark invaded and became King of Northumbria. Aethelred of Wessex fled to Normandy and Svein was made king of England.

1016 - The Danes rule England under King Canute.

The Wapentake of Langbaurgh

What happened in small villages during these times of strife ?
70 years after this time the Domesday book tells us that Skelton used to be under the lordship of Uctred who "had there one manor".
Uctred was also the lord of other nearby villages - Brotton, Marske, Tocketts, Westlidun, Kilton, Barnaby, Kilton Thorpe, Stainton, Roxby, Normanby and Aislaby.
Villagers were composed of slaves who had no freedom at all and the half-free.
These latter were people who the Domesday book calls "villanes", workers who were not paid and paid no rent, but were obliged to work their own land and the land of the lord as well - his "demesne".
Uctred held the land from a higher lord or earl and had obligations to fight on his behalf and provide a certain number of armed men.
For purposes of administration, justice and gathering armies the Danelaw was divided into "wapentakes" - literally the mustering of weapons.
Skelton was part of the wapentake of Langbaurgh - the "long hill", 8 miles or so away near Roseberry Topping.
Uctred held his position by virtue of serving a higher lord or earl, but he in turn held his power and land by being loyal to the King.
This was the feudal system where every man had a lord.
It had existed since the Angles, who had called wapentakes "hundreds".
It had probably existed since we were tribal monkeys.
It continued on into the Middle Ages and lives today in many forms and personages.

1033 - King Canute was more concerned with events in Denmark than England and the area of Northumbria was placed under the governance of an Earl called Siward.

1042 - Edward the Confessor becomes King of England with Danish support. Edward was childless and on his death there was to be a three way fight for the throne between the Saxons of Wessex under Harold Godwinson, the Danes and the Viking Normans who had taken over North West France.

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